Families visit Walt Disney World for vacations, reunions, and to celebrate special events. Our family happens to live very close to the Disney resort area and although we often spend time at the parks to mark special occasions, we also go there quite often to learn.
To aid our learning we have developed our own educational materials as we link our visits to our language arts, math & science, and geography studies. Although we enjoy creating our materials, some times we look for something a little different to add to our learning.
Over the past couple of years we have participated in a number of educational tours at Walt Disney World for families with teens. We believe these tours are one of the best-kept secrets at the parks! They offer unique opportunities to learn in depth information about specific subjects related to the parks.
Here are our 3 favorite educational tours at Walt Disney World for families with teens:
Behind the Seeds
The Behind the Seeds tour is actually appropriate for children of all ages, which is perfect for families who want to learn together! This 1-hour guided tour takes you behind the scenes of the Living with the Land attraction in Epcot. It is perfect for anyone interested in gardening and farming. This is one of the most affordable tours available in the parks, with prices around $20 per person. (See our post with more details about the Behind the Seeds tour).
Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
Without Walt Disney’s vision Walt Disney World would not exist and families would not have this special place to visit together. This walking tour of the Magic Kingdom offers insight about the experiences in Walt Disney’s life that helped to shape his vision for his theme parks.
This guided tour is open to children age 12 and above and adults. This is significant because many tours are not available to children under the age of16! My children were thrilled to think they could enter the Magic Kingdom early in the morning, before other guests, and receive a guided tour of a park they thought they already knew well.
The Marceline to Magic Kingdom tour begins on Main Street. Here we learned about Walt’s childhood, family life, and his early career successes and failures. The tour them moves to Liberty Square where we learned about Walt’s love of his country and how his patriotic spirit influenced many of his decisions throughout his life.
The tour makes several stops throughout the park – at The Haunted Mansion, Cinderella’s Castle, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and finally the Carousel of Progress. During these stops we learned about the many people who brought these iconic attractions to life and the stories behind the creation of these attractions.
Our family enjoyed learning about the many “little known facts/events” in Walt’s family life that influenced his decisions for the parks and attractions. There were also many lessons about creativity, hard work & perseverance, business decisions, art and engineering & science!
My kids’ favorite part of this tour was the few minutes we were able to go “back stage”. This is a rare opportunity, especially for kids, at the Walt Disney Parks. The time spent behind the scenes did not take a way from the “magic” in any way, rather it was an interesting opportunity for everyone to get a better understanding of the dedication that goes into creating the magic throughout the parks.
Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If your child is really interested in animals they won’t want to miss this amazing tour! Wild Africa Trek is considered a “guided VIP” tour which means they limit the number of people in each tour to 12 and it’s more expensive than most (it is about $200 per person). It is open to kids ages 8 and up. I understand it is pricey, that’s why we waited a while to attend. But when we did save the money to invest in this experience we were so glad we did!
This is a 3-hour offers unique access to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes because you will be walking through wooded trails, walking across rope bridges, and riding in a safari vehicle with close-up views of animals on the safari.
Guides share their knowledge and experience about the animals you encounter along the journey. Extra time is spent discussing (and getting up close to) hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, and more. The hippos and curious giraffes were our favorites!
Because the group is small it is easy to ask questions about the care and history of the animals seen on the tour. Information is also shared about Disney’s conservation efforts around the globe, many of which are very unique and interesting (the story about the elephants and the bees was very cool!). Too many science lessons on this tour to even mention!
This tour also includes an amazing African-inspired snack at a private outpost on the safari and professional photos taken during the trek by your guides.
The next time your family visits Walt Disney World, consider adding a little education to your trip by participating in one of the many tours offered throughout the parks. You can find more details by visiting the Walt Disney World website.
Our Favorite Disney Planning Books
If want to do a little more research about the parks before your visit, be sure to also check some of our favorite books we use to plan our learning adventures around the parks: