Have you become a creature of habit on your vacation? You always hit the same attractions, same restaurants, same shows, and same activities each time you visit. I know we did for a while. Sure we will almost always hit the headliners, but recently we did some attractions off the beaten path that are under rated. Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom. Typically in the morning at “rope drop”, people are racing to their first attraction, most likely to a headliner that will have a long line very quickly. Up until our trip last week we were the same way. One of our mornings at the Magic Kingdom, as we crossed under the train station, we saw the antique Fire Truck that was built in 1910 with nobody except Castmembers by it. If you are unaware, these vehicles will give guests rides from Town Square to the front of Cinderella’s Castle. They are not handicap accessible and you cannot bring strollers on. Although, we had a stroller and I intended to walk to let the rest of my family take the ride, this was not the case. Another Castmember walked the stroller to the Castle for us. Our trip was almost short lived though, the engine would not start. Since they could not get it started they brought out another car for us to ride in, the “Princess” car. This car was also an antique built in 1903 and primarily used for the Princesses during the afternoon parade in inclement weather. It was a great experience riding down Main Street USA, waving to everyone we passed and singing, albeit horribly, with a photo op at the end in front of the Castle. Sure this wasn’t a headliner attraction but it is one we will never forget. Next on our list is the Country Bear Jamboree. Even though this is a classic attraction and original to the Magic Kingdom we rarely see it and it was the first time for two of our kids. A main reason for this is the fact that my wife doesn’t appreciate some of the lyrics to the songs like I do. For example, “momma don’t whip little Buford, we think you should shoot him instead” and the “Blood on the Saddle” song. Like me, my kids were in hysterics though. There are a ton of sight and sound gags in this show which we all appreciated, so if you haven’t seen it in a while or at all you need to head over and check it out. Although we have played the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game in the past we took a little more time with it this trip. My kids and I have loved collecting the cards to the game but this time it was more about the game play then just doing enough to get a new pack of cards each day we went. The game itself was fun to play but the details to each “portal” were excellent. Each one was set up to be authentic to the area it is in and would almost all be missed if you were not looking for it. This causes people who don’t play to stop and look at what is going on. The favorite for my youngest son was in the Tortuga Tavern. He was excited that the portal was in the fire place, this is also the place where fellow Sorcerers will meet to trade cards. Tom Sawyer Island is another gem not to be missed. It gives kids a chance to run and play giving them some free roaming time. Just be careful at Fort Langhorne there is a secret exit in the back that your kids might find when you are not expecting.
At Epcot, if you have the time, check out the Circle of Life show in the Land Pavilion. This is not an exciting show but is a nice place to sit for a few minutes with a good message about conservation. One of the highlights for my daughters, ages 7 and 9 was getting Epcot Passports and having them stamped in each country with the Castmembers from each one spending some one on one time with them answering questions. Although our boys were a little young to understand the passports, they were able to have cut out Agent P and Duffy Bears stamped in each country which they were able to color with markers provided at the Kidcot spots in each of the countries.
At Hollywood Studios our three older kids took part in the Jedi Training Academy. Although we went straight to he sign up (highly recommended) it was probably our longest wait all week, but it was worth it. We have always enjoyed watching the show, but with our kids in it, we enjoyed it even more. Our youngest, who was too afraid to go up was excited to watch his siblings fight Darth Vader. Another new experience for us was Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine. The food was good and there was a wide selection. The characters spent a lot of time with the kids at the table and there were even times through out the meal that the kids got up and danced with the characters too.
Last but not least, Animal Kingdom. We have always said that Animal Kingdom is a full day park, however, we found that Africa/ Conservation Station can be a whole day in itself. Here we tried the Wilderness Explores activity for the first time. This is very time consuming but very educational and our kids had a blast doing it. If you are not familiar with it there are stations set up through out Animal Kingdom where participants earn badges (stickers) in their Wilderness Explorers Manual. At these stations you learn about conservation, animal tracking, animal care and various other skills. Like I said we only finished Africa and Conservation Station since it was time consuming but we will finish on our next trip. Mind you we were in the park by 8:15am and left at 4:45pm. Lastly we tried The Tusker House for lunch. The meal was great with many options including African foods and kid friendly choices. With the help of AJ Wolfe from http://www.disneyfoodblog.com and @DisneyFoodBlog we tried the Jungle Juice which isn’t on the menu but was very tropical and refreshing.
That does it for our new experiences this trip. Go out and fined yours and let us know how it worked. Send us a comment here or on Twitter @disneyhelp we are also on Facebook at Disneyhelp stop by and like our page.