Disney World Updates

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Here are the latest and greatest of Disney World news and updates, and maybe a few scoops! We will be sending a separate update on Disneyland news since there is so much going on in California.

Disney Parks

Disneyland and Disney World now ban all selfie sticks in the parks. They have stated this is for the safety of guests and cast members. Do not bring them into the parks – this is as of June 30th.

Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain has been added to evening Extra Magic Hours as of June 13.

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The Orange Bird is now returning to Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle in Adventureland. The menus at Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle switched earlier this year, so our beloved Dole Whip is now available at Sunshine Tree Terrace. We love this change as there is far more space at Sunshine. Aloha Isle now serves our other favorite cold treat, Citrus Swirl. You can find the Orange Bird added to the marquee. There was limited edition merchandise that may find its way back to the stores.

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Be Our Guest Restaurant began serving breakfast starting in the spring. Reservations are recommended and it has been quite a hit with guests. Breakfast includes scrambled eggs and eggs florentine.

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Taste Track – new quick-serve food at Future World near Test Track. They serve new delicious recipes for the favorite grilled cheese sandwich including Gruyere and Applewood smoked bacon, Fontina with tomato basil grilled cheese, and Canadian cheddar and apples grilled cheese on cinnamon raisin bread. Each sandwich comes with your choice of soup or salad. Other menu items include chicken salad and kid’s grilled cheese.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series lineup continues:

Don’t Look Back–A Tribute to Boston –June 27-July4
Fire & Ice–A Tribute to Pat Benatar–July 5-11
Stayin’ Aline–A Tribute to the Bee Gees–July 12-18
Hotel California–A Salute to the Eagles–July 19-25

All tribute bands can be seen at the America Gardens Theatre Stage at various concert times.

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American Music Machine

New World Showcase Entertainment: The American Music Machine will be performing at the American Adventure pavilion. B’net Al Houwariyate, a Berber music and dance troupe from Marrakesh, with perform at the Morocco pavilion.

New Norway attractions for Frozen are set to open in 2016. Work is already underway for “Frozen Ever After” and “Royal Sommerhus”. The Maelstrom ride will be transformed into a ride into the world of Arendelle. There will also be a meet and greet for Anna & Elsa.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will celebrate its 20th year this fall. A new 12-inch Figment plush will be introduced to commemorate this event. There will also be a new concert series called “Eat to the Beat” that includes a wide array of bands performing.

Hollywood Studios

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Frozen Summer Fun began on June 17th at Hollywood Studios! This includes:

  • Frozen Royal Welcome– Processional twice a day and this year it will include Olaf as well as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff with a new ice palace.
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  • Olaf’s Summer Cool Down–New show with Olaf and friends
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  • “Frozen Fever” will be playing in the ABC Sound Studio including a peek behind the scenes at the making of the film
  • A “Frozen” Sing Along Celebration will be moving into the Hyperion Theater at the center of Hollywood Studios
  • “Frozen” Fireworks will follow the “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party that includes Olaf with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff.

New Frozen Summer Fun cupcakes will be available starting June 17th at ABC Commissary, FairFax Fare, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls, Rosie’s All American Café, and The Trolley Car Café. The cupcakes are included in Disney Dining Plan, and all “Frozen” specialty cupcakes will be available through September 7th.

Once Upon a Time fans will love the new themed window fronts on the Streets of America! This very popular show will have new displays along the street.

Animal Kingdom

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Zuri’s Sweet Treats opens in Harambe Market and will be serving traditional candy treats with an African twist. They will also have Flame Tree Barbecue’s signature sauce to purchase!

Creature Comforts reopened June 18 with re-imagined food and beverages. Menu includes Starbucks coffee as well as breakfast options like sandwiches and pastries.

Pizzafari will no longer serve breakfast at Animal Kingdom – lunch and dinner only. Breakfast is available at Tusker House, Rainforest Cafe and kiosks and stands throughout the park including Creature Comforts.

Pocahontas has a new meet and greet location at the Discovery Island Character Landing. This is the only location in Walt Disney World to meet Pocahontas. Animal Kingdom is home to other exclusive character meet and greets: Tarzan, Rafiki, Dug & Russell from “Up”, and Baloo & King Louie. As always, check the Times Guide for character times.

Typhoon Lagoon

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As part of the Coolest Summer Ever celebration at Disney World, Typhoon Lagoon water park will host the Teen Beach 2: Beach Party (#teenbeach2)! This celebration will include summery games, dancing to retro-beach tunes and hula hoop contests daily. Teen Beach 2 runs through July 5th.

