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All in the Details: A Castle Fit for a…Mermaid in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

When I think about the New Fantasyland expansion, what gets me most excited is that Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is adding two Disney castles to the park – Beast’s Castle, which houses Be Our Guest Restaurant, and the one pictured below, Prince Eric’s Castle, which tops off the Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid attraction.
Prince Eric's Castle in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

While we’ve showcased pieces of this castle in previous posts, here’s the first complete look at Prince Eric’s abode. I have to say when I first saw the rendering for this attraction, I had no idea it would possibly turn out to be this amazing!
Artist Rendering of Prince Eric's Castle in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Just like Beast’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle uses the forced perspective technique for which WDI is famous to make the structure appear much larger in size than it is in reality.

Forced perspective, which has been used since Walt Disney oversaw the construction of Disneyland park in the 1950s, is sort of an optical illusion that uses architectural scale to “trick” the eye into believing a building towers above you, when it’s really not as tall as you’d think.

So I have to ask, which of these new castles do you prefer – Beast’s Castle or Prince Eric’s? (Visit this post for a look at Beast’s). I have my favorite. Share yours in the “comments” section below!

Read more posts in the “All in the Details” series from Walt Disney Imagineering:



  • Jennifer,
    I was wondering if you have any info on Gastons Tavern. We hear so much about Be Our Guest and Journey of the Little Mermaid which dont get me wrong I’m extremely excited about. I was just wondering if you’ve received any pics from the inside, outside, menu items etc.

    • It is still under construction, but it’s on my list to cover in the future. Keep checking back.

  • I was there this summer and it was unfortunately before any of the new expansions to Fantasyland was open. I cannot wait for my trip next summer so I can once again experience the most Magical place on earth! Thank you Walt for having such a vision and giving me a place to bring my grandchildren to that is my favorite and hopefully will we theirs……

  • hey jen ive been coming to disneyworld since 1971 and i get excited everytime something new appears iam a 65yr old kid like walt said we will never be finished what a true american hero
    from annual passes to new rides and new hotels what a place ill love it till i die and then some

    • Sounds like you’re a true fan, Frank. I hope you enjoy the area when it opens later this year!

  • As a Walt Disney World cast member who now works at the Studios in CA I am very excited to come back home and visit both of these castles!!!! I am partial to the Beauty and the Beast castle for a few reasons, however Prince Eric’s Castle looks amazing. Thank you so much for all the updates Jennifer… it is great to keep up with the news from the World!

  • Hey Jennifer, thanks for all pics and updates…. My favorite is Prince Eric´s Castle… It will be home for my favorite character atraction: The Litlle Mermaid! 😀 Hope someday get some photos with Ariel, Eric, Flounder and Sebastian all together!

    • That would be amazing!

  • Planning our first vacation to WDW as a family with my 2 year old girl in May 2013 and must say, we are looking forward to seeing Beast’s Castle. My daughter is asking more frequently to watch Beauty and the Beast and loves watching the dinner presentation with Be Our Guest. Definately a MUST for us on our trip!

  • I’m sooooooooo beyond excited for Prince Eric’s Castle. I have been waiting for a Little Mermaid ride in WDW since the movie came out 23 years ago when I was 4 years old.

    I have a question about Prince Eric’s Castle (I’m not sure if you’ll know the answer, Jennifer, but maybe you can find out for me.) In the photo, the mini tower at the end of the triple archway that extends out past the castle, the roof of that structure is blue. Is that just because that part of the castle is still under construction and they haven’t put the same brick-colored tiles on it yet (similar to the roofs on the other structures of the castle? Or is it staying that blue color (as it’s been that same way for a few months now)? Because in the movie and the artist rendering that you also featured in this post, all the roofs are the same brick-red color? I know this may sound like a silly question, but I was just curious. Thanks.

    • I will ask. 🙂

  • Absolutely most excited for Prince Eric’s Castle. I go to WDW all the time and have seen the Fantasyland Expansion construction from the very beginning. I’ve seen Prince Eric’s Castle from when it was just a frame of a building.

