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Ears the News with Richard

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
Disney's Princess Fairytale Hall meet and greet is now open to guests in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland as the New Fantasyland project completes another phase. Princess Fairytale Hall is the new home to Cinderella and Rapunzel, who are each day joined by their royal guests, including Aurora, Snow White, Tiana, Jasmine and Mulan. 

The attraction is split into two sides, one with a queue for Cinderella and, and one with a queue for Rapunzel. This means that if you want to meet both princesses, you will need to enter the attraction twice. The visiting princesses will be posted on the signage outside of the attraction. FASTPASS is available, along with FastPass+ for those guests taking part in the MyMagic+ tests.

Since Disney's Princess Fairytale Hall’s opening, the princesses are no longer appearing in their former home in Town Square Theater. Mickey Mouse is continuing to appear there however.

Here is the opening day press release from Disney:
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The fantasy world of Disney royalty becomes reality in the all-new Princess Fairytale Hall, where Magic Kingdom guests get to live out their dream of meeting a real Disney princess.

Opening to guests Sept. 18, the enchanting new home to Cinderella, Rapunzel and the princesses who visit them is fit for royalty with lush purple and gold trimmings, stone walls and ornate chandeliers.
Past the intricate tiara that graces the attraction’s entryway, guests will feel the anticipation of being in the presence of Disney nobility and becoming immersed in their world.

With its brightly colored tournament tent facade, Princess Fairytale Hall is located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland and is the latest opening in New Fantasyland, a multiyear project that more than doubles the size of Fantasyland and continues the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.

As loyal subjects to the princesses, guests can choose between two queues: one for Cinderella and a visiting princess or one for Rapunzel and a visiting princess.

The castle-like entrance to Princess Fairytale Hall features walls of stone and stained glass windows with images from the Disney animated film classic Cinderella. The entryway opens to a large Royal Gallery – an airy space with stone columns and a high ceiling with wooden beams and peaked arches. Framed portraits of Disney princesses adorn the walls. It’s the ideal royal setting for coming face-to-face with a Disney princess as their timeless tales come to life.

When it’s time for the big moment, guests are ushered into the royal chambers, richly paneled in wood and elegantly finished. Cinderella in one reception room and Rapunzel in the other are each joined by one other Disney princess. Royal visitors might include Aurora, Snow White, Tiana, Jasmine or Mulan.

Whoever from the royal court stops by to meet and greet her loyal subjects, it’s a royal scene made for making magical memories.

Each chamber features a large framed painting of a fairytale landscape and a table with a set of bound leather storybooks that bear the titles of fairytales in the language of the original tale. Rose vases are located on the far side of each reception room and wallpaper decorated with crowns and other royal imagery completes the scene. Guests are encouraged to bring cameras and autograph books. Disney PhotoPass Imaging specialists also are on hand to capture the events in each room.

“Through the years dating to Walt’s time, fairy tales have always been a rich cornerstone of Disney storytelling,” said Chris Beatty, Creative Executive Director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “Princess Fairytale Hall carries on our tradition of bringing classic Disney fairy tales to life in new and unexpected ways.”

To make Princess Fairytale Hall their new home, the princesses relocated from their former meet-and-greet area at Town Square Theater. Besides the standby queue, guests using FastPass+ and Legacy FastPass will be welcome as loyal subjects to Princess Fairytale Hall.
Bongos Cuban Café, House of Blues, Paradiso 37, Planet Hollywood, Portobello, Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Wolfgang Puck Café are all taking part in Foodtopia at Downtown Disney during the month of October. Between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM daily you can get 3 courses for $30 ex tax and gratuity. Fulton's Crab House is offering a 3 course for $60 option. You will need to make reservations on 407-WDW-DINE at least 48 hours in advance and prepayment is required. Reservations open on 9/28/2013.  Taking part on Foodtopia also gets you a 20% discount on La Nouba tickets at Downtown Disney's West Side.

The Magic Kingdom's Casey's Corner is closing for refurbishment in early 2014. The popular Main Street U.S.A restaurant is closing on 1/6/2014 through to  2/15/2014. 

The Tomorrowland Speedway is scheduled to be closing for a short refurbishment in January 2014. The attraction closes on 1/6/2014 through to 1/12/2014.

It was reported earlier that Splash Mountain was set to close for its annual refurbishment from 1/6/2014 through 1/31/2014. It now appears that the refurbishment has been significantly extended, with Splash now being scheduled to close on 1/6/2014 through to 3/21/2014. It has been rumored that this refurb will concentrate on the mechanical ride systems of the attraction.

It has been rumored for many years, but it now looks clear that Disney Vacation Club Villas are indeed coming to Disney's Polynesian Resort. Construction barriers on the Poly beachConstruction barriers on the Poly beachConfirmed just last week, Disney has said that the DVC expansion at the Polynesian should be completed during 2015, along with improvements to existing areas of the resort.

This last weekend has seen a large number of marker flags and construction debris fences installed all over the area around Sunset Pointe and the Tahiti and Rapu Nui buildings.  Due to this construction, Sunset Pointe has been closed to guests. Sunset Pointe is a popular overlook providing Magic Kingdom views for resort guests and is also used for wedding ceremonies. There is no word yet on whether Sunset Pointe will reopen at a later date, or if the closure will be permanent.

Minnie Mouse has an all new meet and greet set at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You can now find her daily inside 'The Magic of Disney Animation' attraction in the Animation Courtyard area of the park. Her typical appearance times are from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM, and 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Check the times guide for confirmation.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
A big milestone came up today for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. The official Disney Parks Blog has reported that Imagineers today ran the train on its first "under gravity" drop from the station.

The final piece of the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland project is expected to open in early 2014.
Epcot's International Gateway entrance is in the final stages of its full MyMagic+ 'touch-to-enter' rollout. All of the old turnstiles are now behind walls, and a new exit route is taking guests out of the park bypassing the turnstiles.

The operating hours of the Walt Disney World Resort hotel main feature pools are about to change to allow swimmers to use the pool only when lifeguards are present. Beginning 9/29/2013, the Walt Disney World value resorts will be the first hotels to introduce the new policy. 


Typically, the mail pool operating hours will be 7am through to 11pm, varying depending on season. Outside of the lifeguard hours, the pool will be closed and not available for use.  Resort quiet pools will not be affected by this policy change and will continue to operate 24 hours per day and will not have lifeguards.  The full rollout across all resorts at Walt Disney World is expected to be complete by November 2013.

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