Disney’s Hidden Gems: The Pirates League

Ahoy! Welcome to another edition of Disney’s Hidden Gems. Today’s focus, The Pirates League, has been around for several years, but is still not a commonly known experience.

The Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique has quickly become a must-do for so many guests travelling with little princesses.  But what about the pirates travelling with them? Or what if your little princess is less interested in tiaras and is more into bandanas and eye patches? The Pirates League – located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park – is your answer.

Upon entering, soon-to-be-swashbucklers are welcomed and given their new pirate name, which is retrieved from a large leather-bound book.  This is a fun and interactive beginning to the experience and it is memorialized with a certificate proclaiming the new moniker.

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After the naming ceremony, the buccaneer makes his or her way into the main room, where pirate specialists are on hand to transform your little one (or you – adults are welcome as well!) into the newest member of Captain Jack’s crew.

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There are various pirate packages available, and they range in price from $29.95 to $74.95. They include:

At $29.95, the Empress and First Mate packages include the facial effects (make-up), bandana, eye patch, sword, and various other goodies.

At $44.95, the Jake and the Neverland Pirates package will transform your little one into the main character of the popular Disney Junior show. This includes faux hair and bandana, Jake facial effect, sword, costume t-shirt and the goodies.

At $74.95, the Mermaid package includes mermaid makeup, hair styling, hair clip, necklace, nail polish, sash and costume t-shirt and tutu.

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After the marauding makeover, the new pirate enters a secret chamber where they pose for a picture, which is available for an additional cost.

The final part of the experience happens later in the day. Every afternoon, there is an Adventureland Pirate Parade and all of that day’s newest crew members are welcome to participate.

Overall, this is a fun and unique experience.  Make sure you call ahead of time to reserve your time: (407)WDW-CREW, or have your travel agent make your reservation.

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Disney’s Hidden Gems : Disney’s Silhouette Artists

Most of us are familiar with the most popular “headliner” rides at Disney’s theme parks; after all they are probably the main reason for visiting the parks.  In this series, however, I focus on some of the lesser known things to do inside the parks.  

There are many different types of talented artists in Disney Parks and watching an artist work is truly a great experience.  One group of artists in the Disney parks make their work come to life not with a brush or a pen, but a pair of scissors.  The Disney Silhouette Artists are some of Disney’s truly hidden gems.  Although they have the ability to complete a silhouette in under a minute, most take a few minutes start to finish.  Given the sentimental value and the talent of the artist, I am always amazed at how inexpensive this is.  Since we are always looking for a great keepsake or souvenir for our trips, this is a must for every Disney vacation.

From our sons first trips (left Charlie 2012; right Jack 2010)

Our sons’ first trips [left Charlie (2012); right Jack (2010)]

Disney World

Walt Disney World has multiple locations to capture these treasures: 2 carts in the Magic Kingdom – Main Street USA  (right side alley) & Liberty Square (behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe); a cart in France in Epcot; and Silhouette Portraits in Downtown Disney Marketplace.  Each session is done is done in just a few minutes, but the result will last a lifetime.  Since each session comes with at least two silhouettes, you can keep one and give the other as a gift (grandparents, maybe).

Nick Silhouette

Luke SilhouettePricing

Epcot/Magic Kingdom : Single silhouettes are $8 per person and you receive 2 silhouettes – mirror images of each other – and you can buy an optional black oval frame for $7.95/each.  Cash or Credit – no room charge

Downtown Disney – Single sitting portraits are $12; doubles are $20; triples are $24; or you can capture a family of four for $27. Each portrait comes with three copies and you can buy an optional black oval frame for $7.95/each.

Disneyland

Disneyland is home to the Silhouette Studio,  which is located on Main Street USA, where it has been since 1956. Two of the artists, Slyvia and Bonnie, have been working at the shop for over 30 years each.  Don’t be concerned if you think this shop is messy; the artists intentionally leave their paper clippings on the floor to add to the experience.  Since this place opened 6 months after the gates of Disneyland, they have produced millions of silhouettes.  So next time you are in a Disney Park, have a seat and have yours done.

Pricing

Disneyland : Single silhouettes are $9 per person and you receive 2 silhouettes – mirror images of each other – and you can have it framed for an additional fee. Cash, credit and room keys with charging privileges are all accepted.

Disney’s Hidden Gems : Harmony Barber Shop

Most of us are familiar with the most popular “headliner” rides at Disney’s theme parks; after all they are probably the main reason for visiting the parks.  In this series, however, I will focus on some of the lesser known things to do inside the parks.   

Harmony Barber Shop  This week’s entry is one of the first shops you can see as you pass under the train station and enter Town Square in the Magic Kingdom, and you may have never even noticed it: Harmony Barber Shop.  The Harmony Barber Shop is tucked away on the left hand corner as you enter the park just past City Hall & the Firehouse between the “car barn” (where the parade floats enter/exit) and the Main Street Emporium.  Just like many of the shops on Main Street, this hidden gem is another throwback reminiscent of days gone by.  This shop is just another touch that Walt Disney and his imagineers added to give Main Street the feel of a turn-of the century small American town.   The shop is ornately decorated with three very comfortable vintage barber chairs and beautiful woodwork marble-topped cabinets around large mirrors. 

The term barber shop usually has a male connotation, but this shop is open to all guests from boys and girls getting their first haircuts to women who want a style or trim to men who want to trim their beard or mustache.  The Harmony Barber Shop serves them all. 

Check out all the Mickey stickers Jack got!

Check out all the Mickey stickers Jack got!

Toys and Stickers keep Jack happy during the haircut

Toys and Stickers keep Jack happy during the haircut

The “First Haircut” mentioned above is a specialty of the shop.  Young boys and girls who receive this experience are entertained by the cast member with Mickey stickers or bubbles or toys while they receive a very professional haircut and are sprinkled with pixie dust.  After the haircut they receive a set of “First Haircut” Mickey ears and a certificate along with a lock of their hair. At $18 this may be one of the best values in all of Disney. 

"First Haircut" Mickey Ears

Charlie’s “First Haircut”

"First Haircut" Mickey Ears

“First Haircut” Mickey Ears

Even if you don’t need a full haircut, someone in your group might just want a trim or the kids may enjoy adding colored hair gel and pixie dust to their hair for a special look throughout the day.  During your cut you may even be lucky enough to be visited and serenaded with a song by the Dapper Dans (Disney’s famous Barbershop Quartet). They visit the shop throughout the day, so make sure you keep an ear out for them.

Pixie Dust adds some Magic to this haircut

Pixie Dust adds some Magic to Luke’s haircut

Although the shop does walk-ups, we recommend making an appointment given that the shop is small; and after all who wants to wait in line? A haircut at Harmony early on in your stay will start your vacation off right and make you look great in all of your photos throughout the remainder of the trip. So next time you are planning a trip to Disney World, make sure you book an appointment at one of Disney’s hidden gems: The Harmony Barber Shop.

Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Prices

Haircuts (adults)- $19
Haircuts (children 12 & under) – $15
Colored hair gel –  $5
Beard and mustache trims – $10
“My 1st Haircut” special – $18  (includes haircut, “First Haircut” Mickey Ears, certificate and lock of hair)

Appointments

407-WDW-PLAY, Disney Vacation Club Member Services, the concierge at your Disney Resort Hotel, or talk to your travel agent