Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ten Places to do Nothing for a Half Hour at Walt Disney World (pt. 2)

     Here are my final five places in Walt Disney World to relax for a half hour! Remember to put away your phone and stop reading my blog while you're at these spots. Just take it in.

6. The Liberty Square Porch
     When you enter Liberty Square from the central hub of the Magic Kingdom, look to your right and don't just walk by this beautiful littler porch. There are usually about two rocking chairs on it, three stairs elevation above the walking path, and canopied by all of the Victorian Boston architecture. Take a seat and listen to the piccolo and snare drum music that Disney plays to complement this land (one of my favorites in the Magic Kingdom). At night, get this spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and you'll have one of the best views in the Kingdom. Even without the parade, this porch is a wonderfully charming place to enjoy the Liberty Tree and look at the romantic lighting of the buildings. You can also hear the Liberty Belle's tooting from the Rivers of America, not too far off to your right.

7. Boardwalk Benches Outside Jellyrolls
     Yes, I know. This spot is dangerously close to my first spot listed on the part 1 blog. However, this one is listed for a specific reason. This spot, I find, is best solo. If you walk out of Epcot through the International Gateway and walk toward and past the Boardwalk, you will arrive at a series of benches in front of Jellyrolls dueling piano bar. While these benches are empty almost all of the day, they suddenly get pretty busy with people who walk out of restaurants to try to get a view of Illuminations from outside the park. Consequently, if you're one of those individuals who love meeting new people at Walt Disney World (and if you're not, we need to have a talk), you'll be happy to meet these groups of hip young kids with whom you can chat and enjoy the fireworks.
     Now, there is one thing that truly earns these benches a spot on our list. There are several times in the year (very often at Christmas time), when the Magic Kingdom and Epcot fireworks will be going off at the same time. This will give you a very unique position to watch from. Since you can't hear the music from either show, they will sometimes seem to be corresponding and putting on one giant show together. Though the Magic Kingdom fireworks show is a little ways away, you can very much see the fireworks over the Beach Club Resort across Crescent Lake. The Epcot fireworks will be right nearby over the top and to the left of ESPN Zone. Consult your showtimes guide online to see if and when the two shows will occur together!

8. Flametree BBQ Sitting Area
     This is a beautiful hidden treasure at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Though Flametree BBQ, on Discovery Island, is usually for those who want a good lunch, you should go there in the morning as the park opens. The counter-service restaurant won't be open, so just walk past the building itself and into the forest. It is just a bit of a walk, but you will make your way down to the water, and it will be worth it. Many of the sitting areas are covered by wooden rooves, and most are covered by tree canopy. From here you can watch the mob of hurried tourists make their way from Dino-Land to Expedition Everest. Also, you can marvel at the size and beauty of the detail Disney put into Expedition Everest! This is a fine view, and a rare opportunity to feel truly in a natural place on Disney property.
    Pssst: Two things: One, there is a plot of land that you can see from these seats. On this beach area, Disney has put many Asian decorations to give the feel of seeing an Asian shore in China... or something. However, when the park first opened, this was a place where Asian animals just roamed around on the beach, and guests could just watch them in what seemed like an un-caged environment. Cool!
     Second, there is rumor that Disney is looking to use the technology for World of Color in Disney's California Adventure, and place it somewhere in Florida. Now no promises, but people have been saying that this may be a good place for that show to be! The Animal Kingdom is looking for ways to keep guests at the park later into the evening, and spread them out from the soon-to-be Avatar-themed land. No promises, but keep your eye on this spot.

9. Garden at Japan Pavilion, Across From Teppan Edo
     So you're walking around the World Showcase, and you're tired! It happens to the most heroic traveler because Epcot is huge! It's roughly a mile around World Showcase Lagoon. This pavilion is my favorite stop and rest spot. The best thing about this little garden is that you don't have to buy food and sit next to a hundred other people to enjoy it! The point of this garden and koi pond is to relax. So do it! Find a nice bench or pond edge, and just sit and watch the fish. Even better, listen to the Taiko drumming taking place at the foot of the Pagoda behind you. This one is truly a relaxing spot.

10. The Small Streets of Morocco 
     I often hear people complain about the fact that there is "nothing to do" in Morocco at Epcot. Those who complain about this are missing the whole point! There is nothing to do at in Morocco because the designers were from Morocco, and sent by the king of Morocco to build a beautiful representation of their country for the whole world to see. They decided not to build rides or shows, because they wanted those who saw it to feel as if they were in Morocco. The result is my (personal) favorite pavilion at Epcot.
     During the planning for Epcot, the Disney company was having a very hard time getting other governments to buy into the idea and pay for the construction of their pavilion around the lagoon. In the end, Disney ended up finding corporate sponsors for all of the pavilions, except for Morocco. The government of Morocco sent representatives to Epcot and met with Disney, and actually ended up designing and constructing their own pavilion. Keep this in mind while you stroll through the streets and into the beautiful and empty rooms. This place was designed and built by the same people who are responsible for the buildings of the real Rabat. My favorite place to relax here is... well it's a tie. First, there is a room off to the left when you enter the pavilion under the big arch past the fountain. This room is covered in blue tile and the walls are ornate and accented with dark wood. The room gives a sense of sacredness and dignified reverence. There is a fountain against the back wall, which gives life to the room at the same time. Enjoy this spot. Second, walk to the back of the pavilion, just past the giant door to Restaurant Marrakesh. here you will see a fountain and a bench. Sit down. Chances are you will spend several minutes in this spot and not see another soul. This gives you an opportunity to look around and think about the message of this place:
     Though the world seems to be in eternal conflict, representatives of eleven nations, each with their own nationalism, work together and share in each others' joy around one lake in the middle of Florida, because that's what the people of the world actually want. 

     So, do you have your own spots at which you like to relax? Leave a comment! Let's talk! I hope you enjoyed my list! More to come!