photo coutesy of Disney Parks Blog
When you first enter the cottage, there's no mistaking who lives here. We see charming little provincial touches all around- from the stone hearth, to family portraits, to markings on the wall charting Belle's growth over the years. Belle's books are everywhere, as are Maurice's blueprints and drawings.
This is a small room, and visitors are packed in quickly. There's not enough time or space to take in all details, before a Cast Member is ushering us to the next room: Maurice's workshop. We see all kinds of parts and plans, models and works-in-progress. Notice anything familiar about those gears on the ceiling?
Ah, but there's one thing that looks a bit out of place in a workshop-
an ornate gilded mirror.
What happens here is perhaps the most incredible special effect I've ever seen. Right before our eyes, this mirror stretches and grows, becoming a doorway- a gateway to the enchanted castle. I can't begin to grasp how this effect is achieved, just a few feet from where we're standing. Impressive, to say the least.
We walk through that doorway, and we're magically transported to Beast's castle. We're greeted by Madame Wardrobe, who tells us we're going to surprise Belle and put on a skit acting the night Belle and Beast fell in love.
She asks for volunteers, and a Cast Member passes out parts and props. My hand went up! The CM was definitely focused on the kids first, but she saw me with my hand up and made sure to give me a part before she finished casting. Hooray! I am Featherduster. Time to move on to the next room...
The library! It's here we will await the arrival of Belle, and the fun begins. This is a beautiful room, with books as far as the eye can see. And Lumiere! He's is in full Audio-Animatronic glory on the mantle, the focal point of the room.
If you're interested in taking pictures, be aware that the lighting is a bit odd inside the attraction. It's muted and dim, particularly in the library. My amateur skills made it hard to get any clear shots, but someone with better photography equipment and know-how would likely have more success capturing the moments.
Did I mention I was the only...tall...volunteer? Look how close I am to Lumiere!
A quick skit is performed, and we march around the room. Once it's over, each volunteer gets a few seconds with Belle, where she gives us each a special bookmark.
A PhotoPass photographer snaps a few shots, and the attraction-specific PhotoPass card is given to participants on their way out. The card can be used to view the photos online and purchase prints.
This is a fun show, with one quick but incredible special effect, definitely worth seeing. The interactivity is great, and the Cast Members did a nice job of drawing in and supporting some of the younger and shyer volunteers. The younger set is the target audience here, so keep that in mind if you have older children. Head here first thing, because the waits are some of the longest you will find in Walt Disney World.
Have you visited Enchanted Tales with Belle? What did you think of that mirror effect? Did you volunteer for the show? Tell us about it in the comments...