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In Largest-Ever Expansion, Disney World Opens New Fantasyland

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Disney World Castle

(AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

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LAKE BUENA VISTA (CBSMiami) – Disney fans have something to celebrate. The grand opening of the new and improved Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom will take place Thursday.

The new attractions include the “Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid” attraction, the Be Our Guest Restaurant, the Enchanted Tales with Belle site, Ariel’s Grotto princess meet-and-greet location, Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.

Earlier this year, parts of the theme area were renovated and open to the public, with Mickey’s Toontown Fair recast as the new Storybook Circus attraction.

dumbo disneyworld fantasyland In Largest Ever Expansion, Disney World Opens New Fantasyland

Guests take a spin on “Dumbo, the Flying Elephant” at Magic Kingdom Park. (Source: David Roark, Photographer- Walt Disney World)

It features two colorful Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides spinning through the sky above Storybook Circus allowing for less of a wait time, according to Disney.

The playful pachyderm is joined in Storybook Circus by a revamped rollercoaster (formerly called The Barnstormer but now rethemed as “The Great Goofini” coaster), and a kids splash-pad area.

Previews of the attractions will begin November 19th.

As for the new attractions, the “Under the Sea” attraction is a dark ride based on the film “The Little Mermaid.” Riders will feel like they are descending below the ocean’s surface and once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid.” The fun continues at “Ariel’s Grotto,” a meet-and-greet with the mermaid heroine herself.

The Be Our Guest Restaurant is themed to the Disney film “Beauty and the Beast” and features a lavish dining experience in an elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. It offers fast food by day and full table service dining in the evening. Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing “Gaston’s Tavern” and “Bonjour! Village Gifts.

“Enchanted Tales with Belle” is a Disney character interaction site where guests are transported by a magical mirror to the Beast’s library for a lively, interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”

The new Fantasyland expansion will continue with the opening of Princess Fairytale Hall next year and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in 2014.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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