Homeschooling Ideas Using Disney Theme Park Data

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This thread on our Lines Chat caught my eye:

I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been mentioned as a positive example in education. (True story: My first grade teacher once told my parents I was destined to be the Pope, because only God and I could read my handwriting.)

While I don’t plan to visit the Holy See any time soon, plenty of folks are looking for ways to continue their kids’ studies at home.

If you’re looking for theme park-related things to do, we’ve made our attraction wait-time data available for free here.  It’s in a comma-delimited format, which can be imported directly into Excel and other software.  Each file contains the posted wait time, and any actual wait times we collected, along with the date and time we collected it:

where SPOSTMIN is the posted wait time in minutes, and SACTMIN is the actual wait time someone waited, in minutes.

Depending on how old your kids are, you may want pull samples from the data, to make the problems easier.  For example, you could pull the wait times on the hour from, say, Slinky Dog Dash, on December 31, 2019, and find the lowest and highest times:

Older kids might try to calculate the average, mode, and standard deviation, or plot the wait-time curve throughout the day. Or you could ask them to compare the wait times at different days throughout the year.

There’s enough data for more advanced problems, too.  In those data is a file of metadata, containing everything from park operating hours and Extra Magic Hours schedules, to public school data, and weather.

Some high school kids are taking programming classes in Python, too, and these data files can be used for everything from data analysis to machine learning problems.

We’re happy to make other data available, too.

If you’ve got ideas for using theme park data for home schooling, leave them in the comments below.  And thanks!

 

Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

6 thoughts on “Homeschooling Ideas Using Disney Theme Park Data

  • March 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm
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    We actually were doing something similar before this; however, I am sure we will be utilizing this data more and in new ways! For our first and third grader, we would look up various wait times on the Disney app and then tell them what time it was and what time they had a theoretical dining reservation. We would ask them to figure out (presuming no walk time and no actual time on the rides) if they had time to make their reservation. We had them do this all in their heads so they have to add the wait times, convert to hours, figure out how much time they had, etc.
    We also had them look up the prices of items in the park or make up prices (if you are going to buy three Mickey ice cream bars, you have $20, and they cost x… Or you saved your allowance and now you want to buy Mickey ears…). For older kids, you could give them a percentage of tax they need to pay.
    Thanks to touringplans for sharing this info.
    The kids got really into it! Good luck to all parents as we dive into homeschooling!

    Reply
  • March 19, 2020 at 8:43 pm
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    This is brilliant!

    Reply
  • March 20, 2020 at 6:22 am
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    Thank you for this! I’ve also got mine (9 and 5) working together to send a “What I Love” submission in.

    Reply
  • March 20, 2020 at 6:36 am
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    Our daughter is six and not quite ready for this. However, all on her own she decided to write a 10 day “schedule” for her and her Hundred Acre Woods friends to visit a different park on each day. We have background music from the parks going in the house and she is racing around with her animals in a cart, pretending to go on rides. Last night we set up a blanket in the living room and watched the fireworks (a recording of Happily Ever After). It’s hardwired in children to look for the fun in any situation.
    Thank you Touring Plans for all that you do and we can’t wait to get back to planning a real trip soon!

    Reply
  • March 20, 2020 at 2:43 pm
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    One thing Disney used to do at EPCOT was have a “Teachers Resource Center” where teachers could get lesson plans based on “Future world” (Oceanography, Energy, Farming, Transportation, Health)
    So Teachers could use those in the class room or assign some “homework” for kids taking a break for a Disney Vacation.
    There are some user created “lesson plans” for homeschoolers
    here….https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:disney/Type-of-Resource/Lesson-Plans-Individual

    Reply
  • March 20, 2020 at 9:04 pm
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    I thought I was brave having them go through the how-to-draw disney characters series, but python is a great idea!

    Reply

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