Groups were up and at Animal Kingdom by 7:45! They joined the morning speed walk to be among the first to ride Avatar Flight of Passage. The attraction discusses the issues of pollution, strip mining, etc. and the need to study keystone species, as well as why conservation efforts are important. (Travelers had already noted that Disney uses paper straws to “save the turtles”) Disney Travelers linked with an avatar to ride one of Pandora’s keystone species, a banshee.
Then they went off to Asia and Africa where they were able to visit many other keystone and endangered species on a jungle trek, safari, and gorilla falls trek (where there a was a 5 week old gorilla!) As Wilderness Explorers, they earned badges as they learned all kinds of fun facts.
While the travelers haven’t enjoyed the “love bugs” that fly everywhere, in “It’s Tough to Be a Bug”, they learned why bugs are so essential. Besides helping to populate and grow crops and flowers, bugs help break down waste. Did you know that honeybees from one hive visit 3 MILLION flowers a day!
After performance of the Festival of the Lion King, where many travelers ended up meeting the performers (thanks Mr. Robinson!!), they headed back to the hotel for our pizza and pool party—with some added birthday fun for two travelers!
The “fun facts” were everywhere today! Did you know...
Bats eat 600 insects in an hour and help pollinate many different plants.
The bongo is a master of camouflage. Despite being orange, their white stripes to help them blend. The stripes mimics sunlight.
The Okapi May look like zebras but they’re actually related to giraffe. Their tongue is long enough to reach its eyeballs!
Hippopotamus sleep underwater. But they need to resurface every 8 minutes for oxygen. How do they do that? Their bodies naturally bring them up every 8 minutes for air. Hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa because they are very territorial.
Black rhinos can charge at 35 mph. Their population is at risk due to poachers. Their only predators are humans.
Crocodiles are as long as a giraffe is tall!
Lions sleep most hours of the day. The females do most of the hunting. They’re successful 1 of 15 hunts. African wild dogs, on the other hand, succeed on 9 of 10 hunts.
A group of giraffe are called a tower. A group of hippos are known as a bloat. A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance. A group of rhinos is called a crash.
Elephants a have a dominant tusk, the way humans have a dominant hand. You can tell because one tusk is longer. They are also endangered- 96 elephants are killed a day. The population does not rebound because it takes 22 months for a female to give birth.
White rhinos have poor eye sight— they can only see 10 feet in front of them. Despite their weight, they run like horses which means all 4 feet can be off the ground.
Disney Travelers spent Wednesday at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow—better known as EPCOT.
All groups arrived early, giving them the opportunity to enjoy the performance by the Jaminators, before rushing off to be among the first riders on Test Track, where they put their engineering and design skills to work.
Throughout the day, Travelers has the opportunity to experience g-forces on Mission: Space. They served as Marine Biologists as they visited the Seas Pavilion, where they watched dolphins “play” memory and visited over 3,000 fish and sea creatures in Disney’s aquarium. They go to learn about many of the different specials. For example, did you know that if the sand is hot when the turtle’s eggs are laid, they will hatch female, but old sand means males will hatch. They became horticultural experts as they toured “the land” viewing many of the innovative ways scientists at Disney are working to grow crops. Did you know that this attraction produces 30 tons of fruits and vegetables that are served in the parks. Travelers also focused on the history of communication and how each technological advancement has impacted history.
They also became world travelers, as they embarked on a journey of 11 countries in the World Showcase and took a “hang glider” to visit many famous landmarks around the world. They had the chance to chat with cast members from each country, view kinds of entertainment, learn greetings in several different languishes, and sample all kinds of goodies from the different countries.
The night ended with Illuminations and some very tired travelers after walking around 10 miles!
On Tuesday, Disney Travelers headed to the Magic Kingdom where “you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”
Main Street USA gave them a taste of what a typical center of town would look like at the turn of the century. They got to take in the views, snap some photos (many with the special surprise “magic shot” technology), and head to Cinderella Castle. In Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square they traveled in time to these specific time periods. In Fantasyland they visited many of the songs and movies they grew up with—from Winnie the Pooh to Mickey to the princesses, there was plenty of magic! In Tomorrowland, Travelers stepped into how Walt Disney pictures the future. They soared through space, tried alternative types of transportation and much more!
Throughout the day, Travelers continued to notice and call out the intricate details Imagineers out into each land and attraction. For example, as you move from land to land, the ground changes. Sometimes you’re walking on plain grey, other times it’s red. Sometimes there are horseshoe prints or cobblestones, and other times there a brown “stream” down the middle.
The trash cans are painted differently based on the attraction too! And they’re everywhere! In fact, as Walt Disney was planning his parks, he was obsessed with keeping it clean. The trash barrels that were most popular tended to leak. He also counted how far people would walk to throw away their trash. As a result, there’s a trash can every 30 feet in the park, because Walt’s studies of human behavior suggested this was the radius people would travel to dispose of their trash!
The fun facts, hidden Mickeys, and fun continued into the evening. Travelers enjoyed the show “Happily Ever After,” which choreographed fireworks, to music and projections onto the castle.
Hollywood Studios, we mean!
What do you get when you mix imagination with engineering?
