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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Disneyschooling in the Magic Kingdom

Delight-directed learning ideas for the Magic Kingdom #homeschooling
Photo by Travis Gergen on Unsplash

Written by Chelsea Gonzales.

Are you headed to Walt Disney World soon? What if I told you that you can give your kids the science, history, and geography homeschool lessons of a lifetime during your magical trip? It's true. As roadschoolers, we use Disney World for educational purposes all the time. And with a tiny bit of prep work, you can too.

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So how does one find awesome learning opportunities in the parks? By looking for intentionally strewn interesting information all around you. In the same way that you might strew learning at home, Disney has stealthily placed it around their theme parks. It's delight-directed learning with a large dose of fun!

In this series we will discuss exactly where you need to go in each park to get the best educational experiences. Today we will focus on the Magic Kingdom.

Disneyschooling at the Magic Kingdom #homeschooling
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Liberty Square


This is an entire land of amazing history just waiting to be uncovered. By reading a bit about the American Revolution in advance of your trip, you can make a visit to this land an educationally-rich time. Be sure to see:

Historically accurate details

Seek out the Liberty Tree, the Liberty Bell replica, “sewage” in the streets (yes really), lanterns in the window, and sagging shutters. Not sure which of these things is significant? Ask a cast member or look it up.

The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History

This show is absolutely ridiculous, but is also a fun way to reiterate the basics of the Revolutionary War.


The Hall of Presidents

This attraction focuses on presidents throughout history rather than colonial America. However, it is a great, educational attraction and provides a much-needed break from the scorching sun.


Frontierland


Another great place to squeeze in some learning during your Magic Kingdom visit is Frontierland. This entire land is themed after the Old West, and is a great place to hold discussions about life in early western America. Be sure to see:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The queue for this ride is actually a wonderful way to introduce the dangers many miners faced during the 1800s. The signage in this queue is meant to be silly, but the many mentions of death and injury make it quite clear that this truly was a concern for these individuals.

Tom Sawyer’s Island

Whether or not you get a chance to read Tom Sawyer before your trip, this attraction is a great place to give your kids a chance to see what life may have been like for kids in Missouri in the 1840s.

The Riverboat

This lovely boat is a fun way to relax and can really help young students get a feel for what travel may have been like for those riding riverboats in the 1800s.

Historically accurate architecture

Walking down the roads of Frontierland, you will notice raised, wooden walkways. These were quite common in the western towns of the 1800s, and were meant to keep boots and skirts off the dusty roads. Additionally, if you look up at the buildings as you pass, you will notice that many are dated. These dates tell you the year the style of that building is meant to represent. All architecture in this land is historically accurate.

Tall tale memorabilia

Be sure to read the various tall tales of the Old West to your kiddos before your trip. When you get to Frontierland, head into Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Cafe and take a look at the little gifts given to Pecos Bill by his tall tale friends.

Adventureland


Adventureland includes landscapes from a few different countries. While there, discuss the features of each one and what international lands they represent. Be sure to see:

The Enchanted Tiki Room

While this attraction is not truly culturally accurate, the references to some Polynesian gods are. This is a great starting place for older children who may like to dive into the world of Polynesian culture and learn the difference between Americanized Tiki culture and true Polynesian history.


The Jungle Cruise

This silly cruise through the rivers of the world is great fun. Be sure to show your kids a map and point out the various rivers mentioned while also discussing the fact that the rivers aren’t connected or even near one another.

Jungle Skipper Canteen

Try foods inspired by a number of places around the world at this well-themed eatery. Discuss the origin of each dish and find those countries on a map.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates are an interesting historical topic, to say the least. Introduce the idea of piracy to your young children by riding this classic Disney attraction and follow up with some light reading or YouTube videos about real pirates.

Fantasyland


This land is best enjoyed after a bit of reading. Many of the rides in this area are directly related to classic children’s literature, making this a great area for expanding upon your bedtime stories. Be sure to see:

The Many Adventures of...

Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel, and Mad Tea Party — All of these attractions are based on children’s books, making them a great addition to your literature curriculum.

Mickey’s Philharmagic

This attraction is the perfect way to introduce young children to various instruments. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to point out how music is used in film to convey various emotions.

It’s a Small World

A great first introduction to the various cultures of the world, this ride gives young kids a peek into the dancing and traditional clothing of a number of countries. That said, the ride only offers a peek, meaning you may want to expand upon the information given.

Tomorrowland


A futuristic world of invention and space travel, Tomorrowland is a great place to discuss with your kids the importance of innovation and always looking ahead. Be sure to see:


Carousel of Progress

This animatronic performance teaches audiences about the various inventions throughout history and helps people understand the importance of innovation. Additionally, it really gives a person perspective and makes you much more appreciative of the conveniences of modern times.

Main Street, U.S.A.


This is the first thing you will see when you walk through the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. While this area mostly consists of shops, it is a great look at an American town at the turn of the previous century. Be sure to see:

Dapper Dans

This incredible musical group will serenade your family with turn-of-the-century music you are sure to love.

Main Street Transportation

The horse-drawn street car, jitney automobile, double-decker bus, and old-fashioned fire engine are all excellent examples of transportation options during the early 1900s. Hop aboard one and ride it to the castle.

Historically accurate details

The architecture, lamp posts, and other tiny details on this street are relatively accurate and really help one appreciate the charm and simplicity of turn-of-the-century America. However, you may want to add to this charm a quick lesson on the hardships experienced by people during this time.


There you have it! These are some of the very best educational experiences in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Stay tuned for the next part to this series in Disneyschooling!








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