Whether you’re wanting to celebrate National Scavenger Hunt Day on May 24 (yes, that is a thing, I checked) or you’re simply looking for different Disney activities that are typically free from crowds and lines for your next trip to Disney World, there are enough Disney World scavenger hunts ideas – both official and unofficial – to keep you and your crew busy for at least a few vacations.
Here’s a roundup of all the different scavenger hunts at Disney World, along with why I think you should work one (or more!) into your next Disney vacation.
Due to COVID-19, some activities are currently unavailable due to health and safety guidelines. Additionally, some Disney resorts have yet to reopen. Some attractions, like Disney scavenger hunt Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, for sure won’t be returning. However, it remains to be seen when others will see the axe as well. As things continue to change quickly, we recommend you refer to the Disney World website and app, along with on-site cast members, for the most up-to-date information.
Why Do a Scavenger Hunt at Disney World?
No matter if it’s your first time visiting or your tenth, a trip to Disney World is almost always guaranteed to be a good time. The rides are amazing, the food is (usually) tasty, the characters are great – even with some crowds and waiting around in line, it’s a blast! But occasionally (i.e. when the wait times are ridiculously long), I love getting out of the queues, off the rides, and just spending time exploring different corners of the theme parks. And the best way to do that, of course, is by doing a scavenger hunt at Disney World.
Still on the fence? Here are some Disney scavenger hunt perks:
- Little-to-No Lines – You know that feeling that you get when you walk onto a Disney attraction without having to actually stop and wait? Well, you can have that feeling all the time by doing Disney World scavenger hunts. Wait times are ubiquitous at Walt Disney World, and really, theme parks in general. So, whenever there’s an opportunity to still have fun without having to do that familiar stop-and-go shuffle, I say you should use it. Because of their very nature, scavenger hunts fling participants far and wide as they try to check things off their list, meaning that there’s usually very little wait, if any at all, to pick up your Disney scavenger hunt clues and get started.
- Usually Free or Very Low Cost – Disney vacations are notoriously expensive, and there are very rarely any free things to do at Walt Disney World. So, when Disney does offer them, like some of the scavenger hunts listed below, I love to take advantage. While not all scavenger hunts at Walt Disney World are free, most of them are. And, with a few exceptions, the ones that aren’t free tend to be low cost. Along with discount Disney World tickets, they’re a great way to maximize a budget.
- Help You Appreciate Disney’s Theming and Creativity – As a bit of a design and architecture fan, I’m a sucker for details, so this one is big for me. Disney Imagineers have crammed so many different Easter eggs and immersive design details into every nook and cranny of the Disney parks. And, unfortunately, since we spend so much time rushing from ride to ride to basically hurry up and wait, we end up missing them. Disney scavenger hunts often open your eyes to these bits of undercover pixie dust and can help you to see and appreciate the parks in a whole new way.
- Ups the Fun Factor for Kids and Adults Alike – Disney World is fun – there’s no question about that. But depending on which park you’re visiting and what you’re doing, it may not be fun for everyone all the time. Case in point: While Epcot has its fair share of rides, it is by no means Disney World’s most kid-friendly park. With more educational exhibits and rides and one part of the park beloved by adults for its Drink-Around-the-World-ability, little ones here don’t necessarily have a lot to keep them entertained and happy. That’s where Epcot scavenger hunts like Kidcot Fun Stops and special Epcot festival scavenger hunts come in. As for older park guests, I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of accomplishing something, from solving a riddle to trying each and every item on the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine scavenger hunt that’s part of the Epcot Festival of the Arts – including that sweet, sweet prize. Which brings us to our next perk…
- Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner – You know what they say: It’s about the journey, not the destination. However, while you don’t need to win something for a scavenger hunt to be fun, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Not all Disney scavenger hunts end in a reward, but for the ones that do, consider it a bonus souvenir. Depending on what kind of vacation memories you like to collect, even the scavenger hunt clues and tasks themselves can make great mementos.
- You Might Just Learn Something – Chances are good that Disney World won’t be the first place you or younger guests go on a scavenger hunt. In fact, educators love scavenger hunts for their use of critical problem-solving skills and ability to make learning fun. So, while you might not go to Disney specifically to learn something, don’t be surprised if you walk away from Disney World scavenger hunts like Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom with some newfound knowledge.
