Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diamonds in the Rough - Hidden Gems of Walt Disney World

by Lindsey Allmon

It’s no surprise that Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and a slew of other attractions get pages and pages of press. The sentimental value of some and the thrill factor of others make big ticket attractions well known and well-traveled. But the Walt Disney World Parks have plenty of small time attractions that are unique and often a lot less crowded. Continue after the break for a new hit list for your next vacation...

The Magic Kingdom

If you are a history buff, your stop should be the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square. This attraction was one of the personal loves of Walt Disney as his animatronic creations were perfected to bring Abraham Lincoln to life. The attraction features every US President including current president Barack Obama. It’s a rather long show by Disney standards, clocking in at 23 minutes, but it is air conditioned with plenty of seating and features authentic presidential artifacts prior to seating. Oh, and did I mention it’s narrated by Morgan Freeman?

This next one is silly, but if you have a Tangled obsessed princess or prince in your family it is a must stop. In the new Fantasyland there was a small section dedicated to Tangled. There really isn’t anything there except for some restrooms, yet that is exactly where you should stop when you pass by. Both the men’s and women’s restrooms are decked out a la Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel. From featuring gorgeous painted walls just like Rapunzel did to showcasing the handiest weapon ever, a frying pan, these pit stops bring the beloved movie to life.


Do you like soda? Do you like carbonated beverages of any sort? Do you love trying different food and drink from around the world? Then you must make a quick stop at Club Cool. On the left hand side of the fountain pavilion past Spaceship Earth sits the Coca Cola sponsored mecca of international soda flavors. The spot features different flavors of soda from Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Mexico, Israel, Costa Rica, and Mozambique and the best part? It’s FREE! While you can’t take the soda with you it’s a great chance to quench your thirst. My personal recommendation? The watermelon soda from China!

If you are traveling with young kids, PAY ATTENTION! There is one spot that hails above all others for the mid afternoon nap and it’s located at the very back of the United Kingdom pavilion. Tucked away behind the shops and fish and chips stands is a mock-up of a row of houses like you would find in downtown London. While the courtyard occasionally features a cover band or two it is eerily quiet ninety percent of the time. I can vouch for it myself as my grandmother took me there for naps all the time when I was little.

Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom Park has the least to do of all of the parks, and most things that do exist are rather well known. Yet one character is notorious but can be completely missed by passerby's as they sprint towards Expedition Everest to use their Fast Passes. This character is the lovely Ivy Woman that blends into the trees surrounding the walkways of the park. The blending is stunning and she really is a sight to see if you can spot her. The trick to finding her? Look out for cast members that are standing off to the side of the path but aren’t doing anything. Cast members are always busy, cleaning, taking pictures, helping or greeting people. This cast member won’t stray from their post as they are there for the Ivy Woman’s assistance.

Hollywood Studies (MGM)

If you love to draw the Art of Animation attraction is perfect for you. A short video shows the process of creating and drawing a character, followed by hands on activities such as voice overs, coloring, and even an art lesson. The section also has character meet and greets on occasion and showcases new movies coming out. There also is a great exhibit showing aspects of animation. As of July 2013 there was scenery in animation which showcased films such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Brave. Oh, and it also features an impressive display of some of the Academy Awards won over the years.

Well there you have it. Use this list to add extra fun to your next Disney Vacation and have a swell time exploring all the wonders of the Disney Parks.

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