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The land is ravaged with dangers more fearsome than you can imagine. For those of us who remained.. we found a safe haven.

Mulan to Aurora src

The Safe Haven is an Enchanted Forest location on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the second episode of the second season.


Before First Curse
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen, Regina, sends Hook to Wonderland to rip out the heart of her mother, the Queen of Hearts. Hook fails on the mission, and instead teams up with Cora, who wishes to kill Regina as revenge. Feigning death, her body is brought back to the Enchanted Forest by Hook in a casket. As Regina says goodbye to her supposedly dead mother, Cora learns her daughter is preparing to cast a curse. Since her love for Cora was the only thing holding her back, Regina needed her mother to be dead. After Regina has gone to enact the curse, Cora changes her mind and about killing her. Instead, she decides to wait for a time in the future when her daughter will truly need her. Travelling to a small island, Cora casts a shield spell over a portion of the Enchanted Forest, which will remain unaffected by the spreading curse. This, in itself, keeps herself and Hook protected from the curse, as well as various nearby residents. Although not touched by the curse, the subsequent people left behind in the Enchanted Forest are kept from aging. ("Queen of Hearts")

During First Curse
As the ogres dominant the Enchanted Forest, many people join together and build a safe haven to survive as a collective group. It is known Lancelot was the group leader, but at some unknown point, Cora killed him in order to masquerade in his place. Sometime after this event, Cora also allows herself to captured by the safe haven's survivors, who blame her for the curse since she is the Evil Queen's mother. ("Queen of Hearts", "Broken", "Lady of the Lake")

After First Curse

Twenty-eight years later, after the curse has broken, Prince Phillip awakens Aurora from the sleeping curse. In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold unleashes a Wraith to kill Regina, which has unseen consequences when the creature, along with Emma and Mary Margaret, are taken to Enchanted Forest through a hat. Prince Phillip, Aurora and Mulan make plans to head for the safe haven as just as the Wraith manifests in the Enchanted Forest. Branded by the creature's medallion, Prince Phillip later has his soul sucked out by the Wraith. As Aurora and Mulan pay their respects to his body, they find Emma and Mary Margaret unconscious under rubble. Mistakenly, they believe the women are responsible for his death and take them as prisoners. ("Broken")

Tying the strangers' wrists, Mulan has them walk behind as she and Aurora ride horses towards the safe haven. Inside the campsite, Emma and Mary Margaret are taken aback at the nearly medieval living standards of these refugees, but Mulan defends her people as survivors. Mary Margaret attempts to break free; knocking Aurora away and telling Emma to make a run for it. They both try to run, but Mulan coolly picks up a bolo weapon; spinning and hurling it at Mary Margaret, who takes a strong hit and goes down. Emma rushes to her side, and Mulan then instructs the other guards to take them to the pit. Soon after, while Emma tends to a still unconscious Mary Margaret in an underground prison, an imprisoned Cora asks if she needs help. ("We Are Both")

While Mary Margaret is still out cold, Emma learns Cora is Regina’s mother. Awakening, Mary Margaret is uneasy upon seeing Cora, who she obviously recognizes. Privately, she warns Emma against trusting Cora as she is far worse than Regina. Cora insists she has changed, and longingly asks about her daughter while Emma mentions missing her son, Henry. Soon after, the prison exit is opened so Emma and Mary Margaret can come out as the haven leader, Leviathan, wishes to speak with them. Once outside, Emma mistakenly assumes Mary Margaret thinks of her as helpless and that’s why she followed her into the portal. Rather than that, Mary Margaret explains she just wanted to be with her. Suddenly, Mary Margaret sees Leviathan, who she recognizes as Lancelot, and he, recognizing her as Snow White, happily reunite as friends. From afar, Aurora, still bitter over Phillip’s death, is upset the strangers seem to be acquainted with Lancelot. She wants the two women to pay for her what they did to Phillip, but Mulan warns her not to confuse justice with vengeance. Despite backing down from the argument, Aurora hides a concealed dagger. After some talking, Lancelot is brought up to speed about Emma and Mary Margaret’s desire to return home. Although Mary Margaret knows the location of an existing portal, she doesn't want to name the area since Cora is near. Lancelot agrees to provide them with arms and supplies if she and Emma take Mulan for protection, to which they agree. Aurora, who secretly follows them, also joins the trio. Later, after the women find the magic wardrobe, they discover Cora has been masquerading as Lancelot this whole time. When the wardrobe is burnt to ash during a battle with Cora, Emma and Mary Margaret decide to go back to the safe haven. They do not, however, see Cora return to collect the wardrobe ashes. ("Lady of the Lake")

