10 spots to get splashed in the Disney Theme Parks

Visitors to the Walt Disney World theme parks generally know going into the game that they’re likely to encounter some heat. The index can range from toasty warm in the milder months to darn near sweltering in the summer. Much appreciated are the myriad ways to cool off around property. If it’s not yet time to head back to the hotel swimming pool, we’ve got 10 spots in mind in and around the theme parks where you can catch a break from the temps and savor a splash or two.

MAGIC KINGDOM

Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station

First stop on our Splash Tour is this colorful, spurting collection of circus cars in Fantasyland. Themed after the animated film Dumbo, Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station will be a magnet to your parched tykes on a hot day at the Magic Kingdom. We prefer to “splash” instead of “soak” at Casey’s — use your own discretion. (more…)

Smoke Andy’s score in Toy Story Midway Mania!

PicMonkey Collage toy story mmSmoke my own eight-year-old Andy, not Pixar’s! As far as I remember, Andy of the Toy Story series isn’t even featured in the Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction, at least not directly. I believe the idea is that Andy has just gotten a carnival midway playset. We (the riders) assume the role of his toys, set up the carnival and try to run it ourselves. This involves playing five classic midway games in which you use spring-loaded shooters to hit 3-D animated targets. The games are as follows: (more…)

Enjoy: “Back to the” 50’s Prime Time Cafe

If you’ve got a hankering for home cooking and a return to kinder, gentler times, consider a meal at the 50’s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just be prepared for a truly immersive experience – and above all, make sure to mind your p’s and q’s. Why’s that? Well, we lunched at the retro spot a couple years back and I found out the hard way that our server (“Cousin-Somebody-or-Other”) wasn’t going to let me off the hook for leaving vegetables on my plate! (more…)

Disney Classic: Muppet Vision 3D

I have seen this classic attraction so very many times. Yet I still turn in the direction of the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and feel as though I need to check in with these relics of my childhood, the Muppets. Besides, if we don’t introduce the next generation to Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and the gang, who will? (more…)

Last Chance: Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

So thank goodness we came jogging up mere minutes before the 1:30pm show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! The next chance to watch it would have been three hours later; after that, who knows? Rumors have persisted that this behind-the-scenes-style stunt show will be replaced in the near future for a park expansion. Should that pan out, I’m glad we got at least one chance to watch the gravity-defying car chase scenes and – most thrilling of all to the kids – the man who survived skidding through a wall of flames. (You can’t help but marvel when the set director lists off all the protective gear that stunt man must wear!)
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Last chance for the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights

MH osborne lightsTwenty years after the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights first blinked on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios), they will flicker their final farewell when the 2015 holiday season comes to a close. Due to the upcoming construction of Star Wars and Toy Story-themed lands at the park, the light extravaganza has received its eviction notice from the Streets of America (whose days are numbered as well). (more…)

Train with the Jedi Academy

Personally, I’m not a big Star Wars buff. But, I figured, how fun would it be to watch my kids train as young Padawans? If stage fright didn’t rear its head, I knew my son, Andy, would love to don the robe and swing the saber. I could just picture his little Jedi instincts kicking in as Darth Vader attempts to coax the kids over to the Dark Side. It was this vision that kept us in a 40-minute line to sign up for the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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The Original Ariel Attraction: Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Hard to believe that the popular redheaded princess debuted just over 24 years ago! Ariel’s presence is felt as strongly as ever in the Disney parks with appearances in attractions, stage shows, parades and royal meet-and-greets. Perhaps her biggest “splashes” came in 2011 and 2012 when Ariel was given her own ride-through attractions in Disney California Adventure Park and Magic Kingdom, respectively. But have you gone “under the sea” and experienced the original Mermaid attraction? Opened just three years after the film was released, Voyage of the Little Mermaid has been playing to audiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or, Disney-MGM Studios, as it was called when the attraction opened) since 1992. (more…)

Disney Classic: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! attraction is feeling especially classic to me as I post this. I owe that to this photo (above) from a trip in 1992, and for two reasons: 1) the 25-year-old picture is the most recent one I have of the live-action show based on the Indiana Jones film franchise. And 2) the show hasn’t changed much since the pic was snapped. Following the same storyline as the show did when it opened in 1989, Indy re-creates scenes from the popular Raiders of the Lost Ark while schooling the audience in the ways that movie stunts are performed. Some of the seemingly-death defying stunts include: evading booby traps in a Peruvian temple to retrieve the golden idol, fighting a band of miscreant acrobats in Cairo, and narrowly escaping the explosion of a Nazi aircraft. (more…)

Uncover the Magic of Disney Animation

Disney’s Mulan is near the top of our family’s list of all-time favorite animated films so we were delighted that the first half of the Magic of Disney Animation attraction is co-hosted by Mushu! The jocular dragon is assisted by a human Disney animator to discuss how the animated characters in our favorite films are chosen and designed. This all goes down on a set intended to look like an animator’s workspace, complete with mock-up sketches, figurines, and other items of inspiration. (more…)