Thursday, August 15, 2013

Enchanted Tales with Belle: Review

Today we're going to step inside a rather enchanted part of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom...


Namely, the ENCHANTED TALES WITH BELLE attraction/show!

There were SO many charming details in the cottage and in the castle that I was super excited to see, like the storybook (complete with sheep-bitten corner) above!  But it was only on our fourth or fifth sojourn into New Fantasyland that we got to do it.  You see, every time we walked by Enchanted Tales with Belle, it looked like this:


This seems to be a really popular attraction - the line can get quite long!  It's right at the entrance to New Fantasyland too, so I think people sometimes just head straight for it...

 

Maurice's cottage is constantly thronged with eager visitors!  Also, is it just me or did that well used to be outside the Haunted Mansion??  ANYway, one evening we decided that 30 minutes would be worth it to check out the new attraction, so we hopped in line.


Almost all Disney lines involve some level of misery, and sadly this line seemed to contain more than most.  It's an outdoor queue - and the only relief you have from the elements is under that awning...


...but the awning slants down really low, making the space cramped and hot and stuffy.  I really don't understand why the imagineers couldn't have made the ceiling just a little higher - then it would've been so much more pleasant.


Also: this bench.  Can't you just imagine an evil imagineer deviously deciding: "Yeah, let's have buckets nailed down onto the bench so that weary parents and children who have been standing for 45 minutes already will be able to look longingly at it but NOT sit on it.  BWAHAHAHAAAA!!"

Sometimes I'm sure there are imagineers that think like that.  Why else would they taunt you with a bench you can't use??

Seriously.

Although, I do like that the buckets are from the movie (remember when Belle kicks them when she's feeding the chickens?).  But then they were basically the only themed detail in the line.  There seemed to be a whole bunch of random farm tools strewn about, but they were just boring...


If there is no hidden lumiere or hidden rose or hidden mickey on that wheelbarrow, I am just not interested in it.  C'mon.

OK.  Sorry about all the complaining!  Don't worry, it's about to get much better.  We're about to enter Maurice's cottage!!


Just looking in from the outside it looks so cozy!


Let's step inside Belle's house!!

 

All the paintings in the room were really pretty - but of course Belle and her Mom were best!  I love their dresses!

 

This is Belle's house, so of course there are BOOKS EVERYWHERE!!!  Do you see that huge stack in the photo on the right?  There was also ONE chair that you could actually SIT in (I'm still getting over the bench covered in buckets thing...can you tell?).


Here is Belle's favorite book, Sleeping Beauty (I once asked her, so I know.  Also, did you know that she HAS read Pride and Prejudice??  And she thinks the Beast is like Mr. Darcy.  AWESOME).  And here is the book from the movie...


I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they included Belle's favorite book from the village bookshop ("But you've read it twice!").  I only wish I could've paged through it!

  

Some more tableaux from around the room...it was a pretty small space, so it was difficult to photograph!


Another fun detail...Belle's height chart!  Apparently I'm as tall as Belle was when she was sixteen.  I guess I'm more Snow-White height.  lol.


Here's a checker table...though I'm pretty sure there are no checkers in the movie.  The details they did include - the book, the painting, the height chart - were lovely...but with the rest of the room I was left feeling that they just filled it up with a bunch of random items and stuck a bunch of hearts everywhere.  It wasn't quite up to the usual Disney par of attention to detail.


Like these knick knacks...they're nice, but there's no Disney pixie dust.  I was just re-watching the scene where Gaston proposes (when you see the interior of the cottage), and these details don't even match up with the animated scene.  I wish they had put in some more of Maurice's innovations in the room...like the cool spyglass he has for the front door!


And the fact that it was so cramped didn't help.  I wish they had made the cottage interior bigger - then guests would have had longer inside the air conditioning and longer to enjoy it!

SO.  Once you're through the cottage, you are ushered in Maurice's workshop, where the magic really begins...



The mirror was really cool.  If you haven't seen it yet and don't want to know what happens, skip this next bit.  But probably you can guess...there's no other door in the room (like the Haunted Mansion...but not!), so the mirror shimmers and transforms to become a door!

 

AWESOME.


You enter an elegant palace hall to find the Armoire waiting to greet you!


