Have you ever considered that a trip to Walt Disney World may be more like being at school for your children than a typical family vacation? Where the greatest challenge may be to gain the attention of children and to hold it long enough to educate those kids.
For years families have traveled to just outside Orlando, Florida to enjoy the fun of the famous theme parks, with the numerous themed rides and shows. Although we all know the ride is what most have come along for…Disney has always referred to them as attractions. Perhaps the terminology was used to portray that each adventure would be more than just a physical ride, but would offer a piece of storytelling…and perhaps even something more.
If we examine the original Walt Disney World theme park, the Magic Kingdom, we can begin to delve into this matter. Every inch of the Magic Kingdom is designed to tell a story in some way. The visual stimulation provided to children and adults alike upon entering the park begins to draw the undivided attention of all. The amazing part of it all is that the imagineers of Walt Disney World are able to keep that attention with a certain brand of “edutainment”.
Instead of looking at what may be obvious (hall of presidents/carousel of progress) we will actually begin with the headliner thrill attractions, the self-described “mountain range”. Even each of these “roller coaster like attractions” attempt to deliver their guests to another time in history or inside a famous story. While waiting for each ride the line queues feature interactive elements to begin to prepare the journey. After boarding the ride vehicles the trip through is a always entertaining..completing an experience that was captivating to all ages while perhaps piquing a bit of curiosity about another time and place than where we are from.
Moving along to the traditional family attractions, we can see the retelling of famous fairy tales…the adventures of pirates and ghosts…and where the young children of the world are knitted together. All along, not only have the attraction experiences made memories for our kids…but the entire environment will usually enthrall their minds..always giving more than a simple ride would.
Looking deeper past the attractions, into the lands themselves, the Magic Kingdom drives the curiosity of the past of small town America (Main Street USA), the adventure of tropical islands (Adventureland), the wonder of the old western frontier (Frontierland), and exploration into the future (Tomorrowland). There is even a piece developed to examine the history of America (Liberty Square), a topic very close to the heart of Walt Disney himself..all giving your family an opportunity to be learning just a bit more during your entire day.
We will continue to examine this topic in the other parks of Walt Disney World with future posts, as there are more stories in each one.
In the meantime, as your family returns from their summer family vacations…for those who were lucky enough to spend time in WDW…consider what your kids learned there that may have seemed to get their attention, drive their curiosity, and further their knowledge….while being entertained ….or could we say “Edutained”.