The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a great way to tour Tomorrowland while resting your feet. The 10-minute ride takes you above and into some of Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions like Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
Keep your eyes peeled for a piece of Disney history during the tour. One of the first dark areas you enter houses a model of Progress City, an early concept for EPCOT. This model shows us what Walt Disney’s idea of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow might have looked like. Even though Progress City never really came to be, a lot of the ideas made their way into today’s Walt Disney World.
As you ride along, you may also notice the linear induction motors embedded in the PeopleMover’s track. These magnets are what keep the trains moving forward and control their speed. Truly environmentally friendly!
STEM Topic: Technology, Engineering
The Wilderness Lodge Villas are a nice addition to the Wilderness Lodge Resort. This Disney Vacation Club property is quiet and very inviting with its cozy fireplaces, quiet pool area, and relaxing rocking chairs. Like the Wilderness Lodge, the theme here is Pacific Northwest nature. But the Villas are unique because their story is really about train travel and the railroad hotels that sprung up during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.
You’ll see nods to this train culture throughout the lobby, but nowhere is it more prominent than in the room just to the right of the main entrance. This is the Carolwood Pacific room and it pays homage to Walt Disney and his love of trains. The walls are decorated with photos, sketches, and memorabilia. You’ll see historical shots of Walt, his model trains, and fellow train enthusiasts.
You can see a model of Walt’s famous Lilly Belle scale steam engine. This is the train his friend Roger Broggie built for him and that Walt conducted in his own backyard. Two original Lilly Belle freight cars are also on display here. When compared with the scale drawing and photos, you can really get a sense of how scale measurements and math played a big part in getting the design of the Lilly Belle just right.
Books, maps, conductors’ hats, lanterns, and medallions round out the collection on display. You can definitely see how much trains played a part in Walt Disney’s life and why they are prominent at the Villas.
STEM Topic: Engineering, Mathematics
FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.5.A.6.3
Guests rushing down Mickey Avenue to get to Toy Story Midway Mania! are likely to pass right by this extensive and immersing exhibit. One Man’s Dream was created during the 100 Years of Magic Celebration that commemorated the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth. It takes you on a journey through the life and many achievements of Walt Disney and his company. Over 400 artifacts, costumes, and models are housed here.
The exhibit begins with Walt’s childhood, explaining where he came from and the inspiration for Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. As you move through, you’ll see artifacts from his school days and the beginnings of his passion for animation. One of our favorite pieces in the gallery is the multi-plane camera and its accompanying video. This invention made the more 3D quality of even early Disney cartoons possible. Rounding the bend inside the exhibit, you’ll begin to see more from Walt’s forays into television, films, and theme parks.
In the back of the gallery is a theater that shows a 15-minute film chronicling the life and times of Walt Disney. You’ll also hear Walt’s voice narrating some of the footage. The film plays every 15 minutes throughout the day. It’s a pretty touching tribute.
One Man’s Dream is a self-guided exhibit, however cast members are available at the entrance and at the back of the gallery if you have questions. Be aware that there is quite a lot of information here, and if you’re the type that likes to read everything, it can take a long time to go through it all. You don’t have to stay for the film if you’ve finished touring the gallery. Likewise, you can skip ahead just to watch the movie if you’d rather. You are welcome to spend as little or as much time as you like in the exhibit.
FL Next Gen Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.A.2.1, SS.K.A.2.4, SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.1.A.2.4, SS.2.A.3.1, SS.4.A.6.3
FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.2.F.2.1, VA.3.F.2.1, VA.4.F.2.1, VA.5.F.2.2, VA.5.F.2.3, VA.68.F.1.3