By Charly SHELTON
Cars Land opened last summer. The summer before that was Star Tours. It has been a boys’ paradise. But it’s about time that girls got something new at Disneyland. So this summer, the princess Fantasy Faire opened along with a new stage show in the Fantasyland Theatre, “Mickey and the Magical Map.”
With the success of Cars Land last year, Disneyland decision-makers might now realize that kids are really the ones who make the call of which theme park to go to. After all, attracting an adult to Disneyland is more challenging. By appealing to little boys with Cars, the number one grossing young boys franchise for the company, and girls with princesses, the classic Disney market, the amount of people – and revenue – coming into the park is maximized. By extension, more can be done to the parks to improve them. As Disney said, “Disneyland will never be finished.” In fact, he even went through the park with his Imagineers the first week after opening and began “plussing” the park to see what people liked and figuring how to make it a better experience for them.
Though the reasoning behind these new attractions may be to maximize profit, that doesn’t mean they’re bad attractions. The beauty of the Disney company is that it can make an attraction, a show, a restaurant or whatever that will bring a high profit margin, but is also the best possible attraction, show, restaurant or whatever. For example, The Enchanted Tiki Room began as a lunch area for a nearby restaurant. The idea was that if guests stayed in the area long enough, they would return to the snack stand again. The birds got so popular in their own right that people came in for the show whether or not they were eating. Seeing this, the Imagineering Dept. decided to forsake the lunch room option and give the birds their own show, which is now known as The Enchanted Tiki Room.
Putting business aside, the new princess Fantasy Faire and theater show “Mickey and the Magical Map,” is actually pretty good. The Fantasy Faire used to be in the back of the Fantasyland Theater, but nothing would really happen in the Fantasyland Theater. There was no show, just a princess processional (walking in and out for the most part). So the princesses stood around in front of mediocre set dressings, all in one room together. And yet there were still really long lines, sometimes with a wait time of over an hour.
The new princess Fantasy Faire is really well done. It was all constructed to be like a small town, with princess-y stuff all around. It is a crafted set instead of just someone standing in front of the façade. The main princess greeting area, the Royal Hall, is a walk through attraction with specific rooms for each princess. The background in front where guests actually take pictures with each princess is fitted with hidden LED lights that change color to set the mood for the princess currently being seen. Ariel is green, Aurora is pink, Cinderella is blue. There are also Belle, Rapunzel, and other princesses who stop in on occasion. On a sign out in front of the Royal Hall is written which princesses are on duty to greet young princesses and princes.
Across the way is the princess Fantasy Faire theater. There, little princesses can sit at the edge of the stage, while parents fill the benches towards the back, and hear the details of Rapunzel and Belle and how they found their princes. They also tell an abbreviated version of their adventures. This is played out by a pair of old Shakespearean-style comedy actors, with an updated flair. It is almost reminiscent of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, famous in London for doing Shakespeare shows with all of the trimmings and trappings in minutes flat. This princess Fantasy Faire theater encompasses the same vibe, telling the story of Belle or Rapunzel in about 15 to 20 minutes.
This is a great area for little kids or teenagers who act like little kids. Parents and older siblings can hang out at Maurice’s Sweet Treats that features twist pastries and a signature drink, Boysen-Apple Freeze. It comes in a stein with Gaston and Beast for lords and a chalice with all the princesses for ladies.
Next week, check the Crescenta Valley Weekly for part two of this article. We will discover Mickey and his magical map, the new show in Fantasyland. And check cvweekly.com for more throughout the week.
For a full gallery of Mickey’s magical map and Fantasy Faire photos, visit true-believer.net.