Review and Photo Tour of Disneyland’s New Fantasy Faire

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At some point in the late 1990s Disney started to aggressively market its stable of princess characters. Before that, princess products were pretty much limited to whatever new animated princess movie the company was promoting for that year. When the Disney Princess line became one of the most profitable brands in the company, their presence in the theme parks also began to grow. In 2006 the princesses were given a dedicated spot in Disneyland called “Princess Fantasy Faire.” It quickly became one of the most popular attractions in the park, commanding wait times of over 90 minutes or more on busy days.

Unfortunately, Princess Fantasy Faire was installed inside the Fantasyland Theater. This brought the end to live stage shows, which had been a part of the park since the Fantasyland Theater opened in 1987. During the 2011 D23 Expo Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,  announced that the princesses would receive a new permanent home in 2013. The new Fantasy Faire replaced the Carnation Plaza Gardens area near Disneyland’s hub, so if you’re familiar with that area, you know how small it is. But Disney still managed to pack it full of details. Now I’ll walk you through the four major focal points of the new Fantasy Faire.

 

The Courtyard

This is the center of Fantasy Faire. It is where you will find entrances to the Royal Hall and Royal Theatre, as well as access to Fantasyland, Disneyland’s hub, and Frontierland. This is area is beautiful and packed with details.

The stone Rapunzel tower is in the center of Fantasy Faire.

The skyline of Fantasy Faire. Notice the wall from Sleeping Beauty Castle on the right.

The building on the left houses the entrance to Frontierland. Also notice Figaro the cat from Pinocchio sitting near the window.

A closer look at Figaro. Most of the time he is sleeping, but every once in a while the chirping bird in the cage will wake him up.

Another great detail, Cloplin’s Music Box. It features characters from the Disney movie Hunchback of Notre Dame. When the crank is turned, the display is animated, and the song “Topsy Turvy” plays.

 

Royal Theatre 

 The Royal Theatre features a small stage show with abridged reenactments of either Tangled or Beauty and the Beast. The stories of the two films are played out on stage by Rapunzel or Belle and their prince counterparts, along with two other performers that provide the singing. There are benches for seating in the back, and floor seating in the front, where parents are encouraged to sit with their kids.

Tangled was the performance during my preview day. Here you can see Rapunzel being introduced.

Key moments from the movie are acted out on stage. Here you can see Flynn Rider be knocked out with a frying pan after he enters Rapunzel’s tower. Overall, the Royal Theatre show was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. The performers are talented, and the show keeps a brisk pace. Some parts got a lot of laughs from the adults as well as children, and everyone in attendance seemed entertained. The seating area is relatively small; I recommend getting there at least 20 minutes early to guarantee a spot.

This theater is in the same location as the old Carnation Plaza stage, where legendary performers like Louis Armstrong and Buddy Rich once performed. Thankfully, the original dance floor was saved during construction (seen above).

Royal Hall

The Royal Hall is the new place to meet and greet Disney Princesses. It replaces the current Princess Royal Walk over by “it’s a small world.”

Guests will be able to meet three princess after waiting in the lengthy queue.

The inside of the meet in greet is very nice, although it is a bit small once you get inside.

Ariel inside of the Royal Hall.

Cinderella inside the Royal Hall.

Fairy Tale Treasures is the very small shop located inside Fantasy Faire.

The shop is nice, a definite improvement over the merchandise carts over at the old Princess Fantasy Faire.

More details inside Fairy Tale Treasures.

The usual assortment of princess merchandise is for sale inside Fairy Tale Treasures.

An army of Pascals inside Fairy Tale Treasures

Maurice’s Treats

Maurice’s Treats is the food cart located inside Fantasy Faire.

The cart offers some new Disney treats! I tried the Strawberry Twist, Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist, and Boysen Apple Freeze drink. The Strawberry Twist was good, but a tad overpriced in my opinion. The Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist was awful: hard as a rock and absolutely flavorless. Some have suggested that it was just dried out from sitting under a heat lamp, but at $4.19 I’m not going to take the chance again. The Boysen Apple Freeze continues the trend over extremely sweet frozen drinks Disney started with Red’s Apple Freeze from Cars Land last summer. As usual, it as foam on the top.

The Strawberry Twist which was good but not great. There are better pastries available a short walk across the hub to Jolly Holiday Bakery.

Final Thoughts

A lot of hard core Disneyland fans were against the idea of the Carnation Plaza Gardens being removed. I do miss that quiet area of the park, but at least it was replaced with a beautifully themed mini-land. While Fantasy Faire does not appeal to me personally, it’s impossible to deny the popularity of meet and greets. Disney took an area that was used during a very low number of hours of the week and turned it in to another attraction that will draw plenty of guests, albeit one that doesn’t cater to very many demographics. Another plus is that the Fantasyland Theater is now free to host stage shows again, which it will starting this summer. The new Fantasy Faire officially opens March 12.

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Posted on March 7, 2013

4 Responses to “Review and Photo Tour of Disneyland’s New Fantasy Faire”

  • I saw the show TAngled, and the actors were fantastic especially the red head who played Mr. smythe, Justin Duval.

  • I have to say my kids will both enjoy this new section. The live stage shows look to be the best part. I wish this had also been part of the Florida Magic Kingdom expansion since it’s a little closer to home. Thankfully we will be out to DLR this summer!

  • What time does this area open? Does this open for the AP EMH? Should this be the top priority at rope drop?

    • by Guy Selga Jr. on April 3, 2013, at 10:10 pm EST

      It opens with the rest of the park. The Royal Hall, the princess meet and greet in Fantasy Faire, is popular and can reach waits of 45 minutes to an hour but usually not much more. If meet and greets are a priority you should head here early in the day.