Lite 99
Tampa's Feel Good Favorites

WDWNT’s Tom Corless visited Fantasy Springs during May previews and now brings his honest review of the new Tokyo DisneySea port.

Tokyo DisneySea is considered by many to be the best Disney park in the world, and Fantasy Springs is its first expansion since it opened in 2001. It’s also one of the biggest expansions a Disney park has ever seen with four new rides. The only other land that comes to mind with more than four rides added to a Disney park after it opened is A Bug’s Land, and calling those attractions “rides” is being generous.

Tom has had several opportunities to go into the new port, ride the rides, eat the food, find the Easter eggs, and see pretty much everything there is to see, so it’s finally time for his honest review.

Background & General Thoughts

Original Fantasyland expansion concept art

Let’s start with a little bit of history. In the mid-2010s, Tokyo Disney Resort announced two massive Fantasy-esque expansions. The first was a Fantasyland expansion for Tokyo Disneyland which included not only what ended up being built, but also an “Alice in Wonderland” area, a dual-track version of “it’s a small world” with both the boat ride and a suspended dark ride, and more.

Scandinavian port concept art

The second announcement was the eighth port of Tokyo DisneySea. When Tokyo DisneySea opened, there were seven ports that tied into the seven seas, but they were planning on doing away with that at some point. The eighth port was originally just a “Frozen”-based Scandinavian port, which makes sense as the other seven ports are all based on real-world port locations.

Looking at the concept art (above), the Scandinavian port was not too far off from Frozen Kingdom in Fantasy Springs. There’s Arendelle Castle, which presumably would have been a dining venue, and a “Frozen” ride in a mountain.

At some point, Tokyo Disney Resort decided the plan for Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland was too much and they could use that money on Tokyo DisneySea, which needed increased capacity. So the Fantasyland plans were reduced to The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Minnie’s Style Studio, and The Happy Ride with Baymax.

They knew the Tokyo DisneySea expansion still needed “Frozen,” which is super popular worldwide, particularly in Japan. Tokyo Disney Resort knew they could create more rides if they used more intellectual property (IP).

Map of Tokyo DisneySea including Fantasy Springs

They also knew Hotel MiraCosta, the in-park hotel at the entrance of Tokyo DisneySea, was a huge success and Tokyo Disney Resort didn’t have enough hotel rooms. A larger location was chosen for the new port at the back of the park, which conveniently puts the Fantasy Springs Hotel next to Bayside Station and a resort area that includes other hotels. The small plot previously set aside for the Scandinavian port is still there behind Port Discovery, to the left of Lost River Delta.

The new location is huge. It extends far from the rest of the park, marking possibly the longest distance between a park location and the main entrance (guests of the Fantasy Springs Hotel have their own entrance). It does feel like multiple lands, even though it’s technically one.

Peter Pan’s Flight at Tokyo Disneyland

To join “Frozen,” they chose the popular and relatively recent “Tangled,” and, more curiously, “Peter Pan.” Tokyo Disneyland, the fourth-ever Disney park, already has a traditional Peter Pan’s Flight ride. It is interesting that Oriental Land Company chose to build more “Peter Pan.” Disney doesn’t often go for legacy properties like that anymore, not to mention an IP that already has a ride.

They also chose to give “Peter Pan” two new attractions, one being the first-ever Tinker Bell / Pixie Hollow ride. In 2005, Disney created the “Disney Fairies” franchise, which launched a series of “Tinker Bell” films. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, there were indications Disney Parks was going to bank on that series.

“New Fantasyland” Pixie Hollow concept art

Walt Disney World announced a Pixie Hollow area for their New Fantasyland expansion. It originally didn’t have a ride but they later planned for one featuring Cheese the Mouse pulling cars like Alien Swirling Saucers. Pixie Hollow was eventually scrapped to be replaced with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Storybook Circus.

