Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire attraction is an enchanting village, expanding Fantasyland beyond the castle walls. Officially opening tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12th, this new area offers experiences that will cater to the entire family. Of course, first and foremost, your little princesses will love meeting their grown-up counterparts in the Royal Hall, and picking out the latest in Disney princess fashion at the new Fairy Tale Treasures shop. However, the new entertainment offerings are what truly rule Fantasy Faire. Read on for more details.
Fantasy Faire took over the space formerly housed by the beloved Carnation Plaza Gardens. A fixture of the park since 1956, the bandstand hosted regular Saturday night swing dancing for over 50 years, and in its heyday, played host to musical legends such as Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra Jr., Benny Goodman, and Count Bassie, to name a few. When the plans were announced at the 2011 D23 Expo to re-theme the area into a princess meet & greet area, many Disneyland fans were up in arms, admittedly, myself included. However, the demand for all things princess is undeniable, and they really needed a permanent home in the park. It seems that it really was the only solution to the problem, and now, having experienced the changes firsthand, I’m happy to report that I was impressed with the results.
Michel den Dulk, Show Director, and Tony Baxter, Walt Disney Imagineering consultant, and the former Senior Vice President of Creative Development at WDI pose in front of Fantasy Faire.
At the entrance to the Royal Hall, a sign is posted listing the 3 princesses greeting guests that day, along with an estimated wait time. The length of the queue is extensive, and can easily hold at least a 30-45 minute line. Inside, each princess has her own “room”, where you’ll be guided through to meet each one, along with her Disney PhotoPass photographer. The interior is nicely themed, and it really feels like you’re walking through a castle.
If your little princess is hoping to get all dolled up for the occasion, a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is conveniently located right next to the Fantasy Faire. There’s also a new shop inside the Faire, Fairy Tale Treasures, offering a wide assortment in regal fashions.
What Fantasy Faire lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and detail. For instance, the shelves of Fairy Tale Treasures are lined with nods to many Disney animated classics. Can you guess the films honored here?
VIDEO: One of the most notable details, is an audio-animatronic Figaro napping on a window sill while an adorable bluebird happily chirps away.
Clopin’s Music Box is activated with a hand-crank, and the scene changes as the music plays. If you look carefully, you’ll find appearances of characters from films like Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan popping up here and there.
Here’s a closer look at the detail of Rapunzel in her tower. Can you spot the cleverly placed owl carved into the building in the background?
There’s also a hidden Pascal somewhere in the Faire, but I won’t spoil it for you. The hunt is half the fun!
A new snack location has also been added to the area, Maurice’s Treats, offering chocolate & strawberry croissant twists, garlic cheese bagel twists, and a specialty beverage, the boysen-apple freeze. Notice there aren’t any tables, chairs, or even benches in the area because of the size constraints, which is something to keep in mind for the timing of your snack purchases.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Royal Theatre. Featuring vaudeville style productions of Beauty and the Beast and Tangled, although both are princess-themed, these are great fun for the whole family. Hosted by Mr. Jones and Mr. Smythe, they recount the tales in a hilarious adaptation, reminiscent of the World Showcase Players from Epcot’s UK Pavilion.
VIDEO: Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones perform the introduction to Tangled
VIDEO: Mother Gothel, portrayed by Mr. Jones, is defeated.
The shows alternate throughout the day, so if you’re planning to visit be sure to check the times guide if there’s only one you want to see. The theater doesn’t hold very many seats, and I imagine they’ll fill up quickly, so I would suggest lining up at least 30-45 minutes early. The performances last just around 20 minutes, which is something to keep in mind if you’re in the standing room only section just outside of the theater.
After the show, the main characters greet guests in the theater, and either Mr. Smythe or Mr. Jones will head out into the courtyard to interact with guests. I was able to catch each of their performances, and both were hilarious.
Are you planning a trip to Disneyland in the near future? What are you most looking forward to seeing at the Fantasy Faire? For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.