She is pretty fancy the way she blinks and talks...and eventually opens up to distribute the props and costumes!


There are  parts for the "main" characters from the movie - the Beast, Chip, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, etc - then there are two "knights" (adults), but then anybody else who wants a part can get one as an enchanted silverware or a cup or plate etc.

 

There were a few little decorative details...a gilded mirror, some tapestries...around the hall, but once again, they were nothing that special.  I know - I don't mean to kvetch and cavil - and I don't know exactly what I was expecting - but somehow the theming here left me a little flat.

I guess it's just that usually Disney uses every little scrap of space - every painting, every mirror, every wallpaper, carpet, and corner - as an opportunity to add some extra magic.  And I just didn't feel that here.  It seemed as though they put a lot of effort into a few big things - the magic mirror/door, the painting of Belle and her Mom - but then left the small things wanting.


The library, when you enter, is nice enough...but of course nothing can really compare to the DREAM library in that movie!  The premise is that Belle is about to go into dinner with the Beast, but she comes first to visit her friends and tell a quick story...


Audioanimatronic Lumiere was the master of ceremonies from his spot over the mantelpiece, and he was amazing!  his movements and expressions were so lifelike...for a candlestick that is!


Lumiere chatting with Belle!  We had a great Belle - she had the voice and movements just right!  It is the "new" Belle - with the new costume and hair, but I like it.  I love her hair pin too.


Very blurry...but here's a pic of the pretty dress!

Belle acts out the story of how she came to the castle and how she and the Beast became friends - in much the same manner as the old show.  One big difference is that they now often choose a little girl to play the part of the Beast.  At first I was puzzled and wondered why they didn't pick a a little boy...but then I realized.  Who is going to be the most excited about getting to dance with Belle?  A little girl of course!

An important note if you want to be able to meet Belle afterwards: make sure you ask for a "part" in the production!  After the show, only the kids who had been in the show were "announced" one by one to go up and say hello to Belle and pose for a picture.  I would've liked to get a pic, but since none of the other adults in the room got up to join the line, I felt kinda awkward and didn't.  All the other families are still sitting there on the benches, watching each meet-n-greet.


My little brother Dart was Chip, so he went up (somewhat unwillingly) to say hi to Belle afterward.  Belle commented that his red shirt reminded her of Gaston, and she asked if he could show his muscles like Gaston.  Dart looked over his shoulder at Mom and me with this "Do I have to?" look on his face, and we were both like, "DO IT."  So he did, and it was adorable

I'm really glad we got to do this while Dart was still little enough to take part.  I would think it would definitely be more fun when you have a kid along...although watching the other kids is sweet too!

Belle was great, but her cast member assistants who were directing the guests and also acting little parts were kinda cheesy, just going through the motions and pretending to be excited about it.  I think partly it was the time of day.  We went quite late, and all the cast members working this show just looked tired.  The photopass guy looked like he was bored to death and could not care less about anything going on.  So going early would, I think, get you a better experience!

PHEW.  Well that was probably more than you ever wanted to know about Enchanted Tales with Belle!  There were things I really liked about it...and things I wasn't so crazy about it!

So. Have YOU been to this show yet?? What are your thoughts on the theming and details and everything else?  Let us know in the comments! :)


4 comments:

  1. I skipped this in February due to lack of interest, but the Disney completist in me knows I'll need to try it. I think I'm going to go for it in December, because I'm bringing my mom (for her first time since 1998!) and she informs me to my surprise that she LOVES characters. So maybe we'll be the enterprising weirdo adults who hop into the meet 'n greet line!

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    1. Not weird - more like awesome! Another time I would just join the line...I was expecting them to invite anyone up to meet Belle after all the little kids had been announced, but once the performers had all said hello, Belle said goodbye and was gone! :(

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  2. We did this last January and could not have enjoyed it more. My youngest daughter did, in fact, get to play the Beast, while my older daughter was the feather duster. They both had a fantastic time but you're right, the one who danced with Belle was in heaven.

    I think Disney hit the ball out of the park with this one.

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  3. Have you seen this? You got a mention on an MTV Movie News post: http://www.mtv.com/news/2738469/beauty-and-the-beast-aladdin-sleeping-beauty-fan-theory-reddit/

    I love reading your blogs by the way!

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