Monday, September 16, 2013

Unschooling Disney Day #4-- Epcot & Dinner and Shows at Hollywood Studios

We headed to Epcot on Saturday since we knew all the parks would be more crowded on the weekend and Epcot seems to handle crowds well.

It's so large with so much to see and do and it doesn't seem to draw in as much of a crowd either.  I have heard many people tell me they skip Epcot when they're short on time since it's boring.

We don't think so at all!  We just love Epcot.  It's probably my favorite of all the parks.  

My kids really enjoy it too and always have since the time they were very little.  We always found ways to make it fun!



I find that with homeschooling I love it even more!

It's a great way to learn about other countries, get a feel for the architecture and cultures, and even meet people from each land.  But that's not all!

We also learn about plants and crops, sea life and animals, technology and more.

The World Showcase doesn't open until 11, so we headed to Test Track.  We have loved this ride in the past but I have to say it was even better!!

  • The whole ride has been re-designed and shows off prototypes of futuristic looking vehicles.  
  • We started by designing our own car to test drive using an interactive touch screen computer!  
  • We got to see what goes into designing a car, all the decisions and features.  
  • Then we climbed into our car to test it out.  
We rode twice in a row!

  • All the boys wanted to try one more time since Ian's car performed better than Alec and Evan's car & they wanted a re-match.  Ian won the second time too but only by 6 points. 





From there we rode Soarin' and got a sky eye view of California, complete with the smell of pine trees, orange groves and ocean air.

We rode Living With the Land; a boat through the gardens at Epcot and saw all the vegetables and new ways they farm.


 We rode in a clamshell and got to see Nemo and friends on The Seas with Nemo & Friends.

We stopped to talk to Crush at Turtle Talk and both Alec and Evan were lucky enough to get picked out of the audience to talk to Crush.

  • We learned that green sea turtles turn green because of all the sea grass and kelp that they eat.  
  • We learned that green sea turtles will use the coral reef to clean their shells much like a bear will scratch it's back on a tree.  
Turtle talk!  Our Favorite!!
We then wandered around the exhibits in the Seas with Nemo and Friends building and saw manatees, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and spotted Eagle rays (Alec told us they were Eagle rays, we thought they were cow nosed rays, but a worker started telling Alec about the animals and was telling us her favorite was the spotted Eagle Ray--- so Alec was right!).

The boys played some computer games that quizzed them about animals and their babies. Alec read all about how to avoid being attacked by sharks and we watched them feed the manatees.  It was great!

Just like going to the aquarium only better!




He was quite taken with the manatees!



We all got a snack and headed to the world showcase.  Along the way we stopped at Club Cool to try out different sodas from around the world.

  • There's free sample cups and a small description of each soda.  
  • Some are very yummy, some are very bitter, and some are quite unusual.   
Club Cool

There are four things we do that make travelling the world showcase with the boys lots of fun:

1.  Agent P's World Showcase Adventure!

Alec couldn't wait to start a mission with Agent P's world showcase adventure.  They checked in at the kiosk, got an official Agent P flip F. O. N. E. and started their adventure in Mexico.

I both love and kind of hate the Agent P adventure.

  • I love that it gets my kids super excited about the world showcase, but I hate that each mission takes place in just one country and lasts 30 min!  
  • There's no way to get around through all the countries if you take 30 min. in each one.  
  • Yet we saw and learned a lot more about each of the countries we did stop in this way so like I said it's a love/hate relationship with this game.         
checking in
Reading clues in Mexico

2.  Stopping at each country's Kidcot Fun Spot

Each county also has a Kidcot fun spot where each child can pick out either an Agent P or a Duffy Bear character to color and then each country stamps the stick ( it's really a paint stirrer) with the name of their country and the representative from each country either draws a flag, or in the case of China, Japan and Morocco writes the kids names in their native language.


our first kidcot stop
Our last kidcot stop of the day
3.  We check out the gift shops and have fun with it.

This year I had Ian (and Alec occasionally joined us) try on a hat in each country and I took his picture.

Mexico!



   
4.  Many of the countries have performers and demonstrations going on too and we try to schedule our day so we can see them. 

We stumbled up on a glass blower blowing glass in Mexico.  The boys were enraptured with his work- especially Ian.

watching the glass blower
These are all  fun ways to keep the boys interested and excited.  It's nice to "travel" to each of the countries and see the architecture, hear local music, and meet people who are representatives from that country.

My boys had so much with the world showecase this year and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we talk a lot about geography in our homeschool.

While walking around Epcot this year we learned so much!

We talked about where these places were found on the map, the climate, the history, and the symbolism of the buildings, the ornaments, and the souvenirs. 

 I'll admit I wasn't 100% sure where Morocco was but Alec was very confident it was part of Africa so we looked it up on the map and yet again he was right.  Morocco was at the top of Africa right on the Mediterranean sea.  

We were planning to head over to Hollywood studios for the evening and caught the boat that leaves from the back of Epcot into Hollywood Studios. 

It was a very hot, sunny day and I was starting to feel tired, cranky and sick.   

We headed into Hollywood Studios and stopped to eat some snacks.  We bought a chicken nugget and French fry meal to share and a bunch of cups of ice water.  If I haven't mentioned it before ice water is available for free at all the food booths-- take advantage of the free ice water especially on hot sunny days as it's great to keep you hydrated.  

The boat ride over had made me feel even worse and I was starting to think I was going to have to bail on the family and head back to the hotel.  My husband and mother in law convinced me to stay in the air conditioned restaurant to cool off and drink water while they took Ian and Evan to the cars stunt show that had gotten rained out on our previous trip to Hollywood Studios.

Alec stayed with me and played his DS since he couldn't care less about cars and didn't want to go to the show anyway. 

The boys loved the stunt show!  They got to see how they film cars flying through the air, driving backwards and racing all around each other in the movies.  By the time our dining reservation rolled around I was feeling back to my old self and I was so glad.  I think I was really dehydrated.  I often give my drinks to the boys and go without-- lesson learned!










We ate at the Hollywood Brown Derby.  It was delicious and we learned about the original Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood.

The restaurant was filled with caricatures just like the original restaurant too.  I'm so glad I didn't miss this reservation.  

We love trying new restaurants each trip an we have so many favorites; the food and atmosphere is just unbeatable at most Disney restaurants.


Once dinner was over we  lined up to wait for Fantasmic to start.

The boys have never seen this particular closing show.  My husband and I saw it years ago and we sort of figured the boys wouldn't really enjoy it all that much.

They liked Fantasmic but all agreed it was not their favorite closing show.

In Fantasmic Mickey is dreaming and it's all about good vs. evil.  There are water fountains, fire works, fire, explosions, fight scenes, etc.  It's a pretty neat show but my boys prefer lights, upbeat music and straight fireworks, but since we're all about trying new experiences each trip I knew this was one they wouldn't want to miss.


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