Disney’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” comes to theaters Friday, but you can experience a little magic before the show if you know where to look.
From sipping tea (in honor of the character “Chip”) to planting your own enchanted roses, there are plenty of ways to have a Disney Day around the metro-east.
By the time you finish this list, the show will be on the big screen. You find can showtimes here. Enjoy the film and the magic around you.
1. Have a tea party at Rachel’s Garden. Chip Potts, the son of Mrs. Potts, is one of the most adorable characters in the original film.
Chat about “Chip” over tea at Rachel’s Garden in Belleville. The restaurant serves eight hot teas and two cold teas daily. Skip from a fancy tea cup, then stay for lunch or do some shopping at the gift shop. Rachel’s is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Find it here: 3917 Frank Scott Parkway W., Belleville, 618-234-9355.
2. If you’re a true fan of the movie, head to the library. Belle loved books.
Act out the opening sequence in the original film by taking a trip to your local library. Sure, reading a book on your iPad is easy, but that doesn’t compare to cracking opening an old favorite in the library. The next time you’re in Belleville, check out the West Branch of the city’s public library. A 700-pound statue of beloved Peanut’s character Lucy now sits outside the front door. She’s not Belle, but taking a photo with Patty might be fun. Find it here: 3414 W, Main St., Belleville, 618-233-4366.
3. Plant your own roses. The film wouldn’t be the same with the enchanted rose.
Pay tribute to the beautiful flower by planting a bed of roses this spring. Don’t worry if you aren’t a master gardener. The experts at Effinger Garden Center said it’s not hard to grow roses. All you need is sunlight and good air circulation. Start with the Hybrid Tea Red Rose “Mr. Lincoln.” It’s available at the garden center for $30 a pot. Find it here: 1201 N Illinois St, Belleville, 618-236-4600.
4. Watch the 1991 film again.
Before you head to the theater to see the remake, take time to watch the original film again. If you don’t have a video-streaming service, Family Video, 1838 Central Plaza Dr., has five copies of the movie. Watch it over breakfast with porridge instead of popcorn. Here’s a recipe for Beast-inspired breakfast. Find Family Video here: 1838 Central Plaza Dr., Belleville, 618-233-3765.
5. Take a stained-glass window tour or attend a service at Cathedral of Saint Peter in Belleville. The stained-glass windows in the 1991 film helped to illustrate the story of the Beast.
But long before Disney used stained glass, Catholic churches told stories with ornate windows. No time to sit in service? The next time you drive by the Cathedral of Saint Peter, take time to admire the windows from the outside. Find it here: 200 W. Harrison St., Belleville, 618-234-1166.
6. Go shopping. Belle’s yellow gown is loved by Disney fans everywhere.
Skip the jeans and T-shirt-look before the show. Be fancy instead. Check out a local thrift shop to find a good deal on a Disney-inspired dress or accessory. Come on guys, Comic Con and Halloween aren’t the only times adults can play dress-up. If you really want to spurge on an outfit for a child, head to the Disney store in St. Louis or Chesterfield. JCPenney in Fairview Heights also sells Disney apparel for children. Find it here: 134 St Clair Square, Fairview Heights, 618-632-2300.