A very merry unbirthday on Mad Tea Party

My stomach just isn’t what it used to be. I stopped deliberately spinning those teacups half a lifetime ago. When the kids were toddlers they were pretty content to ride without the extra rotations but each year they get a little bolder and want to move a little faster. Thus, my two main Mad Tea Party rules are as follows: Make sure to ride before lunch. And please, go easy on Mom. (more…)

A round of golf at Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

We’ve all had those days at Disney: half days before we’re due back at the airport, days when we need a break from the hustle-bustle of the theme parks. In our case, we had a day to kill before setting sail on the Disney Magic. We decided to head over for a round at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. (more…)

Listen to the Voices of Liberty harmonize

Many an exhausted mid-afternoon have we found ourselves halfway around Epcot’s World Showcase seeking air conditioning and a peaceful respite. For our family, nothing recharges the touring batteries better than a break on one of the benches tucked under the soaring dome of the American Adventure Rotunda. If we’re lucky, while waiting for the titular attraction to begin, we’ll be treated to a magnificent performance of “Shenandoah” by the a capella ensemble Voices of Liberty. The acoustics in the Rotunda are incredible. (more…)

Four places to bang the drums in Walt Disney World

Kids don’t want to work – they just want to bang on the drum all day! So where can you and yours do that at Walt Disney World? Here are four spots we’ve found:

MH walt disney world drums

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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!

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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…)

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…)

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.
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Last call for DisneyQuest!

When DisneyQuest opened in 1998, the indoor theme park boasted five levels of cutting edge interactive attractions. It was the kind of place where families could take a break from the pace of the theme parks and be entertained for an entire day. When it closes its doors for good next week — just shy of the 20-year mark — it goes out as a tired destination, badly showing its age and lack of upkeep. (more…)

Disney Classic: The Hall of Presidents

This one has never been a great favorite of my children – a little too long, a little too educational (heaven forbid, but given their extra tender ages, we’ll give them a break). However, Dad and I really enjoy the Morgan Freeman narrated-show, especially the Presidential roll call at the end. I’ve always loved – even as a child myself – watching the growing collection of Presidents introduced one by one, each nodding to the audience and reacting to speeches given by George Washington and the current Chief Executive Officer. Our hope is that if we keep bringing our kids, each time they watch the show they’ll retain a little more of the story, understand a bit more of the history of our democracy. (more…)