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Walt Disney World doubles size of Magic Kingdom

Courtesy Walt Disney World

ORLANDO – From giant clamshells to whispering suits of armor, Walt Disney’s new Fantasyland has created an experience that allows guests to immerse themselves in the worlds of “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Dumbo.” Opened on Dec. 6, the expansion nearly doubled Walk Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, making it the largest expansion in the park’s 41-year history.

At the Be Our Guest restaurant, lunch comes to guests in glass-enclosed carts to mimic the dining scene from “Beauty and the Beast.” The building imitates the movie down to the chandeliers, draperies and whispering suits of armor. In the evening, the restaurant converts into a fine dining experience with upscale menu options, including French wine and beer. The restaurant is the first place to serve alcohol in the Magic Kingdom.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in other parts of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Beast’s Castle and Enchanted Tales with Belle, which goes beyond a typical meet and greet as guests are asked to help act out the song “Tale as Old as Time.”

Park attendees can also meet and take pictures with the famous redheaded mermaid at the nearby Ariel’s Grotto. “The Little Mermaid” theme continues with Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, where visitors sit inside giant clamshells while animation and animatronics retell Ariel’s story.

For Dumbo lovers, the Storybook Circus section of the park includes a water play area, tame roller coaster and gift shop. Fantasyland will open additional attractions in the next couple of years, including Princess Fairytale Hall in 2013 and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.

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