As back-to-school time rolls around, I can’t help but reflect back on ALL of my life’s learning experiences, including those in and outside the classroom. One of the things that I love the most about travel and why I’ve chosen a profession within the travel industry is because it provides such amazing experiences where we learn, grow and reach outside of our own little worlds. Traveling to any destination, whether you’ve been there before or not, always teaches a lesson when you’re open to it! I would tell my earlier self (all ages) to GO! Go anywhere! Go anytime! Just figure out a way to make it happen and GO!
In addition to the organic learning experiences that children (and adults) gain from traveling, there are many structured learning opportunities that can extend well beyond traditional classroom experiences. Since our most popular destination (and one of my personal favorites) is the Disneyland Resort in California, I wanted to share a little bit about one of Disney’s incredible, but little known educational opportunities, The Disney Youth Education Series. Disney’s Youth Education Series (YES for short) offers students ranging from 3rd – 12th grades intimate, unique, hands-on, and magical workshops at the Disneyland Resort. I SO wish someone at my schools, Girl Scout troop, clubs, etc. had known about these and I definitely plan on making sure my someday kids get to experience this!
The Disney Youth Education Series offers five different programs: “Disney’s Animation Magic,” “Disney Leadership in Action: Pursuit of Excellence,” “Disney’s World of Physics: Properties of Motion,” “Disney’s World of Physics: Energy and Waves,” and “California, Here I Come!” There are two different versions of “Disney’s World of Physics: Energy and Waves,” one for children ages 8-11 and one for students ages 11-18. Each program is accredited and lasts 2 1/2 – 3 hours including instruction and ride time.
Earlier this year, our Group Department at Get Away Today was invited to the Disneyland Resort to learn all about the programs offered through the Disney Youth Education Series (YES Programs) and I was able to go. I was somewhat familiar with some of the programs that they offered, but I didn’t really know what to expect.
We spent the morning at Disney California Adventure Park where we first got a sampling of Disney’s World of Physics: Energy and Waves. Our first YES Cast Member taught us about magnets – including the difference between permanent magnets and electromagnets, then took us on a LARGE electromagnet, California Screamin’. When you’re with your Disney YES teacher, you are walked to the FASTPASS line without using your FASTPASS tickets, it’s a great way to learn and experience the best attractions.
Next, we met up with our second Disney YES Cast Member for a sampling of Disney’s World of Physics: Properties and Motion. Here we had to build our own roller coaster using the principals we were taught – it was a lot harder than it looked! Then, we moved onto the Disney Leadership in Action: Pursuit of Excellence program where we learned more about Walt Disney and his four C’s: Curiosity, Courage, Confidence, and Constancy. This program helps students understand their personal leadership skills, celebrates diversity, creativity and so much more. I loved our sampling of this workshop, which is normally held inside Disneyland Park.
Our final stop was Disney’s Animation Magic workshop. We learned some really fun facts about animation; like that it takes 600 animators 4 – 5 years to create one 90 minute film! We also made our own animation then headed over to the Disney Animation building. Here we learned about kineographs and thaumatropes and lent our voices to Disney animation in Ursula’s Grotto.
The Disney Youth Education Series is such an awesome way for kids to experience the Disneyland Resort – and learn something too! I feel like it truly is one of Disney’s best kept secrets and I wish I would’ve been able to go as a student! In order to participate in Disney’s Youth Education Series, you just need a group of 15 or more* youth (ages 8 – 18). Although it’s perfect for school groups, your group does NOT have to be associated with a school to participate (although I’m sure there is someone in your PTA who would be super excited about it!). Think about your extended family reunion, a home-school group, boy scouts, girl scouts, or even your friends and their families – don’t set any limits on what your group “should” be, just figure out a way to make it happen!
All of the Disney Youth Education Series tickets include your preferred YES program, plus park admission to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. Disney’s YES tickets can be purchased in 1-5-day increments with various workshop options. YES workshops are offered year-round, so whether you’re thinking during the school year or even a fun “summer camp” type experience, Get Away Today can make it happen. Plus, these tickets offer a significant discount off of our regularly discounted ticket prices –it’s so crazy to me that you get so much more for so much less! In addition to setting up the perfect group learning experience, Get Away Today gets you the best deal with the lowest price on attraction tickets, hotels, transportation and more. If you’d like to participate in a Disney YES Program, and don’t have a qualifying group, you can always call our Group Department at 888.943.2929 and we’ll see if we can get your family included with an individual enrollment day (limited availability).
Back-to-school time shouldn’t be the only time we’re excited about learning I hope you’ll make the world your classroom – the more of the world you see, the more you grow!
Kimberly Fidler is the Internet Sales Director at Get Away Today Vacations. She has worked in the travel industry for 12 years and loves to get away with her husband anytime they can. Their favorite trips include visits to the Disney Parks, San Diego, Arizona, cruising, and anything international.