The people you meet!

We have been pretty busy/ sick the last few days, so we are a little behind on some of the posts we wanted to put together right away. So hopefully, although things aren’t getting any less busy, we will be posting several more topics in the next few days.

In other good news we will be visiting Disneyland in a couple weeks for 3 days, so we will of course be making notes of learning opportunities there as well!

One of the things that I as a parent really loved at Disney is the open attitude of cast members and their patience with talking with us and answering our questions.

One excellent example of this is Julie, who we met at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. She is a trainer/ animal handler who talked to us at length about her job, and about Storm a Harris Hawk, who was rescued and rehabilitated after being shot by a shotgun. Storm is completely blind, but in cooperation with her caretakers, she has lived successfully for the past 11 years even without her eyesight!


Here is a link to a webpage where we were able to start learning more about Harris Hawks, and have a better understanding of Storm:



We thought it was particularly interesting that they hunt in packs ( unusual of birds of prey).


Anyhow,  since my daughter is very much interested in animals, and thinks she might like to work with animals in some way some day, I thought it might be interesting to find out what Julie’s job entails as well as how she came to be in the position she is in now ( she has been with storm since she arrived there 11 years ago!)

Julie spends her days, not only interacting and educating the public about many different animals ( depending on programs they have scheduled, and anything interesting that may be happening with the animals), but also works with a huge variety of animals, in their care and training. She told us that Storm recognizes her ( and other trainers) and is very familiar with signals that mean that she will be fed and has figured out how to exercise despite not being able to fly since she cannot see.

Surprisingly, Julie shared with us that her educational background ( like so many of us) isn’t actually in an animal or science related field. Her degree is actually in film! However, she was presented with opportunities while she was still in college to work with animals, and she originally thought that she might like to work with animals in film. She wasn’t very happy with the practices involved n training and caring for animals in film at that time, so she pursued oppourtunities to care for and work with animals in a more rescue and rehabilitation arena.  Years of on the job training and a passion for what she was doing brought her to be able to be a key member of the animal care team at Disney.

I thought it was an interesting lesson, showing that there is not always just one way to meet your goals, and sometimes life will present opportunities that might lead you somewhere you didn’t expect , but that will make you happier than you might have ever dreamed.


Attention to detail. Disney Does their research!

The first topic that my son wanted us to post about has to do with something that we learned before, during and after our recent trip. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the area of Asia, is most people’s highlight of the park ( or according to some family members in our group “the best ride at Disney”) Expedition Everest .. or the Yeti ride as we affectionally call it.


Yes, we do plan to do some research on the actual legend of the Yeti  and actual expeditions to Everest (spurred by the Yeti/ everest paraphernalia viewed while waiting in line for Expedition everest… you fast passers thought you got a better deal out of not waiting in line.. but you missed out on so much! I wish we could have waited in line longer to look at it all!)

However this particular post has less to do with the showiness of Asia and more with the atmosphere Disney has managed to create.  In the fictional Kingdom of Anandapur is a village Serka Zong  that they have created to excruciating detail to make visitors feel that they are actually in a Himalayan village.

Apparently ( as we have learned) the Imagineers spent 6 years researching and visiting villages like the one they hoped to recreate. According to Disneywiki  ”Imagineers purchased more than 8,000 props, mostly from Nepal to augment authenticity at the village of Expedition Everest.  The artifacts include yeti dolls, antique Chinese ceramics, waterproof barrels designed for moutain journeys, and a Mani Rimdu dance costume typically worn by a monk during a two week festival.”

Check out:

In this video you get some sense of some of the details that they brought back from their journeys to Nepal, in addition to information on how they constructed the ride.

We have learned about the purpose and tradition behind prayer flags, Buddhist shrines and offerings,  the use of bells in meditation, as well as getting the opportunity to speak with students from that area of the world who are doing year long work study programs while working at Disney. They offered great insight into the specifics behind belief systems and traditions which motivate people in many asian cultures. These ideas we have learned have also sparked an interest in learning more about buddhist thought and tradition, allowing us to have a greater understanding and respect for ideas we had not necessarily considered before.

It never ceases to amaze me that if you take the time to notice the details how much it can peak curiosities and open doors to newfound understanding.



Another WDW Trip in the Books!



Well, we have just finished another eventful trip to Walt Disney World, which as always did not fail to provide us with ample learning opportunities! We have complied a lengthy list of ideas that have sparked conversation, and inspired us to look deeper in to many things Disney and non-Disney related as a result of our trip.


We will from this point forward explore and blog about those topics, striving to tell you about what inspired these thoughts and questions at Disney, and what kind of research and exploration followed at home afterwards.

Our goal is to start this process when we return home in a couple of days, and post new blog topics as we go through our list and delve into each topic. Understandably because we strive to explore topics only as deeply at any given time based on interest, we may discuss several topics a day, or maybe only one a week, depending on how much time we spend on each topic. Additionally, we may find ourselves returning to topics as our interests come back around to ideas we might have only briefly explored previously.

As we begin this journey please feel free to ask questions, and if you have had a Disney learning experience, please share it with us!!

Hello world!

This is our journey to learning! Disney style!!

This information will be linked under “About Us” moving forward, but we wanted to post to give our readers some idea about us, why we have this page and our vision for this project. We are a family of relatively outside the box thinkers. We homeschool but not in the way many people picture. Instead of sitting in a classroom at home we have discovered that it is much more effective to find and create learning opportunities in the world around us and develop an interest in things that we notice in the world. We try to stay keenly aware of current events, including but not limited to scientific advancements, political climate, economics, and how history effects our society, arts and cultures on an ongoing basis. We decided to start this site partially because we like to document our adventures, but also we get very frustrated when people scoff at vacations as a planned” “break from school”. Seeing parents acting as if they are bucking the system by pulling their kids from school for a week ( or homeschoolers “taking a break from lessons) to go on a Disney vacation, as if it is educational time wasted. We have discovered that we unequivocally learn more on each trip to Disney, peak more curiosity, or come to a greater understanding of things each and every time we go. Our goal is to not only show how much fun we are having but to point out the learning opportunities that can be seen while helping others to consider that there are still many others that cannot be “seen”. This will probably not be limited to our Disney trips, but we will try to show that there are learning opportunities at home thanks to Disney as well…  We will try to keep this page focused on that… If possible. Posts will be made by all members of the family as we each identify something we think worth sharing or even just remembering for ourselves. We hope you will be encouraged and inspired to notice little bits of learning and discovery in all that you choose to do!