Disney preps for 'New Fantasyland' debut

Magic Kingdom's largest expansion goes public for first time

ORLANDO, Fla. - The New Fantasyland, which marks the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, will debut Thursday after years of preparation.

Fantasyland has been part of the Magic Kingdom since its opening in 1971. But the new expansion takes visitors outside the gates of the castle and into a new realm.

"Enchanted Tales with Belle" allows guests to walk through a magic mirror to meet the characters from "Beauty and the Beast." Underneath Beast's castle, the "Be Our Guest" restaurant serves up lunch and dinner inside the iconic ballroom.

The restaurant is a "quick-service" restaurant during the day. At night, the menu changes to more upscale French-inspired cuisine, with a waitstaff brought in to provide a more personal dining experience.

After exploring Belle's village, guests can take a short walk to tropical paradise, which is home to "The Little Mermaid."

The attractions are designed to keep guests entertained as they're waiting in line, like the furnishings scattered throughout Belle's cottage and some animated crabs that crawl around the rocks as visitors enter "The Little Mermaid."

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.