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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunchies and Crunchies: Maurice's Munchies

January 22, 2012

I just recently had the fortune of viewing the theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast in 3D on the glorious big screen, and though I did not have the favorite theatrical treat of a bag of popcorn, the buttery, salty puffed and popped snack came to mind while thinking of how to close our Beauty and the Beast themed week for FromScreentoTheme.com. With all the possible food related articles I could have written to celebrate Beauty and the Beast and Disney Food, the perfect topic came to me while discussing the film with friends. Though recipes for Beef Ragout, Cheese Souffle, Pie, and Pudding en flamb' would have been great topics, my friend reminded me about a terrific new(ish) outdoor food stand right in the heart of Fantasyland: Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine.

Characters from Beauty and the Beast seem to be popular proprietors of food establishments in Fantasyland. We have seen Lumiere serve up French Fries in his Kitchen and Mrs. Potts dish out ice cream from her Cupboard (you can read all about that here in the very first edition of the Sunday Brunchies and Crunchies series). With the upcoming 'Be Our Guest' Restaurant for New Fantasyland, those characters closed up shop for bigger and better things. Fortunately, Belle's father Maurice decided Fantasyland still needed a taste of what was coming.

Popping up sometime around 2011, Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine opened shop by the construction walls of Fantasyland, close to the scattered seating area where Dumbo once flew. In addition to popcorn, this stand also sells bottled water, soda, and the usual ice cream and frozen treats found in Disney World. Maurice's Machine had multiple functions!

Though many of these stands are set up around the park, the Imagineers did incredibly well with this one; not only is it functional in its purpose, but for the environment and the time of its opening as well. First of all, Maurice's Machine provides a preview of what kinds of theming elements we'll be seeing with the new Beauty and the Beast themed area of New Fantasyland, and if this is just a popcorn stand, imagine how great the actual restaurant will be! Secondly, one can fantasize or formulate how it exactly contributes to the story of Fantasyland and its new additions.

The Imagineers always come up with some story to nearly everything in the parks. They even drew one up for an attraction name change when Cinderella's Golden Carrousel became Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel. Though I have not read any official back story to this little stand, I can guess as to what it could be. In Beauty and the Beast, Maurice leaves town and travels through the forest to go to the fair to exhibit his Wood Chopping Contraption. As we know, he misses the fair, and the machine is never presented. Additionally, Chip destroys that machine in his successful efforts to rescue Maurice and Belle, who were trapped in his basement workshop. Surely, Maurice cannot let his life's work go to waste, so after Belle moves in with the Prince, he travels from the castle back to his workshop to dream up his next invention.


Screen Capture from
Walt Disney Pictures Beauty and the Beast

On his way home, he passes the farmlands on the outskirts of the village, passing hay stacks and cornfields. Then, inspiration hits him! Anyone can chop wood, they don't need an invention for that. But popcorn is not quite as common as wood choppers. Once back in his workshop, he grabs his favorite dog-legged clincher and recycles all of the coils, metal pipes, chimneys, and dials from his previous invention. Maurice strikes up a deal the farmer of the cornfield, and gathers up several bushels of ears to supply his Amazing Popping Machine.

When New Fantasyland officially opens, the walls will come down to reveal a Fantasy Forest that was always there and we've never seen. In the meantime, Maurice has left his village and went through the forest to present his latest invention at the tournament fair that's taking place in the Cinderella Castle Courtyard. Now guests from all over can enjoy the fruits of his labor at the fair and pretty soon guests will be able to visit Maurice's home and village. Perhaps he'll even let us see his workshop too.


Screen Capture from
Walt Disney Pictures Beauty and the Beast

The Disney theme parks are set a part from other theme parks by the stories they tell not just in their attractions, but in the whole environment as well. Everything plays a part, everything has a purpose. Be it futuristic talking trash bins in Tomorrowland to Prince and Princess restroom signs in Fantasyland, there is nothing too small to tell a tale. So next time you're in Fantasyland, grab a bucket of Maurice's popcorn and think of this story or let your own imagination create a tale as old as time.

 

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