Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Fantasyland Update: Beauty and the Beast's Areas

I recently revisited the 1991 Disney Animated Classic, Beauty and the Beast, by adding the 3D Blu-ray set to my film library.  I'll be doing a detailed review at a later time.  But I can tell you this, it looks absolutely beautiful.  The entire time I was watching the movie I kept thinking about the Fantasyland expansion happening over at the Magic Kingdom.  Specifically whenever the Beast's castle would appear on screen, since that was the most prominent object I could see over the construction walls when I last visited Disney World back in February.  The likeness is uncanny to it's animated source material.

With the construction progressing day-by-day, soon all of us will be able to take a trip through the world of Beauty and the Beast in the Enchanted Tales with Belle storybook adventure, when that section of Fantasyland opens up in the Magic Kingdom (they're shooting for a Dec. 2012 opening).

Walt Disney Imagineering is currently building Maurice’s workshop, which will serve as the first scene of the experience.  The workshop, which is modeled after a French cottage, will be surrounded by a wishing well, footbridges and lush landscaping.  Once inside, guests will step through a magic mirror and find themselves inside Beast’s expansive library, which he created as a gift for Belle in the film.  This room will serve as the setting for a memorable character interaction experience with Belle – which of course will require a little help from Lumiere, the enchanted candlestick.

I'm particularly excited to finally be able to have a meal in the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which will seat up to 550 guests to dine in the ballroom, gallery and West Wing area of Beast’s castle.  They are also expecting this to open by the end of the year.

Disney has been leaking exclusive behind the construction wall peaks at the creation of the New Fantasyland.  I've included some of the Beast's Castle at Magic Kingdom.  Which, if I do say so myself, it's looking pretty impressive.

This shot was taken from the queue at Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  The Imagineers have become masters of utilizing sight lines to tell their stories throughout the Parks.  We all know that feeling we get when we turn on to Main St. USA and Cinderella's Castle is revealed to us... breathtaking.  Well they meant for us to have that reaction, at that specific moment in the park.  The same goes for the additions in Fantasyland.  But I must say, I was actually surprised when I first saw the next few photos of Beast's Castle.  Specifically the sized (or lack there of) of the castle.  As you can see, the Imagineers have actually uses forced perspective architecture to make the structure look more grandiose in size than it appears in reality.  I was legitimately fooled... guilty.

Forced perspective works as sort of an optical illusion, tricking the eye into believing a structure is much larger or taller than it really is. This is done by manipulating the size and scale of a building, based on the perspective it will be viewed from.

The company’s use of forced perspective started all the way back with Walt Disney during the construction of Disneyland.  At that time, Walt paid special attention to the scale of each building, as well as the specific shrubs and trees that flanked them in order to create the best sense of height and drama.

As you can see in this comparison between the artist rendering and the current construction, the castle sits high atop what will be the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which is really the gateway to the castle’s interior.  Here, the restaurant will offer quick-service lunches and table-service dinners inside the Beast’s elegant ballroom, gallery and eerie west-wing. The construction to the far left will become Maurice’s Cottage.

It's Disney's thoughtful attention to every little detail that really brings all the Parks' experiences to life.

This bookshelf is the first glimpse of Belle’s dream library that’s a part of the new Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction.

The room, which will be surrounded by bookcases like this, will serve as the setting for a special meet-and-greet with Belle and her candlestick pal, Lumiere.

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