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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch Sunday News: Enchanted Grove Chopped Down for Curious Cats

November 13, 2011

With the last weekend of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival upon us, it would be only fitting to'not talk about it. Actually, the plan was to cover the festival one last time, but surprise stirrings in the Magic Kingdom bring us to discuss the latest 'new' eatery in Fantasyland! I was walking in the park last week with my friend Aaron Wallace* who was visiting for an extended weekend, and he asked me what I thought of the new Cheshire Caf'. I had no idea what he was talking about and we quickly rushed over to the edge of Fantasyland by the Mad Tea Party. After some quick online research, we realized that day was the grand opening of the 'new' Caf'.

All summer long and for majority of the Fall season, the Enchanted Grove juice bar was covered up with the usual canvas coverings, printed with images of the building as it is typically seen. I was wondering why they were taking so long just to repaint and re-shingle the roof as Pinnochio's Village Haus had a rehab, but it didn't take all summer and it is a much larger building. Much to my surprise, Enchanted Grove was not only being refurbished, but re-themed! Long time readers will recall one of my favorite articles I've written was about the evolution of 'the Lancer's Inn' to its current incarnation 'the Friar's Nook.' In similar fashion, we will look at how the 'Enchanted Grove' refreshment counter has evolved into the 'Cheshire Caf'.'


The view of the new Caf' as you head towards Tomorrowland. The color scheme of the shingled roof has changed from teal blue and pink to natural brown.

When Magic Kingdom opened a smidge over 40 years ago, the charming little timberline building by the Mad Tea Party did not even exist. By 1973, the little house appeared with a wide double patio, though it was not for food at all. From 1973 to 1981, this was the home to the Fantasyland Art Festival. During this time period, a fleet of artists drew guests' portraits, equipped with seats and easels lining the patio. But by 1981, the popularity of live artist portrait sittings seemed to wane and both festivals were removed in lieu of more profitable shops.


Aaron and I weren't sure what this little alcove was when we were exploring the area. It seemed to be a forgotten seating area and we hypothesized perhaps it was a new Meet-and-Greet area for Wonderland characters. I now realize, this was the second half of the large patio for when the building housed the Fantasyland Art Festival.

The reimagineered shop became Enchanted Grove, a juice bar and refreshment stand. While I don't have any pictures of the former shop, I do remember there was an emphasis on fresh fruits, what with the theme being an enchanted grove. The grove served fresh fruit, juice, lemonade, punch, and lemonade slush and raspberry slush refreshments as well as coffee, tea, muffins, and cereal.

 

Cheshire Caf' still serves the same exact menu, with all items counting as snacks on the Disney Dining Plan. What's interesting to note about the menu is the artwork for the shop name logo. Aaron noticed that it's very much in the style of the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. While the Cheshire Cat from Disney's 1951 film Alice in Wonderland decorates the main shop sign, it seems to be the font of Tim Burton. If there's one Disney character that would match the zany style of Tim Burton, it would be the Cheshire Cat, so in my opinion the use of such lettering is fitting.

 

 


Even the new Restroom sign features Tim Burton Alice font!

With a somewhat simple rehab and retheming, the often forgotten Enchanted Grove was given new life and made to better fit the area in Fantasyland in which it resides. The area music played near the new caf' and in the adjacent bathrooms is a musical score of a medley of songs from Alice in Wonderland, though it is different than the music played in the Mad Tea Party. The opening of the New Fantasyland is drawing closer and closer and the existing Fantasyland continues to get refreshed in preparation for its extension. Distinct areas of Fantasyland will soon appear and begs one to wonder if this area of the land is becoming a miniature Wonderland of sorts.

*yes, that Aaron Wallace of the Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Pod podcast found at http://www.aaronwallaceonline.com/

Research Bibliography

Yee, Mike. 'Fantasyland Art Festival' Widen Your World. 2001. 11 November 2011. <http://www.omniluxe.net/wyw/fanart.htm>

 

 

 

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