Happy Birthday America! Or as Sam Eagle would say “it’s called a salute to all nations, but mostly America”. Many often think that taking sailing Disney Cruise Line to various historical locations or traveling to Walt’s original park, Disneyland is where the history lessons happen, but oh no no. Okay, don’t get me wrong, history is certainly learned at those destinations, I mean imagine literally walking in Walt’s footsteps. Imagine looking at the light in the window above the Fire Station on Main Street knowing that Walt once looked out that very window. For Walt Disney fans like us, it is such a fascinating feeling. But for some reason to some, Walt Disney World is forgotten when it comes to history and learning. Remember, Walt loved learning, innovation and teaching.
From Epcot to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, learning surrounds you from the first moment. It’s no secret that Walt Disney loved his country, so let’s delve into where we can learn about American history at Walt Disney World.
Carousel of Progress
I know what you are thinking – American history lessons in the Carousel of Progress? Absolutely! The name alone should give it away. The Carousel of Progress is located in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, but the concept was built and shown for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This attraction tells the story of an American family throughout the decades, focusing on the 1900’s, 1920’s, 1940’s and the fancy schmancy 21st century. The attraction has a rotating theater, which shows scenes of the family learning about changes in technology and daily life. Ultimately – how progress changed America. How can you not leave the theater happily humming “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”? Fan of the Sherman Brothers? They wrote it!
Hall of Presidents
The Hall of Presidents calls home to Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom. The Hall of Presidents is an attraction that includes audio-animatronic figures of all of the Presidents of the United States of America. Recently, the Walt Disney Company gave The Hall of Presidents a major update. If you visited the attraction in the past, it is now a whole new uplifting, highly respectful and emotional show.
We don’t want to give too much away about all of the history behind Liberty Square, in case we have travelers who are interested in the AMAZING Keys to the Kingdom Tour in the Magic Kingdom. Let’s just say, every stepping stone, window, building and tree have a historical meaning. Need to use the restroom in Liberty Square? Good luck finding one. And why might you think that is?
The Muppets Present … Great Moments in History
We know what you are thinking – Muppets? Well get that thought out of your head, because the 10 minutes you will spend watching this show will be a highlight of your day. Great Moments in History takes place just outside of The Hall of Presidents. It is of course, hosted by the Muppets who share stories about the Declaration of Independence and the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere in typical and humorous Muppet fashion. Check out your times guide as many of their shows are different!
American Adventure Pavilion
“America, spread your golden wings, sail on freedom’s wings across the sky”. New or old to Disney, you are sure to have heard the famous Disney song, “Golden Dream”. The words and the messages that the song tells describes our beautiful history. Unlike the other attractions, The American Adventure is located at Epcot in the America Pavilion. The show is approximately a half hour and features audio-animatronics of American Icons such as Susan B. Anthony and Teddy Roosevelt. The American Adventure is hosted by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain who tell the story of our nation. If you are early to the show or happen to be near the America Pavilion be sure to catch The Voices of Liberty, an a cappella ensemble which sings traditional Americana music in tight, eight-part harmonies.
Yes, while we all go on vacation to have fun, it’s also neat to know that behind every attraction at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, every piece of art on the Disney Cruise Line or in Aulani, there is a story. Whether that story is historical, fictional or important to the Imagineers – there is a deeper meaning. So, the next time you are heading out for vacation, take a moment to look around and ask about the stories and the love behind what you see, because it is what you don’t see that will be left in your memory forever.
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