Official Disney Scavenger Hunts in the Parks
Looking for a scavenger hunt at Epcot to keep your kiddos entertained as you explore World Showcase or something to do around Magic Kingdom if the wait times are long and your patience is wearing thin? Here are all the scavenger hunts at Walt Disney World which require a park ticket:
A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas
Whether you’re a pirate or a landlubber, a sense of adventure is all that’s required for this interactive Magic Kingdom scavenger hunt. Grab your treasure map from the activity kiosk between Tortuga Tavern and Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, then keep a weathered eye open as you search for clues hidden throughout Adventureland before returning for a collectible souvenir card.
A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Sevens Seas is currently the only remaining scavenger hunt at Magic Kingdom, so we hope it sticks around. Like past Epcot World Showcase scavenger hunts (and, it’s safe to assume, the new DuckTales version that’s slated), the highlight here is the use of technology, namely making parts of Adventureland come to life as part of the clues.
COMING SOON! DuckTales World Showcase Adventure
Well, hopefully coming soon, anyway. The DuckTales World Showcase Adventure was originally announced as part of the slew of new Epcot attractions. Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened which, one can only assume, pushed back its start date. Last I read, it’s still coming to Epcot, so keep your fingers crossed for a sooner-rather-than-later opening date.
Similar to past World Showcase Adventure iterations (Agent P’s and Kim Possible’s included), DuckTales World Showcase Adventure is set to send guests on a scavenger hunt around the world (showcase pavilions) – this time alongside Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack, Webby, and the trio of nephews as they search for priceless treasure.
Kidcot Fun Stops
Parents, if you’re looking for something to keep you occupied while you sample the World Showcase goods, this is the scavenger hunt for you. And, while “kid” may be part of the name, but that doesn’t mean that Epcot’s Kidcot Fun Stops at World Showcase are just for children. Artsy adults and perpetual wanderlusters will enjoy this Epcot scavenger hunt too.
Kidcot Fun Stops can be found at each of the World Showcase pavilions and are totally free for Epcot guests. Just pick up your Ziploc baggie “suitcase” at any Kidcot Fun Stop and start making your way around World Showcase. At each station, guests collect unique traveler’s cards which have a fun fact about the country you’re visiting on the front and a little coloring scene on the back. You don’t have to color these in right away, however markers are provided for any immediate coloring break needs.
Best of all, guests both young and old can use these opportunities to talk to the cast members running the Kidcot Fun Stops about their home countries. They might even teach you a few words or tell you how to say or write your name in their language. This scavenger hunt is also super flexible in that it doesn’t matter where you start, and you don’t need to finish all 11 pavilions if you don’t want to – although for a true scavenger hunt experience, you probably should.
Epcot Festival Scavenger Hunts
If it wasn’t clear enough already, Epcot is THE PLACE to go for scavenger hunts at Disney World. In addition to the permanent Kidcot Fun Stops and semi-permanent World Showcase Adventures, the park is also home to a seasonal rotation of Epcot festival scavenger hunts. So, if there’s a festival at Epcot happening while you’re in town, get a taste of the festivities with one of these interactive adventures.
While festival offerings can change from year to year, typically, each festival usually offers at least one festival-themed scavenger hunt as well as a foodie scavenger hunt or food stroll. These include Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration and Garden Graze at the Flower & Garden Festival, Figment’s Brush with The Master and Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine at the Festival of the Arts, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak and the forthcoming Emile’s Fromage Montage at the Food & Wine Festival, and Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition and Holiday Cookie Stroll at the Festival of the Holidays.
There’s no better way to explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park than with the Wilderness Explorers. For this hidden gem of an Animal Kingdom attraction, you’ll set out on a nature-themed scavenger hunt across the park. After completing interactive, self-guided challenges like observing animals, learning wilderness survival skills, and more, you’ll come away with over 25 different badges, some unique Animal Kingdom memories, a greater appreciation for the world’s wild things and places, and maybe even a factoid or two.
Whether you decide to complete the tasks individually or with a group, this Animal Kingdom scavenger hunt is a great way for nature lovers of all ages to take their Animal Kingdom experience to the next level. To get started, talk to a cast member at one of the Wilderness Explorer Outposts located throughout the park.
Disney’s Family Magic Tour
Disney’s Family Magic Tour is the most formal scavenger hunt on our list, and also the most expensive of the bunch. For this cast member-led, story-focused, interactive tour through the Magic Kingdom, you’ll solve a series of clues, play games, and come across more than a few surprises along the way. Family Magic Tours are only available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Unlike the vast majority of the other Disney World scavenger hunts on our list, Disney’s Family Magic Tour is a guided group activity. In other words, you’ll be tracking down clues alongside any other Disney guests who were able to snag a spot. Advance reservations are suggested, but you can also try to snag a walk-in spot if you’d like at Town Square Theater on Main Street U.S.A. At $39 per person, this Magic Kingdom scavenger hunt isn’t cheap ( and adults might find some of the tasks silly), but it is a fun and especially magical way to experience this iconic park through more detail-minded eyes.
