Press-Republican

FYI...

December 28, 2012

Disney World's new fantasyland, appealing to the royalty in everyone

We can't put it off any longer. After hours of bypassing the Magic Kingdom's new Enchanted Tales with Belle interactive storytelling experience, we know that it's now or never. At least on this trip.

The sun has begun to set. My husband and I lapse into a silence that makes the nearly 45 minutes in line seem to pass even more slowly than they actually do. Only the antics of the family ahead of us - three mini Minnies among them - punctuate the monotony.

We wind our way around the cottage of Belle, a.k.a. the Beauty in Disney's animated classic "Beauty and the Beast," and her father, Maurice. Surrounding us is a steady soundtrack of water tumbling in storybook falls and chirping (recorded) birds.

Eventually we make it into the cottage, where, of course, there's more waiting. The room is done up like a cozy living room for the father-daughter pair. The Minnies rush to measure themselves against the height hash marks on the wall. Other tots attack the books on a table and chair, which are wisely not books at all but imitations anchored in place.

At last, a cast member - not employee, thank you very much - beckons us into yet another holding area, this one resembling Maurice's workshop, where an "enchanted" mirror dramatically transforms into a door leading into another room.

"How does that work?" asks one child.

"It's magic!" the cast member brightly replies, as if here, at Disney World, no other explanation is required.

Which it isn't, really.

We start our day primed for princess-watching by waking up in our "royal guest room" at Walt Disney World's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside. The recently renovated quarters feature pictures of Disney movie princesses and other fun-to-discover details, the story being that they're mementos left for Tiana of "The Princess and the Frog" by her royal friends. So the faucets are magic lamps from "Aladdin," the bench resembles the dog/footstool from "Beauty and the Beast," and the shower curtain's theme is, appropriately enough, "The Little Mermaid." My favorite detail: The headboards that light up with a fiber-optic network to look like fireworks.

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