The Walt Disney World Resort has so much to see and do that most visitors end up sticking to the script of “best rides” at each park, and don’t venture out to enjoy some of the little things that could really enhance their vacation. One of the best parts about a Disney World visit should be coming across something you weren’t expecting. Through this article, I hope to share some of my favorites with you! Here is my top 10 list of unusual things you should do during your Disney World vacation!
#1 The Beverly Challenge
This event used to be far more well-known and appreciated, but over the years has faded away. At EPCOT, there is a shop called Club Cool which sells Coca-Cola products and offers free samples of various soda flavors from around the world. The location of the store and the flavors have changed multiple times in the past, but it is now permanently located just across from the Connections Café near Test Track.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the last decade my favorite drink – Beverly. It’s an Italian beverage that is supposedly meant as a palate cleanser. However, its bitter aftertaste surprises unsuspecting visitors. It’s hilarious to watch others try it for the first time, expecting something completely different from the flavor they get. The Beverly Challenge is effectively a shot contest, where you must down 10 cup-fulls of the drink in quick succession. This unusual challenge was popular enough at one point that the Cast Members would give the winner a free Icee afterwards! Alas, like many of Disney’s other magical experiences, this one has faded away. However, there’s nothing stopping you from competing with your friends! For an added challenge, try riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Mission: Space immediately after!
#2 The Glass Blowers in Magic Kingdom
Yes, Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom is home to its own glass-blowing studio. Daily, professional glass blowers will be working and demonstrating their craft to those who want to see this unusual craft! It’s something completely unexpected to run into in a theme park, and that’s what makes it so special. It’s in the back of the jewelry store on the right side of Main Street, so be sure to check it out if you have the time while in the park! The glass blowers work intermittently, but times will be posted in the area.
While we’re still in Magic Kingdom, I can’t miss out on sharing the Flag Retreat with readers. This event happens daily at 5pm. Each morning, a visiting US military veteran is selected to participate in the event. The ceremony features the Dapper Dans (barber shop quartet) and the Main Street Philharmonic band, and the veteran is tasked with lowering the flag for the day. It’s a truly special ceremony that has an enduring legacy and is well worth taking the time to experience if you’re anywhere around Main Street at 5pm.
#4 Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf
Up next on the list is Disney’s very own putt putt golf course venue. Fantasia Gardens, located near the beautiful EPCOT Boardwalk area next to the new Swan Reserve resort, is home to a very unique mini golf course. The Fairways course, as it is called, is effectively a shrunken-down PGA tour style course, complete with hills, bunkers, and other difficult obstacles. It includes many par 4 and par 5 holes, making is loads of fun for players. That being said, it cannot be overstated that the course is very difficult. Competitive kids and adults alike could become frustrated with the lack of results they’re getting from their shots. If that’s the case, you might want to steer clear of this unusual experience. Overall, it’s an awesome activity to do outside the parks. Tie a visit to the course in with a stroll around the beautiful boardwalk and you’ll have a great night!
#5 Jellyrolls & the EPCOT Resort Area
As previously mentioned, the EPCOT boardwalk area is easy on the eyes, especially at night. Lights from the stores and restaurant dance on the water, and there are tons of great places to eat and drink. One of those is Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar. Again, as something you probably wouldn’t expect to come across while at Disney World, it’s an unusual cool thing to check out. There is a cover charge to enter, but it is well worth it given the awesome performance and atmosphere you enter.
#6 Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto & Enjoying a Stroll Around the Seven Seas Lagoon
The resort area around the Magic Kingdom is simply spectacular. Though I don’t recommend forking out the money it costs to stay at any of these resorts, I do highly recommend you take the time to visit them. You can hop aboard the resort monorail to easily visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort, and the Contemporary Resort. The Polynesian and Grand Floridian are connected by a walkway to make things even easier. If you have extra time, it doesn’t take long to hop on board a boat over to the Wilderness Lodge to appreciate the atmosphere over there, too.
The highlight of your resort stroll should be a stop at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, an unusual tiki themed bar with tons of character. The drinks are all great, the service is impeccable, and the atmosphere is unmatched. Keep in mind that the bar is also very popular, so you may need to arrive early to get on a wait list. Try to check in as soon as you get to the Polynesian, then take the time to walk around and explore the resort while you wait for your turn!
#7 The Kiss Goodnight
Every night at Magic Kingdom, tens of thousands of people rush out of the park after the conclusion of the fireworks, only to land themselves in long, frustrating lines for the monorail and ferry. A far better plan is to stay in the park a little bit longer to enjoy the less-crowded atmosphere. If you’re able to stay long enough, you will have the chance to experience the Kiss Goodnight.
The Kiss happens after the park has technically closed, often 15 to 30 minutes after. The timing is never the same, since the decision to start the event is made by an entertainment leader with Disney. It’s their way of giving guests a friendly “please leave.” Though there is nothing particularly fancy about it, you’ll hear a swell of music followed by an unusual message from Jiminy Cricket. He’ll thank you for visiting and send you off with some inspiring words. Hearing the message is a great way to end your magical day and is something you should be sure to make an effort to experience!
Sometimes washing your hands can be fun! I have no idea why I love it so much, but the scented salt-based hand scrubs at the Basin bath shop are amazing. The Basin has two Disney World locations, one in Disney Springs, and the other in the Grand Floridan, which makes this unusual task easily do-able for your whole family! The shop offers free samples of the magical scrubs for you to try, and of course there are tons more available for purchase.
#9 Find the Hidden Pascals
Pascal (the chameleon best friend of Rapunzel from the Tangled movie) is a bit of a troublemaker. Located in the Tangled themed area of Magic Kingdom between Fantasyland and the Haunted Mansion is a small rest area in between two paths. The area has benches and tables along with charging ports for your devices. It is also home to the sort of “I Spy” game that Pascal has started. Within the area, there are 10 different unusual Pascal statues for you and your family to find. They are hidden all over the grassy area behind the sign prompting the search, but there’s also one over closer by the bathrooms.
Though I do think it’s an awesome little secret in the park, I will warn you that finding all 10 is extremely difficult. If you’re looking to move on quickly, you want to avoid tearing your kid away from trying to find one or two more before they go. Since they are so hidden, it can take half an hour or more to locate all of them. This includes having to move around a little bit to get some better viewing angles of the area.
#10 The Electrical Water Pageant
Performing since the park opening in 1971, the Electrical Water Pageant has been a staple of Disney magic. It’s an unusual short parade of floating barges of lights that travel across the Seven Seas Lagoon out in front of the Magic Kingdom. They play short songs, and the lights dance along to the music. The whole thing is cool, and I feel like it’s very underappreciated by Disney fans.
About the Author:As a local and former Disney Cast Member, I know EVERYTHING there is to know about Disney World and the company. I have a masters degree and frequently write within my full-time job. I write articles for fun and to ensure people get the best information or opinions they can on all things Disney!