I shared a couple weeks ago about how we incorporated literature into our trip to Disney World. Today I want to share a little about how we used Disney World as a cultural/geography lesson (without the children feeling like they were in school).
During our time at Disney we were able to spend two days in Epcot, which ended up being my oldest son’s favorite park. A little of the first day and most of the second day we spent traveling ‘around the world’, visiting the 11 countries of Epcot’s World Showcase.
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First, we traveled to England. We had been looking forward to coming back here since our first family trip seven years ago. The fish and chips were as good as I remembered and it was a great opportunity to find a few of our favorite characters, Pooh Bear and Mary Poppins. This is also the area where you can occasionally find Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. While we were there, we also stopped at the Kidcot station. Each country that is represented in the World Showcase has a Kidcot station where children could speak with someone who is from that country, collect a postcard and sticker from the country, ask questions, and complete coloring pages or other small activities.
We also took the opportunity to visit Canada on that first day. We enjoyed visiting the Kidcot station and looking around at the Canadian themed buildings. Unfortunately, the movie attraction that is normally available was closed for repairs while we were there.
The next day that we spent in Epcot we went all the way around the World Showcase! We started on the other side visiting Mexico where we watched an amazing band, then Norway where we enjoyed the Frozen ride and a tasty treat of ‘school bread’ a Norwegian favorite. We picked a variety of countries to enjoy lunch including China for some great Chinese food and my personal choice of a bratwurst with kraut from Germany.
In each country we were able to see building and attractions that represented that country, visit stores with merchandise from the country, try foods, visit the Kidcot station, and enjoy various entertainment acts. There were also a variety of character meet and greets of the characters from those countries. In particular we enjoyed meeting Belle and Aurora in France, Snow White in Germany, and Mulan in China.
There is also a great section based on the United States that has some wonderful music entertainment as well as The American Adventure, an Audio-Animatronics show where Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin debate the merits of the American experiment. This is also the location of a small but very interesting display of Native American artifacts.
Throughout our time at Epcot, we had lots of fun, enjoyed more than enough food, and met lots of really interesting people. It was a wonderful way for the children to learn more about various countries and geography without every feeling like they were ‘doing school’. You could easily follow this up at home with map work or research into the countries that you had ‘visited’ in Epcot.
Have you ever visited Epcot? What was your favorite part?
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