Listen to Jim, the Main Street Piano Player, at Casey’s Corner

How many times had we rounded Casey’s Corner of Main Street, absently listening to the ragtime cheerfully drifting from a piano just out of view? The answer was all too often — without pausing a moment to discover the man behind the music. Many Magic Kingdom regulars consider Jim, the master pianist of Main Street, to be a rather hidden treasure they’d never consider missing. Finally, on a recent fall trip to the parks, we joined the ranks of those regulars.
(more…)

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…)

Learn some new jokes on the Jungle Cruise

I remember being an 11-year-old riding the Magic Kingdom’s “world famous” Jungle Cruise for the first time: was the skipper for real? What possessed him to spout off corny jokes the entire trip down the great rivers of the world? By age 17 I’d wizened up. No way was it coincidental that all the Jungle Cruise guides had a penchant for comedy. And, by the time I was a honeymooner, finally had a soft spot for the witty spiels and classic commentary. Indeed, the jokes and puns are likely why we ride it. (more…)

Hitch a ride on the Main Street Vehicles

Cruising down the Magic Kingdom’s main drag in one of the Main Street Vehicles  requires some departure from our usual traffic patterns. Like many families, when we enter the park in the morning we’re on a mission. Usually it’s to seek out a favorite attraction to avoid waiting in a long queue later. The vintage vehicles that tool along Main Street have always been more of a part of the backdrop for us than a mode of transportation. More like colorful props that lend authenticity to a turn-of-the-century scene. (more…)

Hunt for A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas

[This post is a contribution by Junior Disbird Andy, Disney interactive games enthusiast.]

Arrgh, mateys! Captain Jack Sparrow be requestin’ your help.

Find the skull with crystal eyes in an idol, or find hidden gold in a fish tank! Make a pirate skeleton emerge from the depths of the water! All of these adventures and more await you in A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas.

Located in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, this exciting interactive game involves scouting out a boatload of pirate mischief. Embark on different adventures: Blackbeard, The King’s Ransom, Guardian’s Curse, Haven Defense, and Heads, You Lose — where you go to find the aforementioned skull. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the only pirate on this quest. You must escape from the British Navy and Captain Barbossa and his crew while trying to find the treasure!

(more…)

Disney Classic: Country Bear Jamboree

The Country Bears: what’s your take? Do you cling to the last threadbare pieces of the original Magic Kingdom? Do you wish the veteran bears would make a date with the taxidermist? Or are you kind of “meh” about the whole hoedown – you’ll stop in to reminisce if you’re in the neighborhood but don’t take it hard if there isn’t time? Our family doesn’t often fit the bears into our schedule; in fact, half of our children have yet to be introduced to Buff, Melvin, Liverlips McGrowl, Teddi Barra, and Big Al crooning their twangy tunes. (more…)

“Kill” Time in the Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue

Got some time to kill in line? Or are you just dying to join your 999 happy haunts in their ghostly retreat? If you dare, take a detour into the interactive graveyard queue of this classic attraction for some fun encounters with both familiar and new faces of the Haunted Mansion.

(more…)

Catch Mickey’s and Minnie’s 1928 debut in Steamboat Willie

disneyland main street cinema

We finally ended up popping into this rather obscure little attraction this past fall in order to escape throngs of families lining the streets for the evening parade. All we were searching for was a bare patch of ground to get off our feet for a few and this fit the bill perfectly. The cinema was nearly empty, had a viewing platform just for shorties, and screened classic cartoons that kept the kids entertained while we recharged.

(more…)

Join in the “Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party

What I appreciate most about the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party is the way it encourages guests to work off that Dole Whip. (Or, less aggressively, join in the festivities.)

The first time I saw the caravan coming down Main Street — originally called Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! —  I figured it was another rather passive parade and staked out a spot on the curb. (more…)