Editor’s note: This review applies only to the Crayola Experience Orlando location, though based on the corporate website it appears that many of the attractions are very similar at the other locations in Minneapolis and Easton, Pennsylvania.
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Our family lives about an hour east of Orlando, which means we are never hurting for a manufactured way to spend money on family fun if we so desire. That being said, we aren’t huge amusement park fans, so we look for less flashy (read: less expensive) activities that we can all do together.
I attended FlBlogCon this fall and my swag bag contained 5 free passes to the Crayola Experience at Florida Mall in Orlando. It opened just a few months prior and I had heard great things – but the expense of driving there and paying for my family to go had been just a little too steep thus far. The free tickets (And 5 of them? Strange number, but just enough for me and my kids, with the baby free) were the incentive I needed.
After a successful first visit, my mom gifted our family with annual passes and we’ve been back a second time — and the kids are asking to go again. Whether you are in Orlando on vacation, or are locals like us, here are a few things you need to know before you head to the Crayola Experience with your kids.
What is Crayola Experience?
As the name implies, the attraction is branded and operated by the popular crayon/art supply behemoth. There are plenty of coloring stations, with coloring sheets and basic crayons, alongside tech-friendly activities that engage today’s digital natives.
As a parent, I appreciated that there were age-appropriate playground areas that had nothing to do with Crayola or art — but allowed kids to burn some energy in the midst of the larger attraction. In total, there are 25 attractions — almost all of which are housed on a single level in an open floor plan that makes it easy to spot all your kids if they are doing separate activities. Some of the attractions include:
- Art Alive – Kids use tablets to create their own digital works of art that are then displayed on large screens for all to see.
- Crayon Factory – Using touchscreens at different color stations, kids can name their own crayons and then attach the custom label to the standard-sized crayon.
- Melt & Mold – Crayons are melted down and the liquid is dropped into a mold and then firmed up into the new shape. My kids like the shark and seahorse molds the best.
- Color Playground – No crayons are involved in this active excuse for kids to run around and meet new friends.
There are private party rooms for birthdays and other special events that take place throughout the year. The best way to see what is coming up is to visit the Crayola Experience Calendar.
What age groups love Crayola Experience?
Based on my visits, the best ages are early walkers to age 10. Any older, and kids will likely become quickly bored with attractions. At the Orlando location, there is both a toddler-friendly playground area (recommended for ages 2 to 4) and a separate playground area for bigger kids.
How much does Crayola Experience cost?
Admission is $21.99 plus tax per person. Children under age 2 are free. Seniors 65+ are $17.99 plus tax each.
You can also opt for annual passes for just $34.99 plus tax per person. You can check for ticket specials and buy them in advance by visiting the Crayola Experience site.
What else should parents know about Crayola Experience?
Here a few more tidbits to make the most of your visit to this crayon haven:
- Food. A cafeteria area sells salads, sandwiches, and whole pizzas or pizza by the slice. A family pizza deal will cost about $30 and comes with 4 soft drinks. Annual pass holders get 10 percent off all food sales. There are no outside food or drinks allowed — but I took in a few snack-size items and sippy cups without incident. You can probably plan your day to go in between meals and get by with just a few snacks in your purse or diaper bag. Located in the Florida Mall, there is no shortage of food options just outside the Crayola Experience.
- Feet. The kids are required to take off shoes to enter either playground, so make sure you have socks. One sort of surprising thing is that the floors just outside the play areas (and the flooring between the two) is incredibly slippery — and concrete. I saw no fewer than 5 kids bite it on the floor running to parents or siblings in their socks. Remind your kids to walk and put shoes back on right after they are done in the playground areas. (Crayola management: If you’re reading, applying a non-slip coat of paint to the flooring may be a good plan.)
- The gift shop. Like many other family attractions, the only way to exit the Crayola Experience is through the gift shop — and it’s kind of a long walk. Decide in advance if you want to pay for a souvenir for your kids, or let them know in advance that the gift shop is just for looking for ideas for the next birthday or holiday.
If You Visit
The Crayola Experience at Florida Mall, 8001 South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, is open year-round. The hours vary seasonally but are normally 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days per week. The Crayola Experience is open on Christmas and Thanksgiving. You can visit the Crayola Experience’s online calendar to check hours of operation before you go. Allow 4 to 5 hours to really enjoy all the activities.
Children up to age 10 or so will best enjoy the activities.
Have you visited any of the Crayola Experience locations? What advice would you add?
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Tags: Crayola Experience