We are home from the most magical vacation, yep you guessed it! Walt Disney World! Not only did we visit Walt Disney World but we also sailed on board the Disney Dream! It was the trip of a lifetime. My son is 13 years old and in the 7th grade. When I was offered the opportunity to attend Disney Social Media Moms Conference, he wasn't sure if he wanted to miss school to attend with me.
I am not going to lie, I really wanted him to go but was proud of him for being concerned about his studies. Once I found out that we could apply for this to be a school educational trip it was a no brainer for us! Now, in order for this to count as an educational trip he had to create a photo journal online upon his return with the proof that it was indeed educational. However every school has different requirements so be sure to check. He created a power point presentation and emailed that to his principal.
If you are considering pulling your children out of school to visit the Happiest Place On Earth...aka Walt Disney World, I would highly encourage you to do so no matter what their age. Obviously when they are young it is easier to do because of homework however even as a teen I would definitely do it again. We did collect homework from several of his teachers to take with us and he did that throughout the trip.
Traveling off season is more affordable and it is less crowded. It is also not too hot! We found February to be the perfect time! There are so many educational opportunities at Walt Disney World. I am going to share the specifics of each Walt Disney World Park below.
How to get a Walt Disney World Vacation approved for a School Educational Trip:
There is no better educational theme park than Epcot. It features exciting attractions, international pavilions, award-winning fireworks & seasonal special events. There was no shortage of educational opportunities there.
At Epcot my son was able to design a virtual concept vehicle at Test Track and then go for a high octane ride in his “creation”. He was really excited because his design won! This attraction is definitely not one to miss.
We visited the attraction Mission Space where he was able to experience an authentic NASA-style training and a launch on a shuttle simulator to Mars. This was one of his favorite attractions. Next stop was Spaceship Earth where he was able to travel in time and explore the history of communication on a ride that took me from the Stone Age to the computer age.
Next up we visited Project Tomorrow. It was a great place to discover challenging games and engaging displays plus it features an interactive play area. One of our favorites was Innoventions. You will entertain your curiosity about science and technology inside a vibrant pavilion with fun activities and hands-on exhibits that make you the scientist! Enjoy a show that demonstrates basic principles of science at the SpectauLAB.
In Colortopia experience the wonderful world of color. Explore three interactive zones - The Color Lab, Color Our World Studio and the Power of Color Theater. From creating custom hues with a digital paint palette to understanding how different shades can impact moods, you will learn how every color tells a story.
We also enjoyed Living the Land. We sailed through the greenhouses of the Land Pavilion on a boat tour and experienced 9 pound lemons, Mickey shaped pumpkins and more! A nice break from the heat is a visit to the ocean-themed destination of Seabase. You will visit an aquarium and exhibits including sharks and stingrays. This is always one of my favorite attractions in Epcot.
You can't miss Soarin! It is an amazing attraction. Take flight on a breathtaking journey as you Soar over some of the world's most awe-inspiring sights - from the Great Wall of China to Iguazu Falls in South America. This is your chance to experience the joy of hang gliding through a virtual reality!
There is so much to see and do and see in the Epcot World Showcases. You can simply walk through the countries or as we like to do "eat our way through the countries". It is a great way to expand you cultural diversity without the expense of traveling.
Visit the Bijutsu-kan Gallery located at the Japan Pavilion. Delve into the origin and evolution of kawaii - Japan's "cute" culture. Then journey through ancient and modern China while watching a 14 minute Circle Vision film in the China Pavilion. We stopped here for lunch and my son loved the orange chicken and fried rice.
Stroll through an exhibit in this gallery at the Norway Pavilion showcasing how the culture of the country influenced Disney's Frozen. Experience the mystique of Morocco through the unique designs of time-honored crafts at the Gallery of Arts and History in the Morocco Pavilion.
Our favorite was the Mexico Pavilion. Check out the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Soak in the sights of Mexico and the antics of the 3 feathered amigos on a gentle boat ride through the Mexcio Pavillion. Finally discover the time honored tradition of Dia de Muertos - one of Mexico's most important holiday's. We enjoyed listening to a mariachi band and snacking on a Paleta which is a traditional fruit popsicle at La Cantina de San Angel.
Magic Kingdom is a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort featuring classic attractions, enchanting fireworks, musical parades and Disney Characters
At Magic Kingdom we visited the Hall of Presidents where we learned about all 44 of the men who have served as US Presidents. It is an audio animatronic show tracing the history of the United States. This is a nice relaxing attraction that is great to go to when you need a little break from the heat.
