Roaring Fork

We love finding unexpected places to learn something new, and sometimes dining locations provide just that. Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge is a snack bar with plenty of history to show off. Every wall in the seating area is adorned with fishing gear and photos from a by-gone era. Incidentally, the Roaring Fork in question refers to a fork in a river, not a dining utensil. But it’s a nice play on words, don’t you think?

Spend some time perusing the frames and you’ll see what a fishing excursion was like in the early 1930s and 1940s. See the types of rods and flies and other equipment that were popular then. And get a load of what those sport fishermen wore! There aren’t many labels, but look closely. The fish artwork identifies species of fish found in the Pacific Northwest, and some of the photos are marked with place names and dates, or brief descriptions. It’s a fun trip down history lane.


FL Social Studies Standards: [using sources] SS.2.A.1.1, SS.3.A.1.1, SS.5.A.1.1, SS.8.A.1.2; [historical knowledge] SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2

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The BOATHOUSE

As part of the first wave of Disney Springs expansion, this unique restaurant has been drawing more attention, not only for its great food and drinks but also for its atmosphere. The BOATHOUSE offers some spectacular water views and something quite different from the average seafood joint – a floating museum.

Step through the doors, past the raw bar, and outside onto the boardwalk to find the docks lined with vintage boats. Each one is accompanied by information explaining what year it was built, who built it, and what its special features are. You’ll see boats styled like everything from spacecraft to motorcars. And don’t miss the replica 19th-century steamboat – properly furnished to match any Victorian sitting room, of course. The boat museum offers a glimpse into the history of maritime design and how “California Crazy” personal watercraft could get!

While you take in the views and learn about some of these fun, sea-faring vessels, you can also brush up on your Maritime Signal Flags. Two masts, one in front of the restaurant and one on the docks, illustrate the alphabet in signal flags and invite you decode the flags flying overhead. It’s certainly a lovely place to learn something new.


FL Social Studies Standards: [historical knowledge] SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.8.A.1.7
FL Visual Art Standards: [historical trends] VA.912.H.2.1; [architecture/design] VA.912.C.2.8
P21 Skills: Creativity and Innovation

The Lion Guard Adventure

Fans of The Lion Guard, a new Disney Junior television series, have something to roar about at Animal Kingdom. Through early April 2016, little ones (and their family and friends) can go on a scavenger hunt type adventure throughout the park to find Kion, son of Simba, and his wildlife protecting friends.

Pick up a map at a participating merchandise location and get familiar with the Lion Guard characters and their special traits. This interactive activity exercises kids’ map skills as they search for character statues throughout the park. They also learn cool animal facts, like how keen eyesight helps birds hunt or how fast a cheetah can run, and even some Swahili phrases.

Once you find all the members of the Lion Guard, head to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find Rafiki, take the Lion Guard Pledge, and become inducted as a defender of the Pride Lands!


FL Science Standards: [animal traits] SC.K.L.14.3, SC.5.L.17.1
Next Gen Science Standards: [animal traits] 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 4-LS1-1
FL Social Studies Standards: [map skills] SS.K.G.1.1, SS.K.G.1.2, SS.K.G.1.4, SS.1.G.1.2, SS.1.G.1.4, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.3.G.1.2, SS.4.G.1.4
P21 Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Interactive games are becoming super popular in the Disney parks. Case in point: on any given day you can find scores of kids and adults scurrying around Magic Kingdom with their Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game cards, some carrying massive books and binders to carry those cards. And if you don’t know what’s going on, it might look like folks are just standing around with arms outstretched, watching some little-known Disney cartoon clip.

However, we encourage you to jump on board this game train! Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a fun experience you can do at your own pace and in almost any area of the park. (Tomorrowland is the only land without SOTMK missions.) And it is a great way to practice map skills. Your goal – to save Magic Kingdom park from hostile takeover by Hades and his Disney villain friends!

When you sign up for a mission, either at The Firehouse or behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, you’re given a map and a deck of Spell Cards. Use the map to follow symbols that will lead you to complete your mission. The game requires attention to detail and listening skills as well. And it’s different each time you play, so you can keep coming back for more fun whenever you’d like!


FL Social Studies Standards: [map skills] SS.K.G.1.1, SS.K.G.1.2, SS.K.G.1.4, SS.1.G.1.2, SS.1.G.1.4, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.3.G.1.2, SS.4.G.1.4
P21 Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

It’s Tough to be a Bug!

This attraction, located inside the Tree of Life on Discovery Island, is a totally immersive experience that seeks to teach audiences about some of the world’s most interesting bugs. It’s part 3D film, part animatronic show, and part sensory sensation.

IMG_4876As you can imagine, there’s a lot to learn at this attraction, and it all starts in the queue. Incidentally, visiting It’s Tough to be a Bug! gets you amazing and up-close views of the Tree of Life. As you enter the lobby under the tree, you’ll see posters advertising the Tree of Life Repertory Theatre’s past productions. These funny posters also include some neat bug facts, so look around and find as many as you can.

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During the show, you’ll learn even more about insects and spiders that have neat features that help them survive in their habitats. Disney Imagineers actually worked with a top Smithsonian entomologist to develop the show and make sure they had all the facts right. You may even come away with a better appreciation for bugs and how they help our environment.

It’s worth noting that this attraction may be scary for young kids or those with a fear of insects or spiders. Some of the visuals or effects can be loud and intense at times. But it’s a great educational opportunity for anyone interested to learn more about bugs in the world.

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.5.L.17.1

Super Hero Headquarters

Our Bookstore Series focuses on great places around Walt Disney World to buy books, both educational and for leisure.

Disney Springs is a shopping and dining district with something for just about everyone. And now super hero fans can find something to love there, too. Super Hero Headquarters is located on the West Side and is a fun stop for Marvel comic themed toys, games, clothing and collectibles.

IMG_4193And we can’t forget about the great selection of books available for those super hero fans. Whether you are looking for something to engage a reluctant reader, or you just enjoy a good adventure story, there are some great choices here for all ages. Younger readers may enjoy the short bedtime stories, while older readers or adults might like the richer origin stories or coffee table books. Check out what’s in store next time you visit!

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Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

When you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s pretty obvious there is a love and nostalgia for the movies everywhere you turn. But this park can also be about the magic of television. In the Animation Courtyard, there’s a spot that’s particularly great for preschoolers and young kids.

Disney Junior- Live on Stage! is a show that brings familiar characters from the Disney Junior channel to life. Our friendly host, Casey, helps Mickey and friends to overcome some challenges they face when trying to throw a party for Minnie. The show combines song, dance, media, tactility, and interactivity. All of which are important elements for early learning.

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Even though this show doesn’t have much of a science or history or even artistic connection, it does present some important life lessons that are great learning opportunities for little ones. Through Disney’s loveable characters, kids can learn about perseverance, teamwork, and friendship. Which are good lessons for adults to keep in mind, too!