Eight Things to Do at Adventureland
Walt Disney loved adventure stories. When he planned his theme park, he envisioned an entire land that celebrated these tales.
Back in the 1950s, Disney hosted True-Life Adventures, a series of nature films. His theme park would be a place much like that.
When Walt Disney World opened, its first park also included this themed land. It would have felt incomplete without the place.
Here are eight things to do at Adventureland, one of Walt Disney’s favorite lands.
Avoid Camel Squirt
Yes, I’m starting gross, but Magic Kingdom fanatics know what I mean.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant wasn’t quite an opening day attraction at Disneyland. The ride missed by less than a month.
However, this carnival style carousel spinner has thrilled theme park fans for generations.
When Magic Kingdom opened, it introduced a duplicate of the ride concept, one that proved popular enough to justify a second one.
In 2001, Adventureland received a modified version called The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and you should ride it.
The ride will lift you up in the air and make you feel like you’re recreating A Whole New World scene from Aladdin.
Of course, you’ll want to avoid the squirting camel who wants to soak you in…some unnamed fluid that I really hope is water.
Grab a Dole Whip
The moment you exit Aladdin, you should circle around to Aloha Isle, the iconic restaurant in Adventureland.
Any self-respecting Disney fan knows that this place is the only one in the park that sells Dole Whips. And Dole Whips are very, very good.
If you’re thinking that you’ve bought a Dole Whip somewhere else, that’s possible.
Other restaurants sell them at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
When you’re at Magic Kingdom, you only have the one choice, though. And let’s be real.
A choice between buying a Dole Whip and not buying a Dole Whip is no decision at all. You’re buying the Dole Whip.
If you’re not, I’d politely suggest that you consult a neurosurgeon.
Listen to Your Favorite Script
Behold! The backside of water!
Perhaps my favorite Disney anecdote involves Jungle Cruise, the staple of Adventureland.
Back in the construction days for Disneyland, Walt Disney suddenly broached the subject of using live animals on Jungle Cruise.
Imagineers were already swamped with work, and now their boss was talking about building a zoo on site.
Eventually, Disney’s employees talked him down from this idea. However, the later Imagineers employed it as the central idea for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Instead, Jungle Cruise became the home for hysterical set pieces, places where frightened explorers climbed up poles and tried to avoid getting horned.
Remarkably, the earliest version of the ride didn’t include jokes. It was a serious attraction based on the educational True-Life Adventures series.
Eventually, cast members cracked wise about the absurd nature of the animals.
Walt Disney warmed to the idea of a pun-ridden attraction, and the rest is theme park history.
The script for Jungle Cruise varies some, depending on the Skipper. The laughs are always there, though, especially for first-time riders.
Live a Pirate’s Life
As a theme park historian, I’m a Jungle Cruise evangelist through and through.
However, as a Walt Disney superfan, I also feel a strong connection to Pirates of the Caribbean, the last ride that Uncle Walt worked on before his death.
Disney wanted to experience the attraction as guests would.
So, his loyal Imagineers constructed a series of pulleys and gurneys to move him through the ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean could have been a wax museum if it had gone as planned. And it never would have existed at Magic Kingdom if not for the will of the people.
Disney strategists believed that Floridians would have little interest in Caribbean pirate tales, as they’re omnipresent in society anyway.
Au contraire! Walt Disney World fans demanded their own version of Pirates of the Caribbean, which they got two years after Magic Kingdom opened.
I think it’s fair to say that when Orlando fans think of Adventureland, this ride springs to mind first. It’s the anchor attraction.
Guests relish this opportunity to sing Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) and watch the dog taunt the inmates with the prison cell key.
No visit to Adventureland would ever feel complete without a boat ride through the Caribbean.
Play in a Treehouse
In 1960, Walt Disney presented Swiss Family Robinson, one of the five most popular movies of that year. It quickly became iconic as a concept.
Disneyland soon added a 70-foot tall treehouse in Adventureland as a tribute to the film. Kids loved this ability to play in the trees and admire the park’s landmarks.
When Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Swiss Family Treehouse became a permanent part of Adventureland.
This version is shorter but wider, at 60 feet tall and 90 feet across. And it’s the only one in America now.
Back in 1999, Disneyland changed its version to Tarzan’s Treehouse. Fans were…unamused.
Many of us have fond memories of playing in that treehouse as kids. Thankfully, Magic Kingdom appears uninterested in switching themes.
Treasure Hunt with Jack Sparrow
No, I don’t mean at Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean…near Pirates of the Caribbean.
In past years, Captain Jack hosted a pirate tutorial for landlubbers. However, Disney ended it in 2019, offering a different type of experience instead.
Actually, they offer two. When there’s not a pandemic, guests can engage in character interactions with Jack Sparrow.
Also, they can go on a treasure hunt. Disney calls it A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas. And kids love these five mini-treasure hunts.
You receive a talisman and go in search of clues that will lead you to the proverbial treasure.
This game is somewhat involved. So, I wouldn’t recommend it in the middle of a hot day.
When you’re looking for a distraction for your kids, you’ll love it, though.
Take the Jungle with You to Dinner
The pun fun doesn’t have to end once you depart your boat at Jungle Cruise.
A few years ago, Disney opened Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, and it’s…well, it’s a weird name for a high-end restaurant.
At Skipper Canteen, diners visit one of the private meeting rooms of the Society of Adventurers and Explorers (S.E.A.).
This group has links to many different Disney attractions, including Jungle Cruise, as Dr. Albert Falls is a member of the secret society.
The theme here is that S.E.A. meeting areas feature insane levels of detailing, as they’re wealthy adventurers with plenty of stories to tell.
The architecture reflects some of these swashbuckling tales. I heartily encourage you to roam the restaurant to admire the décor.
Of course, the real fun happens when you try to order. Your server Skipper will employ many of the same puns you love about Jungle Cruise.
Think about it like this. What’s the only way to make Jungle Cruise better? Why, it’s to make the experience last longer.
Skipper Canteen does that by turning the script into an hour-long meal!
Watch the Original Audio-Animatronics
In 1964, Walt Disney and his Imagineers dominated the New York World’s Fair with their remarkable inventions.
Perhaps the most famous of them was the Audio-Animatronic, a machine man that could believably mimic Abraham Lincoln.
However, Disneyland fans had already experienced this technology the previous year. The Enchanted Tiki Room debuted at Disneyland in 1963.
A few years later, an eerily similar version arrived at Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland. It had a different name, though.
Tropical Serenade told the story of a bunch of birds, but it allegedly wasn’t the same as Disneyland. For this reason, it struggled to find its place.
In fact, the attraction wouldn’t fully honor its roots until 2011, when Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room debuted.
Since then, guests have been delighted to re-live one of the greatest theme park innovations ever.
The Enchanted Tiki Room features four macaws who laugh and have a good time in between renditions of The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, the Sherman Brothers ditty.
This show is unlike any other at Disney, and fans are passionate about it. In fact, a rumor popped up last year that park officials may replace it.
So, fans flipped out to the point that Disney had to post an official denial of a rumor.
People are that addicted to the brilliant entertainment options at Adventureland!