LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – “I can’t believe I was hula dancing in front of 200 people,” said Stacey Miller of Arlington, Va., following a show-stopping performance at Disney’s Polynesian Luau. “It’s something my kids are never going to let me forget! It was a blast!”
Whether hula dancing or singing or learning the tricks of Caribbean pirates or Star Wars
Jedi, Walt Disney World guests discover a realm of magic and enchantment where they are not only dazzled and entertained, but may also have a chance to be part of the show.
Here’s a rundown of immersive experiences that happen throughout Walt Disney World Resort:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Mania! An innovative ride-game experience combines memorable film characters from Disney•Pixar classics “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” with games that match their motion picture personas. Donning 3-D glasses, guests seemingly shrink to the size of a toy and hop fanciful ride vehicles that follow a midway-themed route. At each game booth, they aim for animated targets using a special spring-action shooter. The challenges are designed to be fun for everyone from beginners to serious gamers.
“Block Party Bash” A new fantastic traveling show featuring favorite Disney•Pixar characters from smash-hit animated films like “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Monster’s, Inc.” and “A Bug’s Life” is rocking and rolling throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios, putting guests right in the middle of an unbelievable impromptu party during one of the wildest, most interactive street spectaculars ever.
Jedi Training Academy Taking a cue from the popular Star Wars Saga, the power of the Force and the magic of Disney combine for an original and intergalactic entertainment experience. Young Jedi hopefuls – known in ‘Star Wars-speak’ as “Padawans” – learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master before facing off in a final test against the evil Darth Vader. Created with Lucasfilm Ltd., Jedi Training Academy is presented multiple times daily, adjacent to the popular Star Tours attraction.
“Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!” Some of the most beloved characters from the Disney Channel lineup are featured in a singing, clapping and be-bopping show designed for preschoolers. The show stars favorites from popular Disney Channel programs including “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Little Einsteins,” “Handy Manny” and more.
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show” This fast-paced show spotlights the high-octane best of the movie industry’s stunt masters. The action extravaganza sends cars, motorcycles and watercraft careening and jumping across an enormous Mediterranean village set. Lucky guests may find themselves onstage to “drive” one of the stunt cars.
“Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!” If getting in the middle of the action is your style, you could be chosen as an extra to brave earth-shattering crashes and fiery explosions in a backstage view of movie-making.
“The American Idol Experience” Starry-eyed Disney guests get a taste of TV’s pop culture phenomenon – up close and personal – by experiencing the challenge of auditioning, the rush of performing on stage in competition or the thrill of judging the performances in a live interactive setting modeled after the “American Idol” set. There are several show times daily. Performers with the highest votes during the preliminary shows return for a high-energy, grand finale show that same evening. The top vote-getter receives “The American Idol Experience” Dream Ticket, which allows an eligible holder to schedule a front-of-the-line audition to a future regional audition for the “American Idol” television show.
Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial (Adventureland) Train to become a pirate. Looking for new recruits, Captain Jack and his mate Mack lead guests through a series of pirate skill tests to prove their mettle. Who is craftiest at wooden swordplay? Who can flash their most menacing pirate grimace? Faster than you can say ”Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, the Pirate’s Life for Me,” the big moment arrives: getting officially sworn in with the Pirate’s Oath to become honorary buccaneers of Captain Jack’s famous Pirate Crew.
“Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” (Tomorrowland) Guests laugh, joke, sing songs and match wits with the beloved animated characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” in an engaging and interactive attraction created by Disney Imagineers. “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” features one-eyed hero Mike Wazowski, who has opened a comedy club to collect laughs that will generate power for the future. As Monster-of-Ceremonies, Mike recruits two comedian wannabes whose slapstick humor delights and engages audiences. Guests even get to text-message jokes on their cell phones for possible use in the show.
“Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It!” Street Party It’s party time when a cast of Disney characters, stilt walkers and other performers processes down Main Street, U.S.A. toward Cinderella Castle to high-energy tunes such as “Breakout” and “I Like To Move It.” Five floats decked out as gift-wrapped packages are part of the procession, and near the castle, Mad Hatter, Genie, Lumiere and Sebastian – the life and light of the party – pop out of four huge boxes. They join about a dozen other Disney characters headed by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse to mix and mingle and dance in the street with Magic Kingdom guests during a 12-15-minute party.
“Turtle Talk With Crush” Crush, from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” has made a different kind of screen debut in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot – as a chatting, joking quipster who engages guests in conversation from his movie-screen undersea environment. “Turtle Talk With Crush” showcases real-time animation using digital projection and sophisticated, voice-activated animation.
Biergarten Restaurant This indoor German “courtyard” in Epcot World Showcase features a German Oktoberfest buffet and fun for the whole family. Throughout the night, guests are invited onstage to join yodelers, dancers and other traditional Bavarian musicians – all clad in lederhosen or dirndl – to play accordions, cowbells and other instruments.
Disney’s Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure Inspired by the Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Kim Possible” animated series, guests of all ages become secret agents to save the world from various comical villains and their mad inventions in this ultra-interactive adventure packed with mystery and excitement. Guests team up with members of Team Possible in this high-tech experience played in seven of the World Showcase pavilions.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
“Festival of the Lion King” Animal heroes and villains of Disney’s “The Lion King” movie star in this spectacle that combines the pageantry of a parade with the excitement of an African tribal celebration. Young guests are invited to entertain the audience with a variety of African musical instruments as they join the performers in a parade around the theater, followed by audience participation in competing groups singing a rousing rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Inspiring a love of animals and concern for their welfare is the underlying theme, both subtle and obvious, throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Affection Section is the destination for those who want to meet animals face to face and hand to fur. This is not just a petting zoo, but a place where young and old can find out all about the animals they see and touch, where they’re from, how they live and what dangers they face in the world. Attendants are on hand to explain each of these domestic animals who welcome this kind of attention.
“Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” (Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground) If you’ve ever wanted to be a country-music star, here’s your chance! Join the whooping and hollering troupe of singers and dancers at Pioneer Hall. As guests enjoy barbecued ribs, fried chicken and strawberry shortcake for dinner, the enthusiastic performers sing, dance and joke up a storm. If you’re caught misbehavin’, you may find yourself onstage with them!
“Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show” (Disney’s Polynesian Resort) Guests experience paradise in the Pacific at this interactive Polynesian luau set in the beachfront backyard cabana of a Hawaiian house. The luau features authentic Polynesian music and dancing, and a three-course family-style feast. Guests are encouraged to join in the hula-dancing fun.
Jellyrolls (Disney’s BoardWalk) If you’re in a singing mood, then Jellyrolls is the place to be! The main attraction within this rustic, saloon-like club is the crowd itself. Here, people of all ages gather in song as quick-witted pianists bang out old-time favorite sing-alongs. Jellyrolls is a foot-stomping, hootin’ and hollerin’ kind of place with lots of uproarious laughter and fun.