We talk all the time about making magic from home—those little instances of Disney that you can infuse into your daily routine while you aren’t on vacation. But what about while you’re still in Walt Disney World? How do we make our own magic in a place that’s already so well thought-out and developed?
Repeat visitors are always looking for ways to make their vacations just as fresh and exciting as that first visit, and WDW Radio’s very own “Box” (the virtual community forever trapped in Lou Mongello’s laptop during every webcast) introduced me to a way to add some extra fun to my Disney trip.
On WDW Radio’s past two anniversaries, a special live show was streamed online that involved Lou and the gang participating in viewer-chosen tasks inside the parks. From heartfelt to silly, they included everything from giving away toys to riding Maelstrom dressed as Vikings. I watched from home and loved the way these challenges added some laughs to an already-awesome day in the parks.
Inspired by the idea, I enlisted the help of a friend to do the same for my trip. A group of us were headed to WDW and he really wanted to come, but had to stay home because of his work schedule. Thinking of a way for him to still be part of our trip, I asked if he would be interested in creating challenges for us to complete while we were at Disney. We would have no clue what they were until we got there, opening each challenge one by one as we completed them. He loved the idea and got to scheming. He’s a bit of a prankster, so it was the perfect setup—we knew what we were getting ourselves into and looked forward to seeing what he had up his sleeves for us to do.
On paper, the plan looked great: experience attractions during the daytime and when night fell, start with the challenges. But then the park ended up being much more crowded than we anticipated. People were everywhere! The first challenge we opened said, “One person go to Splash Mountain, another to Space Mountain, another to the Castle. Try to find each other without any cell phone communication.” Well, that wasn’t going to work with the throngs of human bodies every which way! Most of the challenges were simply impractical with so many people and with wait times being so long. So, while I would definitely encourage you to create tasks of your own for your family, make sure you set aside a good chunk of time when you know that you’ll be able to accomplish them. Just any time that you’ll be able to navigate the park easily and get on attractions relatively quickly.
That being said, we were still able to complete quite a few of them. Our most successful was probably “Sing a song of a specific land in another land,” to which we hopped onboard The Magic Carpets of Aladdin to sing “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from Haunted Mansion. Thankfully the ride system is a bit loud so no one could hear us! Some of challenges we actually had completed earlier in the day without knowing they were challenges yet. “Get chosen in a show” was easy now that Enchanted Tales with Belle is in town, and “Find a famous person look-alike” was a piece of cake when we realized we were riding Dumbo with actual Disney Channel actors as a camera crew filmed them.
Other challenges, try as we might, didn’t quite work out. One challenge read, “Get a behind-the-scenes tour of ANYTHING.” I thought I had this one in the bag—when we met Mickey in Town Square Theater, I asked him what his favorite prop in the room was. I envisioned him giving us a grand tour of all the secret details in the room and telling us all about being a magician, but alas, he merely pointed to the dove in the corner.
Opening them all later after we left the park, there were some I wish we would have opened. One was, “Stage a fake proposal among you all.” Can you imagine! The challenges were very fun, even if we didn’t get to a lot of them. We’ll know better for next time how to work them into our touring plan better. Be sure to try this on your next WDW trip—I think you will enjoy the shenanigans that ensue!
Blake is a college student focusing on Creative Writing and Media Studies. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade on Main Street and then sprint to Frontierland in time to see it again. You can follow Blake’s random Disney ramblings on Twitter at @blakeonline, or at BlakeOnline.com.