If you ever wondered why Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were the only Disney Princesses to have fancy castles at Disney theme parks, you’re not alone. Finally, the Walt Disney Company are attempting to play catch-up with the ladies and have granted both Ariel and Belle their own special houses.
The Magic Kingdom in Florida is certainly known for Cinderella’s swank castle but thanks to the newly designed Fantasyland area (now double in size) of the park, Ariel and Belle are getting special attention. Once Upon a Time star Ginnifer Goodwin, singer Jordin Sparks, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Thomas Staggs (with an assist by Mickey!) opened the area in a dedication ceremony earlier this month. To be fair, Ariel’s place is more a grotto than a castle, that’s fitting of course, and Belle’s castle is actually the Beast’s castle but considering they’re sharing the abode, I’m just calling it hers.
Mousplanner.com has the details:
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major attraction where guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. The new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. Adventurers will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along. The fun continues at “Ariel’s Grotto,” a meet-and-greet with the mermaid heroine herself.
The castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. With seating for 550, this magnificent facility will offer “great food fast” service 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.
Just outside the village is Belle’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure begins in Maurice’s workshop, where a magical mirror is the doorway to a captivating new kind of storytelling experience: guests will be transported to the Beast’s library to meet Belle and Lumiere, and share in a lively, interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
For those worried their favorite princesses aren’t getting the same attention, there’s the Princess Fairytale Hall to tide them over. “The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows, opening up into a large gallery – an airy space with a high ceiling, where portraits of the Disney princesses adorn the walls. When it’s time for their audience with a princess, guests will proceed to elegantly finished rooms to meet Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel.”