Take time to spot horse-drawn carriages on Main Street USA. To see and interact with a variety of breeds including the Quarter Horse, Percheron, Paint, Gyspsy, Vanner, Clydesdale, Belgium, Appaloosa, Arabian and Shetland ponies head over to the Wilderness Resort and Campground.
Enjoy a ride on the Jungle Cruise. You will set sail for a high adventure on a tour of the most exotic and "dangerous" rivers in Asia, Africa and South America. Another not to miss is a ride on Liberty Square. Take a cruise on the scenic rivers of America where you will take a gander of life in the US over a century ago.
Also be sure to take a ride aboard the old-fashioned locomotive, Walt Disney World Railroad. This is a relaxing way to see the park. We always ride it several times when we visit. They share some educational facts while aboard too! Be sure to take notes on your phone. Finally visit the Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Travel through the 20th century to see how technology has improved our way of life during this 21 minute audio animatronics show.
Disney Hollywood Studios is a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort with iconic attractions, blockbuster entertainment, character experiences and more.
At Disney Hollywood Studios we were able to attend a VIP session with an Animator as a perk of the conference where they shared behind the scenes information on how they are creating the new Toy Story Land which opens to the public on June 30, 2018 at Walt Disney World. That was really exciting! Though there are not as many educational opportunities we did find a few.
Take time to see the Broadway style musical Beauty and the Beast live on stage. It is AMAZING! A great way to share the theater with your children as an introduction. Be sure watch the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and cheer on Indiana Jones as they perform stunts with blazing special effects to demonstrate movie-making magic.
Also, be sure to visit Walt Disney Presents. It is a really neat exploration of Walt Disney's legendary creative legacy through a journey of rare artifacts. It is open to all ages and is indoors which again is nice for a break during the heat. I used Disney Hollywood Studios as an opportunity to discuss movies and how they are written often times based on a book and then turned into movies and plays.
Animal Kingdom is a theme park with daily and nightly attractions and experiences. I like to call it the best zoo in the world because it allows you to see exotic animals in their natural habitat without having to travel to another continent.
Hands down our favorite educational attraction is Kilimanjero Safaris. We took an open air Safari vehicle and toured a lush African Savannah where we saw real life exotic animals including Black Rhino, White Rhino African Elephants, Flamingos, Gibbons, Giraffes, Gorilla, Hippo, Lions and Zebra.
We learned so many interesting facts from our guide. Be sure to keep your phone handy for taking pictures and for taking notes! We learned that a group of hippo is called a bloat and that elephants sharpen their ivory trunks on termite mounds. We also learned that a group on rhino is called a crash and that an ostrich can run 35 mph.
We knew that Elephants are poached for their trunks but we didn't know that they often killed by farmers because they destroy their crops. We also learned that a group of giraffe is called a tower and migrating tower is called a journey, just to share a few!
Be sure to take time to visit the Affections Section. Enjoy friendly, hands-on encounters with a variety of animals, including goats, pigs and sheep at this open air petting zoo. One of our favorites was the Conservation Station. We explored a wildlife, conservation center home to animal encounters, interactive exhibits and a veterinary facility.
Take the time to stroll along the Discovery Island Trails. This is a nice tranquil pathway around the Tree of Life where you can discover lush landscape brimming with wildlife. My son enjoyed the Invertebrates at Gorilla Falls - Exploration Trail. Get to know the largest group of species on our planet - invertebrates - animals without a backbone!
If you have time be sure to visit the Maharajah Jungle Trek. If it is hot be sure to take water with you! Embark on a self guided walking tour of Southeast Asia - home to tigers, dozens of bird species, a flying fox and a Komodo dragon. Meet the highest flying bird on earth - the bar-headed goose, which crosses the Himalayas at a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet! We loved this experience. If you are a fan of birds be sure to check out the Winged Encounters - magestic animal experience featuring free-flying flock of feathered macaws.
Finally be sure to see Finding Nemo the Musical. It is based on the movie. This is a spectacular musical using theatrical puppetry. Best of all it is indoors and air conditioned and gives you a nice break from the heat!
As you can see it is easy to prove that going on a Walt Disney World Vacation is indeed an educational trip! In addition to all of the above we walked over 30,000 steps every single day! Now that is a great from of exercise. I highly suggest one person wearing a fit bit or pedometer to track your steps. We kept track daily to compare. We found it entertaining. I can't thank Walt Disney World enough for inviting us on this amazing trip. Best of all we spent time together as a family creating memories that will last us a lifetime! I call that priceless!
Disclosure: We were invited to attend Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. All opinions are 100% our own.