On my recent visit to Walt Disney World I had the opportunity to take part in “Enchanted Tales with Belle” in the New Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. After dropping the bouncer at the gate a $20 and providing the keywords “Donald rules,” I was allowed entrance to the new area. I was excited to see what they were building on the other side of the walls with my own 4 eyes for the first time. What should I expect though? Is this going to be a show? Is this going to be another “Play and greet?” I found it to be more of the first, and less of the second. It’s more of an experience than a show though. It’s an effort to engage and interact with the guests of all ages in a very different way. Let’s take a journey behind the wall and into Maurice’s Cottage, then on to Beast’s Library. I’ll tell the story with photos and video.The area isn’t quite photo ready because the water and some more plants are yet to be added, but it is already looking quite amazing near the entrance to the area.
My first view of Maurice’s Cottage
I’ve never been to France, so I’ll assume it looks like this
Maurice’s Cottage has a western appeal. Perhaps it is from Western France?
I was thirsty for a drink of water, but there seemed to be a drought on this day.
Some more exterior decor
I bet you won’t see the queue this empty when it opens for previews in late October!
We’ve finally made it to the cottage!
See, I told you there was a drought in this region of France currently. I’ve heard there will be a major rainfall around the end of October though.
We can see the final destination of Beast’s Castle in the distance
Because most of the small group I was queued with was already inside the cottage, my time inside the first room was quite hurried, so I quickly shot a few photos of the entry area before moving on to the Magical Mirror stage.
The opening scene is of the quaint French cottage that Belle in which Belle was reared.
I love the wonderful small details that the Imagineers included like the growth chart upon the left hand wall as one enters the cottage.
With one simple picture, we learn that Belle acquired her love for reading from her dear departed mother.
From this scene we are ushered into Maurice’s workshop, which is rich with blueprints (bleuprints?) and gadgets that Maurice is currently designing. Some are on shelves, while others are hanging from the ceiling.
After entering the workshop, the Cast Member quickly gathers everyone and focuses their attention on the Magical Mirror.http://youtu.be/WtH1kUB-hAU
We step through the Magical Mirror and enter the Wardrobe room. I personally like the fact that Disney is entertaining us while we wait on the final scene. It is similar to the approach of the Haunted Mansion in that they are telling us the story in pieces, rather than walking a static queue line. The Wardrobe Room is quite simple in its decor. I believe that is to focus everyone’s attention on the Wardrobe and the Cast Member who is setting the stage.IMPORTANT! If you or your child want to be involved in the story AND get a quick photo with Belle, be sure to VOLUNTEER. My brother was on of the guards on our second viewing and it added to the fun.
Stay away! Scary guard on duty.
Looks like the Wardrobe was actually Shaquille O’neal before being cursed as a piece of furniture. Kidding aside, the animatronic effect is well done and made me think of Radiator Springs Racers with its fluid movement.
Cast Member reaches inside to retrieve each prop as they are called and matches them up with a wiling VOLUNTEER!
After Lumiere requests our presence, we are ushered into the grand Library . The room is well done and has some nice benches to watch the show portion. Lumiere is definitely the greatest feature of this segment. I found myself watching his seamless movements while enjoying the show. I like how the Cast Members interact with the guests when telling the story and Belle does a beautiful job as always.
A real star in this show.
The guests are then used to tell the story. With each person presented at the appropriate time in the story. It’s similar to the old Storytime with Belle, but is presented in a better fashion and AIR CONDITIONING!
I really enjoyed the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience and I saw the glow in the eyes of small children that I look for in a great attraction. I’m sure that my daughters would like to soak it all it by viewing several times when it reopens to guests in late October. Even though Disney magic is used to reduce the line waits, it will be very popular and probably have much longer waits than the new Little Mermaid attraction that will be an omnimover and have a higher guest capacity per day.I’ve heard that Enchanted Tales with Belle will operate from open to close (or near close) once it reopens, so arrive early to avoid a longer wait.NOTE: Don’t expect this to be a “Meet and greet” with a character. There are no autographs and I noticed that only those who participated in the show are given a quick photo op. However, as attractions move from Imagineering to Operations, expect that additional changes could happen, including eliminating the quick photos in leiu of higher guest capacity. (My observation)
Enchanted Tales with Belle Magic Kingdom December 2012