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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Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is full of things to explore and learn. We bring you bite-size pieces of all the Lodge has to offer, such as the beautiful artwork found in the lobby. Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to one of the largest collections of African art in the country. You’ll find it all over the resort, but in this article, we focus on the lobby.

IMG_4775There are display cases behind every sofa showing artworks of different materials, like wood, beads, metal, or clay. You’ll spot sculptures of humans and animals, as well as pieces used for adornment during special ceremonies. All are handmade, and they come from many different African cultures. Even the chandeliers that hang high above in the lobby are made from authentic shields and spears.

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One of the most impressive pieces in the lobby collection is the towering Ijele mask. This massive piece is worn by a single dancer during traditional ceremonies of the Igbo people in Nigeria. You can read more about how it is created, who gets to wear it, and what it represents.

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Be sure to ask the lobby concierge for information on the African art collection. The front desk can usually supply a small booklet explaining more about the pieces.

FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.K.H.1.1, VA.K.H.2.1, VA.K.H.2.2, VA.1.H.1.1, VA.1.H.2.2, VA.1.H.2.3, VA.2.H.1.1, VA.2.H.2.2, VA.3.H.1.1, VA.3.H.2.2, VA.4.H.1.3, VA.5.H.2.1, VA.68.H.1.3

Native American Art

One of the wonderful things about visiting a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is exploring the visual art and architecture there. The Wilderness Lodge really captures the feeling of being in the Pacific Northwest with its towering timbers and totem poles inside and its relaxing brooks and trails outside.

If you want to explore Native American art and artifacts, you’ve come to the right place. Choose any floor of the Lodge, and you’ll find recreations, artworks, and crafts inspired by 18th and 19th century Indian tribes and the artists who painted them.

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The lobby has a great collection of headdresses, moccasins, and other accessories. Many of the upper floors display paintings and prints inspired by the works of Charles Bird King, who painted many portraits of significant American Indian leaders during the early 1800s.

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Looking at these works, you can get a real sense of the pride those early people felt for their tribes and their land. See how many works of art you can spot during your next visit.

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.1.A.2.2, SS.2.A.2.2, SS.5.A.2.2
FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.K.H.1.1, VA.K.H.2.3, VA.1.H.1.1, VA.1.H.2.3, VA.1.H.3.1, VA.2.H.1.1, VA.2.H.2.2, VA.3.H.2.1, VA.4.H.1.1, VA.4.H.1.3, VA.5.H.1.1

The Strangler Fig

Deep in the heart of the Polynesian Village Resort grounds is a very unique plant. To see it, and to learn more about it, you’ll have to head to the gardens around the Spirit of Aloha stage.

IMG_4212The Strangler Fig is a tree that has been on the Polynesian Village Resort property for years. It is currently thriving on, and around, a Sabal palm. You can read about this strange tree and how it began to overtake the palm. Strangler Figs often grow around Sabal palms because their root structure is easy for the fig to “grab” onto.

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Next time you find yourself at the Polynesian Village Resort, be sure to look for this strange and fascinating sight!

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.1.L.14.2, SC.3.L.14.1, SC.3.L.14.2, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.5.L.17.1

Fantasia Gifts

For this post, we bring you another great shopping location in our Bookstore Series. The series points out where to buy books, both educational and for leisure, around Walt Disney World.

Fantasia Gifts is located on the fourth floor of the Contemporary Resort. Much of the shop is dedicated to toys, games, and tech accessories. But there is a rather large selection of books as well. Adults only have a few choices, but this shop is great for kids who are avid or emerging readers.

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We would recommend this title in particular: My Walt Disney World Travels. This is a great journal that kids (or kids at heart) can use to record their Disney memories. Pages include prompts and sentence starters, as well as areas to draw or doodle for writers who are more visual or don’t yet have refined writing skills. There are also pockets to store keepsakes. And there is enough space to reuse the journal on future visits.

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Using a journal is a great way for kids to practice their writing skills and this one is fun and user-friendly. It’s a good choice for reluctant writers who might need some guidance. We’ve seen this journal in several gift shops around Walt Disney World, but Fantasia Gifts at the Contemporary was the first place we saw it.

Trail at Art of Animation

Disney’s Art of Animation resort is the newest addition to the value resorts and is a great place for families to call home during their vacation stay. But you don’t have to book a room to take in the fun atmosphere there. Wander the grounds to see the terrific themed areas and to find a cool learning opportunity.

Head straight to the back of the resort, past the Big Blue Pool and playground area, to Hourglass Lake. There you’ll find a 1.38-mile trail around the lake (sponsored by New Balance) that’s suitable for walking or jogging. It’s great for getting in some exercise or taking in the sunset, but this trail also provides some fun facts to learn on your way.

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Signposts along the trail share info and trivia about the four Disney films that are represented at the resort. These facts range from how characters got their names to the type of equipment that was used to animate the films. And it doesn’t matter which direction you choose to head on the trail; there are different facts going in both directions.

IMG_3973The trail is great for film buffs. Be aware that there are smoking areas situated at a couple of spots along the trail. It also connects to the trail at Pop Century, making a full loop around Hourglass Lake.

 

STEM Topic:
Technology

Shadow Box Tour

Pop Century Resort is a fun place to stay with its over-the-top icons and tributes to pop culture through the years. It’s bright, colorful, and energetic – a great place for families. This resort might not come to mind first as a place to learn something, but we found an opportunity that will appeal to kids and adults alike.

IMG_3378Gather in the lobby at 3:00 to take a tour of the shadow boxes that hang on the wall. Each large display features “artifacts” from particular decades, from the 1950s through the 1990s. The collections are also themed to certain categories, such as clothing, technology, toys, or historical events. Adults will enjoy the trip down memory lane and little ones will get a kick out of seeing (and probably laughing at) some real relics of the past.

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You can find many more references to past fads and pop culture throughout the resort for your own history lesson. But the Shadow Box Tour is guided and allows the opportunity to ask questions. Be sure to check with the front desk or lobby concierge to make sure the tour is happening on the day you visit.

 

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