1971 was a great year. On June 3rd I was born and on October 1st Disney World opened its doors to an adoring public. Although I was not in attendance on that first grand opening day, I was there soon after. My parents, married less than two years , took their first and might I add adorable baby for their first visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. At the time there wasn’t an Epcot, Disney Studios, or Animal Kingdom, but there was magic as only Disney could do it.
My parents continued to take me and eventually my sisters to visit this world of magic many times. It is a wonderful thing to only have happy memories for a place and time. I do not remember ever being in any way unhappy at Disney. All of my memories of our trips to Disney are happy ones. I remember waking up in the cargo area of our station wagon, still dressed in my feety pjs, snuggled into blankets. We would stop at a rest area on the Florida Turnpike to change and eat the bowls of cereal my mom had packed for our travel breakfast. I have so many wonderful pictures “safely” packed away under a ton of boxes in my closet . I will find them and post them side by side with pictures taken of my children in the same locations. Oooh I like this mommy project idea.
I have a clear memory of the time we stayed “on property” at the Polynesean. Goofy was on the beach dressed in an old fashion full body bathing suite. Over the years I had begun to think I dreamed the event until I recently saw an article on a Disney blog reminiscing Goofy’s beach trips. Ugh, I can’t find the article to link to:-)
I also remember staying at the Holiday Inn Maingate. There was a pizza place or something similar with a huge talking monkey who played the drums (I think) and did a little comedy show. I remember one trip when my parents thought I was too old for mickey ears with my name embroidered on the back, but they got it for me anyway . I remember throwing a penny in one of the ponds, making a “wish” and having it come true. It had something to do with either us visiting my grandmother or her visiting us.
Being from Florida, Disney was a normal part of life, even school life. My eighth grade class trip was to Disney World. As I remember we spent most of the night riding Space Mountain over and over again. My Senior Year class trip was also to Disney, but my memories are all Epcot. I was with the people who had been my closest friends during the hardest time of my life. Even then there are only happy memories. Even the memory of poor Vikki being so sick by the end of the day that she could hardly walk, brings me warm fuzzies. We really cared so much for each other.
Years went by. I met my prince, Patrick. Who by the way, leaves Princess Aurora’s Prince Philip in the dust, and from me that is saying a lot . Anyway, Patrick wanted to get married in November, when his friends and family could escape the Buffalo, NY winter and enjoy the sun of South Florida. Haha, we were married the weekend of a tropical storm. Sadly Pat’s friends and family did not get to see much sun. It did work out great for us. For our Honeymoon we went to…..yup, Disney World. We stayed in what was at the time their newest hotel the Caribbean Beach Resort. With the rainy weather the lines were short and the rain gave us good excuses to return to our hotel for afternoon seistas.
When Aubrey was little we took her to meet her favorite Disney Character Goofy. Her fist meeting did not go as she had planned. On the car ride home she kept lamenting “I scared of Goofy mom. I scared of Minnie too.” So cute. Sadly pictures of that trip are “safely” buried in my closet under too many pounds of stuff to find for this post Trust me she was unbelievably cute. Really not just as her mom
We have only been back once or maybe twice in Joshua’s almost 10 years. Joshua was scared of fireworks, so that night Pat “hid” with him in one of the shops while Aubrey and I ooowed and ahhhhed at the beautiful display.
Anyway that brings me to the point of this post, Our Year of Disney!!! Over the last 3 weeks I have been obsessed with preparations for my dream year, a year of Disney!!! We are purchasing Seasonal Weekday Florida Residents Passes. They are financially an awesome deal, well as much as Disney could be considered a deal. Anyway our first trip of our Disney year is coming up next month and I am getting ready. I searched everywhere online looking for a ready made Disney unit study. I could not find one, well one that I liked anyway. With some of the ideas I found, I made my own. I am posting it here for others who may be looking for ideas and I selfishly hope others may have ideas I have not thought of that they can share with me in my comments section or email.
Walt Disney World September 2011 – September 2012
Things to research and write about over our Magical Disney Year:
- Walt Disney Biography – When and where was he born and raised? What was his childhood like? What was his family like? Was he married, did he have children? What motivated him to design and build Disney Land in California and how did that lead to Walt Disney World in Florida?
- Animation – What is the history, science, and evolution of animation? How did animation lead to computer generated animation? Create a simple animation sequence.
