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At Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland expansion has its grand opening next week

If, like me, you don’t have children, you might not realize that for many younger kids, character meet-and-greets at Disney parks have become at least as important as the rides. A girlfriend has the meet-and-greet down to a science. “We can meet five princesses in 90 minutes,” she bragged, a scary side of her I hadn’t seen before. (The plan requires deployment of Dad to stand in various lines and the strategic sharing of intelligence with other Moms as a trade-off for joining Dad in line in front of them). I had no idea.

So while some people are excited that Fantasyland now has two Dumbo rides, one running clockwise, the other counter-clockwise, other people are more excited about the new opportunities to meet characters that are part of the expansion. By the end of next year, the park will have four new spots designed just to interact with characters. Three of them will officially open next week when the biggest phase of the expansion has its grand opening ceremony on Dec. 6.

Also of note: The new Be Our Guest restaurant in Beast Castle will serve beer and wine; the Little Mermaid ride opens; the Splitsville bowling alley and restaurant opens in what used to be Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney; and an upgraded Test Track opens at Epcot. Read my report here.