Exploring the New Fantasyland
I was beyond excited yesterday… seeing the entrance to the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant and to Gaston’s area had me so ready for what was to come in the weeks and months ahead. I was not expecting to be sitting in a clam shell, under the sea, nor drinking in Gaston’s Tavern the very next day. So let’s raise our LeFou’s Brew and toast to the soft opening today, cheers!
I had one goal today, meet up with Emma. I had “heard” Little Mermaid may open, but you have to take those things lightly sometimes because it’s all up to Disney when they really feel like opening it. I was in after 9:30 a.m. and walked back to see that you couldn’t get in the Dumbo side, you had to get in the Belle side. I was at first very disappointed- Storybook Circus was busy as ever, but no line and no open door into the new area. Ok, I thought, guess it wasn’t today.
Then I headed back to the Belle area, and sure enough, it was ALL open except the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant. My heart was skipping beats as I walked towards the new “forbidden” area. There, standing in all his majesty, was Gaston himself. I didn’t care about any of the other buildings yet, I HAD to meet him. He is oddly one of my favorites and he lived up to all of my expectations. He is a NOT MISS in this area, and is one of the coolest pictures to get in the area, especially in front of his Tavern. (I joke with my friends that I want to see him in the Tavern walking around and putting his leg up on a table, flexing and chatting away with the ladies).
After my swooning session, I headed straight to “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” ride. It was almost to hard to take in- could it ACTUALLY be open? Today? So early? Yes, sure enough, I walked into the line and almost had to pinch myself I couldn’t believe it was happening. I texted everyone under the sun to come and ride it, that it was INDEED open for today- was thrilled Leah and Andy could join me for my second ride later on. As I was drooling at every turn in line, I ran into Ricky Brigante (Inside the Magic) and was thrilled to have finally met him. It was a great side moment to an already exciting day.
I loved the queue!! They have a treasure hunt, and also cute little crabs that you can move with the waving your own hands to have him sort out the treasure. Because the line was moving well at this point, Leah and I managed to only play with one that did work well when she moved her hands to it. I can see people enjoying this in the long lines for this attraction. Scuttle talks to you as you get deeper into the ride, and then you are in the vehicle boarding area. Now, I thought this area looked A LOT like the Harry Potter columns queue area- but it was still very cool and I boarded my clam shell VERY excited!! ***Side Note, it was a 20 minute wait for me, and it went very fast because of everything to see in line.
I have NOT been on the ride in California, so I had nothing to compare it too. I was excited, I was literally a child again, ready to jump out of my skin with delight at what I was experiencing. I loved the clam shell- it was very roomy and very much like the ones at “Nemo and Friends.” I smiled so much during the ride, my face actually hurt after. It was just amazing, and beautiful, and well imagineered. I felt like I was under the sea, and that I was playing with Ariel and her friends. Having seen this movie in my younger years, it brought back those memories and made me feel so happy and blessed. If you think these are weird emotions to have on a “ride” then you don’t get Disney.
I clapped as it ended- yes, I applauded like it was the end of a play. It was worth it, and they WANT to know what people think of it. I was brought to tears as I walked out, I didn’t know if I was emotional from the ride, the entire experience, or that I had ridden it for the first time by myself. Disney is Ohana, and we all know that means family. Mine wasn’t able to be with me for it, so I kind of had wished I waited. BUT the opportunity was there, so the blogger in me took full advantage and I did LOVE it.
Since I wanted to see it all, I got right in line to meet Ariel. This was now about 11:00 and the wait time was 20 minutes. The queue again was very cute, and IN THE SHADE. Do we all remember the old Meet and Greet for her? I think it was the hottest line we stood in to meet a Character on ANY vacation! Now you wait in the cold caverns, and they take each family/group in to see her ONE at a time. So you can comfortably talk to her, or your kids, etc.. without feeling like people are on your heels waiting for you to leave. I like the personal touches like that because it just makes it feel a bit more magical. Ariel was sweet as pie, and she told me I had the bluest eyes she had ever seen – awe! I told her how much I loved her new ride and how truly excited I was to be there, she was so nice to me. So bravo Ariel, you did well !!
After coming off Cloud nine, I realized that I still hadn’t explored Belle’s Village. Time for a LeFou’s Brew and some Gaston goodness- Gaston’s Tavern was busy and alive. The brew, which you can get in a Stein or Goblet for $9.99 or just the drink for over $4, was very good. I got it in the Stein, but my juice was a frozen mass under the cream- it took awhile to drink. (Sorry Disney, Butterbeer is better). Take the time to really look around each of these new buildings, it’s easy to go in and go on to the next thing- but there is so much magic to be seen. My favorite was the fireplace with Gaston’s picture above it- the only thing I found is that it is a tad dark in there, so pictures come out a bit murky. The energy in this place was electric, and I bumped into many wonderful friends, readers, and caught up with old ones. I didn’t mind doing the first part alone, but I really felt great once I was surrounded with so many nice people.
The Bonjour shop is ADORABLE and I was very happy to see they were selling Beauty and the Beast specific items in there, along with Gaston Tavern shirts that I thought were AWESOME! (Adding that to the Christmas list). I loved the smallness of the shop and how quaint it felt, very “Belle.” You could also now walk over the bridge that leads to the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant, and those gargoyles were VERY cool. Also the waterfall coming off of the Beasts Castle makes it look and feel like you are somewhere in the mountains- not a theme park.
I enjoyed the experience SO MUCH and it was just such an amazing blessing today. I hope this blog does it justice to how cool it really was, and that you enjoy the pictures. Annual Passholder Preview sign-ups were delayed for this coming Monday, the 15th, so I hope many of you are able to see it soon as well. Hope to see you “Under the Sea” soon!