Hidden Gems

Everyone knows about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth, and the many other headliners at the Walt Disney World Parks. But there are many lesser talked about rides and attractions that we stumbled upon and really enjoyed.

The biggest surprise for our family was the Philharmagic and Move It, Shake It, Dance Parade at Magic Kingdom.

We were melting outside and Philharmagic was an inside attraction.  I checked and MyDisneyExperience reported a very short wait. We literally had no clue what was in the building. A quick consult of our park map told us “Get swept away in this 3-D Movie.” Air conditioning welcomed us as we stepped through the doors. It was wonderful. We waltzed through the queue and then the kids took a seat on the ground to await the doors opening to the theatre. It’s one of the few times they didn’t complain about waiting because they were cooling off.

Once inside the show started and the kids’ full attention was on the screen– well and a little off it too as the scenes jumped out at them. I loved the moment that Peanut was reaching out to “catch” Donald. It was so magical.

If you say “parade” and Disney in the same sentence everyone automatically thinks of the parade: Festival of Fantasy. And it’s great, but Move It, Shake It, Dance is a fun an interactive experience. It was one of the first few things we saw while at Magic Kingdom in 2016. We’ve now danced with the characters more than a handful of times. It’s worth a stop near the hub area and doesn’t require a spot to be staked out 30 minutes ahead of time. Plus, it allows pictures with some characters that aren’t always spotted in the parks.

 

The Grand Ave area in Hollywood Studios is a quick little “dead end” at Hollywood Studios. When we ate dinner at Mama Melrose I loved the peace and quiet of the area. It’s the perfect place to catch a break or to stroll through the It’s a Wonderful Shop. I’m a sucker for Christmas decor so even in April I loved looking around the store.

We were a bit early for a FastPass+ so we walked into Walt Disney Presents to find details of Walt Disney’s life and career and a sneak peak of the Jungle Book. The extended preview was unexpected and gave my kids the desire to see the live-action movie.

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Another fantastic place to catch a little rest and let the kids have some fun is at the Boneyard in the Dinoland USA at Animal Kingdom. We can grab a seat and the kids can play on the small playground and dig up dinosaur bones in the sandbox. After a quick rest, you can also grab a bit to eat at Restaurantosaurus. It’s definitely one of the lesser talked about quick-service dining locations. It is standard “fast food” but it was my favorite meals.

They say seeing is believing. We get so used to seeing what we want to do as we walk past the rides and watch others scream with excitement, or maybe fear, but as you pass a building it’s hard to know what you’ll find inside. Sometimes it’s easier just to walk right by than to park a stroller and peek inside, but Epcot is a place filled with buildings and filled with entertainment. You might actually be surprised how much is stuffed inside some of the buildings. I knew that we could find the Seas with Nemo and Turtle Talk with Crush inside but we had no idea about the aquarium in the building. Bruce was there too!

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In 2017 when we were looking for shade we wandered into The Land Pavillion. Of course, I knew I would find Soarin’ in the building and Living the Land was on the map, but we had no clue what it was. It was such a cool and leisurely journey. The kids like traveling through the produce and aquatic gardens.

We haven’t ventured into the countries but after watching some fun YouTube vlogs and also following along on with live streams I’ve seen so much to look forward to discovering. I was shocked to see a mini city inside the pavilion. It’s a must do on our fall visit.

These are just of few of the hidden gems we’ve found through the parks.

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