When we decided we were going to Disney World, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into our schooling leading up to the trip. I wanted real, authentic, learning that would also keep them excited about the trip and help them make connections along the way. I decided to focus on literature tie-ins with Disney. There are some obvious choices like the fairy tale stories of the various princesses, but I wanted to interest a thirteen-year-old boy, a twelve-year-old girl, and a five-year-old boy so I was looking for something a little different. We decided to focus on some of the literature classics that Disney had turned into both movies and theme park attractions.
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Conveniently, my daughter’s literature curriculum already had her reading Tom Sawyer. My older son had previously read the book, but decided to listen to the audio book as a refresher. Once we were at the parks, they loved the opportunity to explore ‘Tom Sawyer’s Island’ in the Magic Kingdom. They had the chance to go down into ‘mine tunnels’, cross barrel bridges, explore a fort, and check out an old windmill. In addition to Tom Sawyer, you could choose some other Mark Twain inspired attractions. Twain is featured on the steamboat ride, the American Adventure in Epcot and more.
I decided thatPeter Pan would be a great choice for the whole family. We purchased this one on audio bookand began listening before we left for our trip and listened a bit while we were traveling. I do want to note that we used an unabridged version of the book and there were several instances of inappropriate language ( I have found this to be fairly common in older British literature). We enjoyed the Peter Pan’s Flight ride in Magic Kingdom and look forward to using the Disney movie for a family movie night soon!
We had listened toAlice in Wonderland earlier in the year prior to watching a play based on the book. The story can get a bit crazy but the children enjoyed it and The Mad Tea Party ride was one of their favorites! We managed to ride that one three or four times while we were there. We did not try them but they even have themed snacks at the restaurant next door to the ride.
With my five-year-old in mind, but knowing we would all enjoy it, we also listening to the House at Pooh Corner. This was a great choice because it was a fun and easy story and there were lots of connections to be made. We rode the Pooh Corner ride and had dinner with Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger. We also had the chance to meet Pooh over in the England section of Epcot.
Our final selection was Swiss Family Robinson. This book is such a fun classic tale of adventure that all of my children enjoyed. Disney has an awesome replica of the tree house that you can walk through and enjoy seeing the various rooms as described in the book. Even better, there was no wait time for this attraction so it was a great way to take a break from the lines and enjoy a more leisurely pace in the shade.
There are lots of ways to incorporate learning into your Disney trip, but we really enjoyed making the connections with literature. It also kept the children entertained as we listened on the long road trip down to Florida. There are many options that we didn’t have time to cover that could be used for a variety of aged and interests. What is your favorite book that has a Disney connection?
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