Thursday, February 13, 2014

Enchanted Tales With Belle

By: Nick

In October of 2012, before the official unveiling of the New Fantasyland, Disney was having "dress rehearsals". We were very fortunate to be there the week they started opening many of the new attractions, and were among the first to see Enchanted Tales with Belle!

Portions of this article were originally posted on the Tips For the Disney Diva Blog, where I am a contributing writer.
While at the Magic Kingdom in line for Goofy's Barnstormer, I got a call from my friend Pam. She told me her and her family were asked to be among the first people to see the new "Enchanted Tales With Belle" in the as yet unopened section of Fantasyland. As we were just boarding the Barnstormer, we were stuck. But the moment we were off, we headed over towards the new castle wall.

Several Cast Members were out front asking guests if they'd like to see Enchanted Tales with Belle!
We couldn't get the word "YES!" out fast enough.
And we went behind the construction walls!

We were immediately struck by how beautiful the landscaping was.

Then, we got a good look at Maurice's cottage.

 Beast's Castle in the distance.

We entered into the very humble living quarters.

A portrait of Belle and her Mother. Now we know where she got her love of reading!

Then we entered Maurice's workshop.

SPOILERS! This is where the magic really begins!
A Cast Member points out a gift to Maurice, an Enchanted Mirror. 

At this point, the mirror comes alive. And a door appears! A portal to Beast's Castle. Now. I wasn't up front, and couldn't see how this was done, but I talked to a Cast Member afterwards, and she said she'd seen it dozens of times, and is amazed every time. This is a spectacular effect! My jaw was on the floor.

We then meet Wardrobe. Again, jaw on the floor. This is easily one of the most spectacular Audio-Animatronics ever! Sure, it's all facial, but...WOW! You'd swear this was a real, animated wardrobe.

Wardrobe explains that we would all be participating in the retelling of the story of how Belle met the Beast. The Cast Member opens Wardrobe, and chooses guests to act out characters, such as animated suits of armor, Beast, Maurice, Chip and Mrs. Potts, etc. She even asks if anyone that didn't get chosen would like to participate, and can see there are plenty of spoons and forks to be distributed to those who chose to be in the "cast".

We then enter the library, where another spectacular Audio-Animatronic is waiting, this time, it's Lumiere. The chandelier is also a miniature version of the one in the 'Beauty and the Beast" dance sequence from the film.

At this point, the Cast Members in attendance bring in Belle herself, to participate in the retelling of the budding romance of Beauty and the Beast.

The cast of guests help retell the tale as old as time, with help from the Cast Members. Seeing the young children in utter rapt attention, and the joy...I won't lie, my wife and I were welling up at several points. Here is Belle with her Beast.

At the end, each member of the cast received a special bookmark to commemorate the event, which I confess, made me question my decision to just be an observer!

Also, as each member of the cast was given the bookmark, a Photopass Cast Member took their photo. At the end, everyone was given a Photopass card, which in itself is a lovely souvenir.

On our next trip, I didn't need to volunteer to be in the show, I was chosen to be a Suit of Armor!

SO. What did we think. Well, in case you couldn't tell, we LOVED it! This is what Disney is all about. Wonderful stories being told in an engaging, and now, interactive, ways.


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