A Quick Romp Around Adventureland
Adventureland is really a great land for families with young kids, and it is possible for the entire family to enjoy all attractions that are offered. None of the rides are too scary or wild—and who doesn’t like Captain Jack Sparrow? The Swiss Family Treehouse is perfect for children to let off some steam, and I really like seeing families searching for lost treasures in A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas game.
New to Adventureland is the Magic Kingdom’s latest table-service restaurant, Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. The restaurant is a welcome addition to the park. The menu offers the cuisines of Asia, South America, and Africa. Parents needn’t worry, though, as the kids’ menu is not all that exotic.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
The Tiki Birds are a great favorite of the ages-8-and-under set. The outright absurdity of the whole concept saves the show for older patrons—if you can look beyond the cheese, it’s actually hilarious. The air-conditioned theater is a great place to cool off and rest your feet.
Pirates of the Caribbean
This indoor ride cruises through a series of sets depicting a pirate raid on a Caribbean port. It’s been a favorite for decades, but with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), its popularity has soared to new heights.
Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial
Outside Pirates of the Caribbean, Cap’n Jack and a crew member teach would-be knaves the skills needed for a career in piracy; some kids go on stage to train in the finer points of dueling. At the end, everyone takes the pirate’s oath and sings a rousing round of “A Pirate’s Life for Me.” The shows attract decent crowds, but the first and last seem to be the least popular.
A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas
Similar to Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at Epcot, A Pirate’s Adventure features interactive areas with physical props and narrations that lead guests through a quest to find lost treasure, all within Adventureland.
Guests begin their journey at an old Cartography Shop near Golden Oak Outpost—this is the central hub for adventurers helping to locate missing treasure. Groups of up to six people are given a talisman (an RFID card) that will help them on their journey. The talisman activates a video screen that assigns your group to one of five different missions. Your group is then given a map and sent off to find your first location.
Once at the location, one member of the party touches the talisman to the symbol at the station, and the animation begins. Each adventure has four or five stops throughout Adventureland, and each stop contains 30–45 seconds of activity. No strategy or action is required: Watch what unfolds on the screen, get your next destination, and head off.
A Pirate’s Adventure serves as a good introduction to other interactive games, such as Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. The effects are better at night. While we think everyone should try A Pirate’s Adventure, it isn’t a must if time is tight.
Jungle Cruise: A Once-Upon-a-Time Super-Headliner
You have to put things into perspective to truly enjoy this ride and realize that it once was a super-headliner attraction at the Magic Kingdom—it’s fun and relaxing, but it’s far from high-tech. Before you make a same-day FastPass+ reservation, check the estimated wait time for the standby queue.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Like Dumbo, Aladdin is a must for parents with little tykes. Try to get your kids on in the first 30 minutes the park is open or just before park closing. Beware of the spitting camel positioned to spray jets of water on riders. The front-seat control moves your “carpet” up and down, while the backseat control pitches it forward or backward. It’s sweet but oh-so-slow loading. Jasmine and Aladdin are often on hand for meeting and greeting.
Swiss Family Treehouse
This king of all tree houses is perfect for the 10-and-under crowd. Though a minor attraction, it’s a great place to expend pent-up energy. Parents might be inclined to sit across the walkway and watch their aspiring Tarzans, but in truth the tree house is fun for adults too.
This mini-tour through Adventureland is brought to you by Liliane Oposmer, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.