In the beginning it was merely meant to entertain. Walt Disney World opened its
doors on October 1, 1971 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with the Magic Kingdom, a replica
of California's Disneyland, two hotels and two golf courses. But as the number of
theme parks grew, along with the destinations and attractions, the wish to educate,
as well as amuse visitors, became part of the grand plan. Witness EPCOT where information
about space, energy, agriculture, the human body, science and technology is dished
up with subtlety and "spoonfuls of sugar" through the use of rides, animation
Later, more formal ways of learning were introduced when Disney University came
into being and developed business seminars and programs for adult groups that center
on professional development. Also under the auspices of the university, individuals
are offered tours that focus on horticulture, animation and cultures of other lands.
Enter Disney Institute (1996) and a whole new approach to skill developing
while on vacation. More than 60 programs allow guests to have a hands-on experience
in eight areas of interest, such as entertainment, design, performing and
culinary arts, gardening and sports and fitness. It's back to school
in a recreational environment where young and old are taught to rock climb; hone
their techniques with a camera, using the great park as a backdrop; and improve their
green thumbs in the luxuriant arboretums and gardens.
|Disney's Boardwalk, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
To celebrate its 25th anniversary Walt Disney World hosted a year-long, great
big birthday bash throughout 1997 with all kinds of new attractions. But the one
that tickled us the most was Disney's BoardWalk, a hotel and amusement complex
that fronts onto an authentic boardwalk and Crescent Lake. Monopoly players, this
is much like the real thing. Even without Steel Pier and the peanut man, the mood
of Atlantic City in its heyday of the late 30s and early 40s is evoked with wicker
rolling chairs, bicycles built for the whole family, a fudge and salt water taffy
shop, arcade games and performers.
Disney Institute, 196 N. Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Tel. 800-282-9282
for a brochure, video and reservations. www.disney.go.com/vacations/websites/disneyinstitute
Disney's BoardWalk, Crescent Lake, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.
Tel. 407/W-Disney for reservations at the BoardWalk Inn and BoardWalk Villas.