Back when I was teaching little ones, our Mission Statement was, Children learn though play.
Well, what better place to play than at Walt Disney World?
Most believe that Epcot is the only place where you can find anything educational, but as you explore the entire Walt Disney World Resort, you may be pleasantly surprised to see that there are many opportunities for learning. The examples listed below are just a few of the educational experiences your whole family can enjoy.
Living With The Land
Soarin’ may be the main attraction in The Land, but if you stick around after your flight around the world, you may find that land is just as fun as the sky. This 14 minute boat ride through greenhouses is a good way to learn about topics like farming, food sustainability, and how we can lessen our use of chemicals. If interested, you also have the opportunity to go to the Behind the Seeds Tour. While I haven’t had the opportunity to experience this myself, I’ve heard many great things about it from those who have.
There is something for everyone on this ride due to the numerous Hidden Mickey’s and interesting way Epcot grows their vegetation, so even if you find the narration a little dry, you can find other things to entertain yourself during your ride. My kids actually ask to ride Living With The Land whenever we visit Epcot, so we make sure to take a ride whenever we’re in The Land.
You may know it as “The Epcot Ball” or “The Giant Golf ball”, but Disney fanatics know it as Spaceship Earth. This 16 minute classic dark ride takes you from the past to the present to the future, all taking place within that beautiful 18-story geodesic sphere.
Your journey ends with a slow backwards roll back down to earth. There’s not much to see from either side of your vehicle (besides an amazing star-effect), so this is your time to create your ideal future on the touch screen in front of you. I hope you smiled at the beginning of the ride because this image will be placed on a cartoon body to match your future.
And be sure to thank the Phoenicians as you pass by them!
Just when you think you’re done learning, the ride leads you into Project Tomorrowland, where there are interactive experiences for the whole family to enjoy. My boys love to play in Project Tomorrowland, as you can tell…
Where else can you explore the world in a matter of hours? A fun fact is that the Cast Members that work in each Pavilion in Epcot are actually part of a Disney International Program, so they come from the country they represent. These Cast Members are able to share unique culture and customs of their country with guests, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about these countries from people who know it best.
Epcot World Showcase Passport Kit – You can purchase the Passport online, before you leave, or purchase once you get to Epcot. Children love the stickers from each country, but little do they know, they’re also learning. Make sure you show your passport to Cast Members in the KidCot Fun Stops because they like to add something special to Passports. I’m not sure if the prices are the same in the parks as they are online, but the $11.99 online price is pretty reasonable when you think about what they charge for other things in the park.
Kidcot Fun Stops – Follow Duffy the Disney Bear around the world, collect stamps, and create a personalized souvenir at any or all 11 of the World Showcase craft stations. Whether or not you purchase the Passport, Kidcot is a fun, educational place for kids to learn about other countries.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
At first, you may think that this is just a Finding Nemo ride, but whether you choose to enter the loading station of the ride or go right to the exhibit area, you’ll soon enter into the 5.7 Million gallon saltwater Aquarium with lots of opportunities to learn about Sea life. You may even get a chance to see Guests scuba diving in the tanks or see demonstrations by Cast Members, teaching little ones about marine biology, shark safety, and more…
Journey Into Imagination With Figment / ImageWorks
After watching (and smelling) Journey into Imagination with Figment, you will exit the ride into ImageWorks, the interactive play area that encourages you to use your imagination. Stay a little while and create some music. Or maybe you’d like to create your own Figment before you go. It’s a cute little place to beat the heat for a little while, as long as you don’t mind the noise.
Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Planet Watch is wonderful for any animal lover. Not only is it a great place to meet Rafiki, himself, you can learn so much about the animals and their care. You may even get to see Veterinarians working hard to make sure that all the animals in their care are happy and healthy. My youngest son dreams of a career helping animals, so this is right up his alley.
I love Kilamanjaro Safaris! It’s a wonderful ride that is also educational. The tour guides are a world of knowledge who teach you about the animals, their habitats, and even what they eat. To make the safaris feel authentic, you will go through water and incredibly bumpy roads.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is located right near Kilimanjaro Safari in Africa. As the name suggests, you may be able to see the Gorillas, but that’s not all you may see. The trail is completely self guided, so take as much or as little time as you need to see everything. We’ve seen everything from a hippo chilling in the water (actually, I don’t think there’s ever a time we don’t see the hippo chilling underwater) to feeding time at the Meerkat Exhibit.
There’s also a chance for kids (and kids at heart) to be a Wilderness Explorer, just like Russel in the movie “Up”. You’ll earn badge stickers, while also learning about some pretty cool animals, when you complete challenges, so remember to pick up a book along the trail (they’re free).
Hall of Presidents
The presidents work together to tell a story of American History, from the past to the present, in this one-of-a-kind attraction. Not only is it extremely educational, the animatronics displayed in this show is nothing short of spectacular.
Related Post: Hall of Presidents Reopens in the Magic Kingdom
Tom Sawyer Island
Inspired by the Mark Twain classic, Tom Sawyer Island is full of fun and educational experiences, believe it or not. Go back to a simpler time when fun activities included exploring caves, exploring forts, and walking though the woods. You’ll almost forget that you’re in the middle of a Theme Park.
Walt Disney Presents (Formerly One Man’s Dream)
Disney describes this mini-museum as “Over 100 Years of Disney Magic on Display“. You’ll learn about where Walt came from, see actual artifacts from his life, and learn how he came to create the legacy that is The Walt Disney Company. It is one place that I have to visit each time I visit Hollywood Studios.
After you walk through the gallery, I suggest going into the theater to watch the film tribute to Walt. It is narrated by Mary Poppins, herself.
As I said, these are just a few educational opportunities you can find on property. Whether you’re just now learning why there’s a brown path running though Liberty Square 😉 or you’ve decided to join an art class, Walt Disney World has many learning opportunities.
What other ways do you learn at Disney World?