    I have a request for you Jennifer… Along with today’s post, your previous blog post’s solely about Under the Sea~ Journey of the Little Mermaid from May 29th and June 19th focused mainly on Prince Eric’s Castle and the exterior of the attraction. Could you PLEASE give us a blog post in the near future about other aspects about the Little Mermaid ride that we haven’t heard anything about yet (like the interactive queue with Scuttle, or Ariel’s Grotto, which we know is a part of the “holidays 2012” opening, but still don’t know exactly what it is, etc.)??? I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

    • A lot of New Fantasyland is still under construction, so as areas become available to photograph and we have details to go along with it, I’ll be happy to share. Character meet and greets for New Fantasyland are surely on our list of topics to write about in the future.

  • I look forward to your post every Tuesday! The more I see, the more excited I am for the New Fantasyland! Prince Eric’s castle is my pick. The Imagineers outdid themselves on this one. It is so differnt looking from other fairy tale castles. Plus I think the roof of the turrets on Beast’s castle look like witch hats. Still hoping for a mid-October opening. But if not, then we have a reason to go back to Disney for my son’s birthday in February!

    • Thanks so much. I look forward to sharing this update each week, it’s so exciting! A birthday trip would be a ton of fun. I’m taking my son to Magic Kingdom for his birthday (this summer) and I can’t wait!

  • Beast’s Castle, no contest. Last week there was the blog post about the father/daughter who ate all the time at Sci-F Dine-In. I’m aiming to do the same at Be Our Guest! I might mix it up a bit and do both table and quick service. I can’t wait to try the gray stuff. I hear it’s delicious!

    • It’s good to set goals, right? 🙂

  • They are both fantastic. I hope we get to run past them at the Princess Half next year. I’ll be sporting my 3 foot sequin tale and would love a pic by Eric’s castle while my BFF would want her pic at the Beast’s castle since she’ll be in her gold gown with full length gloves for her Belle look. 🙂

    I’m so anxious to get reservations at Be Our Guest when we’re there over the holidays.

    Thanks for the pic and info Jennifer.

    • That would be very fitting for that race.

  • Prince Eric’s by far! My biggest Disney Parks disappointment has always been the lack of representation for my favorite film, TLM! So glad there will be more appearance in the parks!

  • All of the new Fantasyland looks great. I cannot wait to see it. I think I’m going to have to make my six year twins and their three year old brother go back and watch all of the classic Disney movies over and over again so they can appreciate the new Fantasyland when we get there (that and because they are great movies and I can watch them again). They know every Toy Story and Cars movie, but they are a little weak when it comes to the castle stories.

    • That’s a great plan!

  • What about the Princess Fairytale Hall? When will it open? We are planning a trip for 2013 and want to plan it for when this will definitely be open. Thanks!

    • All we know is 2013 at this point. Please keep in mind that you can still meet Disney Princesses at Magic Kingdom. They’re stationed at Town Square Theater right now.

  • I feel like a kid again looking at these pictures. The little mermaid came out when I was 9 and Beauty and the Beast when I was 11 so you can imagine how excited I am for these two new attractions.

    Thanks to my annual pass I’m going to live there!!!!!!!!!

    Any idea when we can start making reservations for the Be our Guest restaurant?

    • As soon as we know about reservations, we’ll let you know!

  • Hi, we are going to Disney in january. What can we see at New Fantasyland? What will be open for us on this month?

    • Most of New Fantasyland will open in Holidays 2012.

  • Is this going to be in the Magic Kingdom in Orlando or CA? And when will it be done???

    • Magic Kingdom is in Orlando (Disneyland Park is in California).

  • New Fantasyland looks great. If I lived on the east coast, I’d be sure to visit it often. As it is, my one regret is that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train won’t be open when we arrive in late January/early February next year. Crossing my fingers its the ONLY ride I’ll miss! (really want to ride Expedition Everest for the first time! XD )

    • If you’re visiting in Jan/Feb, there will be a lot to experience! Have a great trip!

  • When you say “holidays” 2012…do you mean more towards Christmas or would that be to include the time with the Halloween festivities as well?