Downtown Disney

With the renovation of Downtown Disney still underway and transforming into Disney Springs, rumors are flying about the closing of Disney Quest, the interactive game center in Downtown Disney. It is possible that next year, it will be gone from the newly redesigned area.

Disney World Resorts

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Polynesian Bungalows are now open at the Polynesian Resort. These new Bungalows as well as studio villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club family. The bungalows sit over the Seven Seas Lagoon and can sleep up to 8 guests. We will be sharing a detailed post on the new additions to the Polynesian resort shortly.

Please keep following Preschoolears for more Disney updates for Disney World, Disneyland and all things Disney!

Photos credit: Walt Disney World News

Disney Parks Update 2014

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This is our last update of 2014 for the Disney Parks and news! Hard to believe that 2015 is almost here! If you will be at the parks this holiday or soon after, here are all the news!

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

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New “Frozen Christmas Celebration” – On Christmas Day, millions of viewers will be watching the Christmas Day Parade at Disney Parks on ABC. This year, the characters from “Frozen” have been added to the parade which moves several characters around on floats. Filming has already begun at Disney World and musical guests this year include Train, Trey Songz, Lucy Hale, and Trisha Yearwood. Disney hasn’t announced all the hosts of the parade but one of the co-hosts was recently announced: Tim Tebow. Tune in on Christmas Day for all the parade fun!

New! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sold Out Dec 19: The very last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the Season is now officially sold out.  Tickets are still available for December: 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18 2014.

New! Meet Santa at Magic Kingdom Park During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Santa is available to meet guests at Town Square Courtyard on Main Street, U.S.A., during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Epcot

New! United Kingdom Pavilion Receives New Entertainment Offering: The Paul McKenna Band debuted last week in the United Kingdom as one of the new World Showcase entertainment acts. The Paul McKenna Band is a traditional four-piece group from Glasgow, Scotland who will perform in the courtyard of the United Kingdom. The band’s contemporary approach to songs never strays too far from their Scottish, folk music roots. Show times for the Paul McKenna Band are 11, 11:50 a.m., 12:45, 1:40, 2:35, 3:35 and 4:50 p.m.

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre, with show times at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. While some of these dates have passed, we wanted to share with you the entire list of narrators that are part of this program. Narrators include:

  • Jodi Benson – November 28 – 29, 2014
  • Neil Patrick Harris – November 30 – December 2, 2014
  • Jonathan Groff (NEW!) – December 3 – 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 – 6, 2014
  • LeVar Burton – December 7 – 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 12, 2014
  • Joe Morton (NEW!) – December 13 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for Guests. With these special dinner packages, Guests receive dinner at a restaurant of their choice, guaranteed seating at America Gardens Theatre for a booked Candlelight Processional show time and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Note: Dinner packages do not include park admission. Limited availability.

New! Meet Santa at Epcot:  Santa is available to meet guests at The American Adventure, during Holidays Around the World.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Disney Forms Relationship with Turner Classic Movies for The Great Movie Ride: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced a new strategic relationship with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and The Walt Disney Studios to broaden its reach in family entertainment with joint efforts centered on classic film. The relationship features include new TCM integration into The Great Movie ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on-air showcase of Disney Treasures. TCM branding will be integrated into the attraction’s marquee as well as banners, posters and display windows outside the attraction. In the queue line, families will enjoy new digital movie posters and will watch a new pre-ride video with TCM host Robert Osborne providing illuminating insights from the movies some of which Guests will experience during the ride. The finale will feature an all-new montage of classic movie moments. After Guests exit the attraction, they will have a photo opportunity with a classic movie theme. Changes are expected to be seen in The Great Movie Ride by Spring 2015.

Disney’s Star Wars Weekends Dates Announced and Dining Available for Booking: Attention fans of The Force – get ready to plan your trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2015! Star Wars Weekends will be held every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 15-June 14, 2015. Once again, the Star Wars Character Dining Experiences will be available and they are open for booking now. Choose from Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at $49.99 per adult and $31.99 per child ages 3-9 or Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, Including Fantasmic! Dining Package at $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity. Star Wars Weekends dates are as follows:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17, 2015
  • Weekend II: May 22-24, 2015
  • Weekend III: May 29-31, 2015
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7, 2015
  • Weekend V: June 12-14, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue to Close Temporarily Starting Jan. 5: Beginning Jan. 5, construction will start at Flame Tree Barbecue, which will result in an approximate three month closure. During the refurbishment, which is anticipated to last until early April, we will enhance the location by adding additional covered seating areas, covering choice Guest walkways to some pavilion seating areas and extending the roof over the main building to offer additional cover for Guests waiting to place their order. Since the food offerings at Flame Tree Barbecue are favorites amongst Guests, a selection of them will be offered at existing kiosks throughout the park during the downtime.

Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Front Desk Reopened: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has reopened the front desk of the Great Ceremonial House, and it’s beautiful!

Resort Holiday Decorations have Returned:

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort:  The all-new “Frozen” gingerbread ice castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees – Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are decorated with sugar, chocolate and candy.

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort: Also all new is a life-size replica of a Jersey Shore Boardwalk concession stand serving holiday treats – ice cream cones, gingerbread houses and cookies and stollen bread. Sweet wreaths and Mickey- and Minnie-shaped gingerbreads decorate the stand.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: The life-size gingerbread house celebrates 16 years at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – the pastry chefs use the same building plans to re-create a fresh masterpiece each year, using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria (they estimate 400 hours of baking).

Disney’s Beach Club Resort: Check out the 14th annual Holiday Carousel, a life-size, spinning carousel with ponies made of chocolate and fondant, handcrafted poinsettia and gingerbread snowflakes – look for 14 hidden Mickeys, one for each year!

Disney’s Yacht Club: Find an adorable holiday village with miniature train adorns the lobby, surrounded with sugar rock mountains.

Disneyland

“Frozen Fun” at Disneyland

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Frozen is invading Disneyland in 2015! All the new Frozen attractions will officially open on January 7th but they will begin select sneak peaks starting December 20th.

  • For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – The Muppet*Vision 3D theater in Hollywood Land has been transformed for this event into the beautiful Crown Jewel Theatre from Arendelle. You’re invited to step inside and join the Arendelle Historians – along with special appearances by Anna, Elsa & Kristoff – for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
  • Olaf’s Snow Fest – Stage 17 in Hollywood Land plays host to an immersive winter wonderland straight out of the Kingdom of Arendelle, complete with a giant snow play area and musical performances by The Frolicking Fjords and The Tubadors. You can glide down a snow slide, build a snowman of your own and visit everyone’s favorite snowy pal, Olaf and give him a warm hug.
  • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post – Head back outside, and nearby you’ll find Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, where you can pick up the latest “Frozen”-inspired apparel, plush, toys, mugs and more.FrozenOlaf
  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – Anna and Elsa meet & greet will move from Fantasyland to an elegant new location inside the Disney Animation attraction at Disney California Adventure park, where you can meet them as part of a special royal greeting. You may also get a chance to meet Olaf! The colorful and varied display in the Animation Courtyard will also now include scenes and music from Disney’s Academy Award-winning blockbuster hit, “Frozen,” and at Animation Academy, a Disney artist asks, “Do You Want to Draw a Snowman?”
  • Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party – Each evening, you’re invited to “chill out” in Hollywood Land with music, dancing, interactive fun and more in this new, family-friendly experience. You’ll arrive at the party through an icy archway to find wintry décor, dazzling lighting effects, cool photo spots, yummy treats and frosty beverages for all ages. Throughout the night, a giant thermometer registers the drop in temperature, as things get so cool they ultimately reach the freezing point when everyone lets it go in a spectacular “Frozen Fun” crescendo!
  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade resumes January 7th and Anna & Elsa will once again be on their pre-parade float.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats returns later this month with a new addition to this charming and beloved Fantasyland attraction, with excursions through the world of “Frozen” offering views of the fjord-side village of Arendelle, including the stately castle where Anna and Elsa grew up, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, and Elsa’s mountaintop ice palace. The miniature locales of “Frozen” will find a new home among the familiar scenes of some of Disney’s most enduring and timeless fairy tales.
  • Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink will be continuing through February 22, 2015 at Downtown Disney District
  • Anne & Elsa Boutique is open now at Downtown Disney District.

We will soon be posting a look into what is happening in 2015 for Disney parks and Disney news so stay tuned for our next post!

Happy Disney travels!

A Tribute to the Sorcerer’s Hat

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For those who haven’t heard Disney’s big news, they will be removing the Sorcerer’s Hat from Hollywood Studios sometime in the beginning of 2015. Dates have not been announced, nor has what will possibly replace it as the icon for Hollywood Studios. We actually have loved that hat, while we know others have not. But I wanted to pay photo tribute to an icon that has stood for many years. I hope we can get one more picture with it before it comes down!

In 1999, there was no Sorcerer’s Hat! You can see straight down to the Great Movie Ride. That is me in the horrible short overalls.