Scavenger Hunts at Disney World Resorts
While several Disney World scavenger hunts can be found throughout the parks, you don’t need a park ticket to get in on the fun. Disney scavenger hunts are offered at many Disney resorts too! And best of all, they’re free, and you don’t even need to be a hotel guest to participate. However, if you are going to be staying (or eating) at the same Disney resort, these scavenger hunts are great for killing time while waiting for your room (or table) to be ready, hanging out at the resort after checking out, soaking up more of Disney’s incredible theming, or taking a break from the parks.
Some scavenger hunts at Disney World hotels vary with the seasons (both in terms of theming and availability), the time, and the day of the week. So, if you’re going to be checking in at one of the resorts below, refer to the activities guide provided or talk to a cast member about what’s going on at that time. Here are some of the Disney hotel scavenger hunts that have been offered in the past:
Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge scavenger hunt is a lengthy endeavor, clocking in at around an hour to finish, and a great use of the resort’s animal-filled savannas, cultural activities, and African-inspired design. Grab your scavenger hunt clues from the Front desk at Jambo House; then, once you’ve finished, return for your pick of prizes including things like tiny animal toys and various animal-printed knick-knacks.
Art of Animation Resort
This is a scavenger hunt with character – Disney and Pixar characters, that is! For this Art of Animation scavenger hunt around Disney’s newest value resort, you’ll first need to pick up a map from the hotel’s Front desk. Then, set off on this short-ish (20-30 minutes or so) scavenger hunt across the sprawling property to track down the various characters that inspired the resort’s different movie-focused theming areas.
While you only need to match the character to the appropriate spot on the map, this is also a great time to snap a couple of selfies with the larger-than-life versions of Scar, Crush, and more. Once you’re done, head back to the Front desk to claim your prize (typically a Disney trading pin).
Caribbean Beach Resort
Ahoy mateys! At around an hour long, the Caribbean Beach scavenger hunt is another drawn-out adventure that takes you all across this Disney resort. Unlike most of the other Disney resort scavenger hunts on our list, Caribbean Beach’s offering is only available between 1 to 4pm. First, make your way over to the Fuentes del Morro Pool and snag your clues from one of the cast members in the area.
Some of the clues here can be tricky, so if you get stuck, feel free to ask someone to help. When you’re finished, go back to the pool to pick your booty from the pirate chest. Keep in mind that you must return before 4pm to get your prize. If you’re late, no worries – simply stop by within the 1-4pm time window the next day.
Polynesian Village Resort
The scavenger hunt at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort proves that more of something isn’t always a good thing. Usually held only on Tuesdays at 5pm, what this weekly Disney scavenger hunt lacks in flexibility, it more than makes up for with the quality of the prize (such as a complimentary ride on a Sea Raycer at the Seven Seas Marina). In contrast to other scavenger hunts at Disney World, however, to only the victor goes the spoils. That’s right, the only way you’re getting a prize here is by getting first place.
Throughout the Polynesian resort scavenger hunt, you’ll take pictures around the resort based on hints from a series of laminated clues sheets. This team-based scavenger hunt usually takes around 40 minutes and is a great way to see the resort, take some fun pictures, and make some memories with the rest of your scavenger hunt squad whether you win or not.
Pop Century Resort
Similar to the scavenger hunt at Art of Animation, the Pop Century scavenger hunt is all about the icons scattered throughout the resort. This time, rather than beloved Disney movie characters, you’re matching up massive versions of pop culture items from throughout the 1950s to 1990s – like the yo-yo, Play-Doh, Rubik’s Cube, and more – with their location on the scavenger hunt map provided by the Front desk. This scavenger hunt usually has two different prizes: the slap bracelet that comes wrapped around the map and whatever you choose from the goodie bag once you’ve finished.
My recommendation? With Art of Animation and Pop Century right next door to each other, make a day out of it (like National Scavenger Hunt Day, perhaps?) by doing both Disney resort scavenger hunts, then hop on the Disney Skyliner to do the one at Caribbean Beach too.
Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Unlike the other Disney hotel scavenger hunts on our list, the long-ish (around 45 minutes) scavenger hunt at Port Orleans: French Quarter varies depending on the time of year. In other words, there’s a chance that there might not be one happening during your next visit.
On the bright side, however, the seasonality of the Port Orleans scavenger hunt helps keep things fresh and festive. Clues sheets are typically available here from the Front desk or bell services and usually feature short poems for clues. After you finish solving each one, return your scavenger hunt guide to the front desk for your reward.
Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Unlike the one at its sister park, the scavenger hunt at Port Orleans: Riverside can be done any time between 9am and 5pm each and every day of the week. Stop by the Riverside Levee Marina for your #SassagoulaSelfies scavenger hunt map.
Then, embark on a short (usually around 15 minutes max) photo safari – just go to the spots on the map and take a selfie. It’s that simple. You don’t even need to get them all, only 5 out of 9 photo spots are needed. When you’re finished, head back to the marina to snag your prize, usually a $5 arcade gift card.
You don’t need to go to multiple Disney resorts to maximize your scavenger hunt fun – just go to the Wilderness Lodge instead! This deluxe resort is home to 2 different Hidden Mickey scavenger hunts: one in the main Wilderness Lodge hotel area and the other in their Disney Vacation Club Boulder Ridge Villas.
Hidden Mickeys are one of Disney Imagineers’ most enduring traditions, with the famous silhouettes being sprinkled throughout the parks ever since Epcot first opened its doors. The Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas scavenger hunts are the only official Disney scavenger hunts on property which feature the iconic visual Easter eggs. Both are on the shorter side, no more than 20 to 25 minutes each.
Start out with the easier Wilderness Lodge scavenger hunt (great for kids of all ages), then head next door for the decidedly more difficult one at the Boulder Ridge Villas (best for families and adults). After that, return to the front desk to claim your reward: An autographed photo of Mickey and Minnie and Magical Moment certificate.
DIY Disney Scavenger Hunt Ideas
Have you already done all of the scavenger hunts at Walt Disney World? Or maybe you’re in the mood for something more your speed? Make your own Disney scavenger hunt instead!
Take Eating and Drinking Around the World to the Next Level
Eating and drinking around the world is an Epcot institution. So, the next time you stamp your passport, so to speak, at each of the World Showcase pavilions, put your matching team t-shirts (no, I’m not kidding) to good use and turn it into a scavenger hunt.
Take food selfies of specific menu items, share a flight with strangers, tap your toes to Mariachi Cobre (and take a video for proof), or keep it simple and just try one item from each World Showcase pavilion – the choice is yours. With a bit of pre-planning – or none at all – you can make a memorable Epcot experience for you and your friends or family (with a splash or two of alcohol, if you’re so inclined).
Use a Book as Inspiration
When it comes to theme park and resort design, nobody does it like Disney. In fact, entire books have been written on the subject. See the parks through a keener, more educated eye with a scavenger hunt inspired by one of them. My personal favorite, The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, is a tome of information for Disney nerds with an eye for details and a great muse for any DIY Disney World scavenger hunt.
Another great source of scavenger hunt inspiration is Walt Disney World’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets by Steven M. Barrett. Like we mentioned previously, these camouflaged bits of magic are a favorite of Disney Imagineers. As the story goes, given the park’s more educational leanings, traditional Disney characters weren’t originally meant to be an integral part of Epcot’s design.
However, Imagineers decided that, at the very least, Mickey needed some representation in the new Disney World park (it all started with a mouse, you know) and the Hidden Mickey was born. This book is a veritable Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt in your pocket, and a must for diehard Disney fans.
Make (or Download) Your Own Disney Scavenger Hunt Clues
Well, we’ve finally come to our last Disney scavenger hunt idea, and it’s probably the one that Walt Disney himself would like best: Design your own scavenger hunt through Walt Disney World. Send your clan off to track down clues, fill in the blanks, and, if necessary, bring back the photo or video evidence. Don’t have the time to make your own? Download one off the internet instead!
Walt Disney was passionate about making things better, especially ideas. He called it “plussing.” Walt loved encouraging his team members to take their already good ideas and push them to be even greater. For me, that’s what Disney World scavenger hunts do: They take an already fun vacation and make it even more memorable, saving you money and time and enriching your experience in a whole number of ways. So hopefully, for your next Disney World vacation, you’ll plus it by giving one of these Disney scavenger hunt ideas a try.
Do you have a favorite scavenger hunt at Disney World? Is there a DIY Disney scavenger hunt idea that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Disney World Planning
If you’re planning to visit the Walt Disney World Resort you may want to take a look at some of our time and money saving guides. First, our Planning Guide can help you with a general overview of the resort and what to expect when planning your vacation. Second, we offer the best discount guide for Disney World Tickets. See how you can save over $60 per ticket with a simple click. Last, don’t miss out on our 1 Day Touring Plans for each of the four parks. We’ll show you how to get the most done as you avoid the crowds.