    • No specific dates have been announced yet. Keep checking back. We’ll share as soon as we hear.

  • I think i will love both. We can’t wait to go to WDW again. 233 more days whoohoo!! 🙂 Jennifer thanks for all the updates!

    • You’re welcome. And thanks to our great friends at WDI who help with each of these updates!

  • Jennifer, I love reading the Disney Parks Blog about the new Fantasyland. I am overly excited and can not wait til construcion is complete, so that I can bring my family back to MK to enjoy it. I think both of the castles are beautiful and could not pick a favorite. I would love to see Snow White have a place of her own some day, maybe in Epcot. 🙂

    • Don’t forget the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open in 2014 in this area, too!

  • I’m excited about both, but I have feeling my little princess will LOVE Prince Eric’s the most because let’s face it, Ariel is a Mermaid and how awesome is that??!?! Our next trip is in December (our first Christmas time at Disney) and we can’t wait! Just wish the Ariel ride would be open, but alas, it just means we’ll have to go back…. shucks!

  • We will be visiting again in mid-December. Will all of this be open then?

  • When is Prince Eric’s castle scheduled to open? My daughter is on obsessed Ariel fan!

    • Holidays 2012…no specific date has been announced yet.

  • I’m excited about Eric’s castle… and hoping to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in Beast’s castle this December!

    • That is an amazing birthday idea, Jennifer!

  • Well be visiting August 8th thru 20th and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress from when we were there in January. I was hoping for an August soft opening. The FLE looks pretty close to completion from the ariel view photos I’ve seen. I’ll keep hope alive because I guess you never know.

  • I am excited for both castles, but I am more excited for the look of Eric’s castle with the water and marine theme. Can’t wait to fly across the country and see them when they’re done!!

  • until ariel’s new grotto opens where can you meet her now? we are coming the first week of october and my daughter loves ariel so i want to make sure she gets to meet her. thanks!

    • Check the park’s Times Guide as soon as you get there. They have the latest information on character greetings in there.

  • Sadly I am afraid “holidays 2012” means mid to late November, meaning it WON”T be open when we are there in early October. Regardless there is NO question of which is my fave. Eric’s castle. The Little Mermaid has been my fave Disney movie since I was 10. While my fave princess 2-5 in the top 5 changes the #1 slot belongs to Ariel. Come October while we are there w/ a family friend and her son (dad is deploying a few weeks prior so we asked them to come with) I will stand at the wall and pout that I STILL can not ride the Ariel ride, and diligently watch all the Disney pages for info on opening to plan a quick emergency Ariel fix trip as close to opening as possible…

  • They’re both beautiful, but I love the look and feel of Beast’s castle. Especially the majestic purple color and the style of windows! Something about that architecture speaks to me.

    I’m also less excited for Eric’s castle because of what it houses…. I thought the Little Mermaid attraction in DCA was huge letdown :/

  • The castle looks amazing! I can’t wait to see it in person (although I have several months to go… at least these blog posts tide me over!).

    I am SO excited for all parts of the Fantasyland expansion, but I’d have to vote for the Beast’s castle. Belle is my favorite princess!

    The forced perspective of the castles is so impressive. On our last trip to WDW, we could see the Beast’s castle peeking over the construction walls. It looked so huge… until we saw a cast member working on it! We couldn’t believe how small it actually is! What a convincing effect.

  • I look forward to your “All in the Details” post each week! I am wondering if there are any “details” available about the other Beauty and the Beast food area, Gaston’s Tavern?! It seems like that will be a popular spot and we havent heard much.

    • Keep checking back… 🙂

  • Thanks for the additional updates, I’m excited about the whole area. I love water so I can’t wait to see all the water features around the Little Mermaid attaction.

  • I love that the castles are being added. I have two nieces and one loves The Little Mermaid and the other is obsessed with Beauty and the Beast. I am so glad they will both be able to see the castle from their favorite movie.

    I was at Disney last November and I love seeing these blog updates about the Fantasyland expansion. It is truly amazing to see how much progress has been made in such a short time. Is the Fairy Godmother lending a hand or wand?

