We've all seen the amazing photos of the new Enchanted Forest section of Fantasyland. The landscapes are stunning and the structures are beautiful. But there hasn't really been a close look at the many faces of New Fantasyland yet. I don't mean the character faces, though the faces of Gaston, Belle, Beast, and Ariel are very nice. No, I'm talking about the faces created by the Imagineers.
Since we've taken a look at Ariel in her Grotto, let's look at the eastern end of the Enchanted Forest and look at Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. While there are a number of Ariel animatronics inside the attraction, ler's leave them for a future article on the attraction itself and instead take a look at Ariel's image outside the attraction.
On a ship that seemingly washed ashore long ago, the figurehead is none other than our favorite redhead herself.
Imagineers have done a wonderful job of capturing her look and her spirit.
Heading westward, we enter Belle's village, where Gaston has presented the town with a token of his esteem—a statue of himself. Of course, as usual, Gaston is showing off at the expense of his companion LeFou.
The sculpting here, while more cartoonish to match the characters, still captures a tremendous amount of the characters' personalities.
Skipping past Be Our Guest Restaurant for the moment, we see Maurice's cottage at the western end of the Enchanted Forest. The cottage is home to the Enchanted Tales with Belle enhanced meet-and-greet experience. After touring Maurice's cottage itself, guests pass through an enchanted mirror to emerge in Beast's Castle to interact with living objects that were formerly the Beast's servants. The first character from the movie that guests meet is Madame Wardrobe.
After their encounter with Madame Wardrobe, guests enter the library where they prepare for Belle's arrival. There they meet by far the most impressive Animatronic character in the Enchanted Forest, Lumiere.
While audience participation and meeting Belle are the headline facets of the experience, fans of Imagineering will perhaps walk away most impressed by this animated figure.
Turning around to head to Beast's Castle and Be Our Guest Restaurant for the big finish. To get to the restaurant's entrance, you first cross a bridge that features six identical gargoyles supporting lampposts, three on either side. The gargoyle sculpture was reportedly nicknamed "Frank." Frank happens to be my favorite face in the Enchanted Forest.
There is so much detail and depth of emotion from the sculpture that it's the face that I keep going back to when I think of the faces of the Enchanted Forest. And yet, Frank merely helps to light your way as you proceed to the castle. There's still plenty more to see.
As you approach the main entrance doors, you see that they are guarded by two pairs of figures. On each side of the doors sits a lion with the horns of a goat, called "golions" by the design team. Above each of these creatures sits a "sneagle," an eagle with a serpent's body. Each of them appears to be staring at you as you enter the castle restaurant.
Once you step into the entryway, there are yet more faces to enjoy. Two minotaurs hold up an arch that is topped by a human face with ram horns. The minotaurs were reportedly nicknamed Bruce and Craig by Imagineers. It's entirely possible that the nicknames were originally derived from an alphabetical categorization of the figures (A could be the face atop the arch, B & C hold up the arch, D & E could be the lion and eagle creatures, and F is the bridge gargoyle). Of course, it's also interesting that Imagineering's Chief Creative Executive is Bruce Vaughn, and the Chief Design and Project Delivery Executive is Craig Russell. Hmm…
Each of the dining rooms also have their own interesting faces.
On the ceiling of the ballroom, the iconic location from the movie and the room that so many want to eat in, has a series of images of cherubs whose faces are those of Imagineers and their children. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
There are other painted and sculpted faces in New Fantasyland, but this is a good sampling of the best of them. Let us know what you think below!
(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)
Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.