Quintessential Disney, Fantasyland is the highlight of any Disney trip for both the eight-and-under crowd and grown-ups looking for a nostalgic taste of classic Disney. Littlies, especially, love the character-focused experiences and attractions, while tweens too cool for fairy tales and teens looking for thrills may turn up their noses.
The Beast's castle houses Disney's Be Our Guest, Disney's hottest themed restaurant and Cinderella's Royal Table, where you can dine inside the castle with a rotating cast of the classic Disney princesses. (Reserve ahead for both; reservations can be made up to 180 days before your visit).
Without a doubt the best 3D show in Disney, Mickey's PhilharMagic takes Donald Duck on a whimsical adventure through classic Disney movies. Ride with him through the streets of Morocco on Aladdin's carpet and feel the champagne on your face when it pops open during Beauty and the Beast's 'Be Our Guest.' Fun, silly and lighthearted, this is Disney at its best.
It's A Small World, a sweet boat trip around the globe, has captivated children since the song and ride debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Small boats gently glide through country after country, each decked out from floor to ceiling with elaborate and charmingly dated sets inhabited by hundreds of automated animals and children. Yes, it's so well known how the song sticks irritatingly in your head for weeks, that it's become a Disney cliché. But there's something poignantly endearing, almost melancholy, in this simple ride. Little ones love it though we're not suggesting it's worth a long wait so be discerning.
Race your way through a diamond mine in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a family roller coaster (but it still zips along). Board a pirate ship and fly through fog and stars over London to Never Never Land on Peter Pan's Flight; take a sweet journey through the Hundred Acre Wood on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and ride through the Little Mermaid on Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. At Dumbo the Flying Elephant toddlers love jumping on a Dumbo and riding slowly around and around, up and down, and thrill at the chance to control how high they go. Lines here can be unbelievably long and slow, and the ride is incredibly short – hit this when the park gates open. The Mad Tea Party is a basic spinning ride, and you and others in the teacup decide just how much you'll be twirling.
Fantasyland offers all kinds of excellent character-interaction opportunities. Watch a Princess tale at the little stone grotto of Fairytale Garden; listen to Belle tell a story at Enchanted Tales with Belle; meet Ariel at Ariel's Grotto and Gaston by Gaston's Tavern; or hop in line and catch a handful of princesses in Fairytale Hall. And of course, always keep an eye out for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and other favorites hanging out throughout Fantasyland. (Note: Mary Poppins is, er, a 'floater'; she appears at different lands at different times. Ask a staff member (known as 'cast character') where she might be appearing.)