Overlooked Attractions at WDW
What you won’t find on the Guide Maps!
As you’ll see, there is MUCH MUCH more to the WDW resort than simply experiencing the “main attractions” at each park. Here are some fun things to see and do that you may not find in your guide book or park map.
If a separate cost is involved, it is noted. Anything listed under each of the Main Parks requires Park Admission.
DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
AROUND THE WORLD
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Editor’s Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.
- Wake Up Call! Here’s a great way to start your day (and it’s free)! If you’re staying on property use the phone system to get a wake up call. When your phone rings have a listen to Mickey or Stitch as he welcomes you to the day. What a great way to start. (kaf63)
- It is the birthday of someone you are traveling with? Dial 0 on your WDW hotel room phone and ask for the special Happy Birthday Message!
- All-Star Resorts – oversized theming (giant sports/music equipment) make for great photo ops.
- Caribbean Beach – Check out the pirate-inspired pool.
- Take the boat ride from the Contemporary Resort to Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge across Bay Lake. If possible, do this at night with your SO. Very romantic. (sz9njm)
- On a steamy day (early in the morning), take a walk through the cool mists of the woods at Fort Wilderness. (B. Zall)
- Enjoy a Carriage Ride at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds – Take an old-fashioned, horse-drawn carriage ride which offers an hour-long scenic tour around Fort Wilderness Campground. (dwills)
- Go to Fort Wilderness for the campfire/sing-along, nightly at 7pm behind the Meadow Trading Post. Movie begins approximately 7:40pm. A Disney classic movie follows the sing-along. Chip and Dale usually make an appearance. The Fort Wilderness staff will provide a campfire; bring your marshmallows, hot dogs and sticks if you have them. If not, marshmallows and sticks are available for purchase at $2 for 2 sticks and plenty of marshmallows; $5 for a s’more kit. The movie shown is different each night of the week. In the event of inclement weather, a “Porch Jam” sing-a-long will take place at the Ol’ Meadow Swimmin’ Hole. Movie & Sing-a-Long free of charge. Note: All movies & characters are outside! Campfire Show is held nightly if weather permits.
Note: the campfire/sing-along is located in the middle of the Fort Wilderness campground (about a 15-minute walk from Pioneer Hall). If you do not wish to walk, you will have to catch a bus that is on the internal Fort Wilderness route (you can catch this bus at the Pioneer all bus stops). Get off at the Meadowlands Trading Post stop. If the campground is crowded, the campfire/sing-along may also be crowded. (sz9njm)
- Rent an electric cart at the Bike Barn at Fort Wilderness . The Bike and Cart Barn opens at 8:00 am and is located in the Meadow Recreation Area. You can explore the Tri-Circle Ranch while giving your tired feet a little rest. There are lots of trails to check out and when you get out of the cart just plug in your “Electric Pony” at one of the concrete recharging posts. (cfp219)
- There is a nice, self-guided nature walk in the woods near Fort Wilderness . The trail begins at the far east end of the beach on Bay Lake. This trail is normally VERY private and can be nice for a romantic walk in the woods. Best seen during daytime as there are no lights and some of the trail passes through swampy areas, making misstepping off the trail somewhat unpleasant. (rberbaum)
- Grand Floridian has a very nice white sand beach; you can listen to piano/jazz band in lobby (call in advance for musician schedule). Tea, miniature sandwiches, trifle, etc. (served on beautiful china) are served in the afternoon at the Garden View Lounge from 3 – 6pm daily.
- A nice serene walk along the beach from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian resort. this is best right after sunset. The beach is very still and the moonlight, combined with the sound of the waves reaching shore, make it a romantic stroll. (Jeff Davis)
- One of our favorite things to do is to stay in a lagoon view room at the Polynesian Resort. We wake up early and sit on the balcony and listen to the ripples of the lagoon and feed the ducks. It is so peaceful, all you can hear is the recording of the wolf coming from the Haunted Mansion and an occasional train whistle. Even after the park opens on a busy day you can sit there and find it hard to believe you are in the middle of a crowded Magic Kingdom. It is the ultimate stress reliever…and when night falls, you have a private showing of the Electric Light Parade on the lagoon. (Susan Heidenrich)
- Take the boat from Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter to Disney Springs on the Sassagoula River. If possible, do it on a chilly evening with your significant other (SO). Very romantic. (suzyd & dbarber)
- Walk the Carriage path from the French Quarter to Riverside. Do this in the evening with your SO. (dems)
- Take a Family Bike Trip from Riverside to the French Quarter (.7 Mile) for a swim in the delightful pool. The bikes must be back to Riverside prior to closing at 7:00 PM. Note: be careful as to where you park your bikes; don’t leave them any place close to the French Quarter bike rack or some guest may take it for a spin. We parked ours next to the door in the courtyard. (cfp2190)
- An evening on Seven Seas Lagoon: eat at the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Wilderness Lodge. If you time it right (get there for about 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM), you can have a nice meal and finish dessert just after 9 PM, at which time you can stroll down to the dock or the beach to watch the Electric Water Pageant as it passes the Lodge. Then board the next boat toward the MK, (no earlier than 9:45 PM) and you will be halfway across the lake when the 10 PM fireworks start over Cinderella Castle. This is a beautiful way to view the fireworks, and is really romantic as the boat captain will dim the onboard lights during the show, and may even pause before docking to allow you to see the show to the end. Sit in the front of the boat for the best view, it’s really beautiful.
