epcotchinaWalt Disney World is a cultural experience for so many reasons. First of all, it’s total nostalgia.  Walking through the park will remind you of your own childhood, and bring back countless memories of your first experiences of the park and when you first met Mickey Mouse and saw Cinderella’s Castle for the first time. For a child, a visit to Walt Disney World is the ultimate experience The rides, shows, parades. They all form impressions in one’s mind that last forever and ever.

But culturally, there’s nothing like it. The detail and attention that goes into each ride, providing the ultimate experience is like nowhere else. But there are also cultural experiences scattered throughout the parks. If culture is something you are seeking as part of your Walt Disney World experience, you can find it. Here are five cultural experiences you can find there:

Pop culture – Who doesn’t remember Mickey Mouse from growing up?   Throw in the princesses, from Cinderella to Belle from Beauty and the Beast, High School Musical, Toy Story, Aladdin, Snow White, Cars, Phineas and Herb – they have it all covered. Walt Disney World is amazing because it has most of our favorite childhood characters in full-life form. Its movies have become an important part of our culture, and they stay in your minds for years after you see them. Walking through the parks offers memories of times long gone and of more recent times with your own children.  Some parts of the parks haven’t changed since our youth, some have been updated. It’s remarkable to see how fresh and exciting it is for everyone who enters.  One of the latest rides to make its mark at Disney is the new Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s MGM Hollywood Studios. It’s a thrillingly fast ride that takes you to a rock concert at speeds which reaches upwards of 60 miles per hour. The concert you’re going to see? Aerosmith, one of the most important bands of our time.

epcotmusicTheater/Film – Walt Disney World celebrates films and theater all over their parks, which is something that Walt Disney himself saluted in his lifetime. To celebrate both media, there are rides and shows all throughout Walt Disney World.  Here are some examples:

  • The Great Movie Ride celebrates the history of film. Located in MGM Hollywood Studios, this ride salutes the best of the best in film. Disney skillfully uses film footage, special effects and replicas of legendary movie stars. It’s a history lesson rolled up into a phenomenal ride. What a way to teach your kids about The Wizard of Oz, Singin in the Rain and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It’s an unmatched, classic experience.

  • 3-D movies: You’ll find your share of 3-D movies at Disney, including Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Muppet Vision and Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

  • Live Shows: Beauty and the Beast, Ariel, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and, of course, there are character meetings all over the park.

Epcot’s Cultural Festivals – Epcot is the ultimate destination if you are looking to educate your children about the world’s best countries without boarding a plane to cross the ocean. To celebrate the best of international culture, which is so excellently celebrated at Epcot, there are a few upcoming festivals to take note of as you plan your visit to Orlando:

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival from March 2nd, 2011 – May 15th, 2011

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from September 30th, 2011 – November 13th, 2011

  • Holidays Around the World – Candlelight Processional from November 25th, 2011 – December 30th, 2011

Entertainment:  Disney offers parades galore all over the park at various times of the day, and they each offer glimpses of Disney’s past and future. There’s Disney’s Dream Come True Parade at the Magic Kingdom at 3pm daily in the Magic Kingdom where all the characters come to life and dance and sing. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is at Epcot every night, offering music, fireworks, lasers and magic. Fantasmic! is truly stunning. It takes place at Disney’s Holly Studios in the Hollywood Hills Theater and offers floating stages, water screen technology, fireworks and all the Disney characters.  There’s also Mickey’s Jammin’ Jingle Parade at Animal Kingdom, Wishes (firewords) and SpectoMagic (a light show) at Magic Kingdom.

Trends: Disney also addresses the latest trends, coming up with new rides and programming every year. In 2009, they added The American Idol Experience to honor America’s beloved TV show They also added the PIXAR characters to the parade this year. Already you can meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.  Here’s a really good web site to keep up with the latest Disney news and events http://www.wdwmagic.com.

So, not only being the happiest place in the world, Walt Disney World offers a world of cultural offerings within in its own parks. Taking advantage of these perks is easy and seamless and will create the kinds of memories that will last a lifetime.  Even for culture vultures.

Disclosure: My recent trip to was a sponsored trip by Traveling Moms and Walt Disney World.