The Many Faces of New Fantasyland

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

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.

While Ariel looks lovely, we're going to look at faces created by Imagineers today. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

Not only is Ariel the focus inside, she's literally the figurehead outside as well. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

On a ship that seemingly washed ashore long ago, the figurehead is none other than our favorite redhead herself.

While she's a bit weathered, Ariel looks wonderful hanging from the ship's bow. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

As always, LeFou is left to try to clean up after Gaston. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Gaston lookssmug as he gazes down at his villagers. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

LeFou looks on in terror of what may happen next. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

Madame Wardrobe is very talkative, and her face is nearly always in motion. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

Lumiere is the size of a standard oversized candelabra, yet the animators manage to give him a great deal of flexibility and expressiveness. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Despite the thin arms and narrow channels available for threading through controls and mechanisms, Imagineers have given Lumiere expressive motion and tremendous flexibility. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

Six sculptures of "Frank" support lampposts along the bridge to Be Our Guest Restaurant. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

From some angles, Frank looks shy and perhaps a little embarassed, as if he is not happy with the attention he draws. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

From another angle, Frank can seem thoughtful, even wistful. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

The main entrance to Be Our Guest Restaurant is guarded by two pairs of figures. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The "golions" appear to scrutinize your face: are you worthy of entering the foyer? Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The "sneagles" seem to stare you down, daring you to enter. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Together, the creatures make a formidable guardian for the entrance. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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…

"Bruce" and "Craig" hold up the archway just inside the entry doors for Be Our Guest. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The minotaurs' faces also show a tremendous depth of emotion. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

A human face with ram's horns stared down at you seemingly judging you as you wait to enter Be Our Guest. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Each of the dining rooms also have their own interesting faces.

A music box depicting Belle and the Beast was a present to the couple from Belle's father, Maurice. Plans for the giant music box are displayed in his cottage. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

In the West Wing, a slashed painting of the young prince sits above a fireplace. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Each time a petal falls from the magic rose by the window, lightning flashes and the image in the painting changes to that of the Beast. 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!


  1. By rogerrocket

    Your statement about Lumiere in Enchanted Tales is completely incorrect - "Despite the thin arms and narrow channels available for threading through controls and mechanisms, Imagineers have given Lumiere expressive motion and tremendous flexibility". Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

    FACT: Lumiere is actually a rod puppet under the power of a machine providing the movement. The unit that provides his movement is located directly behind the back curtain/behind Lumiere. That is why the color of the curtain is what it is and why the is lit the way he is. Lumiere has a total of three rods attached all directly behind, and slightly lower - each rod is covered in the same color fabric as the curtain behind Lumiere. One rod controls each of his arms/hands, and one controls his upper body/head. Lumiere's arms are actually just silicone (like tubing or solid). His face is internally rear projected, and his lip is the only item that is moving on his body.

    Royce Mathew

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