29 March 2013

The Sounds of the Wild

Walt Disney World isn’t marketing to families about the perfect memorial souvenir, whether it is a thumbnail plaque on large stone monoliths or a paver in a walkway, the way they used to. Instead, the current strategy involves motivating families to prepare for decades worth of vacations. While the Disney Vacation Club may be the worst kept secret in Walt Disney World, there are some advantages to the kiosks popping up around every corner. Take for instance this little shack in Canada.

Yes, its main purpose is to sell families on the idea of Disney Vacation Club ownership, but what surrounds the outpost is enough to keep young children engaged for a few minutes. In the past, the set-ups were not very child friendly and children would get antsy after a few moments of marveling at the stickers that they had been presented with. While the two activities presented in the Canada kiosk are not as time consuming as maybe a Kidcot or Kids Discovery Club can be, they are definitely worth a look.

Both of the activities start inside the shack itself with small tin signs that have been tacked to the walls. The first of which talks about creatures native to the wilds of North America, specifically the Red Fox, Mink, Rabbit, and White-Tailed Deer, and their eating, grouping, and other habits. The sign include this brief introduction to the animals, a silhouette of each animal, and the print their paw or hoof leaves behind. This print is critical because the sign also asks if you can find these tracks. Find them where, you ask? Why, on the walkway between the shed and the World Showcase promenade, of course.

The first exercise requires some attention not only to the sign, but also to the pavement below guests’ feet. The second sign, while just as likely to be overlooked, features an activity that most guests are going to see and get right away. It features four totems and what they embody, included are the Bear (Strength), Owl (Wisdom), Wolf (Freedom), and Eagle (Courage). For those of you who remember the movie, these are clearly not your Brother Bear’s totems. The key comes when children touch the heart of each animal, a touch that releases the creature’s distinct call. The goal of trying to get the owl to hoot, bear to growl, the eagle to screech, and the wolf to howl at the same time will take at least two people, but it gets very loud, very quickly when you succeed.

It may seem that Walt Disney World will not be content until every corner is filled with a Disney Vacation Club kiosk, but at least they are considering how these stands blend in with their surroundings and what they can offer to smaller guests. Canada, for one, is a place for little ones to play, if only for a few moments.

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