According to a reliable source, the all new Storybook Circus character meet and greet area known as Pete’s Silly Sideshow is set to begin soft opening mode on Sunday, September 30th. You may recall that this is the tent that will house Goofy & Donald, Minnie & Daisy.
Again, I’m excited that my timing for being in Walt Disney World is impeccable as I get to experience this first hand on it’s grand opening!
On my recent visit to Walt Disney World I had the opportunity to take part in “Enchanted Tales with Belle” in the New Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. After dropping the bouncer at the gate a $20 and providing the keywords “Donald rules,” I was allowed entrance to the new area. I was excited to see what they were building on the other side of the walls with my own 4 eyes for the first time. What should I expect though? Is this going to be a show? Is this going to be another “Play and greet?” I found it to be more of the first, and less of the second. It’s more of an experience than a show though. It’s an effort to engage and interact with the guests of all ages in a very different way. Let’s take a journey behind the wall and into Maurice’s Cottage, then on to Beast’s Library. I’ll tell the story with photos and video.The area isn’t quite photo ready because the water and some more plants are yet to be added, but it is already looking quite amazing near the entrance to the area.
Because most of the small group I was queued with was already inside the cottage, my time inside the first room was quite hurried, so I quickly shot a few photos of the entry area before moving on to the Magical Mirror stage.
From this scene we are ushered into Maurice’s workshop, which is rich with blueprints (bleuprints?) and gadgets that Maurice is currently designing. Some are on shelves, while others are hanging from the ceiling.
After entering the workshop, the Cast Member quickly gathers everyone and focuses their attention on the Magical Mirror.http://youtu.be/WtH1kUB-hAU
We step through the Magical Mirror and enter the Wardrobe room. I personally like the fact that Disney is entertaining us while we wait on the final scene. It is similar to the approach of the Haunted Mansion in that they are telling us the story in pieces, rather than walking a static queue line. The Wardrobe Room is quite simple in its decor. I believe that is to focus everyone’s attention on the Wardrobe and the Cast Member who is setting the stage.IMPORTANT! If you or your child want to be involved in the story AND get a quick photo with Belle, be sure to VOLUNTEER. My brother was on of the guards on our second viewing and it added to the fun.
After Lumiere requests our presence, we are ushered into the grand Library . The room is well done and has some nice benches to watch the show portion. Lumiere is definitely the greatest feature of this segment. I found myself watching his seamless movements while enjoying the show. I like how the Cast Members interact with the guests when telling the story and Belle does a beautiful job as always.
The guests are then used to tell the story. With each person presented at the appropriate time in the story. It’s similar to the old Storytime with Belle, but is presented in a better fashion and AIR CONDITIONING!
I really enjoyed the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience and I saw the glow in the eyes of small children that I look for in a great attraction. I’m sure that my daughters would like to soak it all it by viewing several times when it reopens to guests in late October. Even though Disney magic is used to reduce the line waits, it will be very popular and probably have much longer waits than the new Little Mermaid attraction that will be an omnimover and have a higher guest capacity per day.I’ve heard that Enchanted Tales with Belle will operate from open to close (or near close) once it reopens, so arrive early to avoid a longer wait.NOTE: Don’t expect this to be a “Meet and greet” with a character. There are no autographs and I noticed that only those who participated in the show are given a quick photo op. However, as attractions move from Imagineering to Operations, expect that additional changes could happen, including eliminating the quick photos in leiu of higher guest capacity. (My observation)
The Disney Parks blog released one new concept art image of Ariel’s new meet and greet in New Fantasyland today. It is reminiscent of the old Grotto meet that used to be located near Pinocchio’s Village Haus.
Ariel will return to fin form as I’ve mentioned previously a number of times here on the blog. The meet will take place on the seaside cliffs of Prince Eric’s Castle.
The blog states that the character greeting will begin with the public previews on November 19th, but one might expect soft openings before this public preview.
I have heard from a reliable source that Belle will no longer sign autographs in her new Enchanted Forest location in New Fantasyland. This area is to be considered an “experience” rather than a mere meet and greet. Guests will get to take part in her Story Time and then have a few moments to meet her. Guests will be allowed the bonus of taking photographs with Belle, just no autographs. It remains unclear if this is going to be seen as a test for future meets. While not taking sides on the autograph vs no autograph, I can tell you from experience that lines at Disneyland moved much faster because fewer guests collected autographs.
There’s great news for character hunters! Gaston from the hit movie Beauty and the Beast will begin offering meet and greets once the new Enchanted Forest section of New Fantasyland opens. Previously, Gaston was only to meet available during last year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or pop up surprise meets in Epcot.
The Disney Parks Blog just announced a confirmation of the rumors that I’ve been listing for a while that Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Minnie will relocate into Pete’s Silly Sideshow and even included some great artwork! The new costumes and meet areas look to be amazing!The all new character meet area will offer two separate lines that guests can enter. One line will lead you to Minnie Magnifique and Daisy the Fortuneteller, while the other line will offer meets with The Great Goofini and The Astounding Donaldo (was previously going to be called Amazing. You can still see the word Amazing in his artwork).Mickey Mouse will continue to offer meet and greets in the Town Square Theater.The obvious question would be: Where is Pete? It is his sideshow after all.Rumors point to mid to late October soft openings with actual public opening in November.