There have also been rumors of a Pixie Hollow attraction taking over the abandoned Motor Boat Cruise lagoon space in Fantasyland at Disneyland. It feels like Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies is what was originally meant for that spot.

We feel the three IPs tied together into one land is a strong indication of the future. Since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Orlando Resort in 2010, the theme park trend has been single IP lands — Cars Land, Toy Story Land, Zootopia, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora The World of Avatar, World of Frozen, Avengers Campus.

Concept art for World of Frozen at Disneyland Paris

Eventually, you run out of franchises that make sense to have an entire land. It’s hard to come up with a multitude of attractions for one IP. “Star Wars” and Marvel have a lot of material but when you get into something like “Frozen,” there are only so many attraction ideas. World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland has two rides. World of Frozen at Disneyland Paris will have one ride. The original Scandinavian port seemed to only have one ride.

Fantasy Springs opens the door for a new kind of land that has the level of immersion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Cars Land, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge but with several different intellectual properties.

This is the modern version of one of the original lands at Disneyland. The original lands had very loose themes, like Frontierland. But in that one Frontierland, you could have Davy Crockett, Zorro, Big Thunder Mountain, etc. because they fit together geographically or thematically.

Sensibilities have grown and guest expectations have changed since 1955, so now people expect more from a storytelling point of view. They expect to be immersed in a world they have seen in media (Radiator Springs) or that connects directly to media (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge). The next step is taking that level of storytelling and immersion and incorporating multiple IPs.

We believe Tokyo Disney Resort did it masterfully with Fantasy Springs. It feels natural and is explained by the backstories.

Speaking of backstories, Fantasy Springs has two. They’re weird, but we love weird backstories. They’re only deliberately spelled out in the store, where you can read them on columns.

One features a water spirit that traveled around, collected stories, and fed them into her natural home. This explains why there are melodies and rock carvings of various Disney stories.

The other backstory is about the Duchess, who discovered the water spirit’s spring and built a house there. She enjoyed it so much that she wanted to invite her friends, and expanded her house into the Fantasy Springs Hotel.

The land is clearly designed to be entered from the Fantasy Springs Hotel. It’s breathtaking, with the titular spring constantly bubbling in the center. Beautiful vignettes are carved into the rocks; a large Sorcerer Mickey is up against the hotel windows. The biggest formation behind the springs features quintessential Disney princess movies like “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

These IPs aren’t connected to the rest of the land but it’s cool that they used Fantasy Springs as an opportunity to incorporate more legacy IPs into the park. There’s room for balance in Tokyo DisneySea between Disney franchises and original attractions. The rockwork represents practically every Disney story someone might have an emotional connection to, including “Bambi” and “Pocahontas,” which don’t get a lot of representation in the parks.

The location of the other entrance feels like an afterthought considering how far back it’s set from the existing ports. A long walkway leads from the rest of Tokyo DisneySea to Fantasy Springs. The entrance itself is beautiful with the “Peter Pan,” “Tangled,” and “Frozen” rockwork, flowing water, and nighttime lighting.

Once you go through that portal, it feels like you’re looking at the land from behind. You don’t get the ideal view of the Never Land mountains; the back of the Jolly Roger is facing you, and Rapunzel’s Tower is angled away. It’s not a big problem, but it is obviously designed with the hotel view in mind.

We haven’t seen a great Fantasyland since Disneyland Paris, and this is a Fantasyland-esque area on the level of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora. While the latter two lands are nice, it’s nice to see a land that celebrates animation, the heart and soul of Disney.

Lands of Fantasy Springs

Frozen Kingdom

Arendelle Castle and Village in Fantasy Springs

Arendelle is amazing. In Tom’s honest review of World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland, he said that he loved its layout and that no Disney park can replicate it, because Hong Kong has real mountains as a backdrop. However, other parts of World of Frozen leave things to be desired — namely that you can’t go inside or approach Arendelle Castle.

