In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the most popular theme park on earth, there are special experiences that even a park veteran may miss. Here are ten to put on your “to-do” list:
10. Co-Captain the Riverboat – As you board the Liberty Square Riverboat, ask if you may join the captain in the wheelhouse. Unless someone else has asked first, you should be granted this privilege, and in return will receive a small souvenir.
9. Chat Up the Characters – All of the human characters will remain in-character as you have conversations with them, so go ahead and ask them a question or two as they sign your autograph book. (Remember to be courteous to others in line.) For instance, ask Mary Poppins what Bert is up to or if she can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidotious” backwards. The fuzzy characters can’t talk, of course, but it’s rumored that they will do certain things to stay in-character too. It seems almost mean to try it, but apparently Woody and Jessie will drop to the ground when you say “Andy’s coming!”
8. Rope Drop – The fun of rope drop is no secret, but it’s still something most people miss. Don’t sleep in on your Magic Kingdom day! Characters and dancers will entertain guests as you wait for the official opening by the mayor. Plus, then you can be one of the first in line to your favorite ride – double win!
7. Barbershop Coloring – I haven’t had a chance to try this myself, but it’s on my own “to-do” list! If you go to the Main Street Barbershop and ask for a complimentary coloring, the barber will paint Mickey silhouettes onto kids’ heads and sprinkle you with “Mickey Dust”. Sounds like a fun way to glam up your park day to me!
6. Tom Sawyer Treasures – If you’re on Tom Sawyer’s Island early enough in the day, you may be lucky enough to find one of the paint brushes he left behind. If you are, turn it in to the raft attendant and receive a useful surprise!
5. Tomorrowland Trees – Did you know that the metal palm trees in Tomorrowland are actually soaking up solar power throughout the day? If you happen to be around them at dusk, watch as they fold up for the evening, just like a flower. It’s a small, virtually unnoticed experience, but sometimes those are the coolest to true Disney Fanatics.
4. Sorcery Cards – As you enter the park, it’s easy to get drawn in by the lure of Cinderella Castle. But if you’re into scavenger hunts, pause for a few minutes and head to the Magic Shop on the left. You can get a Sorcery Card that will send you on missions and activate videos in remote locations. It’s really cool, and can add a new element of fun, especially for older kids who may think they’ve “seen it all” at the Magic Kingdom.
3. The Backside of Fireworks – You’ve probably watched the Wishes fireworks from in front of the Castle, right? You’ve seen Tink, and you know it’s awesome….and crowded. Try watching the fireworks from behind the castle next time. You will avoid the masses and the view is still spectacular. Grab a cinnamon roll from Gaston’s, find a comfy bench with someone you love, and laugh to yourself at all the rookies standing in the front.
2. Electric Water Parade – Many people miss the Electric Water Parade on the Seven Seas Lagoon because of the other spectacular nighttime experiences. Granted, the Water Parade can’t match Wishes, but for a sweet, low-key experience, it’s worth a watch. And again, it will not be crowded!
1. Kiss Goodnight – For the die-hard (night-owl) fanatic, spend a few moments lingering as you exit the park at closing. At the very last minute, the castle will light up and there will be some heartwarming farewell messages from cast members played over the audio. People say it’s the best way to end your park day…a kiss goodnight from the happiest place on earth.
There are numerous other experiences that get swept away in the hurry of fast-passes and parade schedules. They are what make the Magic Kingdom never get old. What are some of your lesser-known favorites?
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Photo courtesy of Silver Pin Studios