to other types of vacations and the cost is pretty much the same based on the benefits you receive and with an annual pass to WDW it can actually work out far cheaper in the long run than some trips. Even on a per day pass it can be cheaper than some vacations. When looking at the cost you need to consider EVERYTHING included in the pass, not just the cost of the park admission—which goes down on the per day cost the more days you purchase. Everything but food and souvenirs are free once you are inside the gates. The same cannot be said for many other places. There are also many ways to get discounts on those things.
As for learning things, it depends on how you approach it. There is a LOT to learn at WDW. Here’s a short breakdown of the everyday things you can learn at WDW.
You can learn about other cultures in World Showcase where the cast members (employees) talk to people about their culture and there is a special Kidcot program that is free to help them learn about the countries, how things are done, and various aspects of daily living in that country. Most of the countries in the World showcase also include a travelog or historical film about the country. Two of my favorite countries to visit are China and the American Adventure.
The China pavilion has a wonderful film AND a replica of The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. (info provided by Wikipedia) It is so awe inspiring to see this reproduction.
You want US history, then visit my other favorite pavilion in the World Showcase, that is the American Adventure Pavillion. Here’s a utube video of the animatronic production for your viewing pleasure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrgmubbw1N4 (that’s part one then you link to part two) I love it so much I have ds’ ringer on my cell phone as the “Golden Dream” from this production.
Technology and modern living are the main factors in Epcot and the different pavilions have an individual theme. The Land has a good movie about the circle of life and living with the land. The “ride” there is a boat ride through various gardens of the future to feed EVERYONE around the world through aero and aqua gardening. They serve the food grown there at the restaurants in WDW.
The Living seas or “under the sea” as it is sometimes called starts with a ride based on finding Nemo and then takes you “under the sea into a HUGE aquarium that is truly awe inspiring. There are many hands on exhibits, educational displays made fun and of course a “talk with Crush” which includes some great info at times.
Space ship earth is a ride about the HISTORY of the world.
I could list all the other pavilions but each and every one is a TEACHING facility interwoven with rides and activities that educate.
Animals of the world at the Animal Kingdom, not only seeing the animals but their importance to the balance of nature and their special needs, their habitats and their beauty. As well as interaction with some of them and how they all work together to form the Tree of Life.
The history of the movie industry and how movies are made in Disney Hollywood Studios with back lot tours, animation classes, and much more.
The folk stories of the world are showcased in the Magic Kingdom. Yes they are Disney themed, but Disney didn’t write Rapunzel, or Cinderella, or any of the fairy tales. They just brought them to life for many children around the world. Through those fairy tales children have learned valuable lessons about good vs evil, sharing and being true to yourself.
Also if you want more US history the Hall of Presidents is very educational on the different presidents of our land. Want to make history and find out what a flight to Mars would be like ride the very realistic Mission to Mars (not a good idea for those with motion sickness—barf bags supplies).
Observation powers are tested and improved by in looking for Hidden Mickey’s everywhere.
Each resort has a theme and there is always educational benefits to be learned from reading the various signs and info provided at each one. Historical items are on display in many of the hotel lobbies and just touring the resorts can be VERY educational, not to mention fun. We particularly like going to the Animal Kingdom Lodge after dark and watching the giraffes and other animals on the savannah with the FREE use of the night vision goggles.
Every Christmas season they have Santa’s from all over the world that explain the history of that particular Santa, or lack there of one. These show how while we are different we are all the same.
The Epcot spring flower and garden show has valuable information on gardening naturally for both beauty and food sources. Plus a wonderful butterfly pavilion you can enter and spend time among the beauty of the butterflies and lady bug releases you can participate in for free.
I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg of what there is to learn at WDW. There is more to learning than history and even a lot of history can be learned at Disney World.
Yes, there are rides, and sometimes the lines can be long, but there are ways around those long lines. I never stand in one over 15 minutes and we ride EVERYTHING—well I don’t do space mountain or rock’n roller coaster and I’ve only rode Everest once. But that is not due to lines, but due to the fact I’m a COWARD! And I cannot think of a single ride that is a mere 30 seconds long.
There are street entertainers in every park that include the crowd in their performances—GREAT fun for all, great stage productions, parades that will make anyone’s heart skip a beat. It is a good family atmosphere that includes a strong respect for our military.
WDW takes the best of both worlds, education and entertainment to intertwine them to where children don’t even realize they are learning.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown (both sites)and Yorktown, I’ve been to them all and they were far from free when you include all the same activities you get at WDW the cost is real close. They were of great interest to us not only because we are history enthusiasts, but because we are related to those who settled there. The Joseph Copeland Pewter spoon found at Jamestown belonged to my dh’s ggggg(x however many generations) uncle Joseph Copeland. It is the oldest known artifact from there. My kids were raised up on history sites AND WDW. A well rounded person needs a well rounded upbringing and we made certain our kids got one.