Fantasy Springs built the full-size castle with Royal Banquet of Arendelle inside. The village acts as a beautiful frame for the castle. The North Mountain and Elsa’s Ice Palace are to the left. Stunning, tall rockwork connects to the Fantasy Springs Hotel, acting as the berm of the land.

The rockwork berm isn’t quite as amazing as Mysterious Island’s mountains but, combined with the hotel, it encloses you in Fantasy Springs and blocks the rest of the world.

What we like more about World of Frozen is that Arendelle feels more real and inhabited. Fantasy Springs doesn’t have a lot of interior spaces other than the rides, restaurants, and restrooms. There is a village facade, but the bathrooms are the only thing there. No Cast Members work on that side of the water so it doesn’t feel like anybody lives there. The fake buildings do have beautifully dressed windows with many Easter eggs.

Arendelle Village in World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland

At Hong Kong Disneyland, there’s a sweets shop, a store, and a restaurant in the village. The woods section has kiosks and the Playhouse in the Woods. There are Cast Members everywhere, the land is set at a specific time, and it feels alive.

Frozen Kingdom doesn’t seem to have a specific time setting. Outside Arendelle Castle feels like pre-“Frozen” without any magical ice but inside feels like after “Frozen II” because there are characters from the sequel in the artwork. The ride is set after the events of “Frozen” because Grand Pabbie is telling the story (I’ll talk more about the ride later). Anna and Elsa appear in their “Frozen” costumes. That all makes it hard to pinpoint when this is set. It’s gorgeous but we prefer the exterior and theming of World of Frozen.

Rapunzel’s Forest

Rapunzel’s Forest is small. It’s essentially her tower; the entrance of the ride, Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival; and The Snuggly Duckling. They had some spatial constraints and did the best they could. There’s also not a lot more that stands out architecturally in “Tangled.” You could’ve had the Kingdom of Corona and the castle, but people know Rapunzel’s Tower and The Snuggly Duckling more.

Peter Pan’s Never Land

Never Land is laid out beautifully. The mountains are gorgeous with little details to discover like the Native American village.

Across from the mountains are the Jolly Roger pirate ship and Skull Rock, an homage to Disneyland’s original Fantasyland. There are also versions of these sets in Fantasyland at Disneyland Paris. In Paris, they’re much bigger but in Tokyo, the pirate ship is actually open to guests.

The three set pieces — the mountains, Skull Rock, and the pirate ship — make for a beautiful vista from multiple angles. You can look at the latter two in the lagoon from the mountain side. You can view the mountains from inside Skull Rock or on the ship. From the other side of the lagoon, you can see the mountains framed between Skull Rock and the ship.

There are great details throughout Never Land, like dummies of Mr. Smee and Tick-Tock Croc with targets on them. The Lost Boys have mockingly built their own pirate ship out of debris, floating in the water near the Jolly Roger. You can play hopscotch on a planter. There are footprints and carvings in the ground.

Fantasy Springs is a gorgeous land. Tokyo DisneySea is the most beautiful Disney park and this land deserves to be there. Everything in Tokyo DisneySea is huge and Fantasy Springs lives up to that scale.


Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure

Disney remained very silent about what ride system Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure used, even when they revealed the ride vehicles at D23 Expo 2022. That tight-lipped attitude makes sense now — it’s Universal’s ride system from The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers: The Ride 3D. Disney may have re-engineered and changed the system somewhat, but to a guest, it’s the same.

There is a real rivalry between Oriental Land Company and Universal Studios Japan. It’s the kind of hatred that people think their American counterparts have but don’t. Our theory is that OLC knew Universal Studios Japan’s Spider-Man contract was ending and their version of Amazing Adventures would close, and asked Disney to make a version of the ride system just to be petty. We can’t imagine another scenario where they would use Universal’s ride system instead of making something new.

We think there are things that Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure does better than Spider-Man, which at this point is a pretty old ride, even considering its more recent animation and projection updates. This is the most crisp and clear 3D attraction we have ever been on.