From a distance, Hook spies on the safe haven through his telescope when Cora arrives to show him the wardrobe ashes that can bring them to Storybrooke. She inquiries what he is going to do once they reach the other land, to which he replies, "Skin myself a crocodile." ("The Crocodile")

Before Aurora, Emma, Mary Margaret and Mulan reach the safe haven, Cora ambushes the survivors and slaughters all of them by ripping out their hearts. At some point, she takes the hearts and places them into individual cabinet slots in one of the haven shacks. Pretending to have lived through Cora’s attack, Hook hides himself under a pile of corpses and is later found the foursome. Certain he is lying, Emma ties Hook to a tie and threatens to feed him to ogres unless he tells the truth. Hook relents, admitting he was allied with Cora, but offers to help them find another portal if they allow him to come to Storybrooke as well. He then leads them to beanstalk, which must be climbed in order to steal a enchanted compass from a giant. However, Hook’s real intent in temporarily allying with them is to secure the compass for himself and Cora as they need the object to be combined with the wardrobe ashes to make a portal. ("The Doctor", "Into the Deep")

Hook, outsmarted by Emma, ends up stranded atop the beanstalk while she escapes with the compass. Feeling betrayed, since Hook used her bracelets without her, Cora severs ties with him. After doing so, she teleports to the haven shack to remove one of the hearts she previously collected and blows on it with her magic. The other hearts, each in their own drawer slots, glow and float out. While standing in the doorway of the shack, she commands, using the heart, for several of the survivors’ corpses to rise. The undead creatures goes after Emma and her allies, and they manage to kidnap Aurora. While imprisoned in a cell beneath the former haven, Aurora is offered a tray of stew by Cora, but she refuses; fearing it is poisoned. Cora finds her suspicion laughable, noting that Aurora is more useful to her alive than dead, as she intends to trade her for the compass. Aurora is skeptical since Emma and Mary Margaret only want to go home, and she assumes they are willing to sacrifice her to do it. Going for the girl’s weakness, Cora presents a highly tempting offer to return Phillip’s soul to the Enchanted Forest if she cooperates with her. Aurora refuses to comply, so Cora flings the girl against the wall and knocks her out. Once Cora leaves the room, Hook sneaks in. Using his hook, which was previously enchanted to take out a heart, he rips out Aurora’s. Unaware of what transpired, Aurora sleepily awakens as Hook shakes her into consciousness. She regards him cautiously, but Hook states he is helping her escape to foil Cora’s plans. Before Aurora flees, he asks her to tell Emma that she should have trusted him all along. Later, a furious Cora prepares to kill him for letting her hostage go until she opens his "present" to her; Aurora’s heart. With the heart clutched in her palm, Cora uses it to control Aurora’s speaking actions and spies on the group’s movements. ("Into the Deep")

After Emma and Mary Margaret return home, Aurora and Mulan successfully restore Phillip’s soul to his body. Near the shoreline of the safe haven, a passed out Neal washes onto the beach since travelling through a portal. Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip approach to check on him, and seeing as the stranger is wounded, they bring him to the palace to recuperate. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning")


Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. Gittins, Susan (October 16, 2012). SET: ONCE UPON A TIME's Island Haven in Present-Day Fairytale Land Destroyed in 2×05 – Updated. Hollywood North.
  2. Gittins, Susan (October 21, 2012). WEEK: October 15-21, 2012. Hollywood North. “Friday, October 19th – Once Upon a Time films morning scene at Deer Lake Park.”
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Block, Cheri (November 27, 2012). Once upon a time,'s Sheri Block visited the 'Once' set. CTV. “The pilot episode of "Once Upon A Time" featured a scene with Rumplestiltskin in a cave, shot on location at a mine an hour and 15 minutes away from Vancouver. Since it's not practical to travel that far every time they needed such a shot, a replica cave was built inside the soundstage. Even though it has only been used for Rumplestiltskin's cave once, the show has gotten a lot of use out of this set – including as the Storybrook [sic] mines (a S-shaped roller coaster track was built to accommodate a mine car), the Queen's dungeon, an underground pit where Cora threw Emma and Mary Margaret and the site where the dwarves mine diamonds.”
  4. Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Two DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
  5. Ginnifer Goodwin on the Season One DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "7:15 A.M."
  6. David H. Goodman and Colin O'Donoghue on the Season Two DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
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