Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More Educational Fun at Disney World

Before leaving Epcot stop at Innovations behind Spaceship Earth and play the Great Piggy Bank Adventure game. It teaches kids (and adults) about setting smart financial goals, saving and spending wisely, inflation, asset allocation and diversification.

As you can see Epcot has a lot of opportunities for learning and having fun at the same time.

Now let's head over to Animal Kingdom which offers many more opportunities for learning. This is a 500 acre park/zoo anchored in the middle by The Tree of Life. This huge tree has 325 carvings on its trunk. Both art and science can be experienced here by studying these beautiful carvings.

There are many trails taking you by different animals. Have your child determine if each animal they see is a mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird or fish. And don't miss the Kilimanjaro Safaris which take you out on a 100 acre African savannah looking for animals. You never know what animals you will see.

If you are lucky enough to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge get a room overlooking the savannah and watch the animals as they go about their daily life.

Take the Wildlife Express Train to the Conservation Station to see how the animals are cared for and you might even see an animal surgery in progress on the monitor in the hospital.

In Dinoland the younger ones will enjoy the larger than life audio -animatronic dinosaurs and they can dig for bones at the Boneyards Dig Site.

There are many environmental exhibits and as you wander down the paths also notice the many kinds of plants and try to identify them. (botany)

In both the Asia and Africa areas there are cultural experiences and performances. You can beat on a drum in Africa or eat a spring roll in Asia.

In the Magic Kingdom the Hall of Presidents has very realistic moving wax replicas of all the presidents telling the early history of our country.

Animation and history are also taught in Hollywood Studios at the Magic of Disney Animation. You see a film showing how animated characters are made. At the Animation Station you can experience  what it's like to be a Disney animator.

You can probably find more educational things to do in Disney World but this gives you many ideas. 
I will be glad to help you plan your next Disney trip! Give me a call at 336-922-1837.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yes learning can be fun in Disney World.  It's all here - history, geography, culture, science, math, economics and more.
Epcot has many fun opportunities starting with the pavilions of 11 countries at World Showcase. Sign up for Kidcot  then make your way around the world stopping at the Kidcot fun stops. It is a little like a scavenger hunt. Your child can collect a stamp in each country as they learn from an international cast member about their culture, food, dress and how to say "hello" in their language.
They younger ones can color a picture or learn a craft.

Agent P's Secret Agent Mission is getting great reviews from the kids so don't miss this one. Start by going to a recruitment station located at either Odyssey Bridge, Norway or Italy pavilions or near International Gateway.     

You will receive your assignment and get your interactive hand held evil detector device that will guide you on your mission (2-4 agents can share this). Clues are in various pavilions in World Showcase. Each mission lasts 30-45 minutes

The American Adventure show in the American pavilion has Ben Franklin and Mark Twain telling the story of America beginning with the pilgrims 

 through World War II. 

In Future World they can learn about science at Mission Space. Be forewarned that this ride can cause motion sickness.
The Universe of Energy teaches about fossil fuels, energy and conservation.

The Circle of Life show in the Land Pavilion teaches about environmental protection. Also here is The Living with the Land ride which is an indoor boat ride through greenhouses where they can see aquaculture tanks and see plants growing without soil (hydroponics).                  

You can have fun with several hands-on activities in the Innoventions Pavilion and learn about new technologies.

Nemo and his Friends have their own pavilion where the kids can learn about aquatic life with marine exhibits. Don't pass up the Turtle Talk with Crush. It is a lot of fun.                                      

At the Test Track you can create your own virtual concept vehicle and then go for a high octane ride. This thrill ride requires a child to be 40 inches tall.

One of my favorite rides is Soarin'. Again you must be 40 inches tall. You feel like you are flying above California and you can even smell the orange groves. The lines here are usually long so use a fast pass  here.

Spaceship Earth (aka as the golf ball) has a ride teaching about the history of communication. Kids like going up "in the ball". This is at the entrance to Epcot so is a good one either at the start of the day or the end of the day.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Disney in the Off Season

Traveling to Disney in the off-season offers more discounts.

So when is the off-season? Pretty much anytime the kids are in school.

Disney in the Off Season with CruiseTogether

September and October as well as November and December have some great prices as long as you don't go over the holidays.

Usually if you stay at a resort in the park in the fall you will get a free dining plan . Or if you don't want the dining plan you can get a discount (usually 30% off) at a resort.

Off season at Disney can mean big discounts on the hotels!

It is also less crowded at those times. Some families opt to take their kids out of school for a few days. If your kids are young that might be an option. However if your kids are in middle or high school they probably would miss out on a lot and it would be more difficult to catch up.

At some schools you can get an excused absence if you go to the office prior to your trip and ask permission.  The child may have some "homework" such as writing a report on his/her trip.

So how can you make this an educational trip? Any kind of travel is a learning opportunity and exposes us all to new experiences if we are open to it.  Disney World has many educational opportunities and the kids won't even know they are learning because it will be so much fun.

How to make your Disney trip educational

To prepare the kids for your trip buy them each a journal so they can write in it each night. It will help them with their spelling and in forming ideas on paper. They can write about their favorite things so they can remember them later and what fun it is to re-live it later many times over!

If you are driving get some maps. Yes, the paper ones so they can learn to read a map and maybe they won't be crying "are we there yet?" quite so often.

And have them read about the states you drive through. Perhaps they can play "tour guide" and read to you as you drive along. You might even learn a thing or two.

As soon as you know you will be going talk to them about a budget. Encourage them to save some money for their own souvenirs.The younger ones will enjoy learning to count their money.

Photo with Piglet

Call me to find out about free dining or other discounts - 336-922-1837.

Next I will give you some ideas on educational opportunities in the park.