In Orlando, FL there exists a World unique of itself, a place so magical guests step right into their favorite movies, dance with cartoon characters, turn with the pages of storybooks and tour exotic lands. It is, in fact, the Most Magical Place on Earth! It is Walt Disney World Resort.
Four theme parks, two water parks, an entertainment district, numerous lodgings and countless amenities invite visitors to the sunshine state to stay for more than just a vacation. If something here is lacking, it is yet to be discovered.
Walt Disney once said of Disneyland Resort that it would never be complete, that it would be ever-progressing, ever-improving, always being “plussed” to be the best experience possible for everyone who enters its gates. When he planned Walt Disney World Resort, he wanted it to be all Disneyland was and more. More land, more opportunity, more technology, more adventure, more entertainment. But not only more; better. He wanted it to set the standard for the rest of the world to follow.
I’d like to invite you into this magical place and let you in on a little secret: When you visit Walt Disney World, you learn.
Did you know that Audio-Animatronics three-dimensional animated human and animal figures perform in a number of attractions at Disney theme parks. The lifelike robotics are not merely visuals, they are the characters. Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room, said to be Walt’s favorite Audio-Animatronics show, was the first to utilize this Imagineering invention. Designed around a mechanical toy bird Walt purchased while visiting New Orleans, the Enchanted Tiki Room was a result of plussing, innovation and persistence. The show is also featured in Adventureland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
You can take the magic home with you and build a robot following this simple tutorial.
Did you know that the icon of Epcot is a big silver golf ball? At least, that’s what my kids call it. Designed by the late Imagineer John Hench who also helped plan Disneyland, this 16 million pound, 183 foot high geodesic sphere measures 165 feet in diameter and encompasses 2.2 million cubic feet of space. The façade contains 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles which funnel rainwater away from the surface, preventing it from hitting the ground and routing it to the World Showcase lagoon. Inside is a journey through millennia of human innovation and communication demonstrating how each generation has affected the next from the dawn of recorded time to the 21st century.
You can take the magic home with you and create a unit study from a particular scene. For example, study ancient Egypt’s form of governerment (have one child preside over a servant sibling for the afternoon), architecture (pyramids and sphynx – build clay models), mode of travel (chariots – attach a Hot Wheels car to a windup toy animal), artistry (pin art paper to the wall and let kids create a story with pictures), and communication (learn to write some simple hieroglyphic symbols here and have “Pharoah” write a message to his agent as is depicted in the scene).
Did you know that Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Disney’s first interactive 3-D ride, as it is also a game? Wearing special glasses, guests can actually see the virtual objects they launch as they hit (or miss) targets in five different game booths. Adding 4-D special-effects technology, riders may sense objects whirring past them as they pop out of the 3-D scenes or feel the spray from bursting virtual water balloons.
You can take the magic home with you and build a rubber bouncy ball catapult game reminiscent of the carnival midway games featured in this attraction.
Did you know that The Dinosaur ride is housed inside the Dino Institute, a large building toward the rear of DinoLand, USA, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? A 40-foot long, 20-foot high Tyrannosaurus rex named Dino Sue stands charge by the entrance. She is an exact replica of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed, excavated in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1990, and is named after her discoverer, fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson.
You can take the magic home with you and make your own fossils.
Wouldn’t you agree that Walt Disney and his successors have indeed set the standard for the world to follow, not only in theme park entertainment, but in inter-personal relations, technological advancement and adventure beyond your wildest dreams? Perhaps next time you visit the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’ll have so much fun learning while you play that you may just think of it as the Most Educational Place on Earth.
If you are planning on taking your children to Disney World and desire to turn it into an educational trip, be sure to visit Magical Mouse Schoolhouse for tips on how you can do just that!
Today’s guest feature is by Jodi Whisenhunt, a Disney-devoted veteran homeschooling mom of 3, who owns Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, a place where children and their parents can stretch the walls of the home classroom. She urges you to think outside the textbook and discover how Disney IS school. Also on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more tips and tricks for your next Walt Disney World vacation. Destinations in Florida can also help you add tips and tricks to your next vacation.