Sunday, April 10, 2011

Using your 5 Senses at WDW

This has been a long weekend at our house!  Hubby had back surgery and our 10 year old had an allergic reaction to medication.  It's been interesting!  I haven't had much time, before today, to actually 'write' anything.  I have spent quiet time rereading some of my old posts and reading a lot of other people's posts.

This week is spring break for our school system.  I think all of my youth from church are traveling somewhere.  I know 1 is at Walt Disney World and I couldn't be more jealous!  Our family isn't brave enough to travel to WDW when school is out.  We choose to take our son out of school to get cheaper rates and smaller crowds!!  Since we do take him out of school for at least a week to travel to WDW I try to make sure he has educational experiences in addition to everything Disney already offers.  You can read more about some of the "work" I've made him do in the past here and here!

My new friend, Jodi over at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse has excellent ideas on how to bring Disney into your classroom, homeschool setting or child's life- at home or on vacation!  In reading some of her creative ways to incorporate Disney into her child's homeschooling experience I decided to think of new ways to make my son "work" while he's on a vacation to Walt Disney World!

The first idea was to find ways to use your five senses at the parks and resorts and keep a journal with all your experiences.  There are so many ways to use your senses:

  • At each park, in each land and at each attraction, the music changes.  Pay attention to the background music.  See if you can identify the song or the genre of music being played.
  • There are different languages being spoken all throughout the World Showcase at Epcot.  Try to start a conversation with a cast member at any of the countries and ask them to speak in their native tongue.
  • Listen to the announcements being made on busses, attractions and my favorite, the monorail.  Usually you can hear the same message in English and Spanish.  Do you know what this phrase means: "Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas!" 
  • Don't forget to listen as you experience "Sounds Dangerous" at Hollywood Studios!
  • Listen for park guests who are yelling on the rides.  Can you tell if they are yelling because they are scared or having fun?  
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.
  • There are all sorts of aromas at the World Showcase in Epcot.  You can smell the foods from different countries cooking.  Ask the cast members working what the foods and seasonings are that make the different smells.
  • If you visit during the spring, try smelling some of the beautiful flowers at the Flower and Garden Festival!
  • There are several areas on property where you can visit animals: Kilimanjaro Safari, Conservation Station, and Tri Circle D Ranch come to mind.  Obviously, animals smell!
  • In all of the parks you can find food carts- popcorn, cotton candy, turkey legs, churros, etc.  See if you can identify the food by it's smell before you reach the cart.
  • Can you name three attractions that use smells as part of the experience? 
  • Besides the meals you eat at Walt Disney World, you can try exotic foods at the World Showcase.  For something fun, try something new at each country.  Candy and desserts is our favorite! 
  • While in Future World, stop by and try the drinks at Club Cool.  Which tastes the best to each person in your group?
  • Can you think of any foods you can only taste at WDW?
Photo courtesy of Orlando Attractions Magazine.
  • You can feel a lot of things while on different attractions.  Some you can feel the breeze blowing your hair, water splashing your face, or G forces pressing your body.  Keep track of the different feelings in your journal.
  • At many of the resorts there are beaches with sand.  If you visit these resorts feel the sand on your feet as you prepare to feel the water from the pool or lake!
  • At Animal Kingdom you can feel the fossils at The Boneyard and the animals at the petting zoo at Conservation Station. You can also visit animals at the  Tri Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness.  At Hollywood Studios you can feel the  oversized things on the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground.
  • What attractions at the Magic Kingdom have new queues that let you touch and feel things?
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.
  • There are so many different sights at WDW!  You can see the rides, buildings, landscaping, waterways and transportations.  How many different modes of transportation can you see in one day?
  • At the end of It's a Small World you can read "goodbye" in different languages.
  • You can also see the words on the menus at the restaurants you visit, the attractions you ride and the buildings you walk past.
  • You can see characters from different Disney movies in all of the parks.  How many characters did you see each day of your trip?


    1. I've always opted to pull the kids out of school for slower park times also. This has become more difficult lately though with one in high school. Not all the teachers have been willing to allow make-up work. Spoil sports. I think Walt Disney World is FULL of education experiences.

      This is a great post. Well thought out.

    2. As a former teacher, I can tell you that there are so many educational opportunites for children in Disney, and even better, they can be family centered. When do kids get to learn something alongside their parents? Now that I have left teaching, I can now avoid school vacations and it is so much more effective as far as being able to accomplish everything you want. But what I wanted to say, I always had my students who went on vacation during a school week to write a five senses journal entry for each day. It certainly makes them very aware of everything around them. Plus, especially for the kids who went to Disney, I loved reading them! :-)

    3. I recently purchased a journal for my daughter for our upcoming trip ( My grandmother had me journal when we went on trips, and I so enjoy looking back on them now. Thanks for the tips on prompting them to use all of their senses when doing their journal entries. I also love the journal you created. I am definitely going to set a few of her pages up with the writing prompts, especially the "3 Things I learned at..." and I love the weather record. How fun. I always enjoyed playing the license plate game as well, but we'll be flying this time...

      Oh, and the scavenger hunt, how fun and exciting!! Mind if I borrow it? :-)

    4. Bird, Yes- please use any and all of it! If you want me to email you the template I used for his journal, I'll be happy to! I did it in word. :)