    • Sounds like this will be a perfect fit for your family!

  • Prince Eric’s Castle looks amazing, however, I’m still partial to Beast’s Castle. My wife loves Belle and Beauty and the Beast is one of our favorite Disney movies. I can’t wait to see the New Fantasyland! Thanks for another great update, Jenn. 🙂

    Bob A.

    • Thanks, Bob.

  • Thanks again Jennifer for another great weekly update! From pictures and videos that I have seen so far, I have to say that my favorite new castle is Beast’s Castle. It is mostly because it houses “Be Our Guest” restaurant and I am very anxiously counting the days until I get to dine there. Eric’s Castle looks wonderful too.

  • I like both castles! I am such a Disney Fan and my daughter is too. When it comes to the Princesses, everything is her favorite. Too bad it won’t be open when we are there in August. 🙁

    Oh Well, just another excuse to visit around the Holidays!! 🙂 I can’t wait till we leave. 30 Days and counting!!!!!

    • Have a blast on your next trip, Christine. Don’t forget to check out the new area that has opened – Storybook Circus. The new Dumbo is lovely and Casey Jr. is tons of fun for kids.

  • Are both castles in the same area? Or will one be open before the other? My 4 year old is really looking forward to seeing what’s new in September.

    • They will be within viewing distance of one another…but far enough away that the theming of both makes sense.

  • They’re both beautiful!! If I had to chose though, I’ll say I’d like to live in Prince Eric’s Castle but I’d like to eat at the Beast’s! 😀

  • It’s so pretty!

    • Agreed!

  • I am most excited about the Beast castle because I think the food will be amazing. My kids (8 and 4) are most excited about Prince Eric’s castle, they love Ariel. We are going to Disney World next summer, hope both castles will be complete by then.

    • Nealy – you’re in luck. This area is set to open in holidays 2012.

  • Thanks for the update and pics!! After everything that has been about The Beasts castle and Be Our Guest restaurant, it’s nice to see updates about something else!! Looking forward to more posts about FantasyLand!!

  • This castle is pretty spectacular. Will there be a big grand opening (a la Carsland) at some point or will there be mini grand openings when this portion of the expansion opens and then for the mine car? Just curious if Disney has some fun plans to officially open the New Fantasyland. (Hopefully with those glow ears just like at DCA. haha)

    • We’ll share the plans as soon as we know. The opening of Cars Land sure looked fun!

  • Never realized how cool the forced perspective was until seeing the climbers on the matterhorn. You look at the mountain and it looks huge but when you see the people on the mountain they look like giants!! That or the mountain looks so much smaller haha. Can’t wait to take my first trip to WDW in the future.

  • To be honest, my little girl is more excited about Beast’s castle than Prince Eric’s castle or even Cinderella’s castle!! Beauty & the Beast is far and away her favorite Disney story. Although, all the castles look wonderful. It’s all in the details that make Disney castles unique and special.

    • They’re all going to be so different, aren’t they Andrew?

  • Honestly, I’d have to say Beast’s Castle is going to be my favorite because food will be inside.


    Hey, Jennifer…when is Be Our Guest opening?! (just kidding…!) 🙂

    • Ha, ha!

  • How similar is this ride to the one in California? The way everyone talks about it, it seems like a completely new ride, but hearing the details it seems quite similar.

    • The exterior is completely different, the interior is very similar. The attraction tells the story of The Little Mermaid.

  • Honestly…I love whichever one is open first!! LOL. They both look awesome!

    • Ha! Good answer, Christy.

  • As a MK cast member character attendant, I’m hoping to be assigned shifts in the new Fantasyland!
    Eric’s castle looks amazing!! I hope the lagoon and waterfall from the rendering are added to the final creation!!
    Any idea where Ariel’s grotto will be, and if Eric will be making appearances?
    Jennifer, thanks for all your updates and posts!

    • Thanks, David! It is always great to hear that cast members read the Disney Parks Blog! Look for a future update on character meet and greets.

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