Hollywood Studios in 1999

Hollywood Studios in 1999

And then the hat was added…and Hollywood Boulevard changed!

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Our favorite pics with the Sorcerer’s Hat:

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The hat has served many guests well as a wonderful backdrop for pictures. We are speculating that Disney has big plans for Hollywood Studio, and we look forward to hearing about all the plans! For now, we will say goodbye to the big blue hat. We will miss it!

Disney News and Updates

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After a nice summer break here at Preschoolears, we are back to work and putting together all the Disney news for 2014 including a new section we are calling “Disney Rumors” to include rumors about parks and movies and such!

Disney World

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Hollywood Studios had a fabulous Frozen summer and extended the Frozen Summer celebration through the end of August. Disney recently announced that The American Idol Experience will be closing permanantly at the end of August. Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration will probably be moving into the theater to take it’s place.

Capt. Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort is finally reopened! It underwent renovations and also has a brand new menu! The dining area has been redesigned in a fun Polynesian theme and the touch-screen ordering kiosks are gone. New menu items include Chicken & Waffles, Udon Noodle Bowls, Lobster Roll, Coconut Curry Meatballs, and Polynesian Salad. The menu has many more options including sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. They also serve breakfast including the famous Tonga Toast. Sad to say but the Dole Whip station has been removed and for the time being, guests will have to get their Dole Whips at Aloha Isle at the Magic Kingdom. Disney has said it plans to open a new location at the Polynesian that will serve Dole Whips but no word yet on when it will open.

Memory Maker is now adding video to your visit! If you pre-purchase your Memory Maker and link it with your My Disney Experience, they will add video from your Tower of Terror experience! If you have MagicBands and Memory Maker, you can have an edited video of your thrilling ride within 24 hours. Note: You must have the Magic Band AND Memory Maker for this to be added to your My Disney Experience.

Disneyland

Elsa & Anna Boutique is set to open in the Downtown Disney area in mid-September. Studio 365 will be closing as of August 25th and undergoing a transformation into the new boutique!

Pirates League is returning to Disneyland during Halloween time this year. Pirates League is where “pirates” dressup kids like pirates and pirate princesses including makeup, sash and more. It is a seasonal offering and reservations are recommended.

Disneyland Trip Giveaway: The 1990’s are calling and they want your Disneyland photos! With Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary next year, Disney is doing a Disneyland trip giveaway for those that enter by sharing their favorite 1990’s photo on Instagram or Twitter (any decade photo can be entered for the contest but they will have decade inspirations for you to choose from). Make sure you use the #Disneyland60Contest AND include the decade the photo was from.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is celebrating its 45th anniversary! The park and online Disney Store will feature some special Haunted Mansion merchandise to commemorate the occasion.

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Club 33 has been redesigned and opened for select guests. Club 33 is a private dining club at Disneyland, located behind a secret entrance in New Orleans Square. Only paid members are allowed to enter and dine inside.

Disneyland Diamond Celebration will begin in 2015 as Disneyland turns 60!

Both Disney Parks

New Character Greets: Big Hero 6, the newest Walt Disney Studios animated film being released this November, will have character greets at both parks in the fall. Guests will be able to meet Hiro and Baymax at Disneyland and Disney World. Here is a trailer for the new film (videos accessible on website only):

Disney Movies

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Guardians of the Galaxy – This was a huge summer hit for Disney! Disney has added a dance party at the Villains Unleashed event at Hollywood Studios for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Expect to see more of these characters and merchandise, and possible a second film.

Bears by DisneyNature was released on August 12th on Blu-ray and DVD.

Future DVD releases this year are:

  • Toy Story of Terror on August 19
  • Captain America: A Winter Soldier on September 9
  • Sleeping Beauty on October 7
  • Million Dollar Arm on October 7
  • Maleficent on November 4
  • Frozen Sing-A-Long DVD on November 18

Other Disney News

Macy’s and RadioDisney has launched a number of nationwide events for kids to check out the latest Back To School trends and clothing. Check out the Macy’s Blog to find a date and location near you this fall!

Disney announced it will be selling all its Radio Disney stations except one (in L.A.) and they will be moving to digital distribution.

Amazon versus Disney: Amazon and Disney are in dispute over sales, so as of right now, Amazon has halted all pre-orders of upcoming Disney titles for DVDs and BluRay. It may be difficult to find other Disney titles at the online retailer until this dispute is settled.