- Wilderness Lodge: see Disney’s version of Old Faithful (erupts on the half hour); check out the Pacific Northwest Indian art at the gift shop. Sit in the rows of rocking chairs in front of a huge stone fireplace (Chip and Dale may visit). Ask at the Front Desk for a kid’s activity/coloring book. The bag of goodies also includes a map of the WL , samples of 4 different animal tracks you can find around the lodge, a word-find game, and a WL Hidden Mickey Clue Sheet where you can search for 10 HMs in the WL. Recommend that you verify the time with the Wilderness Lodge front desk. (Jack Marshall)
- Take the tour of the Wilderness Lodge, offered once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. The guide will point out many interesting things about the construction of the lodge and its exterior. Be sure to say Hello to Stan from his Friends on the Internet! (drager)
- French Quarter – try the beignets, a pastry available at the bakery. Stroll around the New Orleans-inspired squares.
- We took a carriage ride at FW last year in September. Linda was our driver and Scotty was our horse. Our ride was right at twilight time and it was peaceful and romantic. There were deer and bunnies out along the paths. The smell of the honeysuckle filled the air. It was just the perfect end to a quiet evening out. I highly suggest it to anyone. It was a 30 minute ride and we tipped the driver. From 6:00 to 10:00 PM – carriages depart from Crockett’s Tavern at Pioneer Hall. Call 407-824-2832 up to 60 days in advance for a reservation. (mickeysaver)
- Riverside – the food court is an enormous cotton mill with a real water wheel. Also, check out Ol’ Man Island, a combination playground/swimming area. The bakery is highly recommended.
- Yacht and Beach Club – get an ice-cream cone or a giant milkshake from Beaches and Cream stand (this costs). Also, check out the pool at the Resort. Swimming in the StormAlong Bay pool is reserved for Yacht and Beach Club Resort guests. Looking, however, is free.
- Watch the Fireworks from the outdoor porch at Narcoossee’s. They let you take your drinks right outside where they have tables and chairs. Right at starting time they dim the lights and pipe in the music from The Magic Kingdom. In my opinion the view is much better than the view from either The Polynesian Village Resort or the California Grill. The Castle itself is a lot closer and the fireworks seem to come right at you!! (Glenn Wojtusiak)
- See the Electrical Water Pageant. This show can be seen from the Fort Wilderness Beach , from the Wilderness Lodge boat dock and beach , behind the Contemporary Resort, from the Polynesian Village Resort Beach and from the Grand Floridian Beach. The show lasts about 10 minutes. A chain of parade floats will entertain you with lights and music from the water. Show time varies slightly from resort to resort (anywhere from 9:30 PM to 10:30 PM). Call Guest Services at one of these resorts for an approximate schedule. (gt3579b)
- A Resort Tour : For the monorail hotels, try parking at the Wilderness Lodge about 10-15 minutes before the hour, watch the geyser on the half hour, then take the boat to the Magic Kingdom . Next, take the clockwise monorail to each hotel in turn – but walk between the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian . Then monorail back to MK , and boat back to your car at Wilderness Lodge. It takes a few hours, but is great fun even in poorer weather, as once you get on the monorail everything is under cover (if you want it to be).
- Take a ride on the monorail. After you ride the full circuit, stop at the Poly. Grab hamburgers and fries from Captain Cook’s and head to the beach. You have a great view of the Water Pageant and the MK fireworks! (Steve Benson)
- Fishing Excursions – Let Dad and/or Grandad kick back and try his hand at fishing. The Florida bass are huge and the week I was there on a hot morning in early May they boated 16. (cfp219)
- Visit the Maya Temple Pool area at Coronado Springs ….it’s a stunner! ( ESGeD)
- Are you a trivia buff? Stop in the Art of Disney store! They run a quiz every day and give out prizes if you get them all right!
