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A Sip of ‘LeFou’s Brew’ from Gaston’s Tavern in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

We think this signature beverage will be a big hit at Gaston’s Tavern when New Fantasyland opens later this year – LeFou’s Brew, named after Gaston’s sidekick in “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. We bet the souvenir steins and goblets are going to go fast. (And, yes, if it sounds familiar, guests at Cars Land at the Disneyland Resort may have tasted the frozen concoction at the Cozy Cone.)

‘LeFou’s Brew’ from Gaston’s Tavern

The quick-service restaurant, created to look like a comfy lodge in the French countryside, will be a great place to escape from the Florida sun. Outside is a statue of Gaston hoisting two kegs of his favorite brew; inside he’s center stage in a big portrait over the fireplace.

The signature sweet at Gaston’s, by the way, is warm, gooey cinnamon rolls, served all day.

All in the Details: A Castle Fit for a…Mermaid in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

When I think about the New Fantasyland expansion, what gets me most excited is that Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is adding two Disney castles to the park – Beast’s Castle, which houses Be Our Guest Restaurant, and the one pictured below, Prince Eric’s Castle, which tops off the Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid attraction.

Prince Eric’s Castle in the New Fantasyland

While we’ve showcased pieces of this castle in previous posts, here’s the first complete look at Prince Eric’s abode. I have to say when I first saw the rendering for this attraction, I had no idea it would possibly turn out to be this amazing!

Prince Eric’s Castle

Just like Beast’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle uses the forced perspective technique for which WDI is famous to make the structure appear much larger in size than it is in reality.

Forced perspective, which has been used since Walt Disney oversaw the construction of Disneyland park in the 1950s, is sort of an optical illusion that uses architectural scale to “trick” the eye into believing a building towers above you, when it’s really not as tall as you’d think.

So I have to ask, which of these new castles do you prefer – Beast’s Castle or Prince Eric’s? (Visit this post for a look at Beast’s). I have my favorite. Share yours in the “comments” section below!

All in the Details: Mosaics Tell a ‘Tale as Old as Time’ at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park

This week, our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering have shared a few photos from inside one of our readers’ most anticipated areas of New Fantasyland – the Be Our Guest Restaurant!

In addition to an artfully planned menu, it looks like the elegant decor and the tiny references to the “Beauty and The Beast” film will really make this dining experience magical.

Mosaic Tiles in Be Our Guest Restaurant

An elegant floor mosaic, which depicts Beast’s enchanted rose trimmed in gold, will welcome guests to the restaurant.

tile mosaics also adorn the walls

Lovely tile mosaics also adorn the walls and tell Belle and Beast’s love story through their colorful pictures.

Intricate columns at the doorway to Be Our Guest Restaurant

And while I can’t get you in to dine just yet, I can get you to the doorway, which is highlighted with intricate columns. Notice the deep cracks at the top? Could that be some of the damage that was done to the castle when Beast was turned, well, into a beast?

Chef of Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland Shares His Favorites from the Menu

Braised pork for lunch and a grilled strip steak for dinner – Chef Michael Deardorff had a hard time choosing, but says those are two of his favorites from the new menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

Guests can start making reservations in late August (we’ll let you know the exact date as soon as we can), with the restaurant to be open for the holidays.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Chef

Chef Deardorff has been at the helm in Disney kitchens for 25 years, most recently as part of the opening of the restaurants at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i. Now he’s back to open Be Our Guest, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast,” with three dining rooms and seats for over 500 guests.

“Lunch is quick service, but not traditional counter service,” says Deardorff. Guest-activated terminals make ordering a snap (there also will be traditional cashiers for cash orders and special dietary requests). You order, take a seat and lunch is delivered to your table – on china, not paper.

Back to the menu. “It’s all about simple, fresh ingredients,” says Deardorff. “Just like your favorite quick-service restaurants across Magic Kingdom Park, you’ll be able to enjoy sandwiches and salads at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, but all with a twist that transports you to the French setting of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

There’s a little French bistro flavor with tuna Niçoise salad and a Croque Monsieur sandwich with carved ham, Gruyere cheese, béchamel and pommes frites (a fancy term for French fries). Or go for the carved turkey on a warm baguette with Dijon mayonnaise, or the grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread, both with pommes frites. Heartier fare includes braised pork that’s cooked for eight hours, and for vegetarians, there’s a loaded vegetable quiche or quinoa, shallot and chive salad.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland

Dinner is table service, with diverse starters such as a charcuterie plate with cured meats and sausages, mussels steamed in white wine, French onion or potato leek soup, and a salad with champagne vinaigrette. We’re intrigued by the salad trio with three mini tastes of roasted beet, raisins and orange; green beans, tomatoes and roasted shallots; and watermelon, radish and mint.

