Keeping your sanity through all of the chaos and crowds during your Walt Disney World trip shouldn’t be a challenge. Unfortunately for many families, their supposed “vacation” can quickly get out of hand with the stress of trying to achieve their “best vacation ever.” Countless times while working in the parks, I’d see crying children, parents with short tempers, and disgruntled teens obviously unhappy with the current state of their trip to the most magical place on earth. That’s why it’s so important to slow down and take a minute to catch your breath while in the parks! This article will offer you some advice on where to go throughout each of Disney’s 4 parks to ensure that you can find the best break spots and rest areas to truly make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation.
Before getting into specific locations, it’s important to note that you can still move quickly through the parks and get accomplish everything you want to even while taking some sanity breaks. When my friends from out-of-town visit, they want to get as much done as possible. This means being at the park before rope drop, rushing back and forth across the whole park to maximize Lightning Lane usage, and staying until the park closes. I recommend doing this only if your group can handle it. The important thing is to know your limits. Your 5-year-old simply cannot physically or mentally handle 12 hours and 4 miles walked in the 95-degree Florida sun in a single day. Odds are, neither can you. However, you likely can handle getting to the park at opening, taking a break at the resort or seeing indoor shows in the afternoon, and then getting back to the park at night. Using some of these quiet break areas during the afternoon in particular can give your group the time to recharge mentally and physically to make the most of your day. A less-busy day where your whole family is happy is better than a super-busy day where someone is exhausted and mad!
Magic Kingdom Break Spots
Starting off with the place where you’ll likely have the longest day, Magic Kingdom also offers fewer areas than other parks to get away from the crowds to take a break. Given the layout of the park and the sheer number of attractions, the best places to take a break are the restaurants. Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square has an often less-busy second story. It’s usually fairly quiet and offers indoor, air-conditioned seating. You can grab a spot at a table near a window to have great view overlooking the park! To get there, simply enter the restaurant and keep to the right around the corner. You’ll head straight up to your destination! Similarly, Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland is a restaurant with a quiet second story area.
Keeping with restaurants on the west side of Magic Kingdom, you can also find respite in Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café in a sort of “hidden” dining area. You can enter from the front and head to the right of the ordering area down the hallway. Then, look to the left and follow the ramp up to a much quieter area! There are also some very hidden outside seating spots that are normally completely vacant along the side of the restaurant toward the area where Adventureland and Frontierland merge.
On the east side of the park, try the Storybook Circus rest area in the far back corner of the area. It’s covered from the sun and also offers comfy chairs and charging stations if you need more power for your electronic devices.
As a final point for the park, be sure to make use of its various shows – they’re all indoor and seated! Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Hall of Presidents, and Carousel of Progress are all top picks. The Peoplemover in Tomorrowland is also solid. All of these attractions will have a very short or no wait and are a great way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon (while other lines are long) to rest.
EPCOT Break Spots
With EPCOT being such a big park, it also requires a lot of walking. Just to get all the way around the World Showcase, you’ll have to travel a mile and a half (and almost all of it is outside). A solid point of rest is located in the America Adventure Pavilion, this spot is located directly at the center of the showcase. You can grab a relaxing and peaceful break by waiting in the rotunda for the Voices of Liberty, who perform a cappella about every 45 minutes throughout the afternoon. Afterwards, you can continue your rest in the large theater for the American Adventure show.
Many countries have relatively hidden areas that are quiet and untraveled. In Canada, head straight up the steps into the pavilion and grab a seat on the comfy benches. In Morocco, anywhere in the back of the pavilion will be very quiet. There are also rest spots inside the buildings on the left – just open the doors and head in. Japan has a very relaxing seating area up on the left around Katsura Grill behind the koi pond.
Overall, the best spots in EPCOT to get some peace and quiet are the Living with the Land and Seas pavilions. Most times during the day, the middle seating area at Sunshine Seasons in the land will have plenty of available seats. In the Seas, you can head straight into the building from the gift shop on the left without having to wait in line for the attraction. The inside aquarium exhibits are naturally relaxing and offer a great chance to relax. Many of EPCOT’s attractions, especially Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth, are relaxing in and of themselves.
Hollywood Studios Break Spots
Studios can be a really stressful park for two reasons: relatively few attractions and very little space. Despite having some of the best overall rides, like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the park simply doesn’t have enough to do to keep lines low. This means all the attractions end up with wait times exceeding and hour during most days, contributing to higher stress levels. In Hollywood Studios, a great rest area to get away from the crowds in is Muppet Courtyard. It’s by far the least-visited area of the park, having on MuppetVision 3D to experience. There are some paths, buildings, and plenty of rest spots to poke your head into and catch a break at throughout the area.
Though it isn’t all that quiet, the ABC Commissary restaurant directly in the center of the park can offer a good chance to take a seat in some air conditioning for a short break. The same is true for the Backlot Express restaurant, which also has a lot of movie Easter eggs to check out.
Finally, though unorthodox, it’s fairly relaxing (and cool) to take a trip around the loop of the Disney Skyliner. The Skyliner is Disney’s new gondola-type system that connect Hollywood Studios and Epcot, with multiple resort stops along the way. It’s an attraction itself, so if you wouldn’t be riding it during your day otherwise, it’s a great way to take a break, sit on board the air-cooled (it’s surprisingly effective) gondola, and take in the views of the Disney property. The entrance to the Skyliner is only a few steps outside the park turnstiles.
Animal Kingdom Break Spots
Animal Kingdom has an incredible number of quiet and peaceful spots around the park. Given the natural beauty of the entire park, it feels the most relaxing as a whole (plus you won’t need to stress about moving fast since there aren’t too many rides). Therefore, it’s a good idea to visit Animal Kingdom during the middle of your vacation as a bit of a buffer between more busy days.
The best spots in the park to take a break and relax are the aviaries along the two main animal trails: Gorilla Falls and Maharajah Jungle Trek. Just grab a bench and watch all sorts of exotic birds! The bird aviary part of the Maharajah Jungle Trek is a little bit larger, so it’s the best pick if you had to choose one.
There are also many spots alongside the water (and away from crowds) that offer great views of the park. The eating area behind Flame Tree Barbecue, for example, is a top pick. The trails around and under the Tree of Life are also quiet areas which very few people will explore. There are a couple of quiet areas on the path between Africa and Asia, too.
If it’s a hot day and you’re in need of air conditioning during your break time, be sure to visit Conservation Station/Rafiki’s Planet Watch. It’s a short train ride away to a separate area of the park where there’s a petting zoo, animal exhibits, and (usually only mornings) live veterinarian procedures performed. It’s a big enough building to have plenty of quiet corners to relax for a break.