- Fountain Magic! For the kids, let them wear swimsuits and play in the fountains that spray water. Great chance for Mom and Dad to catch a break.
- Visit Disney Springs shops. Check out The World of Disney, the Lego Store, as well as all the new stores. Remember to ask about a discount with your Disney Rewards VISA at The World of Disney. (gt3579b)
- Purchase an Autograph Book from any of the Disney gift shops. Your kids will love to get autographs from the Disney characters in the parks. When they do, take pictures of the characters, and leave a page between each autograph to display each picture. This will make a really special scrapbook. Read all about the fun you can have and be better prepared for your Character Meets reading the Character Meet and Greet FAQ! ([email protected])
- Beer – For the beer lover — At Epcot’s World Showcase: Guinness, Harp, and Bass on tap at the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion and Becks and Becks Dark in Germany. Other countries also have country-specific brews: Mexico (Dos Equis), Japan (Sapporo), Italy and France. At Riverside: Blackened Voodoo Lager; the Wilderness Lodge has Lodgehouse Ale; Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (at most restaurants.
- Coffee – For the coffee lover: visit the Kona Cafe on the 2nd level of the Polynesian. Just outside the Kona Cafe is also a coffee bar. Try the little coffee bar in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. Stop by and ask what the current specialty is. Hot chocolate at this bar is also recommended. (gxcw75A)
- Eat/Drink/Shop around the World – Pick something you like to do, and then try to do it in every country of Epcot. For example, buy a t-shirt, drink a beer, buy a postcard, or find a water fountain. You should be able to complete this in one day’s visit. If you succeed, try to repeat the task in every land of the Magic Kingdom, or in every hotel in WDW. Price: admission to theme park, plus food/gift items. OK, if you’re going to “shop around the world”, this could get a little pricey. But think of the collection you’ll have! You could get a whole new wardrobe this way. And if you manage to do something in every WDW hotel, you’ll have really accomplished something (like blistered feet). A less expensive alternative: take a camera and a friend, and have your picture taken in every hotel in WDW (or every land in Epcot or Magic Kingdom). When you get your pictures developed, try to convince your friends that you went around the world in 8 days. (bill)
- See the Hotels decorated for the December Holidays! From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, you’ll find interesting decorations in every hotel lobby. Some have entertainment and complimentary refreshments scheduled; if you hit the right time of day. Some free Christmas attractions: pictures with Santa (Swan), cookies and hot chocolate (Contemporary), gingerbread decorating contests (Port Orleans, Wilderness Lodge, and Port Orleans Riverside). Price: free to all WDW resort guests.(bill)
- Strike up a conversation with a Cast Member — you’ll be surprised how a little kindness and interest opens up a whole new world! This is especially true at the restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase — these folks have great stories to share about their homelands. (dwills)
- Get the Bus Drivers talking. We had one fantastic driver who shared lots of interesting WDW tidbits. He had people asking all sorts of questions. He mentioned plans of additional hotels as part of the All Star complex as well as other Disney attractions that we might be seeing in other parts of the country. (Lisa_Orvis)
- My son started talking to the bus driver taking us to the All-Star Music Resort one night and he gave my son a cute little card that said Assistant Bus driver on it. My 8 year old son was just thrilled to think that he was the Assistant! (Debbie Wagenmann)
- Boat Around the Lagoons – Rent one of the boats (pontoon, etc.) from any hotel marina and cruise the canals. Very relaxing and enjoyable. Price: varies, depending on which boat you rent. WDW/public transportation between all the WDW resorts is free to all WDW resort guests. (rlancaster)
- Hidden Mickeys – Look for the Hidden Mickeys throughout WDW! Be sure to check out Steve Barrett’s Hidden Mickeys: hiddenmickeysguide.com
A note on the WDW transportation system : if you are registered as a guest at a WDW resort, you are entitled to unlimited free use of the WDW resort transportation system for the duration of your stay. Cast members may or may not check your resort ID. However, they are checking to see if you are a WDW resort guest, NOT to see which resort you are staying at. A guest at Fort Wilderness may ride the Port Orleans boat, and vice-versa.
Don’t miss our park- and resort-specific “overlooked attractions” for even more fun: