You know that moment when you stumble upon a hidden and empty Disney World alcove and you look around you, realizing with certainty that you are the first and only one to have ever stepped foot onto those grounds? You sit down, close your eyes in giddy delight, and vow to never, ever tell another soul about your secret Disney hiding place. Okay, so that will never actually happen, but for a slight second, standing in the scenic serenity of quiet space, you may actually trick yourself into believing it.
The truth is, with the tens of millions of park goers that frequent Walt Disney World each year, there is simply no such thing as untraversed territory. There are, however, some spectacularly breathtaking spots that are quite secluded, making it seem like your own private little corner of the “World.” What makes for an amazingly beautiful “secret” spot at Walt Disney World? For one, this location has to provide you an appealing view, whether of a sun-glinting lake, a fireworks show, lush landscape, or the like. It doesn’t necessarily have to be pin-drop quiet, as you will be hard-pressed to find such a location outside of your own personal hotel room (and even that’s no guarantee), but it does need to give you some form of respite and sanctuary.
These hideaways are “secret” because they reside outside of the bustling pathways, removed from the sometimes overwhelming throngs of people and are just waiting to be discovered by the unknowing wanderer. I’ve found that even during a busy time of year you’ll likely be able to enjoy these locations without too many other intrud—ahem—Disney guests, and might even find yourself enjoying this space solo. Without further ado, let’s journey together as we countdown our 10 amazingly beautiful secret spots around Disney World.
1. Contemporary Resort Grand Concourse Balcony/Bay Lake Tower Sky Way Bridge
There’s a lot going on at this 4th floor Contemporary Resort hotspot from food to shopping to a fun arcade. With the addition of Bay Lake Tower in 2009, a bridge was built to connect the two resorts along with an outdoor patio/balcony on the north end of the Grand Concourse. Though the view from this outdoor patio doesn’t quite compare to the view you’d receive if paying high dollar for a spectacular dinner at the 15th floor California Grill, it certainly is a fabulous location to catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks display at night.
The connecting Sky Way Bridge is also a perfect spot to stop and look out towards Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake, the Seven Seas Lagoon, and the surrounding Disney Resorts. Here, you can catch the fireworks as well as the enchanting Electrical Water Pageant that moves along the water. Because of the monorails whizzing by directly above you, I wouldn’t consider the observation deck particularly “quiet,” but this location—as well as the bridge—never seems to get too crowded, especially if you experience it outside of the nightly fireworks show times.
2. Tom Sawyer Island-Aunt Polly’s Gazebo, Magic Kingdom
Tom Sawyer Island is a rustic hideaway that can oftentimes feel uninhabited. Getting “lost” amongst the dark caves, exploring the forts, and navigating the playgrounds remains a wonderfully vivid childhood memory for me. Despite the passing of time, much of Tom Sawyer Island remains untouched and unchanged, allowing for the nostalgia to come flooding back the minute I step foot off the raft and onto the woodsy terrain. Childhood adventures or not, this spot is a great place to sit and reminisce, reflect, and relax.
While there are many places on this island that will provide you this luxurious opportunity, Aunt Polly’s open-air covered porch will practically guarantee peace and quiet. At one time a bustling quick-service food spot, what remains of Aunt Polly’s is now a non-operating building with an attached gazebo, providing shade and places to rest. Overlooking much of Frontierland and Liberty Square, as well as the Haunted Mansion attraction and queue, you’ll even be granted the perfect view of the Liberty Belle Riverboat while it’s at the landing.