Top Educational Attractions in Magic Kingdom

White and gold fireworks explode over a blue and white Cinderella Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom.

The Walt Disney Company

A trip to Disney World is exciting, but it can also be a learning vacation. There are a number of educational attractions to be found in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. From book tie-ins to lessons in U.S. History, you’ll find your children can have fun and learn at the same time.

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Educational Attractions at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Map of Disney World's Magic Kingdom, identifying the top educational attractions. Download a PDF version of the map.
Image courtesy of Disney World (attractions added and modified by Amanda Morin)

The map above is sort of an educational map of the Magic Kingdom--some of the best educational attractions have been marked off and identified. You can use the map to follow along as you read more about each attraction.

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Disney Educational Attraction: Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Walt Disney World

On the Magic Kingdom Educational Map: #20

Time Needed (not including wait time): 12 minutes


Mickey’s PhilharMagic is more than just simply a movie. The experience presents beloved Disney characters in a 3D movie, complete with silly antics and accompanied by music from Disney movies. What makes this attraction unusual is that it also provides smells, squirts of water and other "4D" components to make the experience totally encapsulating.

Why It’s Educational

Mickey’s PhilharMagic is billed as a 4D attraction, which means not only are kids able to see the movie in 3D, but they are using all the rest of their senses as well. The attraction gives children a great opportunity to see how music and images are connected, providing them with an appreciation for rhythm and music.

How to Set the Educational Stage for the Attraction

Since the attraction features favorite Disney music and characters, it may be a good idea to familiarize younger children with some of them--Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Jasmine, and Simba are among them. You can also talk with your child about how the senses all work together to create an overall experience.

Following Up After the Attraction

Ask your child about all the effects she experienced. Ask:

Which effects ones were considered "4D?" What did you notice about the music and the images? Why did the sound increase in some places? How did being able to see, hear, touch and smell make the overall experience different than a typical movie?

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Disney Educational Attraction: Swiss Family Treehouse

Swiss Family Treehouse
Walt Disney World

On the Magic Kingdom Educational Map: #29

Time Needed (not including wait time): 15 - 20 minutes


Found in the Adventureland section of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Swiss Family Treehouse is based on the Disney movie "Swiss Family Robinson," which itself was based on the novel The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss.

The attraction is a model of the treehouse home the title family created for themselves when they were shipwrecked. Getting to see the home and included artifacts involves climbing the tree, though there’s a stairway to make it easier.

Why it’s Educational

While the movie is fantastic, the novel is the real educational tie-in here. The book was originally published in 1812 to provide the author’s sons with lessons in morality and self-reliance. Though some of it may seem dated, the lessons are still valuable today.

The book has been republished in many different formats over the years and has been the subject of a number of movies, T.V. shows and even the comic book series, Space Family Robinson.

How to Set the Educational Stage for the Attraction

Before embarking on your Disney World vacation, find a copy of the novel and read it with your child. Talk about the parts of the adventure your child found most exciting and have him sketch out what he thinks​ the Robinson’s treehouse looked like.

Following Up After the Attraction

Ask your child if the information on the placards placed in the treehouse was accurate to the book. Ask also:

What was different about the treehouse than you imagined? What was the same? After seeing a model of the home, can you think of anything you would have built differently? Would your changes be purely cosmetic or would they serve a practical purpose?

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Disney Educational Attraction: Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents
Walt Disney World

On the Magic Kingdom Educational Map: #33

Time Needed (not including wait time): 30 minutes


The Hall of Presidents attraction tells the story of the birth of the United States, as well as providing historical insight into each president’s contribution to the country. A feat of Disney Imagineering, each president is represented by an amazingly lifelike animatronic version.

Why it’s Educational

This attraction is a great way for your child to see American History come alive. The attraction begins in the lobby, which is a historical gallery of sorts.

From information about, and artifacts of, first ladies to presidential portraits, the lobby sets the stage for the rest of the show. The 25-minute presentation includes Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, a speech by George Washington and a musical number.

How to Set the Educational Stage for the Attraction

There’s so much information presented in the Hall of Presidents that it’s hard to choose one area of preparation. A basic understanding of U.S. History and the ability to identify some, if not all, of the Presidents of the United States is a good beginning.

Note: Children who are not interested in U.S. History, but are interested in robotics will also be fascinated by this exhibit. It’s a feat of engineering and the most lifelike animatronics I’ve ever seen.

Following Up After the Attraction

Talk with your child about what you just learned. Ask what was new to him and what things he already knew. Was there anything surprising? Did he recognize any of the players? What did he think of how the information was presented? How does he think they got the people to be so lifelike?

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Disney Educational Attraction: Tom Sawyer Island

Tom Sawyer Island
Loren Javier/Flickr/Creative Commons

On the Magic Kingdom Educational Map: #40

Time Needed (not including wait time): not time-limited


Located in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, Tom Sawyer Island is literally an island full of fun for kids. It’s only accessible by a raft, which runs from Liberty Square over to the island. (It is actually a very well constructed craft with an engine.)

Why it’s Educational

The island is a mini-representation of all the places and activities mentioned in Mark Twain’s classic book, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. From the raft ride to the rickety rope bridge, to Becky and Tom’s cave, your child will be able to see the book brought to life.

How to Set the Educational Stage for the Attraction

Read an age-appropriate version of Adventures of Tom Sawyer with your child before your trip or on the plane. Talk to your child about the events, characters and setting in the book. Make a mental list of all the places Tom, Huck and Becky visited and ask your child to keep them in mind as you go on your own adventure.

Following Up After the Attraction

Discuss your adventure to Tom Sawyer’s Island with your child, asking her what things she saw that were like the book and which things weren’t. What was her favorite part? Did it meet her expectations? What would she have added to make the island more like the book?

Note: Sometimes there are paintbrushes hidden on the island. If you or your child found one, see if she can tell you why it is this item that is hidden.

For more information about questions about the book, check out 'The Adventure of Tom Sawyer' Questions for Study and Discussion.

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Disney Educational Attraction: Carousel of Progress

Carousel of Progress
Christian Lambert /Flickr/Creative Commons

On the Magic Kingdom Educational Map: # 45

Time Needed (not including wait time): 21 minutes (not including wait time)


The Carousel of Progress follows an animatronic family from the "turn of the century" (circa 1900) right up through modern times as a way to show all that has changed in the world as it has become more modernized. Using an innovative rotating theater, the audience is able to see different scenes in the family’s life.

Why it’s Educational

Aside from the unusual presentation in the rotating theater and the animatronics, which will interest budding engineers, the Carousel of Progress also provides an interesting view into the history of modern inventions.

In following one family, your child will get to see what inventions were introduced between each time period (1900, 1924, 1940, present day) and hear from that family how those inventions made their lives easier.

How to Set the Educational Stage for the Attraction

Since the attraction pretty much spells out exactly what it is you’d want your child to learn from it, there’s not a lot of preparation necessary. Asking your child to think about all the things he has that make his life easier and more interesting before you go into the Carousel is enough preparation.

Following Up After the Attraction

Talk with your child about how things have changed over the years. Questions to ask include:

What did you notice about each time period? How did, for instance, the telephone and electric lights change the way the family lived? Do you think modern inventions made life easier or more difficult? What are the drawbacks of relying on modern conveniences? What do you think it must be like to watch all of these new inventions be introduced to the world?

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