With its four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs shopping and dining center, and over 20 resort hotels, Disney World covers a massive amount of space. Throughout all those different locations, there are many areas that are well-known and extremely crowded, depending on the time of the year and the events that are happening.
Because Disney World is so big, there are also a lot of spots to spend time in that the average parkgoer doesn’t know about. These hidden gems can be found in many odd corners of the parks and resorts and include places to relax, experience rides and activities, and enjoy a meal. Disney fans give us grief when we reveal these secret spots (because then they’re not-so-secret), but we’re going to share them with you below!
In this article:
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Train Room
Whether you are interested in learning more about Walt Disney’s interests and hobbies or you just need a quiet space to sit down and decompress after a long day at Magic Kingdom, the Carolwood Pacific Room is a great secret spot to visit.
Located in the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Carolwood Pacific Room is a space that features artifacts from Walt Disney’s life and showcases his passion for trains. There are a variety of different items on display that are centered around the railroad Walt built in his backyard and the railroads that now exist at Disney parks around the world.
In addition to these fascinating pieces of Disney history, there is also comfortable seating throughout the room. You can read a book, play a board game, or just sit and put your feet up for a while to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.
If you are visiting Magic Kingdom and want to experience the Carolwood Pacific Room, it’s as easy as taking a boat ride across the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. You can spend some time relaxing and learning more about Walt before heading back across the water to enjoy the rest of your day!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Patio
One of the best resorts to explore during your Disney World stay is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are so many areas where you can watch the animals out on the savanna, even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
If you’re looking for a savanna viewing spot that is also usually fairly empty and peaceful, the patio out behind the lobby of Jambo House is the perfect place for you. When you walk out the back doors, there is a stretch of porch space on either side that looks out onto the Arusha Savanna. You will find plenty of rocking chairs where you can sit and spend time watching the animals in a quiet setting.
Although you are also able to see the animals more closely if you walk down the pathway to the fence separating the building from the savanna, the patio rocking chairs offer a much better view of the entire grassy area. You’ll be able to spot all kinds of African animals in their different habitats while also giving your feet a break. You could even grab some zebra domes from The Mara to enjoy too!
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Fireworks Hill
Many people may know that Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is one of the best places on property to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Because the resort is directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the park, you can see much more of the show than at any other resorts near the park.
When most guests choose the Polynesian for their fireworks viewing location, they head down to the beach. There are no obstacles in the way to obstruct the view of the show, and the music is piped in through speakers, so you can get the full experience without having to deal with the packed Magic Kingdom streets. However, there’s an even better fireworks viewing spot at the resort that most people do not know about.
Near the Bungalows, there is a small hill that is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the fireworks. When you walk down toward the Seven Seas Lagoon from the main Great Ceremonial House building where the monorail stops, take a right and keep following the path along the edge of the beach. You will eventually reach a point where the path splits into three directions.
If you head to the left, you will end up at the entrance to the Bungalows, and if you head to the right, you will make your way back to the main resort longhouses. If you keep going straight forward, the path will lead you up to the top of the hill where you can enjoy the fireworks. Although the music isn’t always played in that area, there are typically far fewer people sitting up there than there are standing down on the beach. You’ll be able to relax, sit back, and watch the show in a much quieter, calmer environment.
The Best Seats on Soarin’ Around the World
One of the most popular attractions at EPCOT is Soarin’ Around the World, a flight simulator that shows off some of the most beautiful places in the world from an aerial point of view. Thankfully, because of the way the attraction is built, a lot of people are able to ride at the same time, even when it is busy.
There are a total of nine different places you could be seated during your experience on Soarin.’ There is a left section (Section A), a center section (Section B), and a right section (Section C), and in each of the sections there is a first, second, and third row. If you would like the best experience possible while riding Soarin,’ be sure to request the first row of Section B.
There are a few reasons why Section B’s first row has the best view on the attraction. The screen that the scenes are projected onto is shaped like an inverted cone, which means that if you sit in the left or right section, the video will be slightly warped since you’re looking at the edges of the cone. If you sit in Section B, you’ll be looking at the center of the cone, which is the best vantage point and the least slanted area of the screen.
When you’re in Section B, it’s important to choose the first row of seats. When the ride takes off, the three rows are not lifted up to an equal height. Instead, the first row is raised the highest, with the second and third rows beneath it. If you are sitting in one of the two lower rows, you’ll be able to see the screen, but you’ll also be looking at the dangling feet of the people in the row ahead of you. By sitting in the first row, you are at the highest level and will not have anything blocking your view!
Second Floor of Columbia Harbour House
There are many different quick service restaurants where you can grab a meal at Magic Kingdom depending on what type of cuisine and atmosphere you like. If you prefer a quieter, more spacious area for enjoying your food, the second floor of Columbia Harbour House is a fantastic place to eat.
Located in Liberty Square across from The Haunted Mansion, Columbia Harbour House serves a variety of seafood dishes like lobster rolls and grilled shrimp, along with more generic options like chicken fingers and salad. The restaurant itself does not appear very large when you first look at it, but because Disney themed the building to match both the Liberty Square and Fantasyland décor, it is actually very spacious inside.
