30 March 2009

Everything must go

There are, literally, thousands of details in Dinoland U.S.A. that bring the story to life. Most of these can be found in and around Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, the onetime gas station now dinosaur wonderland. Of all the maps, posters, sculptures, plastic dinosaurs, and other pieces of their collection, the pieces I find myself drawn to over and over are the signs found throughout the interior and exterior. This sign, in particular, continually draws in my attention.I would love to say that it is the screaming ball of molten rock and fire, or the unimaginable discounts that come with ‘going out of existence,’ that piques my interest, but it is actually the two names on the blob of land masses: Gondwanaland and Euramerica. Not only are they fun to say out loud (go ahead, give them a try), but they are also real places that once existed.

Gondwanaland was a land mass, known as a minor supercontinent, which formed between 550 – 500 million years ago. Gondwanaland included pieces of what would eventually become Africa (including the Congo and Madagascar), Arabia, India, Australia, Antarctica, and Argentina millions of years later.

Another minor supercontinent, Euramerica (sometimes referred to as Laurussia), was formed from areas that we currently know as North America, Europe, and Greenland. Eventually, Euramerica and Gondwanaland merged with Siberia to create the supercontinent, Pangaea.

This may simply be another example of the teacher in me, and the belief that learning should be fun, but this sign is a great way to give children a glimpse into the history of our planet. Show them the words, tell them the words if they can’t read them, let them laugh as the repeat it over and over, and then tell them, “Did you know that those were actual SUPERCONTINENTS (in a booming voice) millions of years ago?” It isn’t the whole concept, and who would expect you to teach an entire lesson on your vacation, but it plants the seed of curiosity for after they return home.

There are always little pieces of history, stories, and wonderful artifacts to take a gander at, if you are willing to look up, down, and around. These tiny stories tell us where we are, what to expect, and keep us in a distinct time and place that Disney has created.


Bartsy said...

Nice post... I'll definately point it out to my 8 yr. old son on this years vacation. I, too, believe that it is always important while at WDW to look up, down, and all around. There are so many details that 90% of the average guests never see.

black743 said...

I remember when Dad and I were there during the resort preview. I remember standing inside that store listening to all the songs they played that talked about bones, such as "Diggin' Up Bones by Randy Travis and "Jealous Bone" by Patty Loveless. It was a nice memory, thanks for making me think about it once more.

Princess Fee said...

Wow, that is amazing. I did not know anything about that - I have seen the sign before but, shamefully, not paid that much attention to it before. It will be something I point out to future visitors when they go with me!

Beccaberry said...

As a teacher myself, I support this post :D