A trip to Walt Disney World can be educational as well as fun...
Homeschoolers may all approach education differently, but most homeschool families have one thing in common: they can find learning opportunities just about anywhere. Walt Disney World is packed with educational places where kids can enjoy hands-on learning in truly immersive environments. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate your own lesson plans into a Walt Disney World vacation, these ideas will offer a great place to start.
Since every educator does things differently, these sections offer broad ideas that are easily customized to suit your children’s ages, interests, and learning style.
1. American history in Magic Kingdom
The whimsical air of the Magic Kingdom doesn’t immediately make you think of American history, but if you take a closer look at Liberty Square and Frontierland, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for an educational experience. These areas were designed with great attention to detail so they could provide an immersive step back in time.
Liberty Square is the perfect place to bring your lesson plan on America’s founding fathers to life. The architecture includes period-specific details that take you back to the late 1700s. In the Hall of Presidents you’ll find several authentic artifacts from the lives of various American presidents. Study the presidents before your visit and see how many your children can accurately point out on stage. Each one says his name, so you can check to see if you were right.
Head to Frontierland and you’ll travel into the old west of the early 1800s. Look for period details in the architecture here as well. Read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” before you come and see how many scenes and references you can tie back in to the book as you explore Tom Sawyer Island.
2. World cultures in Epcot
Each pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase transports you to another country. Whether you learn about one country in-depth or you cover them all, doing a lesson on world cultures before you arrive will give you endless opportunities to tie your lessons in with real life experiences on your visit.
Brush up on your French and see how many signs and menu items you can accurately translate in the France pavilion. Look for iconic landmarks that closely mimic the originals, such as the red tori gate along the lagoon in Japan, which resembles the gate to the Itsukushima Shrine, or the minarets in Morocco that are inspired by the Chella minaret in Rabat and Koutoubia minaret in Marrakesh.
Cast Members throughout World Showcase are genuine locals from the countries they represent. If your children have questions about modern day life in these locations, make sure they write them down before coming so they can interview these invaluable sources of information.
3. Trains, trains, trains
Walt Disney loved trains, and you’ll find plenty of them throughout the parks. The locomotives that run on the WDW Railroad date from 1916 to 1928. If your family includes someone who’s fascinated with trains – just like Walt – put together a lesson covering the history of railroads so you can appreciate the authentic steam engines on site. For an in-depth look, you can sign up for Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour.
Add some more fun on the rails to your vacation with a stop at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. See how many railroad pieces you can spot around the queue. Does that height sign look a little funny? You can also ride a train at Animal Kingdom from Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and see an expansive miniature train set in Germany at Epcot.