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Epcot’s World Showcase is made up of 11 country pavilions. In each country, you’ll find authentic architecture, landmarks, historical references, food, and people. Each country’s pavilion is staffed by people who are actually from the country.
The China pavilion is quite pretty and the intricacy of the carvings is amazing. If you’re looking for a spot where you can enjoy a few minutes of peace, this is it. There are footbridges, bamboo groves, a small waterfall and ponds which provide the perfect getaway from the crowds.
The China Pavilion and your Homeschool
You enter the China Pavilion through a distinct triple arched ceremonial gate patterned after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
The three-tiered, circular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a one-half scale reproduction of its counterpart inside Beijing’s Temple of Heaven complex. Many of its architectural details have important significance to the Chinese people. Inside the hall, there are 12 outer columns supporting the roof. They represent the 12 months of the year and the 12-year cycle of the Chinese calendar. Closer to the center of the room there are 4 columns representing the four seasons. These columns support a beam representing Earth, which is topped by a round beam, signifying Heaven.
Reflections of China is a 360º Circle-Vision film shown in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. This movie features footage of China including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City of Beijing, the Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia, the Yangtze River and the tropical rain forests of Hainan Island. You can read more about Reflections of China on the Walt Disney World website.
If you go into the temple and stand in the very middle of the round room, it is acoustically perfect. So say something and hear how others hear you…you might be surprised that it sounds different than you normally hear yourself.
Be sure to check the entertainment schedule in your park map/guide. You don’t want to miss the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats performance. It’s an amazing display of agility, strength and balance by young students from the Pu Yang Academy of Acrobatics in China.
Don’t miss the replica of the Terracotta Army. The figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
The Kidcot Fun Stops in each pavilion of the World Showcase are a fun activity where kids can collect stamps and create a craft.
Some books you might like:
- DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient China
- You Are There! Ancient China 305 BC
- A Kid’s Guide to China
- Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
- Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
- Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns
- Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes
- Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China
For older students, you may want to read The Good Earth. This study guide digs into analyzing characters and motifs of the book.
Movies to watch:
It would be fun learning about Chinese food and making a recipe or two. Or you could make a model of the Great Wall of China out of Rice Krispie treats.
Online Resources for Studying China
The following ideas will work for your study of any of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase:
- Create a Power Point on the country and present it.
- Plan a menu from the country and prepare it. (If you have a World Market store near you, check out their International foods section).
- Plan a pretend trip there. Where would you visit? What would you do?
- Create a ‘scrapbook’ of your fictional trip to the country.
- Write a report on historical events that happened in the country.
- Study the original buildings and landmarks represented in each pavilion.
- Learn a few words in the native language of the country.
- Find and listen to music from the country.
- Make a shoebox diorama of a famous place in the country.
- Watch a documentary on the country.