Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we have more coverage of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, as well as some other Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios news.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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Only about another week or so to enjoy the Halloween decor at the park until we switch over to the Holidays!!

[center][size=5][b]More Fantasy[/b][/size]
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This past week, I was lucky enough to attend a preview of the New Fantasyland, where I got to enjoy a tour of the Be Our Guest restaurant as well as view the new area at night. We’ll start today with Be Our Guest.

When approaching the restaurant, these statues are imposing and wonderful.

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Once you enter the restaurant, these minotaur are holding up the archway to the dining areas.

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And this stained glass portrait of Belle and the Prince is on the left. You can bet a Photopass photographer will be stationed here.

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The quick service area which is for lunch only starts with you walking through this hallways flanked by the Suits of Armor.

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You are then led to this room, which houses the ordering devices.

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Note the touch screen for self ordering and customization, as well as the big old NextGen RFID reader on the bottom left.

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While the majority of ordering systems are self-run, we were told there will be two Cast Members in there to deal with customers who would rather tell someone their order or pay by cash. We then lead into the jaw dropping ballroom.

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It really is stunning. Tons of detail, and very obvious there was a sizable budget attached to this project.

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Beautiful lighting both at the walls and hanging from the ceiling.

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Heading to the right of the ballroom is the Rose Gallery.

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The centerpiece here is this music box of Belle and Beast, which is explained to be a gift from Maurice. You can see a working model of it in Maurice’s work room in the Enchanted Tales attraction.

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Rose details are all over this room.

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On the opposite side of the ballroom is the West Wing, which is the “scary” room. It wasn’t quite as spooky as Disney made it out to be, but it is somewhat understandable as children will be dining in here.

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In this room, you’ll find this portrait of the Prince.

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As well as the Enchanted Rose.

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There are thunderstorm effects in this room, and as the storm gets closer, petals fall off of the rose. Once the last once falls, lightning strikes, and for a split second, the portrait of the Prince morphs into the Beast.

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It is a pretty neat effect, but if you blink you might miss the Beast. The effects in this room might remind you of the Sorcerers Workshop in Disney California Adventure’s Animation building where they have similar effects.

Overall, the restaurant is very pretty, no doubts there. I hope that the food matches the theme. If that’s the case, we’ll definitely have a winner here!

Here are some night shots of the New Fantasyland!

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Over at what I’m now calling “The Fanciest Restrooms in all of the Land”, progress has really started to pick up.

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Painted rock work!

The building has also seen lots of change.

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Thatching on the roof.

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Over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, things keep changing as the mountain keeps taking shape.

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They are putting another layer on the main lift hill.

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More steel goes up every week.

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It looks like these could be a cottage or building of some sort.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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At the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, there has been some repainting going on. There may be other things happening over the walls, but it is hard to tell.

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When I was in the park, everything had relatively short lines with the exception of the Jungle Cruise. Ouch.

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Over at Pirates, there were changes made to the inside of the ride in the addition of mermaids.

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I did not get to see them due to very limited time in the park this week, but I’ve heard mostly positive things about them. They seem dark and creepy, which is a great vibe for the beginning of this attraction. Kevin Yee had a nice review on the site earlier this week: Mermaids and Bears at Disney World

Why is this restaurant not open most of the time? It’s one of the only places in MK that features some different things, including a tasty non-alcoholic Sangria!

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Crow’s Nest still under refurbishment. This has been months now.

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Here’ a fun angle on Thunder Mountain.

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Scrims are up for some refurb work in Liberty Square.

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A beautiful day at the Rivers of America.

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There was some quiet refurbishment work happening over Mickey’s Philharmagic, and it has wrapped up.

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Welcome to the Studios!

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Lots of little things at the Studios this week. There was some sort of stage set up at the Sorcerer Hat this week. Anyone know what for?

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Over at the Animation Courtyard, you can now see Wreck-it-Ralph things on display.

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Also, starting this weekend, you can meet Ralph. For now, the area is behind walls.

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Much to my surprise, there was an animator at the attraction! Something I’ve not seen in some time.

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Wreck-It Ralph merchandise has also made it into the parks.

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Also in the merchandise department, they had this poster on display. Sign of things to come, perhaps?

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Over at the new Jack Sparrow attraction, lots of detail is finishing on the mural on the outside of the building.

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Backlot Tour under refurbishment. I’m curious to see how long this lasts with Cars Land potentially going here someday.

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On the Streets of America, the Osborne Lights are getting very close to being finished, as they go live in about two weeks.

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Jennings Osborne’s stocking!

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And lastly, refurbishment is still going on at the Celebrity 5&10.

