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

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

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

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

Stave Church Gallery

We know most guests are probably lamenting the loss of the Maelstrom and thinking there’s nothing else to do in the Norway Pavilion. But if you’re in search of an educational opportunity, look no further than the Stave Church Gallery.

Many guests don’t even realize that they can enter this replica of the Gol stavekirke (stave church). And if you’re still on the Frozen bandwagon, you won’t be disappointed by what’s inside. The Stave Church Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit that features artifacts, clothing, photos, and instruments representing Norwegian locales and culture that inspired Disney’s hit film.

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Learn about Norway’s indigenous people, traditional costumes, folk art, and architecture. There are also notes on the making of the film, including how computer technology helped the animators create thousands of individual and unique snowflakes.

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The collection of authentic Norwegian artifacts is on loan from several cultural centers, museums, and universities across the United States and Norway. The “Norsk Kultur” exhibit is likely to remain for quite some time, so check it out!