Learn­ing Is Fun At Epcot

WDW Magazine - - Content - BY KIMBERLY MASIMORE

One of my fa­vorite fea­tures of vis­it­ing Walt Dis­ney World as a mom is that my kids are sur­rounded by ed­u­ca­tional con­tent. And they don’t even re­al­ize it. Even though the first thought on my mind when I make a Walt Dis­ney World reser­va­tion isn’t, “how much will my kids learn on va­ca­tion,” it’s comforting to know that op­por­tu­ni­ties are all around for us to have mean­ing­ful and en­gag­ing dis­cus­sions while en­joy­ing our time at the most mag­i­cal place on earth.

FU­TURE WORLD

Fu­ture World is full of ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties around ev­ery cor­ner. I re­mem­ber vis­it­ing as a kid and be­ing in awe of the fu­tur­is­tic tech­nol­ogy avail­able for view­ing. Though In­noven­tions, which was the heart­beat of in­no­va­tion, has dwin­dled, there’s still plenty to learn and en­joy in Fu­ture World.

The Cir­cle of Life, lo­cated in The Land Pavil­ion, is a 20-minute film about con­ser­va­tion. The film fea­tures in­cred­i­ble footage of an­i­mals in the wild all over the world, as you lis­ten to the song “Cir­cle of Life.” This segues into animation fea­tur­ing char­ac­ters from The Lion King. This is a great way to in­tro­duce younger kids to the idea of the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact that hu­mans have on the planet.

Ellen’s En­ergy Ad­ven­ture is a 45-minute slow movie ride that takes you back to the time of the di­nosaurs. Ellen De­generes and Bill Nye the Sci­ence Guy ex­plain the past and fu­ture of en­ergy pro­duc­tion (the cre­ation of fire, fos­sil fu­els, and har­ness­ing wind en­ergy) through com­edy, film, and Au­dio-an­i­ma­tron­ics. Al­though this is a lengthy at­trac­tion, it’s a nice re­lax­ing way to learn about en­ergy.

In­noven­tions used to be the go-to spot for ed­u­ca­tion in Fu­ture World at Epcot. It once fea­tured sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy of the fu­ture and was re­ally an ex­cit­ing ex­hibit to take a glimpse into the world of to­mor­row. In­noven­tions has now de­creased down into one main

at­trac­tion, Color­topia Pre­sented by Glid­den. This at­trac­tion is pretty cool, even if it’s your only op­tion. You get to ex­plore three in­ter­ac­tive ar­eas to see how color af­fects the world around us. The tech­nol­ogy is re­ally amaz­ing, and it’s fun for the en­tire fam­ily. I was a lit­tle hes­i­tant at first but my ten-year-old thought it was “the coolest!” An over­haul of Epcot was re­cently an­nounced at the D23: Des­ti­na­tion D event at the Con­tem­po­rary Re­sort. While all of the specifics weren’t re­vealed, it only makes sense for In­noven­tions to be part of the ren­o­va­tions.

Liv­ing with the Land, lo­cated in The Land Pavil­ion, is a smooth boat ride through work­ing green­houses. How­ever, these aren’t just any green­houses, they are win­dows into the fu­ture. You can see in­no­va­tive tech­niques be­ing used to grow a va­ri­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles, some of which you can even try at the nearby Sun­shine Sea­sons and Gar­den Grill Restau­rant.

As you exit Space­ship Earth, you ar­rive at Pro­ject To­mor­row: In­vent­ing the Won­ders of the Fu­ture. Hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties al­low you to ex­plore things like a 3-D sim­u­la­tor for per­form­ing re­mote surg­eries and a driv­ing sim­u­la­tor with in­no­va­tive ac­ci­dent avoid­ance sys­tems. A lot of peo­ple skip out on this ex­hibit but it re­ally is a fun area to ex­plore.

If you or your chil­dren like sea life, you don’t want to miss Sea Base. You can spy on thou­sands of aquatic crea­tures such as sea tur­tles, dol­phins, and stingray. Sev­eral times a day, you can watch a Cast Mem­ber feed the fish and learn about some of the in­hab­i­tants.

Soarin’ is the per­fect way to in­tro­duce your child to the won­ders of the world. From fly­ing over the Great Wall of China to sail­ing into Syd­ney Har­bour, Soarin’ is a great way to open the

con­ver­sa­tion with your child about all there is to see in the world. Plus, the queue even has an in­ter­ac­tive quiz where you can test your worldly knowl­edge.

Space­ship Earth is my ab­so­lute fa­vorite at­trac­tion in Fu­ture World. In the cen­ter­piece of Epcot, you get to jour­ney back to the begin­ning of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. From the al­pha­bet cre­ated by the Phoeni­cians to the in­ven­tion of the mod­ern com­puter, you will never again look at how we com­mu­ni­cate the same. As the ride ends, you get to pre­view a video of your­self in the fu­ture. It’s a fu­ture where any­thing is pos­si­ble.