Entrées include a thyme-scented pork rack chop with au gratin pasta, rotisserie rock hen with roasted fingerling potatoes, pan-seared salmon in leek fondue, grilled strip steak with pommes frites, sautéed shrimp and scallops with veggies in puff pastry with creamy lobster sauce, and an oven-baked ratatouille.

Oh, and dessert – we vote for the cupcakes, strawberry cream cheese or triple chocolate. If cupcakes aren’t your favorite sweet ending, there’s a chocolate cream puff and a passion fruit cream puff.

For kids 9 and under, the lunch entrées include a carved turkey sandwich, roasted pulled pork, Mickey meatloaf, seared mahi mahi, or whole-grain macaroni topped with marinara and mozzarella. For dinner, it’s grilled steak, grilled fish of the day, whole-grain macaroni or grilled chicken breast.

“We think guests will be pleasantly surprised with the menu and the value,” says Deardorff.

Look! Dumbo is Going the Wrong Way!

Storybook-Circus-Dumbo-and-Goofini

Actually, Dumbo is just reversing decades of flying in counter-clockwise circles. Call it “unwinding,” if you will. And in a new location within Magic Kingdom.

Guests will board Dumbo the Flying Elephant from the lovable critter’s left side — like mounting a horse … and unlike the way guests hop aboard for a whirl at Disney parks on three continents. It is scheduled to begin happening in early 2012 when select experiences in the Storybook Circus neighborhood of New Fantasyland debut just northeast of Mad Tea Party.

Also early 2012, the existing Dumbo attraction near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel will close, be refurbished and be moved to a location in Storybook Circus next to the new Dumbo attraction. The result when completed later in 2012: double Dumbos, one going this-a-way, one going that-a-way … a real circus act, if you will.

There also will be a “big top” that serves as a queue area for the popular attraction. It will feature a variety of interactive experiences currently being developed.

Great GoofiniTwo other Storybook Circus elements planned for opening early in the year are The Barnstormer and Fantasyland Station. Guests who enjoyed The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm will be happy to know the junior coaster thrills of that attraction are back with a thematic change: Goofy has sold the farm and is now a circus stunt pilot and magician, The Great Goofini. The completely re-imagined train station will serve as the gateway to Storybook Circus and all Fantasyland points beyond.

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Largest Expansion in Magic Kingdom History Will Nearly Double the Size of Fantasyland

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fantasyland

The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history is underway, a project that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and deliver a new home for Ariel, new ways to interact with favorite Disney princesses, an exciting new family coaster, a double dose of Dumbo and more.

Scheduled to open in phases beginning in late 2012, the new Fantasyland will immerse guests in Disney stories as never before.  Among the highlights planned:

  • arielUnder the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major, all-new attraction during which guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.
  • The castle of the Beast, standing majestically upon a hill just across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle.  With seating for 550, this magnificent facility will offer “great food fast” service by day and full table service dining in the evening. Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
  • Just outside the village is Belle’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure begins in Maurice’s workshop, where a magical mirror is the doorway to a captivating new kind of storytelling experience: Guests are transported to the Beast’s library to meet Belle and Lumiere, and share in a lively, interactive, re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
But that’s just the beginning of what guests will discover when the multi-phase project is completed.  Here’s more of what’s in store:
  • The-Seven-Dwarfs-Mine-TrainThe Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.”  The coaster will feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth, responding to every twist and turn of the track.  The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs.
  • In Princess Fairytale Hall, Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel, will greet guests in their new home, an elegant royal court on the site where Snow White’s Scary Adventures stands today.
  • New-Dumbo-the-Flying-ElephantThe sound of the calliope will lead guests to the brand new Storybook Circus and not one but two circling carousels of airborne pachyderms on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  Before taking to the skies on this Fantasyland favorite, guests can experience an array of fun-filled family games and interactive wonders for kids of all ages inside the Big Top.
  • Next door in Storybook Circus, the classic Barnstormer gets a bright new look as well, featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini.  It’s a twisting, turning roller coaster “flight” high above the circus fun.

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