Though the restaurant is a formal dining room in the evening, it starts the day with fast-food service, and it does so with a flair never seen at WDW before. In the Beast's parlor, you're given a "rose" — actually a radio-frequency device stamped with a rose — and you order your food by swiping oversized touch-screen kiosks. Then take the rose to any empty table within the three rooms.
A few minutes later, a server delivers your order in an elegant glass-encased cart. No more schlepping trays of fast food from a serving window and searching for a table.
This truly is a groundbreaking dining experience. Be sure to examine the gorgeous stained-glass window on your way out of the castle.
No visit to Belle's world would be complete without seeing her village and stopping at Gaston's Tavern. Outside stands a gaudy statue of Gaston.
Inside, antlers are used liberally in his decorating, as well as a portrait over the fireplace that captures all of Gaston's arrogance. Grab a pint of LeFou's Brew (apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow), then actually meet Gaston, who will gleefully spread more than a little love for himself.
My advice? Watch "Beauty and the Beast" just before visiting. You'll be amazed at the massive amount of detail infused by the Imagineers.
"New Fantasyland was truly a team effort between all facets of Disney Imagineering," Beatty said. "But it's not just the Imagineers. It's all the teams in WDW — the costumes, the food, the merchandise — who came together to bring these great stories to life."
Towering at the edge of the Enchanted Forest are the spires of Prince Eric's Castle, home to New Fantasyland's premier attraction, Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid. This meticulous likeness beckons guests into an elaborately decorated queue, incorporating rock work, waterfalls, the grotto and Ariel's treasure trove. These elements start the story before you get inside.
Once you board your clamshell vehicle, this E-ticket attraction takes you on a magnificent five-minute retelling of Ariel's entire story, with all of the incredible music and songs performed by 183 colorful audio-animatronics characters, including a spectacular almost 8-foot-tall Ursula with her steaming caldron and crystal ball. Built on the former home of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, look for the hidden homages concealed throughout the impressive queue.
Then mosey on over to Ariel's Grotto to meet the costumed mermaid character herself.
Off on the eastern edge of the Enchanted Forest lies Storybook Circus, which opened earlier this year (see sidebar).
Get this; even more magic is coming. The Princess Fairytale Hall opens next year, creating a permanent home for meet-and-greets with all the princesses who don't have homes elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom.
Then, in 2014, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train debuts as a kid-friendly roller coaster that weaves its way through the Dwarves' diamond mine on an innovative ride system that allows each car to swing independently.
Keep your eyes peeled for both Snow White and the Evil Queen; they'll be there too.
After that, who knows what's next for New Fantasyland? That's the beauty of the beast. Walt Disney's Florida kingdom just keeps on expanding.
Single-day tickets are $89 for ages 10 and older, $83 for 3 to 9. Multiday tickets are better values.