Beyond that, the animation is beautiful. The computer-animated characters feel true to their original 2D selves. They move in the same way and with real emotion.

There’s a transition in this ride that is so well done that we think it’s the best transition from screen to physical set we’ve ever seen on a theme park ride — but then every other transition is one of the worst. We can’t figure out how they ended up with such a thoughtful and inventive transition effect, and then the rest are so bad. The physical sets they built are great and feel like the painted scenery of old Disney films.

Spoiler alert: when Peter returns the Darling children to London and they are flying over the city, there is a moment where the buildings on the screen become real. It takes a second for your brain to realize you are now looking at physical rooftops instead of animation.

Then the vehicle turns, and there’s a transition with no effort put into it. It’s a blank wall. There are other “transitions” that are just black curtains, which the average guest might not notice, but we expect so much more from Tokyo Disney Resort.

This is the first Disney attraction where you truly feel like you’re flying over London with Peter and the Darlings. You fly with them in the line, which makes for a powerful moment, especially when combined with the magnificent music. It’s nice to hear modern orchestrations of classic Disney songs.

We love the second half of the ride. There are fun moments in Never Land in the first half, but the second half is stronger. A lot of the first half of the ride feels like it’s been done before.

The queue is cute but has the same problem; there’s a cave portion that feels like Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, or Flight of Passage.

One cool thing about the queue and land as a whole is that it feels like a bunch of Lost Kids live there and do whatever they want, like drawing all over everything. One example in the queue is a wooden shape that kind of looks like a shark, so the kids drew the shark over the shapes.

The forest room of the queue sets the mood. It feels like dawn in Never Land, so the Lost Kids are asleep. There are shifting cloud formations of characters. Tinker Bell’s silhouette with pixie dust flitters across leaves. It’s beautiful but doesn’t have a lot going on.

The pre-show is okay. It’s quick and also feels very Universal — there’s a clear surface for characters to be projected on in front of a physical background. It works great with Peter and his shadow but we don’t feel like they played with that enough.

We would’ve liked a couple of animatronics. Not necessarily on the ride, but we would have loved to see them in the pre-show. It’s probably a budget thing, which isn’t usually a Tokyo DisneySea issue, but they did build a lot at once with Fantasy Springs.

A great moment that feels like we’ve been waiting our entire theme park lives for is when the doors pop open after the pre-show and “Following the Leader” plays. It makes you want to march out the door, grab your 3D glasses, and get on the ride.

We do enjoy this attraction and believe it’s worth riding. We have a list of issues, mostly with the transitions, and are disappointed it’s a rip-off of Spider-Man (Spider-Pan?), but it’s still a good time. When ranking the four rides, this is our number three.

Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies

The fact that this attraction is completely outdoors and Disney Premier Access (Tokyo Disney Resort’s paid line-skipping service) isn’t offered indicates this is not an E-ticket attraction. This is exciting as it seems as though Disney has forgotten how to build things that aren’t E-tickets. Every recent project has been marketed as a big, new, must-see. Some of those rides are actually E-tickets (Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, TRON Lightcycle / Run), but some aren’t at the same level (Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure).

We’ve been weaned off of these “filler” attractions. Disney decided that if they were spending money to build something, they were going to make something that people would specifically come to the parks for and pay for instead of attractions that increase capacity and enjoyment for guests already there.

What’s clear to us about Fantasy Springs is that Tokyo DisneySea reached a breaking point in terms of capacity. They opened Soaring: Fantastic Flight five years ago; it’s a nice version of Soarin’ but at the end of the day, it’s just Soarin’. It helped with capacity, though, until Fantasy Springs could be completed.

Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies is slightly under two minutes long. It’s aimed at people with small children. You don’t have to be or have a small child to enjoy the ride, but if you wait a long time for it, you probably will feel cheated. Busy Buggies is like if Imagineers had a full budget and put their full artistic intent into Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train.

