Crayola Experience Orlando Outside Entrance
If you have littles who love to color or older children whose creativity loves the explosion of color, the Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall in Orlando, Florida needs to be on your to do list whilst visiting Orlando. The strange thing is, if you don't go looking for it, you may never even realize this wonderful resource is available.
Crayola Experience Florida Mall Interior Entrance
Many people walk into the Florida Mall, me a dozen times to visit the Apple Store for Genius Bar help, but never know this is located just a section away. From inside the Mall, you'll follow the signs for Dick's Sporting Goods. What you see from the mall side is a large Crayola store. That's unusual in itself, I agree, and the rows of plexiglass lined bins of Crayons and tubes of color remind me of the ones filled with M&Ms at Disney Springs. These, of course, are filled with many colors of crayons. If you can tear yourself away, though, head to the back of the store, out the industrial fire doors into another colorfully lit area, follow the line right, back, and then left into the actual line to pay for entry.
Crayola Experience Ticket Counter ... Check out those cascading crayons...
From outside, though, keep driving through the parking lot until you reach the exterior entrance for a much more Show-Stopping Experience. The exterior is brilliant, vibrant with color and an extensive, open parking space that so many mall visitors crave. At about $30 per person per day (free under 2), it's a bit pricey, and an incentive for anyone local (or with littles) to upgrade to the annual membership for about $10 more. When you see how much is available to do, you'll realize it's good value for your money.
Pro Tip: Check out the Crayola Theater Schedule first so you don't miss a show.
Inside the Crayola Theater
I entered as a live show began at the Crayola Theater. Our lovely cast member interacted with Scarlet (red) and (blue) crayons as we learned how crayons are made, then sorted and packed into a box of four. It's a cute show with an educational component but still heavy work for the petite lady who had the strength to lift the metal container filled with hundreds of red crayons "fresh" from the cooker.
After the melted waxy formulation is cooled with ice water (the crayons have something to say about this!), they're broken free from the encasement, checked by a real-life person for imperfection in form or function (they even confirm the crayons can color uniformly) recognizing that the little hollow air bubble in the middle of the crayon keeps them strong, they're double wrapped in the color label, making them even stronger, then sorted with the three other primary colors in the 4 pack box (yes, I know only yellow, blue, and red are primary and blue and yellow makes green, but bear with me!)
Number of Crayola Crayons Produced by the end of our show
At the end of the show, after learning what a ginormous number of crayons have been made by Crayola to date (2,698,745,749,927,384), each guest may choose one crayon from the wooden crate used to collect this show's largesse.
Also in the theater, see a (currently prerecorded) Chaos and Creativity Show, first with multiple choice historic Crayola questions, then the story of young Perry (short for Periwinkle) who gets to take over the factory for part of the shift when his colleagues are called away for an urgent mission. Young Perry, of course, gets into a bit of a bind, but by using his imagination, and with the help of his new friend "Kat," the caterpillar who can paint like a dream, he survives and thrives through the experience.
Crayola Experience Wrap It Up Machines
Once out of the theater, you have the option to spend the two tokens each person is given at the entrance on the "Wrap It Up" machinery. You get to Name and Wrap your own crayon. You can use your child's name or a short phrase.
ProTip: put your token in the machine that HOLDS THE CRAYON COLOR YOU WANT. I didn't know this and received green when I wanted yellow. Sigh.
You could get your name, of course, in your favorite color (Mac and Cheese, anyone?) or be more creative and choose a short phrase. I ultimately used both of my tokens here - my daughter's name for the green, and, once I finally found the bright yellow, "You Are My Sunshine." Delivered separately as a crisp label and a naked crayon, you need only wrap the label around your crayon and you're all set.
This personalization and printing of an authentic Crayola crayon label creating your very own unique Crayola crayon is a big hit with the kids (and additional tokens can be purchased - current price 50 cents).
Crayola Experience Orlando Map to Play! Shop! Eat!
Take a snapshot of the map of the facility to know how to complete your most important portions early or wander the facility and pick and choose as the creative spark strikes.
