24 May 2008

Paths to Adventure – Fantasyland

Slipping under the Columbia Harbour House breezeway, you are met instantly with a bustling alpine village, full of dreams and adventures. If, as it has been said, the Magic Kingdom is where Fantasy reigns, then Fantasyland is its throne. In the crowds are smiling faces, just like your own, are adventure seekers wishing to take to the skies and waterways, to ride upon horseback, and to meet some of their beloved idols. But, be warned, though heroes and heroines aplenty can be found in this village, so too can the mad villains and villainesses.

As you reach the top of the hill, music fills the air and calls you inside of a tournament tent pronouncing “it’s a small world.” The voices of children, some in languages you have never heard before, are too tempting to refuse. As you make your way down the ramp to board your boat, you are fascinated by the large playful clock that trumpets out the time. Once inside your ship, you begin to cruise the waterways of the world. The vibrant colors, clothing, and languages of Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Pacific Islands, and Asia wash over you, and you can’t help but share a smile of friendship with these children. As you make your way through the grand gathering and goodbyes, you know that their words will stick with you always. Then, you are back up the ramp and in the streets of Fantasyland once more.

Across the way, a dream is inviting you in, Peter Pan’s Flight. Before you know it, you have boarded another ship, this time a pirate ship, and it is taking to the skies over London, on its way to Never Land. Along the way you encounter the Mermaid Lagoon, the Indian Encampment, the Lost Boys, the crocodile Tic Tok, and Captain Hook and his band of scallywags. As you swoop down and around the Jolly Roger, you find Peter Pan crossing blades with Captain Hook. As Peter emerges victoriously, he ferries you back out of your dream.

Now you have reached the courtyard of Cinderella Castle, where adventures wait in every nook and cranny. Having been some time since your last meal, you are beginning to feel faint, and though a dashing Prince or lovely Princess may swoop in to catch you, perhaps a meal to fill your belly is the best option. For the fleet of foot, and those on quests quickly running out of time, the courtyard offers fried potatoes at the Village Fry Shoppe, frozen beverages at Scuttle’s Landing, and ice cream from Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard. For more a more substantial meal, peasants stop in at the modest Pinocchio Village Haus, where pleasant pizzas tempt the palate alongside salads and sandwiches. If the playful kitten Figaro happens to find his way in the kitchen you may want to try his take on fries, which come complete with fixins’ like bacon, tomato, cheese, and lettuce.

If royalty is in your blood, and you except nothing more than the royal treatment when dining, you may find yourself dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Cinderella’s staff have designed course after course of fare fit for a princess or prince. From salads and soups, to grilled meats and saucy pastas, complete with sorbets, ice creams, and cakes. As if the food weren’t enough, Cinderella and some of her royal friends will be present to share your meal with you. Across the courtyard from Cinderella Castle another princess, Ariel, can be found in Ariel’s Grotto, and just like the princesses of Cinderella’s Royal Table, she is perfectly willing to share a few moments with you on your adventure through Fantasyland.

To assist you on your way, Dumbo has gracefully offered his ears to soar you around Fantasyland. Make sure to put him through his paces, as the ease with which he dives, glides, and climbs not only keeps him in tip-top shape, but also adds piloting to your skills as a Young Adventurer. Also available as a means of transportation, Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel is full of magnificent steeds. With ornate bridles, saddles, and reigns these stylish stallions are the trusted allies of adventurers the world over. Just a stone’s throw away from the Carrousel corral is the famous Sword in the Stone. Should you happen by as the wizard Merlin is attempting to find the Leader of the Realm remember to be brave, strong, and true to yourself and perhaps the sword will hold your destiny.

The PhilharMagic Concert Hall, home to Mickey’s PhilharMagic, is holding a concert today. As preparations are being made within the concert hall, be sure to take note of past performers and the Music on Parade mural, donated by the Founding Member, Minnie Mouse. Once you have taken your seat, Donald, who has been napping, hurriedly begins to set up the orchestra. While attempting to use the magic of Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat, he loses the hat and must chase it through classic films such as The Lion King, Fantasia, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, and the Little Mermaid. Eventually, Mickey Mouse arrives to regain control of his hat and restore order to the concert hall. Though the concert may not have gone off without a hitch, the symphony produces a masterful show.

Having been lulled into a false sense of safety by our fearless leader Mickey Mouse, it is safe to say Snow White’s Scary Adventures may catch you off-guard. You board a mine car named for the one of each of the Seven Dwarfs (Happy, Doc, Sneezy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey, and Bashful), you are immediately met with the evil Queen, her Hag disguise, and her wicked plan. You must make your way, along with Snow White, through dark and dangerous forests, where eyes are everywhere. Though the Seven Dwarfs make every effort to safeguard their friend, the Queen/Hag has other ideas, and Snow White falls victim to the poison apple. After defeating the Queen/Hag during a dark and stormy night, you and the Seven Dwarfs return to the fallen princess to find her in the arms of her one true love, the Prince.

Just around the bend and down from Mrs. Potts Cupboard, a stuffed bear has taken up residence on both sides of the thoroughfare. To the left, is Pooh’s Playful Spot, a delightful area to explore. Pooh’s Playful Spot is full of climbing, sliding, and crawling spaces, perfect for building muscle and releasing excess energy. On your right sits The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, an adventure taken in a Hunny Pot. Your Hunny Pot moves you through Pooh’s Blustery Day, when the winds and rains introduce Pooh to Tigger and his bounce, Heffalumps and Woozles and their nasty tricks, and, as a reward, Pooh’s favorite treat, a smackeral of hunny.

Should Pooh’s taste for hunny put you in the mood for something sweet, frozen drinks and warm beverages can be found next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in the Enchanted Grove.

Perhaps best left for an empty stomach, the Mad Hatter has brought his whirling, swirling, twirling, twisting, turning, churning, and spinning Mad Tea Party to Fantasyland. His oversized tea kettle, complete with an oversized dormouse, rests in the center of the table as you board one of eighteen oversized tea cups placed around the rest of the table. While the spinning lasts for only a minute and a half, the effects of the Mad Tea party are sure to stay with you for a long while.

Though your dreams and fantasy that filled Fantasyland through this leg of your journey may be coming to an end, their memories will last with you much longer. You will remember the words of the world’s children, the grace with which elephants, bears, and horses travel, how a lowly servant can become a crowned princess, what treats set a fantasy table, even a spinning one, and how to fly. These are valuable memories to hold onto and share as we make our way towards Mickey’s town and the city of tomorrow.


DD said...

This was an EXCELLENT post!

Princess Fee said...

What a fun journey! I joined you for almost every step of the way - but I thought I would have a break at Snow White's Scary Adventure. Only because I needed a breather - nothing to do with the fact I am terrified of the Old Hag, I assure you!