This is our favorite queue. It really feels like you’ve been shrunken down to the size of a fairy. It’s not like Toy Story Land where, yes, everything is big and plastic-y because it’s all made of toys — but it’s also cheap to produce. What we love about Busy Buggies, especially the queue, is that it’s the scale of Toy Story Land but with incredible detail.

The propwork is fantastic. Everything looks real. There’s aging and dirt and moss, which is another element that sets it apart from Toy Story Land, where everything feels too clean to be sitting in a backyard.

Again, they did a great job with music. We love the loop that plays in this queue.

The ride vehicles are gorgeous. They are detailed and look homespun with giant oversized props.

True, it doesn’t have animatronics or a big budget. It’s a short kiddy ride — but it’s consistent. There’s one screen at the beginning of the ride to have Tinker Bell appear and give context.

The propping of the ride is just as detailed and beautiful as the queue. We can’t believe the level of detail on the flowers. Every time Disney has done big plants, they look like plastic. These flowers have texture.

The Cheese the Mouse figure at the end is great. He’s animated well with wonderful movement. He’s our favorite part of Fantasy Springs.

There are also smells throughout the ride. For example, you pass bees making honey and you can smell honey.

The attention to detail in this particular attraction is second to none. It’s far beyond what it is. We’ve never seen so much spent on a family C-ticket.

This might be our favorite ride name of all time. When you learn about the ride, “Busy Buggies” seems to refer to the vehicles. They’re buggies and the guests are busy helping the fairies. But when you ride it, you realize the scenes feature working insects — busy buggies. It’s a fun double meaning.

We love this ride. It might be our favorite but if we’re really ranking them by overall quality, this is our number two.

Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival

Let’s talk about our least favorite Fantasy Springs ride, Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival.

We don’t think this is a bad ride. Like Busy Buggies, it’s clearly not an E-ticket. It fulfills other needs.

To us, this feels like it was originally going to be a walkthrough but they realized people would stop and take so many photos that the guest-per-hour ratio would be bad. This is what happened with Pirates of the Caribbean.

It’s a slow-moving, flat boat ride. We love that the first scene is outside. You can see it from the pathway outside and the load area. The area has a pleasant atmosphere.

What we love about Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is that the scenes have time to breathe. It has a slow build as you move through the caverns and then into the town.

That’s what we like about the opening scene of Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival. You get to watch Rapunzel singing in her tower for a long time, and then see the vignette of Flynn and Maximus. These outdoor animatronics aren’t at the same level as indoor animatronics but they’re great for what they are. There’s precedent for that with the hag on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom.

What we don’t like is that we change formats a bit. The next scene, indoors, feels like a Christmas display window. The animatronics have limited movement. Rapunzel is just going in a circle. There’s a weird miniature Snuggly Duckling, even though a full-size version exists in Fantasy Springs.

The healing scene with Rapunzel’s glowing hair is pretty. She’s a fully animated figure. It’s beautifully laid out.

Then you have the whole reason the ride exists: the lantern scene. They nailed this. It justifies the ride’s existence and wait time. If you love “Tangled,” you’re going to be in tears when you see this scene. There is no better way to bring this scene to life, and there were incredibly high expectations. People have been waiting since “Tangled” was released in 2010 for Disney to bring this scene to life.

The scene uses some projection and forced perspective but mixed with the physical pieces, it’s effective. It feels like there are thousands of lanterns. We love the layout of the track with a wide turn that lets you circle the whole room and spend as much time as possible in the scene.

We hate to say it but we think some of the power is taken away when they go for a cheap laugh with the thugs. Three of them appear just before the ride ends, but we feel they’re not needed here. The Snuggly Duckling is next door. You made a whole ride that you said was about the love story. Let Pascal be the humor.

You do have a nice final room with murals and Pascal.