Here you become a work of art as part of the swirls and colors incorporate the color in your clothing to create a short video that you can email home.
Several attractions require team member's assistance, like the Drip Art, the Rockin' Paper, and the Scribble Scrubbie experiences.
Be sure to stop by the largest crayon in the world, Bluetiful, weighing in at 1,352 pounds and measuring 15.6 feet. It's a fun place to get your picture taken.
Here are some of the other options (additional fees charges at "premium areas"):
Be A Star:
Squeeze the whole family into this photobooth at the front of the Experience and become your very own coloring page.
Be the Star in your own world ... and have the pencil drawing to prove you can Go With The Flow!
Or go to the green screen areas to the left after you leave the Crayola Theater, choose a background, and check which way you'll want to face the creatures (or point!) and have a coloring page printed out for you. If there's no line, you can even set up a few at one booth. It's a great way to personalize and memorialize the trip.
If you walk past this littles area, you'll need to go back. It's got a Light Bright against the wall where you can insert colorful "logs" to create new patterns. Kids love this today as much as I did when I was small.
The playground is only one story, but your older kids will enjoy the 2-story climber a little further along (on the left) with a melted wax tower and bouncy paint bridge, before they slide out of the crayon box.
Silly Selfies room is rarely this empty - make as many selfies as you like to project on the wall
Feeling a little zany today? On the screen, you can create an animal selfie to suit your emotions. Zany pirate bunny? They've got it. Fashionable giraffe? Check. Rock Star unicorn. Definitely. With over 6,000 possible combinations (they counted), spend as much time as you like on this creative section. Because it doesn't stop there. Once you've chosen your selfie and adjusted the colors to suit your mood, you can choose up to two additional filters and shoot your selfie over to the wall and launch your newly minted creature into a new atmosphere - for us it was an underwater seascape.
Parents wait in line to purchase more modelling clay at Modeling Madness
The second place you may choose to spend the token you received on entry (or purchase more), vending machines filled with molding compound in various colors that standby many picnic tables filled with supplies to help you mold and shape it into any number of forms. Not only do you not have crumbs with this material like Play-Doh may form, but it's also amenable to coloring with Crayola markers to truly make it your own.
Color Your Rockin' Paper as much or as little as you please, get clips attached, then watch it dance!
Probably my favorite part of the experience, go to the cast member to gather the paper figure of the day. When I visited, they had a frog and a fairy. Follow the instructions, pop the two sections of the figure out of the strengthened paper (they slide together), color them as you wish, then return to the cast member to have clips added and place your paper creation on the disco ball lit stage.
The magic begins as the lights and music come on and your creation starts to dance. It's great fun watching your creation rock, bop, stop, and turn to the music.
(I asked: it's magnets that allow it to happen ... you may want to get this at home!)
Melt & Mold
What do you do when your crayon is old or broken? Melt it down into something else, of course. In this section, you can create a ring or special character melted out of your favorite crayon color. Place your choice of crayon into the machine and watch it melt and mold into a souvenir that you can use to color, should you so choose.
Music isn't the only place where mash-ups work well. In this section, you'll mash up Crayola images with crayon rubbing textures. You can add mystical creatures, yummy snacks, and just about anything you can imagine. Have you sensed the theme? Everything here can stimulate your imagination and provide you with a new insight into the workings of your child's mind.
Hungry yet? Stop at Cafe Crayola for quick snacks on the run. There's lots of pizza in the area.
Scribble Scrubbies are one of the most popular experiences - go early
Also included in your stay is a ticket for an animal toy in this section. And there's even another toy for annual pass holders. Accept the toy from the cast member and color, scrub, and play with this washable pet. Color it now, play with it, wash it off, let it dry, and color it all over again.
For you, watercolor artists, don't fear. Crayola Experience created an individual room for these messy endeavors and provide a quick drying oven so you can walk around with your masterpiece safely (after it's dried), ready to display on the refrigerator when you get home or roll up and pack snugly in your suitcase.
