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

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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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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

Raglan Road

You don’t often expect to find learning opportunities in a gift shop. But if you look carefully, you just might. We’ve featured gift shops several times as part of our Bookstore Series, but this location is a unique find that goes beyond interesting reads.

IMG_4244The Shop for Ireland is just inside Ragland Road Irish Pub. The food is a terrific reason to visit, but pop into this gift shop and see just how Irish proud this place is. You can also learn a lot about Irish history and culture as you peruse the shelves and displays. You can search for your own family history or crest, and find out what your last name means. Maybe you’ll find you have some Irish heritage in ye.

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There is also a display of notecards and drawings featuring Gaelic phrases with English translations. You can use these to teach yourself a few basic words. There are plenty of books and knick-knacks to round out the collection. See what you can learn about Irish culture, new and old.

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

Bead Outpost

Walt Disney World is full of interesting, sometimes hidden, educational opportunities. Even shopping can prove to be a chance to learn something new! Next time you wander through Epcot’s World Showcase, be sure to stop by the Outpost mini pavilion to learn about a unique merchandise offering.

IMG_4272The Bead Outpost sells beaded jewelry, but these aren’t ordinary beads. They are made from recycled paper from Walt Disney World maps and other paper material. African artisans roll carefully selected pieces to make each bead. The kiosk provides pictures and information about the process.

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You can purchase necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more, and feel good about wearing these special pieces. They’re a cool way to recycle and they help support African communities.

FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.K.H.1.1, VA.K.H.2.2, VA.K.F.2.1, VA.2.C.2.2, VA.2.H.2.2, VA.3.H.2.1, VA.3.F.2.1, VA.68.H.1.3

Kate & Leo

Downtown Disney is a great place for shopping, dining, and entertainment with the whole family. But some of these experiences count as educational, too!

The Village Causeway features four kiosks with unique gifts and treats. One of these is Kate & Leo, which boasts a whole bunch of fun (and learning-oriented) books, puzzles, games, models, and toys.

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Nothing here is battery operated. Instead these items run on imagination and spark curiosity. Whatever your interest – science, engineering, art, writing – there’s something to boost your creativity. These gifts are great for kids or kids at heart.

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STEM Topic:
Science, Engineering