Now that Fantasyland is about to debut, I received an email in my Inbox: an invitation to take a Hero’s Journey to discover the new Fantasyland. This was per my sign up from the New Fantasyland website.
Taking the Hero’s Journey doesn’t tell us a lot about the new Fantasyland, but it’s a cute story nonetheless. Visiting the site sucks guests into the story, telling about how the villains came to Fantasyland, stole powerful talismans, and obscured them with their magic (which just so happens to take the shape of a big puffy purple mist, just like in Disney-ABC’s “Once Upon A Time”).
Four talismans represent the four sections of the new park: a feather for Dumbo, a trident for Ariel, a stag’s antlers for Gaston, and a rose for Belle. The actual mini-game guests play to retrieve each is a bit lame; little glowing balls swirl around at a slow speed throughout the mist, and we have to click on them three times. You’d think after the hype whomever designed the site could have come up with a somewhat more engaging game, but it’s the story and immersion of playing that really matters.
Each time I clicked on the glowing sphere, scenes from the relevant film played, with a small lesson we could learn from them. My favorites were from “The Little Mermaid,” (“when you’re on a journey, remember never to lose your voice,”) and “Beauty and the Beast,” related to Gaston (“a man’s greatness is NEVER determined by the size of his biceps”). I had to search through the mists three times per talisman.
Once I located it, I was treated to a sweeping CGI view of the area of Fantasyland I’d just freed from the villains’ curse. Then I could click on different bubbles highlighting some of the details guests will actually see at the park: a portrait of Belle’s mother reading to her as a child, or the detailing on the wooden mermaids at Eric’s castle.
After locating all four talismans, the narrator starts up again (and the screen pans to more lovely CGI shots of the park, making it look possibly prettier than it will in real life), about how I’ve banished the villains. Interesting, that, given that one of the quests was all about one of them.
After I’ve completed my quest I’m free to explore all four sections of the new Fantasyland, though nothing more is revealed than what was unlocked after I freed each talisman. I’m also given a “Hero’s Decree,” that I can download on my computer. It’s an image of an old scroll proclaiming me: “Protector & Guardian of the New Fantasyland,” and it’s signed by Belle, Dumbo, Ariel, Eric, and the Beast.
Well, that didn’t tell me a lot about the new Fantasyland, though I guess there’s not a lot left to learn. It was a fun little “game” to play, though, and I did think all the CGI was gorgeous. I have just one more detail about the new Fantasyland that’s not included on the website: it might be protected by a dragon. The official Disney Parks blog is playing coy about details for now, but it looks like there might be a dragon-themed lights show in the new Fantasyland’s future as well.
*(The above image by Popculturegeek.com is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)