Disney Travelers got up nice and early and headed to Hollywood Studios for their YES Program and to answer that question. While most of us think of Mickey and Minnie, Disney Travelers applied their knowledge of Newton’s Laws is Motion to the science of creating attraction. They reviewed pairs such as speed and motion, kinetic and potential energy, velocity and gravity. Each plays a role in how IMAGINEERS design attractions. With a goal of immersing guests in stories, each park attraction engages the 5 senses.
But how to create a roller coaster inside and generate enough energy to not only move, but to go from 0-65 mph in 3 seconds? Or how do you bring the Twilight Zone to life? (Hint: it involves world travel, 1st edition encyclopedia, and applying cobwebs). How do you mix Toy Story with old Hollywood in the same park?
Disney Travelers answered these questions all day as they left their YES program and celebrated 30 years of Hollywood Studios. They enjoyed the other attractions, including the less than 1 year old Toy Story Land, Star Tours, etc.
They also spent a lot of time exploring live shows. Travelers learned the science and planning that goes into some of the coolest special effects and stunts in Indiana Jones. They watched the infamous Beauty and the Beast performance. They explored the history of Walt himself, and got a sneak peak of the live-action Aladdin.
They ended their day by visiting Mickey’s imagination in the laser-light show Fantasmic. Then it was time to board Disney’s fleet of busses and head to the hotel to get ready for another exciting day.
MASH Disney Travelers have arrived! After more than 8 students experiencing their very first plane ride, we have now arrived at the All-Star Sports Resort!!
The final assessments are done! Yearbooks have been distributed! Graduation rehersals have started! On Tuesday (June 19), our 8th graders will "graduate" and prepare to head off to their different high schools. Today, they took a moment to reflect on their Disney Trip!
-"My favorite part was when we went to Animal Kingdom because I liked seeing all of the animals. Also, I liked all the rides at Animal Kingdom. I also like Hollywood Studios because their rides were fun. I learned stuff about the rides. For example, I learned some of the rides use magnet to stay on the track." ~Jermaine
-"The trip was amazing. I really enjoyed the rides and learning activities that we did. My favorite part of the trip was the YES Program. I learned a lot of the science behind the rides." ~Terrence
-"I really had an amazing time at Disney. My favorite part of Disney was Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. On the trip I learned more about the laws of motion." ~Daveon
-"My favorite part had to be visiting the countries. I learned a lot from them about their culture, architecture, and more." ~Nelly
-"My favorite part was EPCOT and exploring all the new countries. On the trip I learned a lot, especially stuff about physics and how the rides correspond with science." ~Joseph
-"I learned so much from the 6 day experience. From presidents to different cultures in countries, it was amazing." ~Jenna
-"My favorite part was exploring the countries in EPCOT! I learned a lot! Especially about the different cultures." ~Ashton
-"My favorite part was going around the world (at EPCOT) with Duffy! On the trip I learned about electromagnetism and how its applied to rides." ~Savanna
-"My favorite part about Disney was the rides. What I learned was about the Presidents and the United States (in the Hall of Presidents)." ~Martin
-"My favorite part was in EPCOT on the trip. I learned a lot of history about the countries and about the land that Disney was built on." ~Jonathan
-"My favorite parts were the Mount Everest Roller Coaster and Test Track, On this trip I learned what is is like to be on a plane for the first time." ~Keyron
"My favorite part was Magic Kingdom. On the trip I learned a lot of facts about Walt Disney." ~Justin
"My favorite part was the Tower of Terror. On the trip I learned about gravity and its properties." ~Rohan
-"I learned a think or two about physics." ~Mariano
-"Thank you for supporting our Disney Trip. Twas fun. Also, robotic pirates are a thing. (Thanks to animotronic technology). We also the mouse dude." ~Jimmy
Disney Travelers spent a final few hours enjoying a few last attractions! Then it was back to the hotel to board the Magical Express to fly back to CT!
We seem to be returning with a few extra passengers. There were a lot of Experiment 626s, better known as Stitch, boarding the plane in MASH Meets Mickey bags and sitting on laps!
Conservation was the word of the day as Disney Travelers spent Thursday as Wildnerness Adventurers exploring ecosystems and ways to protect them. They took the Maharajah Jungle Trek to observe bats, birds, and tigers and the Gorilla Falls Trek where they saw gorillas, hippos and other species. Disney Cast Members were there to answer all of our questions. Why is there no glass between the observation deck and the bags? Can hippos swim?
We boarded the Kilamanjaro Safari to get a look at lots of other animals including flamingos, rhinoceroses, elephants, and much much more. Did you know that the patterns on zebras, giraffes, and wild dogs are all unique? The patterns help the animals identify one another and are as unique as human finger prints! We got to see a few baby animals too! There was a baby hippo, the first born in 13 years at Disney! We also saw a baby elephant who was born in January. The babies tend to spend the day with other females (their aunts and cousins) and then return to their mom at night!
Many of the animals are threatened or endangered species. Disney Consevation experts work in the park and abroad to help protect the animals. For example, in Africa, elephants often destroy farms, which leads to local farmers hunting them. But science has revealed that elephants are scared of bees! Now farmers line their fences with bee hives. Elephants stay away, and farmers have a new crop to sell: honey!
Many groups became the first MASH Meets Mickey Travelers to experience Disney’s newest land: Pandora: the World of Avatar. They had the chance to sivako or Rise to the Challenge according to the Na’vi as they experienced the world of Pandora on the back of banshee or down the river.
We ended the day with the Lion King performance before heading back to the hotel for our pizza and pool party!