WORLD SHOW­CASE

The best part about a visit to World Show­case is that EVERY­THING is ed­u­ca­tional! The Cast Mem­bers are na­tives to the coun­tries that they rep­re­sent. Most of them en­joy talk­ing about their cul­ture and coun­try, so feel free to have your kids ask them ques­tions. Each pavil­ion also fea­tures art, ar­chi­tec­ture, ac­ces­sories, and cui­sine that is in­dige­nous, or in­spired by, the coun­try rep­re­sented. You can lit­er­ally “taste” a piece of each coun­try!

The Amer­i­can Ad­ven­ture show in the Amer­i­can Ad­ven­ture Pavil­ion fea­tures Au­dio-an­i­ma­tron­ics and film to take you on a jour­ney through the his­tory of Amer­ica. The 30-minute show fea­tures the likes of Ben­jamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Thomas Jef­fer­son, Martin Luther King Jr., Will Rogers, and many oth­ers. As you pro­ceed through vi­gnettes, you hear ac­tual sound from fa­mous Amer­i­cans in­ter­twined with vin­tage film footage. Be­tween the mu­sic and the con­tent, you are sure to feel ex­tremely pa­tri­otic af­ter your inspirational U.S. his­tory les­son.

The Gallery of Arts and His­tory in the Morocco Pavil­ion fea­tures tex­tiles, jew­elry, and art that is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Moroc­can cul­ture. It’s a beau­ti­ful way to in­tro­duce the en­tire fam­ily to the tra­di­tion of this African coun­try.

Im­pres­sions de France is an 18-minute film in the France Pavil­ion that high­lights the won­der­ful as­pects of a visit to France. Your jour­ney takes you to the Chev­erny For­est, Ver­sailles, Nor­mandy, Cannes, and more. You can vir­tu­ally visit the beau­ti­ful coun­try of France!

Kid­cot Fun Stops are a great way for your chil­dren to talk to na­tive Cast Mem­bers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Not only will they be able to make a craft, but kids can also find out every­thing that they want to know about their fa­vorite coun­try.

Travel north to ex­plore the ex­quis­ite coun­try of Canada in the film O’canada! Be­come knowl­edge­able in the ar­chi­tec­ture, res­i­dents, and land of this stun­ning coun­try.

Cir­cle-vi­sion 360 will help you feel like you’re in China when you ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of Re­flec­tions of China. This in­cred­i­ble film takes you to the Huang­shan moun­tain range, a mar­ket in Xin­jiang Prov­ince, and Bei­jing’s For­bid­den City.

TOURS

Tours are an ex­cel­lent way to get a be­hind the scenes look at some of the amaz­ing fea­tures that bring Epcot to life. Un­less noted, all tours re­quire an ad­di­tional fee.

Be­hind the Seeds: Go be­hind the scenes of Liv­ing with the Land in this pretty neat one-hour tour. You get the chance to see the fish farm, and learn about the dif­fer­ent tech­niques used to grow plants. It’s a great tour for the en­tire fam­ily, and is one of the least ex­pen­sive tours on prop­erty.

Epcot Seas Ad­ven­tures—aqua Tour: You don’t have to be Scuba-cer­ti­fied in or­der to snorkel amongst thou­sands of col­or­ful fish and sea-life. You get the won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to learn about the in­hab­i­tants of the Caribbean Co­ral Reef.

Epcot Seas Ad­ven­tures—DiveQuest: Scuba-cer­ti­fied divers can en­ter the Caribbean Co­ral Reef aquar­ium at Sea Base and swim with the thou­sands of sea crea­tures for a lit­tle over two hours.

Epcot Seas Ad­ven­tures—dol­phins in Depth: One of the most in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences at Epcot puts you face to face with dol­phins at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavil­ion. Guests get to see a train­ing ses­sion and learn about the care that the dol­phins re­ceive. This is a per­fect ex­pe­ri­ence for teens and adults.

The UnDIS­COV­ERed Fu­ture World: This 4-hour walk­ing tour of Epcot takes you back to Walt’s orig­i­nal vi­sion. You will walk through Fu­ture World, learn about the his­tory, and even go be­hind the scenes for visit to a few VIP ar­eas. This tour is best for older teens and adults.

World Show­case: Des­ti­Na­tions Dis­cov­ered: This 5-hour walk­ing tour takes you on an amaz­ing jour­ney to visit eleven coun­tries in one day! Guests get to go be­hind the scenes to take a look at the ar­chi­tec­ture and food that are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the dif­fer­ent na­tions.

Even though you may not visit Epcot specif­i­cally for the ed­u­ca­tional as­pect, you are cer­tainly sur­rounded by it if you wish to make it part of your trip. My kids look for­ward to vis­it­ing Epcot and al­ways pick one new thing about which they want to learn. Ac­tu­ally, Epcot is the per­fect park to use as an “ed­u­ca­tional ex­cuse” to take your kids out of school for a trip to WDW!

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