The new Fantasyland expansion is everything Disney fans hoped for: Immersive theming that takes you into the story, authentic details, and old-fashioned Disney charm. Walking past Belle's cottage and into the town, you'll hear forest sounds and then, subtle music from the movie Beauty and the Beast. From there, you'll walk toward Journey of the Little Mermaid. Look down and you'll notice that even the ground changes to reflect the move from forest, to village and finally, the seaside.
The smallest details are absolutely captivating. Here, you see a window in Belle's village. Aged plaster, stonework above the windows, and cloudy paned glass add authenticity.
Belle's Cottage, where you'll find Storytime with Belle, an interactive meet and greet.
With so much happening, you might not notice this gorgeous waterfall near Beast's Castle, but it's worth taking in everything.
The gate to Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest restaurant.
Prince Eric's Castle in the distance, home of Journey of the Little Mermaid.
You can get Gaston's autograph, along with a heavy dose of hubris, just over the bridge leading into Belle's village.
The interior of Gaston's Tavern. Just as you expected, he uses antlers in all of his decorating.
Even the trash cans are themed.
The details on the wall look exactly like what you would find on centuries old, half-timbered buildings in Europe. By the way, this is the bathroom. Pretty impressive, right? I love how they didn't have to theme this area so elaborately but they did.
If you've been to Journey of the Little Mermaid in Disney's California Adventure, you know that there is no real queue, but in Disney World, it's practically an attraction in itself.
With so many amazing details it was hard to choose pictures for this post, but I am partial to the water features.
After you ride Journey of the Little Mermaid you can meet Ariel in her grotto.
If you're eating lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you'll order in here.
It's the same type of ordering screen as you'll find at other quick-service locations, but in a much more elegant setting.
This sign tells you whether or not the expansion is open the day you visit. Pity the poor cast members who have to turn guests away.
The Fantasyland expansion is open sporadically now until November 19th, the date of the soft opening. The official opening is December 6th. You should expect weekend closures up until November 17th for cast members, Disney Vacation Club owners, and annual pass holder previews. Other previews will be held during the week as well. What I've seen and have been hearing from other guests is that the expansion is often open before and after these previews, depending on the time of day, as well as during special parties (Mickey's Not So Scary now and Mickey's Very Merry later), so if you're on the fence about purchasing a party ticket, this might tip the scales for you. If you're visiting during this time and it's important to you to see the expansion, make sure you allow some flexibility in your schedule and be prepared to wait around a bit.