When I was nearly 7 my family traveled to Walt Disney World for the first time. This trip is what inspired my love of all things Disney. At that time, WDW was only comprised of 2 parks, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. To say that I was uninspired by EPCOT would be a vast understatement! In fact I wasn’t really an EPCOT fan until my early teens when EPCOT had evolved, added some rides, and made the World Showcase a little more family friendly. As a homeschool parent, EPCOT World Showcase is now one of my favorite spots and my children think it is pretty great too!
Before you get to the World Showcase, take a moment to stop at the Fountain of Nations just past Spaceship Earth. This is no ordinary fountain by any means, but it is the original water that was placed in this fountain that made it so special when it was dedicated. Representative from 29 nations traveled to Florida with a container of water from a body of water in or near that country. Twenty five bodies of water were poured in during the dedication. Before you go, locate the Mississippi River on a map. The Mississippi represented the United States.
The World Showcase is a perfect spot to get social studies in while on vacation. All the employees in each “country” are actually from the country! They are always more than willing to share information with you about their country. Before you go, do a little research on a few of the countries. Have your children write some questions they would like to ask a citizen of the country, then when you are touring seek out a Disney cast member from that country to ask the questions. Another hidden gem in the pavilions are the retail stores. The retail stores stock food items, candy, toys, and clothes native to that country. We had our children pick either a candy or food item from a few of the pavilions. We saved these for later and then sampled them to see how different they were from what we were used to. In that same idea, try to pick at least one restaurant to eat at while in EPCOT. Your children may be shocked at the different foods.
Finally, a great way to experience the World Showcase are the EPCOT Kidcot Fun Stops. These are located in each pavilion usually near or in one of the retail shops. At these stops, you can get a cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to color. Then in each country find the table where there will be a Disney cast member who will teach your child to say a few words in their language, give them a stamp of the country, and often will write the child’s name in their language. This does make your tour of the World Showcase a bit longer and the kids always wants to linger, BUT our kids cherished these souveniers. They have them displayed in their rooms and often pull them out to describe the countries. If you want to spend a little money, you can also purchase a World Showcase Passport and do the same thing.
Come back next month to find some homeschool tips about Hollywood Studios.
Sarah Garner was born, raised, and continues to live in Central Illinois, which is a very long way from the Mouse’s home in Florida. A former public school teacher, turned homeschool Mom, she enjoys reading, quilting, and cooking (but really only has time for the last one). She has been to Walt Disney World 17 times and her family recently took their first Disney Cruise. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years and they have a 7 year old son and a 6 year old daughter.