Escaping the Disney Madness, while at Disney World

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It can be done. The Miami Herald has an article with 10 places to escape the Disney vacation madness, if just for a few minutes, while still on vacation at Walt Disney World. Here are the places they list:

Afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian, the fire pit at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Tomorrowland Transit Authority at the Magic Kingdom, the petting zoo/stables at Fort Wilderness Resort, frozen margaritas at EPCOT’s Cantina de San Angel, the ‘Villains’ Room” (aka the watch department) in Downtown Disney’s World of Disney, the fishing hole at Port Orleans Resort, the boat ride from EPCOT to Boardwalk, the Writers’ Stop at Disney-MGM Studios, and Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club.

I’m not sure Beaches and Cream qualifies as an escape. But it’s a must visit for the Kitchen Sink dessert. To their list I would add:

  • Pontoon Boat Ride: Rent a pontoon boat at Old Key West, Downtown Disney, or the Contemporary and enjoy an hour of leisure time exploring the lakes and water ways around the Walt Disney World resort.
  • Polynesian Beach for Magic Kingdom Fireworks and the Electric Lights Water Pagent: they pump the music in, so you won’t miss a thing… except the crowds.
  • Pathway between Wilderness Lodge and the Fort Wilderness campground. Walk it or rent a bike, but enjoy this calming trip through the forest.
  • Fort Wilderness Movie and Marshmellow roast: one of the true hidden gems of the Walt Disney World vacation.

Anybody want to share their favorite escapes? The comments are open.

5 thoughts on “Escaping the Disney Madness, while at Disney World”

  1. Some of my favorites slower paced activities:
    * Dinner at the California Grill on the top of the Disney’s Contemporary. Especially during the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
    * Ride the pontoon ferry boat from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney and back.
    * The “secret” garden at the U.K. pavilion in Epcot.
    * Surrey rental for the ride between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. (You mentioned it before, but I think the surreys are a particularly nice way to do it.)
    * Visit either the Tower of Terror or the Haunted Mansion attractions. The only to places where cast members are not required to smile. (Visit Tower of Terror even if you don’t plan to ride. The queue is amazing!)
    * Ask to ride in the co-pilot position on the monorail. I’ve always found conversations with the drivers to be quite candid and interesting. You’ll be amazed at the amount of training they go through.
    *I’ve heard this is closed, but it was great when it was open. In the Magic Kingdom, take the ferry to Tom Sawyer Island. Go to Aunt Polly’s and order a sandwich or a Dole Whip and enjoy on the porch.
    * Look for some of the “hidden” spots in the garden at the hub of the magic kingdom. It’s a wonderful place to relax and especially pretty just after sunset, when the lights are coming on.


  2. Not sure this is in same category, but if you are a golfer, walk the Oak Trail Golf Course, the nine-hole course near the venerable Magnolia and Palm courses. On some afternoons, you can have the place almost to yourself, the distance sound of the train whistle from the Magic Kingdom, and a family of deer I’ve seen more than once near the double-dogleg Par 5 fifth hole. Great place to walk with younger golfers, since you won’t feel as if you are slowing down that foursome behind you. Plus, the golf course, while not as interesting or as pristine as others at Disney, is challenging for the casual golfer. Added bonus — great afternoon rates most of the year, especially for Florida residents. JC

  3. I’m partial to sitting on the “beach” outside the beach resort, or renting one of those peddle-buggie things for a ride around the boardwalk.

  4. The Villains Room as a retreat from the madness? Has anyone been there lately? That place is always jammed packed, between people wrestling for counter spaces to look at the watches to the pin traders.

    Some quiet retreat.

  5. I just wanted to say thanks for all the great suggestions! Even though I am definitely a fan of the Disney theme parks, things do get overwhelming after a while. I’m going to make a note of all these alternate activities so my next visit isn’t so stressful!

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