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Mike Scopa

Fun Things Around the World

Always something new to discover at the resort

Friday, July 15, 2005
by Mike Scopa, staff writer

The assumption is that if you're reading these words, then you have probably been to Walt Disney World at least once in your lifetime. Then again, perhaps you're reading these words because you are planning to make your first trip ever and happen to be surfing the 'net and found this site called MousePlanet and decided to check it out.

Either way, you have come to the right place. In this discussion, let's look at some not-so-obvious fun things to look for and do on your next Walt Disney World vacation.

You might even call this a little scavenger hunt that will add a bit of fun to your tour of the parks.

Magic Kingdom Fun

Sometimes when you are in a Walt Disney World theme park you can get so excited that you may not realize what you are missing. Let's look at the first of our special fun things to look for and do at the Magic Kingdom.

When you walk under the Magic Kingdom train station, go into the Disneyana store on your right. As you enter the building, go to the right and towards the rear of the building.

Along the way you'll find an area where you can play “Who wants to be a Millionaire” on some special machines. But you want to keep going towards the back to see if you can find part of a former Magic Kingdom attraction in this area. I'm not telling you where it's from, because you should be able to guess. Look around and see if you notice anything familiar from a past attraction.

Oh yes, one more thing… as you make your way towards the rear of the building, you may be fortunate enough to meet someone like Belle, Wendy, Peter Pan, Cruella De Vil or possibly Princess Aurora. This is the area where many of the face characters walk through as they make their way to the Town Square meet-and-greet areas.

The second fun thing is for the small princesses in your party. When you walk through Cinderella Castle and into Fantasyland, notice a little shop to the left called Tink's Treasures. Every morning, it's always a chore to wake Tink up. If you happen to be there early one day, you may be asked to help wake up that sleepy Pixie. Remember, the early bird gets to wake the pixie.

If you happen to visit the shop later in the day after Tink has awakened, you may want to pay special attention to the interior of this shop. If you are quick enough, you may catch a glimpse of Tink.

Our third fun thing to do involves a search for a very special painting. Do you remember the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction in Fantasyland? We now know the location belongs to Winnie the Pooh. When an attraction changes design and ownership, it's important to do it in a proper manner. Therefore it was important to record for posterity the actual handover of location. But where is this picture?

Ah, that's your job. The next time you happen to ride this attraction, take a look for the picture of Mr. Toad handing the attraction deed over to Owl. This may require several trips but I'm sure you'll enjoy “the research.”

Let's talk about Hidden Mickeys. The fourth little scavenger hunt involves the Carrousel of Progress and studying every diorama for Hidden Mickeys. Take a look at all the details from every scene, and especially the little things. This hunt will add a new dimension to this attraction.

I do this every time I visit Tomorrowland and I find that each visit provides me with a different experience. The next little fun thing on our list is requires a visit to Mickey's ToonTown Fair. The next time you bring the families to ToonTown, tell them that Mickey is looking for the key to the garage washroom and it's up to them to find it. It's in plain sight… they just need to know where to look.

Here's a hint: You can spot this key from the street.

Walt Disney World has always been animal-friendly so with that in mind, let's focus on our next fun task, which is to locate several bird houses at the Splash Mountain attraction.

Sure it sounds easy, but they are somewhat camouflaged. These are real bird houses… but where are they? Here's a hint: You do not have to go on the attraction to find these houses. Good luck.

Well, that's enough of Magic Kingdom. Let's go to Epcot.

Epcot

Your first mission in Epcot is to look for Disney-MGM Studios's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. No, I have not lost my mind. I know we are in Epcot. That's what makes this so much fun.

Of course, the first thing you need to think about is where the MGM Studios theme park is located in relation to Epcot and also where you would be able to actually see the attraction.

Let's add another wrinkle to this task… see if you notice the optical illusion associated with this little task. You need to sharpen your eyeballs for this task and also stand in just the right place.

Our next fun thing to do it's another Hidden Mickey assignment. I'd like you to keep your eyes open as you walk around Epcot because somewhere there is a Hidden Mickey located about four inches above a pair of eyes.

So you have a clue; now seek and ye shall find. Good luck.

These next two fun things to do also require a bit of a search.

First, scan all of Epcot and locate a working Maypole. Once you do, try to figure out how to make it turn and how to make it stop.

Your next job is to locate a working Ferris wheel in Epcot. The same applies here as applied for the Maypole… find a way to make it start and go.

This may be more of a task for the kids than the adults but I'm sure the adults will have fun looking for these two items.

Now here's one that may take time. Did you know that there is a musical band in Epcot that plays music all day long? It is special music because the instruments in this band are not played by humans and you can find this band playing outdoors. So, where do you find this band? That's your task.

Your next task will require after-dark touring at Epcot… it's probably the easiest of the fun things to do in Epcot and you may have already had an opportunity to this.

Have you ever had the chance to walk on lights? Find some colored lights to walk on in Epcot. Remember, you cannot do this in daylight so wait until dark to begin your search for these lights.

Well that's probably enough fun things to do in Epcot, so let's move over to Disney-MGM Studios.

Disney-MGM Studios

A few years back, this would have been an easy thing to do, but it's a bit more challenging today. As you walk around Disney-MGM Studios, you may see a lot of interesting sights. Did you know that there is an area where you can walk up to several props from one of the most famous movies of all time? These props are outdoors. You may recognize them when you see them. But where are they?

It seems that every time I'm with a friend in this theme park, I'm always showing them the special place where a voice pops out of a hole. Of course in order for this voice to pop, you have to do something. So be on the lookout for a well-placed hole that just may be itching to say something.

Recently while visiting Disney-MGM Studios, I noticed something very unusual. It is best described as an optical illusion. It is the largest optical illusion in the theme park and is best seen far away than up-close.

Where is this optical illusion? You may come across it as you make your way to the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show.

Here's another hint. This optical illusion can be found at a location of a former very popular Disney-MGM Studios attraction.

We will end our little fun and games expedition with something I love to do when I'm in this theme park at night.

Just around closing, make your way to the Star Tours attraction. When it's real quiet, you can hear the Ewoks gathered around their campfire and talking about their plans for the next day. But you have to be real quiet.

These are just a few things I have noticed over the years. I'm sure you may have discovered a few of these fun things to do and look forward to experiencing them with every visit.

Give them a try.

Next Time

Our discussion next time will focus on how the Internet has created Disney families and how that can translate into magical gatherings.


Send Mike your thoughts, questions, or comments here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.

Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.

Mike brings his experience to MousePlanet in a series of lessons to help you with all the phases of planning a WDW trip.

Mike pays special attention to all the details that ensure your family has the best possible time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

You can contact Mike here.

OTHER LINKS

Here are trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives:

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, “The Trip Planner” for more travel planning information.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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