Orlando educational tours. I know. It sounds like something the student council would present just before spring break in an attempt to fool their educators into a vacation with the Mouse. But maybe I’m underestimating Disney World’s own marketing department, because this complex has been building its educational clout easily as long as it’s been pursuing the magic.
Walt Disney was devoted to leaving a better world than the one he had entered. Epcot, we know, is a showcase for cultural diversity and technological innovation. I had read that entertainment always remained, in his own words, Disney’s “first and deepest production impulse.” Yet his fantasy worlds manage to bring together art, science, and imagination in results that cannot help but teach. I’m not interested in higher education, he said, “so much as mass general education.”
Certainly the general mass of population frequents the Disney complexes all over the world on a daily basis. You’ll be thankful for fast passes at the various parks with which you can grab a ticket and come back later, basically reserving your spot in line. It’s not as easy as it sounds, maybe. Your return time might be hours later and planning for the day, including your various return times, can get a bit tricky. But it sure is fun to breeze by all the poor slobs waiting in line when you return with your pass. It’s almost as fun as actually waiting in line and feeling your hair bristle as fast pass holders breeze by you.
Don’t think Epcot is the only location in Orlando suitable for an educational tour. The Disney parks are packed full of learning experiences, and not just how quickly a roller coaster can move from 0 to 60. Introduce your student group to just a few of the Disney employees and see if they don’t get inspired toward career planning. Choose carefully of course. They will probably get an entirely different education from the cartoonist in the behind-the-studios tour than they will from the poor guy in the Goofy costume in 100-degree Florida weather. I’m not sure, though. I think even that guy believes the magic.
Personally, I’ve been convinced for quite some time that Disney World actually is the happiest place on earth. If when you get there you end up standing in line two hours for the famous Dumbo ride surrounded by what seems to be the entire population of the southern United States, all baking to third degree under the Florida sun, then you’re not doing it right. Step back and take it in another way, because this place is meant to be savored.