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

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The Firehouse

When you step onto Main Street U.S.A., you’re transported to a different time and place. The music in the air and the architecture around you signal that you’ve entered turn-of-the-20th-century, small town America. Look to your left, past City Hall, and you’ll see the quaint Firehouse. This home of Engine Company 71 (named for the year Magic Kingdom opened) has a lot of history inside.

IMG_4715The Firehouse has gone through a few changes over the years, and now it is a headquarters for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game. But it hasn’t lost its original charm as an early 1900s firehouse. The walls are covered with photos and props that reflect those early firemen that might have called this place home. And at the back of the Firehouse are the stables for the horses that would have pulled their fire wagon.

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Perhaps most interesting are the glass cases that display hundreds of real patches donated by city and county fire departments from all over the United States. These patches serve as a memorial to the brave men and women who put their lives in danger to make sure others stay safe.

IMG_4713Next time you visit, stop inside the Firehouse to glimpse at history and maybe find your hometown fire department’s patch.

 

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.1.A.2.4

Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a classic attraction with a rich history. It was created for the 1964 World’s Fair and features Walt Disney’s signature state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics. Its unique revolving theater, in which the audience travels around the stage, is what gives it the name “carousel.” And progress through history is what it’s all about!

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During the 21-minute show, the audience sees a family progress through the 20th century. John, the father in this family, shows us how life has changed through the years, referencing everything from advances in electricity to new modes of transportation.

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The attraction is a great learning opportunity for all ages. Kids might get a kick out of seeing all the old appliances and hearing differences in the way families used to talk. Adults will appreciate the humor that gets sprinkled throughout. There is also a short video that plays outside the attraction in the queue area. The video shows Walt Disney during interviews about the World’s Fair and gives us a glimpse into how the attraction came to be.

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FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.912.A.3.6, SS.912.A.5.4

Kugel Ball

Have you ever walked through Tomorrowland and spotted that giant stone ball near Auntie Gravity’s and thought, “what the heck is that?” There is no label or placard, but it’s a Kugel Ball.

IMG_4170Kugel Ball fountains are engineering wonders. They consist of a large granite or marble sphere floating on a very thin plane (less than the thickness of a credit card) of water in a perfectly fitted socket. The water, pumped from below, lubricates the stone and creates a pressure such that the solid, heavy stone is easily rotated!

IMG_4171Kugel Ball fountains exist all over the world, and some sport images of maps or globes. The Kugel Ball at Walt Disney World is carved with a sky map. Next time you’re walking by, give it a roll!

 

STEM Topic: Science, Engineering
FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.P.13.1, SC.1.P.12.1, SC.1.P.13.1, SC.2.P.13.4, SC.4.P.12.1, SC.5.P.13.1, SC.5.P.13.2

Casey’s Corner

Everyone knows the best place to get a hot dog at the Magic Kingdom is Casey’s Corner, right at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. Just the smell of the ketchup is almost enough to lure you in. And once inside, you can’t help but notice the small-town charm and all-American spirit of baseball that pervades the building.

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Step further into the seating area and you’ll be treated to a magnificent collection of historic pennants, baseball cards, photos, and other memorabilia from bygone days. You can get a real sense of the sport as it was during the turn of the century through the 1930s. Take your time to peruse the newspaper clippings and advertisements, and notice how different the equipment used to be.

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This is a great educational spot for sports fans or fans of U.S. history. And of course, fans of the hot dog!

 

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2

The Hall of Presidents

When most people think of Liberty Square, they think of The Hall of Presidents. It is one of the original attractions to Magic Kingdom, and is considered by many to be the flagship and hallmark of Liberty Square. It is certainly the one attraction that immediately comes to mind when most people think about education opportunities at Walt Disney World.

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The building that houses The Hall of Presidents is modeled after Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Inside is a beautiful rotunda that serves as a waiting area and gallery. This space is home to some impressive artifacts and paintings, both original and reproductions, from former Presidents and First Ladies.

HOP 1The theater just beyond the rotunda is where you’ll take in the 22-minute show, narrated by Morgan Freeman, that combines film and “live” action. The film takes you from the birth of our nation and the beginnings of the Presidency, through the Civil War, all the way to modern times. It also highlights notable Presidents such as Jackson, the Roosevelts, and Kennedy.

The audio-animatronics are remarkable in this attraction. And it was Abraham Lincoln who started it all. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair and showed off the incredible animatronic ingenuity of Walt Disney’s Imagineers. Mr. Lincoln was perfected and moved to open The Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom, where he stands and delivers the entire Gettysburg Address. In fact, every U.S. President appears on stage as an animatronic, and a couple give rousing speeches.

The attraction is billed as being for all ages, but it will be most interesting for adults and older children who are studying American History. At the very least, the indoor location makes for a nice break for everyone from summer heat.

 

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.A.2.4, SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.1.A.2.4, SS.5.A.5.1, SS.5.A.5.3, SS.5.A.5.10, SS.8.A.3.6, SS.8.A.3.7, SS.8.A.3.12, SS.912.A.2.1

Jungle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise is a classic favorite at Walt Disney World. Guests board canopied steamer boats for a leisurely cruise down the river, complete with corny jokes from the skippers. During your trip you’ll encounter animals, landscapes, and cultural references to four different regions of the globe. While the friendly skippers and their groaners are a big part of the fun, there are real facts mixed into their banter. Believe them when they tell you how long the Nile River is and how you can tell Indian elephants from African elephants.

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In fact, the original concept for the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland was a much more serious, educational experience based on Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventure films. Walt famously wanted to have real animals in the attraction, but this proved to be a logistical nightmare. So the Imagineers created animatronic animals and a storyline that took guests down four of the world’s rivers: the Amazon, the Congo, the Nile, and the Mekong.

The Jungle Cruise is one of the longest rides at Magic Kingdom, so it’s a perfect opportunity to rest your feet as you take in some fun facts (along with those silly skipper antics). You may be surprised how much you can learn from the Cruise!

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.2.L.17.2, SC.5.L.17.1
FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.G.3.2, SS.912.G.2.1