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Fantasy Faire, new Disneyland attraction, opens March 12

Published March 11, 2013 12:11 pm

Travel • Fantasy Faire actually is a mini-village, and it celebrates the era of best-loved fairy tales.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It took a village to capture Elizabethan England in Disneyland's newest attraction.

Fantasy Faire actually is a mini-village, and it celebrates the era of best-loved fairy tales. It opens to visitors on March 12.

The Fantasy Faire was built where the old Carnation Plaza Gardens and dance floor used to be, in an odd corner between the entrances to Frontierland and the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

It is a village of Tudor-style rooms where there are shows under a big tent and characters from Disney films strolling around a medieval courtyard. Visitors can hang out with the various princesses; there's even a handsome prince or two. Little girls of all ages will be delighted by it.

Fantasy Faire can be a break for adults from the clamor of the crowds and long lines for rides. It offers a place for families to sit in the shade and be entertained.

"It's all wonderful," said Princess Ariel, one of the Disney princess characters meeting guests at a recent preview. "There's so much to explore and so much to discover."

A sculpted tower bearing a likeness of Rapunzel peeking through its window holds center court at the entrance. On the left is the Royal Theatre, where short plays based on "Tangled" and "Beauty and the Beast" will be performed. As an extra treat, the leading roles in each production are played by the movie princesses, Rapunzel and Belle; even Flynn Rider has a part.

The works are presented in "renaissance vaudeville" style, which means they are fast-paced and filled with perky songs, kooky gags and jokes suitable or all ages. (It is Disneyland, after all.)

Village maidens add to the scene by handling creative props, such as a blue curtain to represent water. They use their hands and arms as an arch for performers to walk under.

The cast members all appear to be having a great time, which is infectious, as the crowd is encouraged to join in singing songs, cheering for heroes and booing villains. The shows are well-crafted and entertaining and, although they are geared to young children, adults at the preview laughed and clapped, too.

Maurice's Treats is a gypsy wagon parked just outside the Royal Theatre entrance. It offers snacks such as long pastry twists filled with chocolate, strawberry preserves and (our favorite) garlic and cheese. Top one off with a boysenapple freeze for a refreshing respite.

Three Disney princesses will take turns receiving visitors in the Royal Hall for photos and autographs; check the board outside to see who is in attendance. No food or drink is allowed in the Hall (you're meeting royalty, for goodness sake, so be on your best behavior).

Those waiting to meet a princess can admire the interior decoration. Princess Aurora said her fairies helped to hang the banners (They can fly, remember?)

The fairies made sure to include her favorite hues — pink and blue — in the hall's color palette. Prince Charming helped select the, well, charming chandeliers, Princess Aurora added.

There are small delights everywhere inside Fantasy Faire. A few cranks on the handle of Clopin's Music Box starts the music and animates a moving picture showing a scene from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Above, perched on a balcony, Figaro (the cat from "Pinocchio") wakes up from his nap and startles a caged bird nearby.

The background music is drawn from traditional Elizabeth tunes, but performed with modern instruments, resulting in a softer touch.

No new Disney attraction is complete without a gift shop. Fairytale Treasures has autograph books and Disney pens, stuffed animal characters from favorite films and everything a little girl needs to copy her favorite royal's fashion.