Becky, from Disney in Your Day, is joining us here on A Princess and Her Pirates today! Becky’s site, Disney in Your Day, is one of my favorite resources for Disney travel and ideas! Today, she is sharing How to Make Walt Disney World an Educational Experience!
One of the great things about Disney World is that it’s a balance between pure fun and learning opportunities. If you have a kid who is interested in learning, you’re trying to make up for pulling them out of school, or you just like to learn new things yourself, they are lots of ways to do so in Disney!
In fact, I found that there were so many ways to make Disney a little more educational that I published a book, titled An Educational Guide to Walt Disney World. The Educational Guide is set up very much like a guidebook, but almost every attraction has an educational tie-in. Some were obvious – Space Mountain has information about astronauts and outer space, and the safari has jungle animals. Some were more difficult, but almost every ride has something of educational value to it. For each ride I shared some interesting facts about the topic, recommended books or websites (plus a library call number so you can find information in your library!), discussion questions to get you talking, and project ideas for hands-on activities.
Here I’ve put together just a couple of suggestions about how to make your next Disney trip just a little more educational (but still fun!). If this idea intrigues you, my book has a lot more content in it that will help you out.
Play trivia games while waiting in line. Since you’ve got time to kill anyway while you wait for the next attraction, why not get some trivia games going? There are tons of trivia apps that you can download to your phone. If you prefer not to be on your phone all the time, pack a small paperback trivia book in your bag. It could be Disney trivia, but it could be about anything! An Educational Guide to Walt Disney World also has interesting facts related to each attraction in Disney World that you could use to share with your group.
Talk to Cast Members in the World Showcase. There are 11 different countries represented in the World Showcase in Epcot, and the cast members in each of them are from the country they represent! So take a few minutes to talk to them. Ask questions about where they’re from, or learn how to say a few words in their native language.
Participate in Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom. Like learning about animals and nature? Animal Kingdom now has a wonderful program called Wilderness Explorers, where you can earn badges all over the park by discovering information. And you don’t actually have to be a kid to participate, either.
Take a behind the scenes tour. Learn more about a topic in the theme parks by taking a backstage tour. If you’re a Disney history buff, look into Keys to the Kingdom at Magic Kingdom. Love animals? Consider Caring for Giants or Wild Africa Trek in Animal Kingdom. At Epcot, you can do Behind the Seeds – it’s affordable and gets you a tour of the greenhouses in Epcot.
Come up with discussion questions ahead of time for meals or waiting in line. Brainstorm some discussion questions to get the kids talking and thinking about things, whether it’s over dinner or while waiting in line. What do you think pirates were really like – were they like the pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean? Which country from the World Showcase would you most want to visit? I have discussion questions for every attraction in my book.
Do a fun project when you get home. Continue the fun and get some learning in by putting together some sort of project at home. Ask the kids what their favorite attraction was and have them learn more about that topic. Loved Haunted Mansion? Learn more about haunted houses around the country (or in your area!). A fan of the safaris? Learn more about your favorite animal. Couldn’t get enough of The Little Mermaid? Read books about mermaids or sea creatures!
If you want help getting started on exploring all of the learning opportunities that Disney World has to offer, make sure you pick up a copy of An Educational Guide to Walt Disney World!
Do you like learning when you travel? What at Disney World would you most be interested in learning more about?