Disney World started having "dress rehearsals" for some attractions within the Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom last week. The park isn't announcing when or for how long these introductions will last, so you can't absolutely count on strolling through the new area at this point. Remember, it was announced that its soft opening will be Nov. 19, followed by a grand opening on Dec. 6. But here are some initial impressions:
•It doesn't look finished. That's because it isn't. Workers are visibly pounding away on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a roller coaster that's scheduled to be the cherry atop Fantasyland in 2014.
•Gaston's town. While many guests were raving about the queue for the Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, I was more delighted by Gaston-related features: the fun fountain, which stands in front of the antler-happy (but alcohol-free) Gaston's Tavern.
•Cheers. Wow, LeFou's brew is pretty dang fruity and sweet. That's frozen apple juice for you. But I heard rave reviews for the pork shank at Gaston's.
•To Tomorrowland and beyond. I'm OK with seeing Cinderella Castle in the distance. It's part of Fantasyland, after all. I'm less OK with spying Space Mountain and the Contemporary Resort.
•In the swim of things. Although our Mermaid ride is said to be the same as the one at Disney California Adventure, a source who has been to both pointed out creative differences, including the lighting for the Ursula scene and the beard for Ariel's dad. (It's more puffy and Santa Claus-ish here, am told).