- Fairy Tales – Compare the Disney version to the “original” story. What changes did Disney make? Were these changes beneficial to the story or did they detract from the moral of the story? What would you have done different?
- Plants – What are their parts, needs, and reproduction?
- Dinosaurs – How do we know about them? What kinds have been found in the USA?
- Birds – What are the different types? How do they fly? How do they reproduce? What makes them a bird?
- Mammals – How do they live, eat, breed, raise their young and what makes them Mammals?
- Marine Life – Mammals, how do they survive in the water? How do they live, breed, eat, and raise their young? What makes them mammals?
- Marine Life – Fish, how do they survive in the water? How do they live, breed, eat, and raise their young? What makes them fish?
- Thrill rides – How do they work? Are they safe? Why do we like them?
- Stocks – How does the stock market work? What influences stock prices? How to purchase and sell stock? Compare Disney stock to other industry stocks over the course of this year.
- Geography – What countries are represented throughout the parks? What languages, money, climate, terrain, exports, politics and other information can we discover about them? Where are the located on the globe? Color their country flag and label capital on their map.
- Book reports – The Swiss Family Robinson and Tom Sawyer
- Florida – What made this area appealing to Walt Disney? What natural elements draw people to vacation here? How many miles is it from our home to the Disney property by car or “as the bird flies”?
- Draw maps of each park labeling favorite rides or shows.
- Complete word searches, mazes, and other fun coloring activities.
Things to learn, discover, take note of at the Parks
- Hidden Mickey heads – Keep track in our Hidden Mickey App
- Sketches – At least one quick sketch per park per day or one detailed sketch per visit.
- Sounds – Sitting quiet for a few minutes listening for the most interesting, loudest, quietest, most surprising, and most enjoyable sound.
- Daily Journal – Date, time entrance time, exit time, parks visited, rides visited, weather, mood, best part of the day, least magical part of the day, most memorable moment, and any interesting facts shared by Cast Members.
- Autographs – Of any characters or particularly magical cast member.
- A sentence translated in writing by a cast member at each Epcot Country.
- Cultural hat pictures
- Detailed info on several rides/shows per visit
- Daily record of Date, weather (as it varies throughout the day), ride name, time, ride wait time estimates, real ride wait time.
- Kidcot masks or autograph books stamped with country stamp in Epcot
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Friction (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Magnetism (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Gravity (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Energy (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Electricity (AWESOME!)
- The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering (AWESOME!)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Flowers (Too much adult stuff innuendo for my taste)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Science of Music
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Marine Mammals (Nice)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Inventions (Nice)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Light Optics (Nice)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Dinosaurs (As a faithful, bible believing Christian I do not believe God created the Earth in seven 24 hour days. That is not the point He is making in the Bible. It is, in part, about how much love and attention to detail He placed on creating a perfect environment for His Children, us, whether he spent 7 days or seven billion years. That said, it was annoying to have this video focus more on overcoming creationists than it did on Dinosaur science.)
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Sound
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Birds
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Gravity
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Fish
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Plants
- The History Channel – Walt Disney World (Very nice)
- Frank and Ollie – Biographies of Disney Animators (Nice, but a bit slow for the boys and I wish it had more animation creation information.)
- US Geography for Children – Florida (Very Nice)
- The Story of Walt Disney: Maker of Magical World by Bernice Selden
- Who Was Walt Disney? By Whitney Stewart (Not very impressed)
- The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
- The Imagineering Field Guide to the Epcot: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
- The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
- The Imagineering Field Guide to the Animal Kingdom: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
- The Official Encyclopedia Disney A to Z by Dave Smith
- Birnbaum Guides 2011 Walt Disney World: Expert Advice from the Inside Source
- One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies (OK, but nothing to oo and ahh over)
- Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show by John Hench
- Science Disney Style by Disney Youth Education Series (Very Nice! I wish these were available without paying for the whole class. We got ours years ago through the wonderful Disney Homeschool Day. The classes are about $70 with entrance to the featured park included; however pass holders do not get any discount, so we will not be able to do this again.)
I will try to update our list of resources and add opinions as we go through them. I hope to occasionally put up some of our finished assignments (yes, to show off ).
“Now its time to say goodbye to all my company. M – I – C see ya real soon. K – E – Y Why? Because I like you. M – O – U – S – E!”