Disney World Has Just Built Some Fancy New Castles for Its Favorite PrincessesS

Disney World may be great and all, but if there's one complaint the rodent-infested toon autocracy fields too often, it's that there just aren't enough castles. I mean, there's that one at the center of the Magic Kingdom, but that's really more of a chateau, and one could hardly expect to fortify such a gaudy manse with a garrison of siege-ready mouse soldiers. That is exactly why the powers-that-be in Disney World embarked on a massive public works project to build several new princess-themed castles, starting with some photogenic fortresses for Ariel and Belle.

The new princess castles are part of the park's ten-acre expansion into the idyllic Orlando greater metropolitan countryside. New Fantasyland, as this new zone is so appropriately named, looks to fill out its land grant with a "less intense" (read: boring) version of Big Thunder Mountain called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train by 2014, but already boasts new homes for Ariel and Belle, who can both expect to live comfortably within the bounds of cinematic continuity:

As for the New Fantasyland landscape, which includes an Enchanted Forest, Ariel oversees a sea grotto, where her Under the Sea – Adventure of the Little Mermaid and meet-and-greet photo-taking perch can be found. For the musical adventure, guests board giant clamshells to relive the 1991 feature, with the characters brought to life through both animation and Audio-Animatronics.

Belle's tale is represented by the French-inspired Be My Guest restaurant inside the richly detailed castle of the Beast, replete with gently falling snow outside the ornate ballroom. There's also the ominous west wing (where the Beast's portrait morphs into one of the handsome prince). Less elaborate meals may be taken at the nearby Gaston's Tavern, in the village square.

More contemporary Disney princesses like Tatiana from The Princess and the Frog and Rapunzel from Tangled will also get a minor place of distinction in the Princess Fairytale Hall where they can meet and greet visitors and be watched carefully by agents of the more seasoned royals who are forever burdened with the monarchical paranoia that some ambitious upstart will instigate a coup d'état.

Disney World's New Fantasyland: The Princesses Open Their Own Castles [People]