Don’t get me wrong, I love princesses. Cinderella will always be one of my all-time favorite animated films but I also recognize that girls cannot thrive on crowns, fairy dust and pink satin alone. There are many attractions at Disney World for girls to get a good dose of science, biology, adventure and fun.
1. Test Track Presented by Chevrolet – Epcot – Future World – min 40 inches
Inside the Chevrolet Design Center, girls go to an illuminated station to design their own virtual custom concept vehicle based on the following test criteria: capability (handling), responsiveness (maneuverability), efficiency (fuel-saving and environmentally friendly), power (speed). Just learning these words alone is an education. They also get to add some purely aesthetic finishing touches like color before boarding a special “SIM Car” and taking it for a spin in the driving evaluation.
After the ride there are more hands-on games and exhibits where girls can learn how their design scored during the test drive, make their own car commercial, and get behind the wheel of actual new models of Chevrolet cars.
Why is it good for girls?
Girls can learn about engineering design and why cars are designed a certain way for certain functions (like the test criteria mentioned above) and how as an engineer you have to make a series of trade-offs to get to particular solutions when creating a design. It also gets girls thinking about being a consumer of a car and that choices are not just made by choosing how a car looks. As a mom, I liked the create-your-own-commercial exhibit because it teaches girls about media literacy at a young age and it’s a brilliant marketing technique to familiarize future car buyers with the product–and explaining this is all part of the education. My daughter’s favorite part was the show room of 2014 models where she got to see what it was like to sit in the driver’s seat because she is never allowed at home (her lucky mom got to take some of them on the road for a test drive including the 2014 Chevy Camero, Traverse and my favorite, the Impala).
2. Tom Sawyer Island – Magic Kingdom – Frontier Land – no height restrictions
Tom Sawyer Island offers a place for girls to let off steam as they run, jump, climb and explore the island. There are caverns, like Injun Joe’s Cave, and wooded areas that lead to an age-old fort, where they can learn about frontier America.
Why is it good for girls?
In a sea of books about kittens, fairies, princesses, and school drama, it never hurts to expand your daughter’s literary landscape. The island introduces girls to Mark Twain’s characters and his books about adventure, freedom and the history of social mores in America.
3. Star Tours – Hollywood Studios – Echo Lake – min 40 inches
4. Mission: Space – Epcot – Furture World – min 44 inches
Star Tours the Adventure Continues features a 3D motion simulator attraction based on the Star Wars film series created by George Lucas. During the voyage girls interact with otherworldly characters and see places and beloved characters from the films.
In Mission: Space girls get to be an astronaut and dodge meteors, navigate nebulae and slingshot around the moon. Afterwards, they can go to the Simulation Lab, which houses a 35-foot-tall gravity wheel like the kind NASA uses to simulate gravity in deep space. Also on display is a genuine NASA Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), one of only 4 in existence, on loan from the Smithsonian.
Why are they good for girls?
These Disney space experiences help pique interest in space travel and science whether or not they are big fans of the franchise. These attractions realistically immerse visitors in the space experience but also have enough fantasy to feed the imagination for all kinds of intergalactic creativity.
For more Star Wars fun, encourage your daughter to train to be Jedi Knights at the Jedi Training Academy because girls can be Jedi’s too.
5. Conservation Station – Animal Kingdom – Rafiki’s Planet Watch – no height restrictions
At Conservation Station girls can go behind the scenes of Disney’s efforts to promote conservation awareness. The station has interactive exhibits and behind the scenes tours including a 3D audio journey through a rainforest and a healing facility where girls can see veterinarians care for the animals through an expansive glass window. They can also watch handlers prepare meals for the park residents and discover the diets (sometimes not pretty) that wild animals consume. They can also experience and learn about some of the less cute and cuddly-looking creatures like tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes and snakes.
Why is this good for girls?
Here, girls learn that animals are not just fun to look at but also require a lot of care and planning to keep them safe and happy. Here they learn about all the work it takes to create an environment that is as close to their natural habitat at possible and about international conservation.