Today’s post is a very special post by a very special Disney friend. Lisa Batista from Beyond the Attractions has done a wonderful review of the Highland Games Tournament just for us. Be sure to head on over to her site and check out her WONDERFUL book, Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers. In just a few short weeks we will host a review and giveaway. Thank you Lisa!!!!!
Disney marketing is in full swing for the June 22nd release of BRAVE. Merida has been greeting guests in the Magic Kingdom for some weeks now. Not to be outdone, Epcot has introduced the Highland Games Tournament through July 8th.
A large banner at the entrance of the Rose Walk from World Showcase invites guests to participate in the Highland Games. (The Rose Walk is a beautifully planted pathway from Future World to World Showcase, nearest the Canada Pavilion).
Participants who dare to test their mastery of Scottish games will first spin the wheel to be assigned a family from the BRAVE film. This didn’t add much to the experience although I did pretend it was my one and only shot at spinning the Wheel of Fortune wheel.
On to the archery event. The Cast Member gave detailed instructions on using the rubber tipped bow and arrow. Bull’s-eye!
The next event was the Haggis toss. Being unfamiliar with haggis, I looked it up and I’m a bit sorry I did. Haggis is “a traditional pudding made of the heart, liver, etc., of a sheep or calf, minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned, and boiled in the stomach of the animal.” – Dictionary.com
The Disney-fied haggis at the Highland Games Tournament was a small sack much like a beanbag. Players hit the mini catapult with a lightweight mallet and hoped the haggis landed in the basket. (Think Frog Toss at the boardwalk or carnival.)
Once honorary Highlanders move to the cake toss, they are handed beanbags. Aim well and earn points if the “cake” connects with the target.
Last up is the Mini Caber Toss. Another visit to Dictionary.com clarified that a caber is “a pole or beam, especially one thrown as a trial of strength.” About five feet in length, the cabers were a little unwieldy but not particularly heavy. Apparently, the caber must flip one time during the toss. Confused about the instructions, my feat of strength was less like a toss and more like a drop but it was fun nonetheless.
The four events were fun but I couldn’t help but feel rushed through the small area.
Being the competitive sort, I would have loved a leader board that tallied up participants’ scores at the events.
As a mom, the real treasure in this area is the Highland Training Grounds. Epcot is often overlooked as a kids’ theme park which is why the Flower and Garden Festival is a great time to visit. Temporary, whimsical playgrounds are placed in the park. I’ve always wondered why they aren’t kept in place year-round. It’s as if Disney heard my inner musings because the Training Ground consists of clean, inventive play areas atop a soft surface. Disney gets bonus points in my book for putting up tent areas that provide ample shade and seating for weary parents watching their children.
With a wait of only a few minutes, the Highland Grounds is a very nice little diversion from the permanent Epcot attractions and a clever way for Disney to promote the BRAVE movie. If you have a few minutes, head over and test your skills or let your kids to burn off some energy in the play areas – you’ll be glad you did.
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers. When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.