07 October 2007

Paths to Adventure - Adventureland

As promised, it is time to begin our new series, the Paths to Adventure. These are mostly designed for children going to Walt Disney World, giving them a heads-up about all the different stories, and adventures, and little treasures that await them. But, since these guides are set up to walk you through a particular land, pavilion, or street, I think that they will work well for adults, especially those of us going through withdrawals between trips home.

Now, where should we start? Norway, in Epcot, with Vikings and trolls? No. Asia, in Animal Kingdom, filled with dangerous rapids and deadly animals, like the Yeti? No, not today. Of course, there is only one place to start down our Paths to Adventure, Adventureland!


As you cross the old wooden bridge into Adventureland, you see the shields, and hear to tribal drums, of the local natives. To any other visitor these might sound alarming, as if they were being warned not to enter, but an experienced adventurer like yourself knows better, these drums are welcoming you to their land.

Once over the bridge you find a run down shack on your right. This has been known to hide the best pirate you have seen, Captain Jack Sparrow, and his treasure. He cannot be found here often, but, when he has filled the hull of his ship, this is where he makes port to stash his booty. Jack is a very sociable host; he loves to entertain, though he can become easily distracted. Weather the storm with Jack, err, sorry, Captain Sparrow and he will get you back to the streets of Adventureland in no time.

Continuing on down the right side of the street, you shall find Aloha Isle, a pleasant little outpost that serves all manner of pineapple cuisine. You can find pineapple spears, juice, and even a concoction of pineapple and soft ice cream here. Now, it may be a while before you are able to find more provisions in the darkest corners of Adventureland, so it is best to take a moment here to stock up before going in further.

Across the way from Aloha Isle is the Treehouse of the old Swiss Family Robinson’s. They were once abandoned here and, without food, water, or shelter, they survived and built this glorious Treehouse. The Robinsons have since left these lands, but their Treehouse remains, abandoned as they once were. Take a moment and explore, you may find clues to life here in Adventureland, as well as some gadgets you could make use of in your own home.

Here comes a crossroad in our journey. Down the path to our left is the Jungle Cruise, across the trail lies the Agrabah Bazaar and the Flying Carpets of Aladdin. Since we just stuffed ourselves on pineapple treats, perhaps it is best to take on flight carpets later.

As you travel toward the Jungle Cruise Expeditions, it calms your nerves to read that they have never lost a party yet. And as you find your way to your boat, you realize that they are even giving away free kittens, this is definitely a top notch group. However, if you look towards the left of the building, you will find a sign filled with missing persons and boats. The river guides are quick to explain that they have not lost these people or boats, they are simply missing, soon to be found for sure. Once on your boat, your skipper attempts to ease your fears with a few corny jokes. If you aren’t laughing immediately, you soon will be, as these corny jokes will be crammed into every part of your journey. Wandering down rivers from all corners of the world you will see fantastic creatures, mysterious natives, and extraordinary sights. If you are lucky, you will have the very rare opportunity to see the back side of water. Oh, and while on the cruise, give that old crocodile Smiley a wave for me, from inside the boat of course. Once back on dry land, it is your turn to pilot one of Shrunken Ned’s boats around a tiny lagoon, right next to the launches of the Jungle Cruise.

As we make our way back across the path, make sure to notice the tribal tikis. But be warned, while they may seem impressive in stature, the tiki spirits here are mischievous and like to spit at explorers who venture too close.

Upon entering the marketplace of Agrabah’s Bazaar, be sure to mind your surroundings. You can see remnants of goods that were once sold here, as well as tiles from buildings that once stood on these very grounds. This may also be the place to find Aladdin or Jasmine wandering through and shopping. Should you see them, I am quite certain that they will be happy to stop and chat with you. While you are looking down and around, however, make sure to keep an eye on the golden camels, they have taken a hint from the tikis across the road, and they like to spit at travelers as well. Nevertheless, this is the place to find the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Once onboard your carpet will fly you high over the Bazaar, you will feel the wind in your face and a joyful freedom in your heart.

Also in the Bazaar, you will find the Sunshine Tree Terrace where, once again, fruity delights can be found, this time in citrus, or orange, flavors. While next door, in the Enchanted Tiki Room, the birds that sing words, and the flowers that croon, have made some new friends. Zazu and Iago have flown in to help the show get back in the air. By the end you will be singing and dancing your way through the streets of Adventureland, but beware, up ahead there be pirates.

Enter the old fortress Castillo del Morro, now taken over by the Pirates of the Caribbean, by where the old pirate carcass still keeps watch from the crow’s nest. As you make your way through the fortress, the keen-eyed explorer in you notices the shackles once used to hold pirates after they had been caught and the cannons, now silent, that used to boom like thunder as they attempted to keep the scurvy pirates at bay. In the bowels of one of the deeper cells you may even find two old seadogs, who spent their final days locked in a never-ending battle of chess.

When you reach the dock you board a longboat and set sail through the uncharted waters of deserted pirate caves, coves, and caverns. Davy Jones is said to issue warnings to those who prowl these cursed waters, warnings of dead men and waterfalls. Should you be swept over the falls, you may find buccaneers sacking the town, torturing the mayor, or any other slack-jawed townsfolk fool enough to be caught, for information, and setting everything in their path on fire, all in an attempt to quench the lust for treasure, rum, and women! Now, heed these words, beware that scurvy dog, Captain Barbosa, as he scours the town for Captain Jack Sparrow and the key to the treasury.

Should you return to Adventureland, through the cases of loot in the Castillo del Morro, you shall find yourself in a Spanish square, with barrel tiled roofs, and a compassed laid in the walkway. Through the archway to your left, your adventure through Adventureland is done. But there is no time to be sad, for there are plenty more adventures to be had as you enter Frontierland.

A quote from Walt, that has been used a lot lately, is that you can teach them, but don’t tell them that you are teaching them. I tried to be true to that idea here. If you are a parent reading this article, I am almost certain that you noticed that some of my word choices may be difficult for children, the target audience of the Paths to Adventure series. I included words like hull, provisions, expeditions, citrus, fortress, and buccaneers to inspire children to ask questions. I am hoping that this will give inquisitive children tastes of history, language, and may even spark their interest in other subjects that they never thought of. I will continue to do this in future articles as I think the greatest gift, or souvenir if you will, we can take from Walt Disney World is what we make of the adventures, stories, and dreams we find there once we have left.

I also welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you have, either through comments here or through my email. If you want more detail of the educational element of these articles (i.e. a vocabulary list, or a list of topic ideas to expand upon with your child(ren), or even some comprehension questions), just let me know. I am just starting this series, and I would love to know what you think, or want to see. After all, I only have my one perspective here, and there is a great big World out there filled with all of you, and you are the ones I am here for.

3 comments:

Biblioadonis aka George said...

Ryan,

Enjoyed the first of the series and I can't wait for more!

These should help parents and kids plan their vacations better!

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

Thanks for the encouraging words George! I’m just trying to do my part to make family trips a little more Magical!

theDisnerd said...

I love this!! So well written and a great description of Adventureland!