There are two stories to the restaurant, and the second floor is by far one of the best secret spots to relax and unwind in Magic Kingdom. There are plenty of tables up there, and a lot of the time, most of them aren’t occupied. Even if there are a few other families around, you will still have plenty of room to get off your feet, rest in the air conditioning, and enjoy your meal.
The best area to sit on the second floor is where the restaurant stretches out over the main walkway between Liberty Square and Fantasyland. You can people-watch out the windows on either side, and it is really fascinating to see how Imagineers were able to make the transition from one land to the other so seamless, with Columbia Harbour House as the dividing line.
EPCOT Morocco Pavilion
All the 11 World Showcase pavilions in EPCOT are beautiful, with their own unique theming, designs, and offerings specific to their country. However, one of the least-visited pavilions is Morocco, making it a relatively secret spot in an otherwise busy park.
If you need some time away from the loud crowds making their way around the World Showcase, take a walk around the Morocco Pavilion. In addition to being a calmer area of EPCOT, it is also one of the more beautiful and intricate areas of the park.
There are several great food and beverage locations and merchandise shops, but the truly special part of the Morocco Pavilion is that it is the only World Showcase country whose government was actively involved in its creation. It boasts incredible buildings, artwork, and cultural items, and the design of the space feels incredibly authentic. There is often a limited-time exhibit hosted at the pavilion as well, so you can learn more about the different interests and activities found throughout the country.
Hourglass Lake Walking Path
Originally meant to be one single resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort sit on opposite sides of Hourglass Lake (aptly named for its shape). There are many cool areas to explore at both of these resorts, so if you want to see both of them you, can easily walk from one resort to the other.
If you’d like a quick trip across, you can take the bridge that goes through the middle of the lake. This is where the Skyliner Station for these two resorts is located, so that bridge can get pretty busy as guests come and go from the parks. However, if you don’t mind walking a bit more or would prefer a more peaceful walking experience, take the walking path that surrounds the entire lake. It is a scenic way to travel from one resort to the other, and it also holds one of Disney’s best secret spots: Memory Lane.
As you travel past the Pop Century buildings, you’ll see signs along the route that offer fun bits of information about the different decades featured at the resort. They cover a broad spectrum of pop culture references from the 1950s-1990s and are interesting pieces of trivia for guests of all ages to learn.
As you reach the end of the Pop Century side of the lake, you’ll see signs with facts about the movies featured at Art of Animation: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. They delve into the making of the films and how the animators were able to create such vivid stories. You’ll finish your stroll around the lake having had a good workout and learning a lot, too!
Disney’s Riviera Resort Skyliner Tunnel
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a newer addition to the hotels available to experience at Disney World, and it is easily accessible by Skyliner from EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One of the most magical areas of the property can be found when traveling to and from the Skyliner station.
The tunnel separating the resort from the Skyliner (which you can read about in our Skyliner guide) is a gorgeous spot to visit if you enjoy artwork or photography.
Within the tunnel, two massive, intricate mosaics stretch across the ceiling and down both sides of the walls. One features the lantern scene from the movie Tangled, and the other shows the scene in Peter Pan where Peter and the Darling children fly over London.
You could spend a long time admiring the time and work put into creating these masterpieces, and they also serve as beautiful backdrops for family or individual photoshoots. The detail the artists included with every little piece is incredible!
Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a massive area that has dozens of great meal and snack options to choose from, and many of the restaurants offer a nice setting to enjoy them in. One dining establishment in particular is very different from the rest of the options, as you have to travel down under the walkway to reach it, making it a little-known spot.
Enzo’s Hideaway is based on the speakeasies of the 1920s, when the Prohibition Era was in full swing and any alcoholic drinks had to be served in secret, underground bars. To reach it, you’ll walk through The Landing section of Disney Springs on the side closest to the lake until you reach the bridge that separates The Landing from The West Side. Right before you cross the bridge, you’ll see a short tower with a red sign for Enzo’s Hideaway.
Once you head down into the tunnel, you’ll find a full bar and restaurant serving Italian-inspired cuisine. There is also quite a bit to see if you walk through the underground space. The walls are covered with writing and paintings, the décor is themed to the era, and there is always great music playing. If you’re looking for a different kind of spot to grab dinner and have a drink, Enzo’s Hideaway is the perfect place!
Enzo's Hideaway is also right near Pizza Ponte, a quick service restaurant that offers delicious Sicilian-style pizzas. For other pizza places around the parks and resorts, check out our guide to the best pizza at Disney World!
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Belle Vue Lounge
Another little-known spot on the list of relaxing areas at the resorts is the Belle Vue Lounge at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. When entering the lobby from the porte-cochere, head down the corridor to the right. You’ll end up in the Belle Vue Lounge, a comfy seating area that turns into a cocktail bar in the evening.
During the day, the area is often very quiet, as most guests are either in the parks or out doing activities around the resort. There are lots of squishy armchairs available to relax in, and there are sometimes board games available to play. You can also head out onto the porch just outside the Belle Vue Lounge for a great view of the main resort lawn, some of the Boardwalk shops, and Crescent Lake.
If you’re spending a long day in EPCOT, the Belle Vue Lounge is a great place to rest for a bit. It’s only about a 10-minute walk from the International Gateway entrance, so you can spend some time sitting in the air conditioning before heading back over to the park for the second half of your visit.
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