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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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

Spaceship Earth

This is one attraction you simply cannot miss. Literally. Spaceship Earth is the giant, 180 foot tall geosphere that is so iconic to Epcot. (Did you know that science fiction author Ray Bradbury helped design it?) The attraction inside it is a slow-moving ride through the evolution of communication and technology, from the dawn of civilization to our modern age.

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Dame Judi Dench narrates as you pass by scenes depicting ancient Egyptians pounding papyrus for paper, Romans spreading information by their system of roads, and monks copying religious and secular texts in the Dark Ages. We learn that communication and learning really took off with the invention of the printing press. You’ll see just how quickly humankind raced toward the 20th century with all the new technologies: telephones, film, radio, television, computers.

IMG_4752As you “return to Earth,” you get the chance to explore what technologies might await us in the future. Using a touchscreen in your ride vehicle, you can answer a few questions about your preferences in different areas, such as home, leisure, health, or work. And then, with a bit of Disney magic, you can see exactly what your future might look like!

IMG_4763Spaceship Earth is great for all ages. It’s a classic, and it does provide a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the park. It is dark inside, so that could be a consideration for younger children. However, this is one attraction that really embodies the spirit of Epcot.

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.5.A.6.3, SS.6.W.2.5, SS.6.W.3.1, SS.6.W.3.14, SS.6.W.3.5, SS.912.W.4.3

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

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

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.

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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

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