Did you know that there is so much more than the Disney parks? I know, I was just as surprised as you were! After much investigation, Carl and I found a new world inside Walt Disney World that had treasures that only by the best word of mouth would you ever really know exists. Here is what we found to be the best of the best hidden treasures.
The Beach Club Resort has the sweetest little ice cream shop called “Beaches N’ Cream.” The yummiest dessert lives here that many a Disney fan has braved after a long day at the Parks…it is known as “The Kitchen Sink.” It is LITERALLY a small kitchen sink that has ice cream with every topping known to man on it. We enjoyed sharing this between the kids and us, and the pictures are priceless. This is a must to do at least once. Bring your appetite!
Unless you are staying at the Fort Wilderness Campground, you probably didn’t even know our next one exists. The Campfire Sing-a-long is one of those awesome discoveries on a night you need to just relax and get out of the hustle and bustle of the park crowds. You find yourself a bench, purchase a simple Smores package sold at the area, roast some marshmallows over the fire, and join the sing-a-long with the singer and her back up chipmunks (Chip and Dale). Once your vocal chords are warmed up, its dusk and time to watch the movie of the evening. The benches aren’t the comfiest, so you are welcome to bring blankets and such to sit on the ground as an alternative. I promise it will be one of those family moments you won’t forget.
Have some extra time on your hands? Why not take a DVC tour, which is available through a DVC agent at each Disney Resort, usually located at their own kiosk in the lobby. We were signed up for an afternoon tour, around 2:00 p.m. A Disney van picked us up and took us too Saratoga Springs. Childcare was provided, along with a beeper so that they could contact us at anytime, we were never that far from them. After the tour, we enjoyed free ice cream treats and were given free quick service dinner vouchers for anywhere in WDW. It was a great tour of a beautiful resort we would not have otherwise visited. We didn’t sign up to be DVC members at the time, but were given a wonderful couple of hours.
Where the Wild Thing Are…you could say that about our next treasure. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is amazing in itself, but did you know that visiting this place, it’s like seeing Africa for free? That’s right, upon further investigation, we found that there are public balconies on several of the floors of AKL that allow you to sit in rocking chairs and enjoy the animals on the Lodge savannah. At night they have a campfire that you can sit around and listen to storytellers spin their yarns. An amazing time!
If you love fireworks like we do, they are even better sitting on a romantic beach watching them. The Polynesian Resort beach has a spectacular view of “Wishes” along with the music piped in so you feel very much a part of it. Before the fireworks start, get there early enough to catch the Electrical Water Pageant that circles the Seven Seas Lagoon after dusk.
Another hidden gem is the small food area towards the back of the Grand Floridian. Grab a small snack and relax at one of the table and chairs outside on the patio. We had an incredible view of the Castle, the monorail, and the waterfront. We took some great pictures here.
Disney’s Monorail System may be an obvious treasure, but some don’t realize how nice of a ride this can be. We love to park at Epcot, board the monorail, and take a round trip ride to the Magic Kingdom and back. During the middle of the day, the monorail is pretty empty, so it’s a lot of fun to get a car to yourself and some great photo opportunities here.
We found out early on that you can resort hop without any cost to you. Find a Disney resort bus at any park and just ride over. There is so much to enjoy at different resorts, but, I want to point out that pool hopping is NOT permitted unless you are staying at a sister resort. Try out the beaches, playgrounds, food courts, and you may even be able to check out a room for a future visit.
Last but not least, while you are enjoying ‘Soarin’ someone is making up your room to look like the first day you walked in. These magical people are known as “Mousekeepers.” They make up little animals on the beds called “towel animals” for you to enjoy when you get back. The better the tip, the better the room and animals can be. Thank you cards and notes are always appreciated as well. We love the “Mousekeepers.”
What hidden treasures at WDW have you found? Let us know! Have a magical day!
~Carl and Ellie Peters~