Stomp & Play is a favorite of little ones
Stomp and Play:
Don't forget to stay active to burn off some of the excess energy so you can focus on creativity. In addition to the dedicated play areas there are multiple sections that allow kids to interact with color. Here, little ones (I saw several toddlers) stomp, play, skip, gallop, and play on this floor with a variety of games that had them leaping from one area to the next. The screen may show sharks for the kids to dive with, reveal hidden photos, make popcorn kernels pop, or let you crack ice as you stomp. Great fun!
Specialty crafts, wax hands (for guests 6 and older), sand art, gem mining, arcade games and areas to sit and color all live at the Trading Post. Look for the water tower with a barrel and use the fast-running water to clean the gems you purchase.
Drip Art remains fun no matter your age
If you loved those games where you could create different pencil geometric shapes with twirls, you're going to love this. Choose two different colored crayons and place one, let it melt and drip over the "paper plate canvas" then the second, and you'll create a unique spiral. You're even able to control the speed with the throttle they provide ... push ahead for full throttle or leave halfway or not at all for slower speeds.
Drip Art Dark Crayon Second
ProTip: If you place the darker color in the chute first, you can see the lighter color better.
I learned that the center portion will always be free of the crayon material, but the color persists. It truly is a matter of preference for both color choice of entry and speed of throttle about how you want your creation to appear. And don't worry, your eyes aren't deceiving you. If you see the images portrayed with more than two colors, those are people that went through the process more than once. Each machine is only set to accept two colors during each processing, so the additional colors must've been done by leaving the art in the "drawer" rather than pulling it out after the first two crayons had dripped on the canvas.
In the back, not far from one of the dining areas, there's an entire wall of melted crayons and "rain" pouring down over the crowd. When it spots you, though, it will slide around you, sometimes even bouncing off your image. Completely controlled by your movement, kids of all ages enjoy this section and may have been the place with the most filming going on.
Want some time to just relax with your littles? Be sure to wear comfy clothes and lay with them on the chalkboard floor and create good, old fashioned, chalk figures in this section. You needn't be a chalk artist to enjoy it but when they're present, it's extraordinary and brings the crowd.
Outside The Box:
Historical information about how some of your favorite Crayola products came to be… can be found in this descriptive section along a side wall. Oftentimes, it was when they were trying to find a solution for one thing that they invented another. That's what you get when innovation thrives.
It wouldn't be a Crayola day without a place to color, cut, and paste a project from beginning to end. Their themes include superheroes, rock stars, and jungle explorers to allow the color explosions to continue. School-aged children seemed to like this best.
Good news: Teachers and True-Blue Heroes receive a FREE Bronze Annual Pass with a valid ID. True Blue Heroes includes military, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs. Well done, Crayola!
If you do your research beforehand (or read this article!) you'll know to allot 1-2 hours if you have a casual interest because you'll want to see one if not two shows in the Crayola Theater. If you've got kids, plan to spend 3-4 hours. After all, the space is larger than an NFL Football Field (but smaller than a hurling arena). If you have artists, you could easily spend the entire day.
Special packages exist with local hotels so you can stay and play. And the Florida Mall is just a few miles from Universal Orlando. I liked the Courtyard by Marriott Orlando South / Grande Lakes if you don't stay at a hotel right at The Florida Mall.
When you finish at the Crayola Experience, you'll have more time to examine the colorfully creative Crayola Store and may decide to choose from the adorably plush crayons, pick a specialty pack of crayons, choose from tie dyed or brilliantly colored apparel, fun home items, Crayola products or shop online to have things delivered home to you (in case you're short on suitcase space).
It's a surprising trip here in Orlando, and a fun one.
The Crayola Experience is also available at the Mall of America (MN), Chandler, Arizona, Easton, Pennsylvania, and Plano, Texas.
Thank you to Crayola Experience
Orlando to hosting me for this visit with the assistance of the Visit Orlando VIP Media Passport. All opinions included are my own. And special thanks to the Manager who found my car key for me.
Pro Tip: Don't leave your car key in your back pocket with your cell phone as you will be photographing, video, or filming a lot and have too many opportunities to lose the key!