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Hidden gems at Walt Disney World

November 26, 2010

If you are going to Walt Disney World for vacation, you might want to check out these “undiscovered” spots that will get you access to the most unique attractions. Do your kids want to have their photos taken with Disney characters? Forget the Magic Kingdom, we have a less crowded option. Have a Star Wars Fan? Sign him up to learn how to be a real jedi at the Jedi Training Academy.  This guest post from Kim Wright Wiley, author of Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids 2011, gives you the inside scoop!

Certain attractions at Disney get all the buzz  – but there are also some hidden little treats which, while not as well known as big deal rides like Toy Story Mania and Space Mountain, can really add up to big fun.  Check these out:

1.    Got any would-be pirates in the party?  Stop by Adventureland and offer your services at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial.  A Johnny Depp lookalike and his clumsy crew pull young volunteers from the crowd and give them a crash course in pirate skills.  Showtimes are listed on the tip board and your entertainment schedule.

2.    Likewise, the Jedi Training Academy at Star Wars in the Hollywood Studios is so popular that young Paduwan have to sign up first thing in the morning when they enter the park.  But it’s worth it for the chance to actually fight Lord Vader!

3.    Want to learn to draw a character?  Check out the Animation Academy, also at Hollywood Studios.  You’ll walk out of the thirty-minute class with your very own masterpiece, suitable for framing.  (To make this souvenir extra special,  get the character you drew to sign it when you see him later in the day.)

4.    Captain EO is back and rocking Epcot again.  Take some time to stop by the Journey to Imagination and see Michael Jackson and what is, in essence, one of the world’s first music videos.

5.    Think the Magic Kingdom is the best place to meet the characters? Think again.  The rarely-crowded greeting areas inside Camp Minnie-Mickey are the perfect place to find the gang, all decked out in adorable vacation gear.

This is a guest post from Kim Wright Wiley, author of Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids 2011 and Fodors.com Family Travel Expert.  For more Disney travel tips, you can visit Fodors.com or grab a copy of Kim’s new book Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids 2011!