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Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. Did you make a reservation for the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom yet? Are you excited to enjoy the holiday offerings at the resort in just a few weeks? Let us know in the comments!!

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If you enjoyed the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my photo site, [URL=”http://www.DisneyPhotographyBlog.com”]Disney Photography Blog[/URL]. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, [URL=”http://www.ISO5571.com”]ISO5571[/URL]

  • jcruise86

    Cory, thanks for that superb photography! Although it’s not Tokyo Disney Sea or phase one of Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new Fantasyland area reminds me of them and of DCA’s Carsland because the area is so well themed that it looks like it is itself an attraction–a place where I just want to hang out and take it in at different times of the day. Congrats to Disney’s Imagineers!

  • The new restaurant is beautiful. The Beast’s room absolutely reminds me of DCA’s Sorcerer’s Workshop. They have the same rose and transformational painting.

    I’m disappointed to see them using self service kiosks in such a fancy looking restaurant. It’s little things like this that make you feel like cattle when you are at Disney World. They try TOO hard to manage the masses rather than create a sense of warmth and intimacy. But it is all very lovely. Certainly the new standard for Disney World.

    I loved the Osborne lights at the Studios. They are mesmerizing. But boy are they ugly during the day.

    And I’m right there with you hoping that the TERRIBLE studio tour gets ripped out and replaced with Cars Land – or just about anything really. It serves no purpose other than to transport you to Catastrophe Canyon and back. Its replacement is long overdue.

    Great update Cory. Thank you!!!

  • KENfromOC

    Obviously this area needed such a large food-service location (haven’t been to WDW since 2005 – so not sure on that). But as beautiful as it is, just imagine that instead of a restaurant this was a full-fledged attraction in the vein of Haunted Mansion (walk-through, then omni-mover ride). I feel this magnificent detail and design has been wasted on a place to get a sandwich instead of an attraction!

    • The sad thing is that a brilliant Beauty and the Beast attraction was developed for Disneyland Paris, but never built. They could have easily slated it in at WDW. But there was more money to be made in a restaurant I suppose.

  • ParkerMonroe

    Tortuga Tavern and the old Diamond Horseshoe actually share the same [former] kitchen. As I understand it, there’s not much left. From what I hear it’s mostly used as storage now. When either dining location is serving I guess they’re getting food from the Liberty Tree’s kitchen.

    Can anyone else confirm/deny this?

  • Mac Daddy

    Great update, Cory! The new Fantasyland looks amazing!

  • waymire01

    I guess I’m a little confused about Be Our Guest.. quick service? deluxe dining? or both?.. I’m hoping both.. because sometimes it’s nice to be able to grab some good food without fussing with a full dining experience.. too many quick service are the same items over and over (please no more hamburgers and chicken sandwiches).. especially at MK… and especially the kids meals across the board. Our last trip was two weeks and my poor daughter was so sick of the same meals over and over, you can only eat hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese so many times. They really need to work on some individualization in the offerings based on location and theme. Looking forward to seeing a menu. For QS I have no problem with the self service ordering system, we found them much easier, faster, and less stressful.. especially when traveling with a large party, and have the added benefit of language modification.

    Thanks for the night time photos.. those are the first I have seen, and the parks are always so much prettier IMO at night.

    • chjalmarson

      Lunch is quick service and dinner is sit down. You can see the menus on the Disney World website.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thanks for the update!

  • chjalmarson

    I have my reservation for Be Our Guest on February 3! I am very excited about it. And I really like that they built a restaurant instead of a ride. Yes a ride is always fun, but you are in and out within a few minutes. I like that I’ll be able to sit and enjoy being in the “castle” for my whole meal, as well as check out all the different rooms.

    And Cory- your posts are always my favorites! And your beautiful pictures of New Fantasyland are what finally convinced my husband that we should check it out in February!

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Tortuga Tavern is where one of the portals for the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game is located. When the restaurant is closed, the portal is apparently turned off (which was my experience). How can you finish the Adventureland game if you can’t get to all the portals?

  • tofubeast

    I’ll be dining at BoG for dinner come December. It looks nothing short of stunning. Can’t wait!

    Thanks for the great photographs and update, as always.

  • Skimbob

    I have reservations in January during the marathon weekend. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. It looks absolutely stunning. That whole area was very well planned and laid out. Kudos to the imagineers.

  • Timekeeper

    The Inside of the Be Our Guest Restaurant looks good, I especially like the Rose Room, as it reminds me of the Enchanted Banquet at Hong Kong Disneyland in the photos, even though I haven’t been to HKDL yet. 😀

    Timekeeper