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

Pacific Electric Railway

Not all learning opportunities at Walt Disney World are quite explicit. As you wander around the parks, you’re likely to see subtle references to historic or cultural points of interest. In Hollywood Studios, there are plenty of design elements that harken back to the golden olden days of Hollywood and Southern California.

Next time you stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, check out the back of the old tip board (now a FastPass+ kiosk). You’ll find a map of the old Pacific Electric Railway system that connected much of Southern California in the 1920s. It’s fun to see the geography of the metro areas, and the advertisement on the map shows what an attraction the railway was in its heyday.

IMG_3140 IMG_3139

The map also connects the other design elements of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, since you’ll spot rail cars, trolley lines, and Pacific Railway logos. It’s all part of the plan to really put you into that classic place and time.


STEM Topic: Engineering
FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.G.1.2, SS.K.G.1.4, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.3.G.1.1, SS.4.G.1.4, SS.6.G.1.2

Main Street Train Station

It’s the first thing you see when you step up to the Magic Kingdom, even before you see the iconic castle.  The Main Street Train Station acts as the “curtain” to Magic Kingdom’s “show.”  And it’s full of neat things that shed light on the history of railway travel in the U.S.

The Main Street Train Station offers two stories and lots to explore.
On the ground level, you’ll see lots of maps depicting early train routes.  (We can’t help humming “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” whenever we peruse the maps!)  See if you can find which railways ran through your town or state.

IMG_2742Throughout the ground level, you’ll also see framed locks and keys, miniature train engines, brochures and timetables, and framed pins and patches from many railways across the country.
The locks were used by most railroads as a measure of security, often locking railway switches.
Badges and pins were worn to identify which railway an employee worked for, or their rank.  See how many you can identify in the frame on the East side of the station.
The Walt Disney World Railroad itself boasts 4 authentic steam engines restored from the early 20th century.  You can find descriptions of each throughout the ground level.

IMG_2743Make your way upstairs to the balcony overlooking Main Street, U.S.A.  You can peek into the ticket and telegraph office for a look at some of the old equipment that was used to send messages across the country – before telephones.
Head into the waiting room to find a collection of old arcade games and two great murals hanging on each end of the room.
One mural shows the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, and a plaque features President U.S. Grant’s words on the grand occasion.
The other mural depicts the process of building America’s railroads and the resources it took.  From felling trees to building the trestles, America’s forests are honored here.

Hop on the train for a “grand circle tour” of Magic Kingdom.  You’ll be treated to a relaxing ride through various landscapes and catch a glimpse of Native American life along the way.

For even more in-depth information on the Walt Disney World Railroad, take Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour.  For an extra fee, you can go behind the scenes to see where the trains are housed, learn how the engines work, and get more history on Walt Disney and his love of trains.  This is a great choice for adult train enthusiasts.


FL Next Gen Social Studies Standards:
SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.2.G.1.2, SS.5.A.6.3, SS.6–12.G.1, SS.6–12.G.5