We waited an hour and that felt long for this. Like we said, it’s okay to build things that aren’t E-tickets or big thrills, but you have to temper expectations. They did that with Busy Buggies by not offering Disney Premier Access. With Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival, we agree that there is demand for it justifying a paid line-skip but it shouldn’t be the same price (¥2,000) as Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure and Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey. It should be ¥1,500, indicating guests should expect it to be one ticket below the others.

We’re basically recreating the original Disney ticketing system. The ticket book controlled expectations. You knew with an E-ticket that you were in for the ride of a lifetime. And with a C or a D, you knew you were in for just some fun. Disney Premier Access should control expectations in the same way.

It’s not a bad attraction. There’s no questioning the quality and care that went into it. They built a quality Fantasyland dark ride.

Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey

Frozen Ever After at EPCOT was the first-ever “Frozen” ride and we gave that a glowing review. There are things we would change about it, like the projection faces. For World of Frozen, we think they cleaned up Frozen Ever After nicely, making it a legitimate E-ticket.

If Hong Kong’s Frozen Ever After is an E-ticket, Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey is an F-ticket for “Holy F, this is insane.”

The first part of the queue is a bunch of switchbacks under a big awning. It’s fine, but the interior queue is phenomenal.

There’s lots of cute art and props to look at. There’s a cuckoo clock-like castle figure with characters moving in and out.

We love the load area. The queue goes upstairs and you look out over it, seeing the full moon directly across from you through an opening in the roof. There’s a mural and hanging flowers.

Then you board the ride and it’s fantastic from start to finish. We can’t believe the size of the scenes. The ceilings are so high and the rooms are so large. The size is at the level of Pirates of the Caribbean.

That being said, there are some things we would have done differently. We’re not big on projections and screens unless they’re necessary. In the beginning, they have Grand Pabbie telling young trolls the story. So you have a couple of early moments from “Frozen” projected on rockwork.

We think that works to get into the story, which then picks up at “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?”

You’re traveling into memories, so none of the scenes try to really put you in the setting. It’s staged theatrically with some similarities to “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” from Disney California Adventure. For example, during “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” Anna is on one side of the door, and then it turns to show Elsa, instead of having you move around the door.

Then it moves to “For the First Time in Forever.” We love the way this scene is staged. You travel through the portrait gallery with Anna and then into the next room with Elsa, but you can still see Anna in the gallery, juxtaposing their feelings.

“Love is an Open Door” is a bit rushed. It’s all projection but it works for that number.

Then Elsa’s magic powers are revealed and there’s a cool effect with the fountains turning to ice. We start to see typical OLC spending with a boatload of animatronics, including the Duke of Weselton, who you’d never expect to see as an animatronic.

They blew Frozen Ever After away with “Let It Go.” We travel up the North Mountain with Elsa, which is the perfect way to do the lift hill. We get to see her actually create the ice bridge. It’s not an incredibly complex effect but it’s smartly done with a combination of practical and projection. Our fear with the creation of the ice palace was that, because of the nature of the scene, there would be too many projections.

It is projection-heavy but it’s such a giant room and so well staged that it works. It feels like a big epic moment. This is one of the best projection mapping scenes we’ve seen.

Here’s our big problem, though. The ride then rushes into the climax very quickly and doesn’t build correctly. They wanted to get right from “Let It Go” to Anna’s frozen heart melting. So they do the same fast-forwarding as the beginning of the ride. There are projections on the sails of ships of Hans attacking Elsa, Anna saving her and freezing, and Elsa crying.

We don’t understand why the memories are on sails. They’re right overhead. It strikes a weird tone that reminds us of Spaceship Earth when there would be a newsreel playing on a TV above you as you went backward. It doesn’t work. We would’ve found a way to have Hans swinging the sword and then falling out of the scene as Anna freezes, leaving her and Elsa. I would’ve extended the scene with animatronics. We didn’t need two projections, it could’ve been a physical scene.

The moment when Anna thaws is great. The projection mapping fades, her cape relaxes, and her color returns. After that, you plunge into a scene with more good projection mapping. You watch ice melt from the village.

