A few weeks back I read a post on a Disney forum from a woman asking where in The World a nice private place to propose to her girlfriend would be. There were some good responses (mine’s below) and that got me to thinking: WDW boasts that they have more land than they know what to do with, so where are the most under used bits within all the parks?
I want to share with you some of the more vapid areas of the beloved World: places that might not be the busiest they could be. Not necessarily un-fun, just unpopulated.
10. The dock between Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Tomorrowland. If’ you’re standing in front of the castle, at “2:oo” there is a spoke that runs out into the back ends of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. There is a little path that leads down to a covered “dock” where very few people venture to (see illustration). However, the last time SharkBoy and I were there, we saw about 30 Brazilians napping under the awning. Weird. But endearing!
9. The back end of Camp MinnieMickey. Walk into the camp, past Pocahontas Story Time theatre, past the Lion King theatre and its exit, you’ll find a nice quiet area near the queues for the Mickey/Minnie/Goofy character greets. So quiet is this area that you can grab a nap or make a private call. They do have a wandering minstrel who sings improvised camp songs on a wireless headset, so the place does get a bit sing-y every so often, but for the most part, it’s a nice landscaped area to enjoy a quiet moment.
8. Paths beside The Tree of Life. The snakey paths in and around the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom do offer some privacy from time to time. The paths are excellent short cuts to Africa if you want to by-pass Asia or get right to Camp MinnieMickey from the entrance or a great way to get lost trying to get to “It’s Tough to be a Bug”. So you will see people on the paths but they’ll be rushing past for the most part. Take a moment and look up at the tree and revel in the fact that you’re looking at an old decommissioned Mexican oil rig covered in slooshy cement animals.
7. The exit of Dinosaur. As you exit Dinosaur there is a very large underused dinosaur garden in and around the ride. Sure there’s kids mindlessly running around roaring like long lost reptiles, but they clear out fast when the parents realize they need to move on to the next thing. Also, there is a great set of underused water fountains there that I suspect is 90% kid slobber free. Drink up!
6. Streets of America. I mentioned this in the last numbers game, but I have to say again that the area near the San Fransisco mural, near the Singing In the Rain photo op, is possibly the only quiet area in all of Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately it’s not the prettiest. Just some billboards for ABC shows or upcoming features in the park.
5. Most areas between country pavilions, EPCOT. There is about a 5 to 10m “dead zone” between each pavilion in Epcot, put there to ease the transitions between countries. Some have character greets stationed there, some are smoking sections and a couple have inviting benches. On the opposite side of the walkway, lake side, there are always spots for you to hold up and watch the ducks swim by. Nearer to Italy, there is an area with faux gondolas and a small dock/bridge that goes out over the water. It’s away from most of the crowd and has a great view of the lake.
4. Morocco. This pavilion is a maze. when you enter, just to your left, is a small exhibit of Moroccan clothing within a “typical” house courtyard. Follow that around and you will come across a Fez shop and a very popular restaurant. Search out the Aladdin photo op background and if there’s no characters, you can actually plop yourself down on the pillows and enjoy a moment to yourself.
3. The boat docks on any Seven Seas Lagoon hotel. There may be one or two adventurous families waiting with you on these docks, burnt out from taking the Monorail around the loop to get to Magic Kingdom, but for the most part, the boat service is greatly under utilized with the Deluxe hotels. They are a bit far and few between, you might be waiting for a little while to catch a boat, but if you’re in no rush, it’s a great, mellow way to get to the park. Take a moment to do a panoramic turn and see just how much land Disney owns…
2. The Wonders of Life, EPCOT. Shut in 2001, this pavilion behind Universe of Energy seems to have been doomed from the start. Wonders of Life was the first pavilion to get a thrill ride installed (Body Wars, long since gone) but it lost its sponsor and started a slow journey into obscurity. Disney tried to pump some action into it with a fat-shaming exhibit that was taken away as quickly as it was announced – apparently the tone was too harsh for some child-rearing critic. The pavilion is used for the home base for rotating functions like the Flower and Garden show or the Food and Wine show, but mostly it just stands behind Mission: Space unused, gathering dust. However the landscape is still kept up so that makes it a great place to chill out away from the NASCAR families running to Test Track.
1. The two rocking chairs just below Fort Langhorn, on Tom Sawyer Island. This was my suggestion to the lesbian couple mentioned at the top of the post. Over on Tom Sawyer Island, there are lots of spots to sit and relax. For example, where they park the Liberty Bell when not in use was going to be a small restaurant/snack bar with ample seating area, now only populated with rocking chairs that look out onto the Haunted Mansion queue. But that’s not the spot. If you walk towards Fort Langhorn, and keep to the left of the structure, you will find a small path that leads to a dock with just two rocking chairs on it, overlooking the more curvacious run of Big Thunder Mountain. SharkBoy and I found these chairs and sat for a spell. It was one of those quiet spots within the World, amongst the crazy, the crowds, the loud, where you can actually clearly hear an uncredited Imagineer say “You’re Welcome!”