Disney Rumors

Star Wars Land – Disney is in the process of developing plans for Star Wars Land to be built at Hollywood Studios in the near future. Since they recently purchased the rights to Star Wars and LucasFilms, it is likely Star Wars will become a major attraction at Disney World in the future.

Disney Vacation Club may see several expansions as quite a few of the Disney World resorts. Disney may be renovating blocks of rooms at several resorts turning them into DVC villas to attract the DVC crowd. Resorts could include Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom, and Boardwalk.

Illuminations at Epcot may be ending, making room for a new water and evening show. Rumors are that the creative mind behind World of Color at California Adventure will be creating a new nighttime spectacular at Epcot to replace Illuminations.


That is our summary of fun and new Disney news! Hope you have a magical day!

Top Disney Parks Interactive Experiences

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Disneyland and Disney World offer many fun attractions, shows and amazing dining for families during their vacations. But there are some interactive experiences at both parks that occastionally get overlooked and missed that we want to point out to our readers. We are calling them “interactive experiences” because your participation with them actually is the attraction. If you are visiting the parks for a short time, like 1-3 days, you will probably miss these and try to fit in as many attractions and characters and dining as you can. But for a longer stay at either coast, we think it is well worth finding some time to have a little fun with these great programs. It adds something unique and special for your kids, and they can make amazing memories. Here is our list of the Top Interactive Experiences that we think you shouldn’t miss! And they are all FREE with your park admission!

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1. Animation AcademyHollywood Studios, Walt Disney World AND Hollywood Land, California Adventure (Disneyland). This experience is one of our favorites and it is easily missed at the parks. At Disney World, it is located in the Magic of Animation and at Disneyland, it is in the Animation Building at California Adventure. Both experiences offer a drawing session with a Disney animator that teaches kids and adults how to draw a favorite Disney character. It is so much fun and you leave with your own drawing as a souvenir! Limited space in each session and sessions are at specific times.

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2. Jedi Training AcademyHollywood Studios, Walt Disney World AND Tomorrowland, Disneyland. Your future Jedi can signup to learn how to be a Jedi and then fight Darth Vader! This experience will provide (for the show) a Jedi robe and light saber for each child (these items are returned at the end of the show). At Disneyland, children are chosen from the audience to participate, and at Disney World, children must sign up before the show to participate. Space is very limited and shows are at specific times.

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3. Sorcerers of the Magic KingdomMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. This is a scavenger hunt style game with cards and keys that take you all around the Magic Kingdom to defeat the villains. There are multiple hidden screens all over the Magic Kingdom and it is so much fun to play! You can stop at anytime and start again the next day. The cards are great collectors and kids love trying to solve the mystery and fight the villains! See our post on Sorcerers for all the details.

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4. Wilderness Explorers AdventureAnimal Kingdom, Walt Disney World AND California Adventure, Disneyland. Both experiences were born from the movie “Up” where Russell is earning his Wilderness Explorer badges. Kids can follow maps and earn badges as well throughout Animal Kingdom and the Redwood Creek Trail (Disneyland).

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5. Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate TutorialMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. Do you have a big pirate fan at home? In this show, kids are brought on stage and taught how to be a pirate by a group of Jack’s crew as well as Jack himself. Some kids dress as pirates for the occasion. Sign ups are done ahead of time at the park and shows are at specific times only.

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6. A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven SeasMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. Similar to Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, this treasure hunt involves helping Jack complete set missions and clues and treasures are collected throughout the park. This experience runs all day and night. Signups are in Adventureland.

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7. Agent P’s World Showcase AdventureEpcot, Walt Disney World. A scavenger hunt style experience through the countries of the World Showcase. Kids can sign up throughout the World Showcase and then they receive an electronic device to help them work through the clues and complete their mission. Kids who love Phineas and Ferb will love the hidden characters throughout the pavilions.

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8. Kidcot Fun StopsEpcot, Walt Disney World. While these are the least flashy of all the interactive experiences, they are very interesting and fun. Kids can visit a stop in each country and get a stamp in their passport, autograph book or anything else they are using for souvenirs. They can color something at each stop – it used to be Duffy but recently has been Agent P. At each Kidcot Stop, there is a Cast Member from that country that usually writes or stamps something in that countries language for the child. It can be a fun learning experience for kids and they will enjoy collecting all the pavilions. You can purchase an Epcot Passport to put stamps in and keep as a souvenir.

There are other fun experiences at all the parks, but these are some of our favorites. If your family has time to take part in any of these, you won’t regret it as they can be so much fun. The scavenger hunt games are lots of fun for the kids and they can work on it alongside their parents.

Happy Travels!

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