As we discussed in our Disneyland list (see here), there are places innately built into the various parks that allow you to relax, breathe and help your child deflate and decompress should you spot the warning signs of a meltdown. As well with all of the colors, smells, noises, and sights that abound in the Disney Park experience not to mention the amount of PEOPLE around all the time, some of us need it just to have that break instead of hauling everyone out of the park en masse. So here by Theme Park and by Themed Land are our top quiet places and spaces at Walt Disney World!
Let’s Start with my personal favorite: The Magic Kingdom
Quite like it’s counterpart, Disneyland, this spoke and wheel formatted park has a bevy of places to sit and relax out of the way. Each of the themed lands comes complete with shade, benches, and in some cases water ways to add a sense of serenity. I always encourage families I work with to stop and smell the roses, or at least take a load off while touring. When you tour with a child or family member with special needs, it’s quite necessary to take portions of your day slower and only pick up the pace occasionally. All of the surrounding environs are included in the price of admission, just like the attractions. And you would be surprised at the hidden details within all of these parks you get to see when you slow up and pay attention. You might have a feeling you got more out of the experience than if you had run from ride to ride.
Main Street U.S.A.
Near Guest Relations: There is a large brick lined walkway off to the side of Guest Relations, also near the restrooms at the front of the park. This is a very nice area to wait if someone is refreshing themselves or in Guest Relations getting the DAS. We’ve used it to do our bouncing, (flexing our knees); or simple compressions, water replenishment or just get out of the sun.
City Hall: This as well is an out of the way area and SO MANY people just pass on by on their way to the themed lands. It’s got air conditioning, shops, and is one of the more quiet spots on the map. Of course it fills up somewhat due to this also being a character meet and greet spot. But in the wings of this building you can find some quiet and cool areas.
By the Plaza Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor: If you were to hang a right as you go towards the castle you would find yourself staring at the ice cream parlor and Plaza Restaurant. If you were to keep walking down this path you will find it gets quieter and quieter and less populated. We use this area often to let our sons (both of them) decompress while one of us gets ice cream. The sounds and sights of Main Street U.S.A. are far enough away to be seen and heard at a more comfortable distance if they get truly overwhelming. As well we have watched plenty of parades from this back portion of Main Street in order for them to be more tolerable to our youngest.
Near the Dole Whip Stand, Turquoise Alcove: While many folks line up to purchase a Dole Whip and sit on the rock outcroppings by the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, there is a small seating area, lit during the evenings just to the left as you face the Dole Whip sign. It’s painted turquoise and white and has small round tables and chairs. If you find this empty (which believe it or not we have many times) it is a perfect little respite area. It’s out of the way has only one entrance and exit if there is a meltdown and your child is a bit of a runner and also closes off the amount of sensory pouring in. We use this to wait for Dad to get DoleWhips and bring out the earbuds and iPhone for our son to decompress while we tour.
Citrus Stand, near Tiki Room: I know it seems all of the locations I choose are near ice cream, but that’s by force of habit. I usually pick places for our son where he can cool off figuratively and literally. As well there is a walk through between Adventureland and Frontierland here that not many use with great regularity as many use the larger pass through with the restrooms instead. So a bit of shade in there, cool breezes and not too crowded.
Backside of Pirates by the Restrooms: True story we’ve practically run for this area in a “potty emergency”, which brings about this tip always insist on a bathroom break and don’t take your kids’ word for it. It’s easy to be distracted by all of the sensorial data flying around to shove that impulse down repetitively until it is an actual run for the nearest restroom emergency. But I digress. This area behind Pirates is a narrow shot to the restrooms and also a nice little out of the way area where you can do some slight compression therapy, breathing exercises and also have a quick access to the restrooms or while you’re waiting on everyone in your party to go.
Captain Jack Stage: Obviously consult the times guide to be sure you’re stop over doesn’t coincide with a show, but the stage area is up out of the way and a nice area to sit and calm. We have let the boys get out some energy on the wooden planked stage during the late afternoon as it is out of the way of many a passerby and gives them that feeling of being above the noise.
The walkthrough from Adventureland to Frontierland: In the VERY back of both lands is a pass through walk way. It’s past Pirates on the Adventureland side and basically if you were to keep walking this path you would end up in Frontierland. There is Pecos Bills on the right hand side and some tables there if you need to sit in a quieter space. Obviously this fluctuates throughout the day as meal times come and go. But I have found earlier in the day and in the mid-afternoon this area is a good stopover for us to sit and relax a bit.
Top Floor of Columbia Harbor House: On the bottom floor is an echoing cacophony that drives me batty, but upstairs is a quiet calm area that overlooks the other Guests walking by on the paths below. You can get a window seat that faces the Haunted Mansion or Liberty Belle and since the room is more closed off than it’s counterpart downstairs it is especially good for those who have noise and sound aversion and is considerably overlooked. If your family member has trouble with stairs it could be a challenge to get to this level, but on the whole not too many draw backs and we have used it each time as a nice respite area for our entire family to take a break from the crowds.
Walkway by the Water: There is a smaller walkway off the main path, this one goes right by the water. Now, be advised this is also part of a designated smoking area at one point, but it is out of the way and the cool breezes coming off the water are very refreshing.
This area is pretty tight knit and there aren’t a lot of spaces, plus a great many of the areas I would suggest are near stroller parking. This is one of the most congested areas mainly due to it’s popularity and construction. I would recommend if you tour here its early in the day or in the evening:
Near the Castle, Walkway: Believe it or not up near Cinderella Castle is quieter than Fantasyland proper. Now please note there are shows that take place out front of the Castle periodically so consult your times guide. These pathways are also not accessible the hour near the fireworks in the evening for security and safety reasons.
By Mad Tea Party, backside: Near the Mad Tea Party, and just before you blend into Tomorrowland there are several small areas you can find that are tucked out of the way. There is even one near the restrooms that has shade during the day, we have used this one several times.
Dumbo PlayTent (for little ones): This area, while I have not used it myself, is a great area that allows kiddos to play in cool comfort while waiting for their turn on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. In true Disney playground fashion this area is wonderfully appointed for smaller children, I state that it’s more attributable to younger children mainly due the nature of it’s construction. The sizes allowed (while I know some of our children, mine included love things that are more suited for younger children) kind of prohibit older kids from accessing the actual play equipment. However there is seating inside while you wait for the attraction, it’s out of the sun and heat and darkly lit in some areas.
By the restrooms, By Mickey’s Star Traders: We sit on these benches all the time in the quieter section of Tomorrowland, again with my access to restrooms but in these areas there is usually built in seating for families waiting for other members to go to the restrooms and freshen up. They are also usually in the shade with a food cart or water cart nearby.
People Mover, a/k/a Tomorrowland Transit Authority: There is usually NO WAIT for this attraction as it is constantly moving. But it is above the noise and crowds, there are breezes coming in, it’s shaded for the most part and you go through several attractions and stores as you ride so your family gets an idea of the layout of Tomorrowland without having the be down in the crowds. We ride this several times during our visits as a respite attraction or while waiting for our Fast Pass times to come to fruition.
So that’s our list for The Magic Kindom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. On our next entry in this series we’ll be discussing Epcot and some out of the way spots in that park to relax and replenish!
Do you have some favorite spots to stop over while you tour the parks? Let us know in the comments!