Then you get a big, celebratory ending with animatronics of a bunch of characters that probably didn’t need them and we love it. They built cute animatronics of Anna and Elsa ice-skating. Olaf has the ending moment.

I think it’s Disney’s longest new ride in a few decades (not counting Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is technically an old ride). It’s another incredibly heavy hitter in a park stacked with heavy hitters.


We have separate reviews for the food, which you can click to read below or watch Tom’s video.

The Snuggly DucklingRoast beef popcornLookout CookoutRoyal Banquet of ArendelleYoo-Hoo bread

As far as the designs of the venues, they’re great.

The Snuggly Duckling has a fantastic exterior and a huge interior chock full of details. We love how it goes beyond the movie. The story is that there’s a giant oak tree growing into the building that will eventually overtake the restaurant. Where the tree is growing into the building near the front is a series of portraits showing how the tree has grown over time. We love those moments when the theme park iteration of something expands beyond the movie.

The Royal Banquet of Arendelle is stunning. There’s a photo op with the throne. Inevitably, elements are recycled from Arendelle — A Frozen Dining Adventure and Golden Crocus Inn.

Lookout Cookout is a little small. It could use more seating, but it has so many great details. It does feel haphazard like the Lost Kids built the space. There are painted murals and vignettes, including two referencing Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

Tokyo DisneySea has themed self-serve water stations. In Snuggly Duckling, it looks like a water pump. In Lookout Cookout, it looks like a bamboo water system the Lost Kids built.

Fantasy Springs Gifts

There are not a lot of interiors in Fantasy Springs but our favorite is Fantasy Springs Gifts. It features several props referencing classic stories like “Aladdin,” “Mulan,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” and “Brave.” These are ostensibly gifts characters gave the Duchess on her travels. There are also murals of Disney scenery. You could spend a good hour exploring the store’s details.

Final Thoughts

There were some interesting choices made with Fantasy Springs, most notably the choice to not have a lot of interior space to explore. Fantasy Springs Gifts is the only store and it’s on the bottom floor of the hotel. There’s a merchandise kiosk out before the land’s entrance. In Never Land, you can explore Skull Rock and the Jolly Roger, which is fun, but for the most part, you can only go into the rides and the restaurants.

They worked within space constraints and decided to dedicate space to placemaking — probably a good decision. With regards to stores, people don’t need to shop in Arendelle, Never Land, and Corona. The downside is there is less to explore; more shops would make the lands feel more real and populated.

There’s also no atmospheric entertainment. A few characters sometimes walk around but that’s it. World of Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland has a musical troupe and Mossy the baby troll. The Tokyo parks aren’t big on streetmosphere to begin with, but we would love to see entertainment in Fantasy Springs. It would help make the space feel more alive.

We don’t think Fantasy Springs is as world-changing as we and others thought it might be. It’s high quality, and there’s a level of care and budget in every inch of the land, on a larger scale than we’ve seen before.

The game has not changed but Tokyo DisneySea has done something that makes the park better off than before. They finally have the capacity they have required for years. It’s great that there are new rides, dining options, and a hotel. It’s accommodating for families — you can take a stroller almost all the way through the Busy Buggies queue and it’s waiting for you right when you get off.

We love Fantasy Springs, and we think you’ll love it, too. There is a slight disappointment that nothing was revolutionary; there was no new ride technology. The only surprise in that department was that the Busy Buggies spin, but everything they did logically makes sense. Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure and Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey add to an already hellacious line-up of E-tickets at Tokyo DisneySea. The best theme park in the world just got better.

Read our full guide to Fantasy Springs for more information about the land.

Watch the video version of Tom’s honest review below.

For the latest Disney Parks news and info, follow WDW News Today on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

The post REVIEW: Fantasy Springs Brings 4 New Rides to the Best Disney Theme Park on Earth, But Nothing Groundbreaking appeared first on WDW News Today.