Two weeks ago I discussed the education you can gain at the four major parks at Walt Disney World. Did anyone think about the places I’ve left out? Surely if you’ve been to Walt Disney World before you’ve noticed the attention to detail that they’ve put into every place on property. If you look deeper you’ll also see that there’s lessons to learn at all these places as well.
There are two water parks on property, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Not only are these water parks a great way to soak up the sun and cool off but they’re also great places to learn some different things that you wouldn’t typically associate with Disney.
If you head over to Typhoon Lagoon you’re in for a few different learning experiences. The big chance for learning occurs when you find out just how Typhoon Lagoon came to be. Rumor has it that Typhoon Lagoon is located on an out resort. A huge typhoon swept in carrying everything in it’s path to crash down upon the resort. Proof of the Typhoon rests atop Mount Mayday, the ship Miss Tilly is stuck up there. Now this small lesson provides and opportunity for those who do not know, to learn what a typhoon.
Another opportunity to learn is provided when you head over to the Shark Reef. There you have the opportunity to swim with some sharks. Before you just hop into the cool water you have to listen to some rules about proper behavior and swimming techniques. Talk about a learning opportunity! You also get to observe (science term!) the animals in the water as you swim along side them. You can also question the Cast Member’s about the animals that you see to learn more.
Now if you head over to Blizzard Beach there are some similarities in the subjects that you can learn about. The first thing that you will learn when you enter this water park is that alligators like to ski. Like Typhoon Lagoon you can learn about some weather and water. Like the name suggests a freak snowstorm hit Orlando cause the locals to open the one and only ski resort. When it started to melt and the owners where going to close it down they noticed the alligators skiing down the slopes. The owners decided to keep it open as a water park.
Besides teaching about snow and alligator hobbies Blizzard Beach lends itself to teaching healthy competition and trial and error. Riding the Toboggan Racers with your friends you can race to the bottom to see who gets first place. You can ride it multiple times trying to figure out the best position of the mat in order to gain the most speed, experimenting so to speak. You may also learn if you are brace enough to try Summit Plummet. Both water parks will teach you just how far and how long you can walk on hot sand and concrete barefoot before you give in and buy water shoes.
The resorts you stay at and visit also can provide you with learning opportunities. If you are staying at or visiting the Boardwalk for instance you get a feel for what it was like in the 1930’s at the Coney Island boardwalk. They have old penny machines with plaques explaining what they were and they are in working order. This will give you a first hand look at what was considered entertaining in the time period. The décor itself shows what it was like at a boardwalk with stung lights and saltwater taffy colored buildings.
If you go over to my favorite, Old Key West you will get a feel for what it’s like in the Florida Keys. Olivia’s Restaurant serves food typically found in the Key West local’s diet. Fort Wilderness Campground will educate you on camping practices and what it was like for people migrating west with their general store. If you head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge you will not only have the opportunity to learn about animals but also learn about African Culture. You can look at and read about African designs and crafts. At Boma you can eat African cuisine in an environment similar to that of an African Marketplace.
If you visit the Port Orleans Resort either at the French Quarter or Riverside you’ll get a feel for Louisiana and New Orleans. Similarly if you stay at the Polynesian you can get a feel for what it’s like staying in Hawaii. You would even have the opportunity to go to a luau. The décor at the Polynesian also displays fun tiki men and tropical flowers typically found in Hawaii.
As you can see you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn at Walt Disney World if you don’t want to. It’s free to visit and simply walk around the different resorts. You can decide what you want to learn about to pick where you stop or you can just pick a spot and find out what it can teach you that way. All of the resorts have things for children of all ages to learn that is artfully hidden behind entertainment so they don’t get the feeling that they’re learning. That is all on my rantings about the educational aspects of Disney. So until next time, have faith and trust, and I’m wishing you all a sprinkling of pixie dust!
Jess was born and raised on Long Island, New York but once college began so did her adventures. She’s lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and now South Carolina. Her family is part of the Disney Vacation Club and has been visiting since she was a little girl, and continuously goes every year. Besides being a big Disney fan she has also been a Disney Cast Member working in Magic Kingdom, and she counts it as one of the most magical experiences. She worked with everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, Cinderella’s Carousel, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Jess has also visited Disneyland, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and gone on two Disney Cruises. She has so many great memories from Disney besides running half marathons and 5ks, birthday parties, and family reunions. If asked where she would want to go it is almost always Disney, and when asked why, it is almost always because she can eat awesome gluten free food! And it doesn’t hurt that there is always faith, trust, and pixie dust with magic in the air!