Sometimes the absolute best thing you can do for yourself, your family and the enjoyment of your vacation is to know when to stop and take a break. Between trekking from the buses, boats and monorails, traversing the parks and waiting in attraction lines, it’s unbelievable how much walking and standing is involved in a theme park day. This can really take a toll, especially on young children and senior family members. Remember, it’s vacation. Give yourself a break! We're ALWAYS on the hunt for places to sit down and take a break, and we're always so excited when we discover a new one so we can share it with you!
Here are some ideal Disney World places to rest:
With so much to see and do at the Magic Kingdom, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and try to do it all. Luckily, there are some great spots throughout the park to relax amidst the hubbub.
1. The Main Street Plaza Gardens, are beautiful retreats with picturesque views of Cinderella’s Castle on both the east and west side of Main Street U.S.A. By night, these are the FastPass+ fireworks viewing locations, but during the day, they are a great day to sit down, spread out and let the kids burn off some energy in the heart of the Magic Kingdom.
2. Tom Sawyer Island, a remote getaway in the middle of Frontierland, is a perfect place for the adults to rest while the kids burn off some of that extra energy. With lots of shaded seating areas, a refreshment stand, and plenty of caves and paths for kids to explore, this is the ideal place to take the family for an afternoon break. It’s also a great place to fill up those water bottles. Word is, the fountain well at the Fort has the coldest drinking water in the park.
3. Resting along the walls of new Fantasyland allows you to stay in the middle of the action (and do some great people watching) while still giving your body a break. Grab a cool treat over at the Friar’s Nook and take a moment to enjoy the views of the Magic Kingdom: the regal Cinderella’s Castle, delighted children on Prince Charming’s Carousel, and mine carts speeding by on the Seven Dwarves’ Mine Train.
Bonus: The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (aka the Peoplemover) is my favorite way to rest during a full day at the Magic Kingdom. This highway in the sky breezes above Tomorrowland through Space Mountain and other space-age attractions.
Break out that Fitbit technology as you trek around the innovative and informational exhibits at Epcot, and you’ll find that you’ve hit thousands of steps by lunchtime. The World Showcase alone is over a mile loop (1.25 miles to be precise). Rest in these cozy spaces during your day of discovery at Epcot.
1. There are some nice little nooks in the Future World area of Epcot to park the family for a rest. Between Test Track and Mission Space, there’s a little shaded area with a long stone bench (not to be confused with the smoking area on the other side of the pathway between Ellen’s Universe of Energy and Mission Space). Another shaded option is the seating area outside of the gift shop exit for Mission Space. On the other side of Future World, the lower level of The Land has a large indoor seating area for Sunshine Seasons food court that is a cool and comfortable place to escape the midday sun while grabbing lunch or a tasty snack at the food court or learning about sustainability on the relaxing Living with the Land boat ride.
2. Many of the World Showcase pavilions offer seating areas and shaded benches. In Canada, head up the stairs, past the totem poles to find some benches to enjoy. Find some benches with a view across the lagoon as you leave the United Kingdom pavilion and head over the bridge toward France (this area is occasionally closed for special events). Between France and Morocco, there is now a permanent seating area used for festivals with bistro-style seating. The America Pavilion has seating areas on either side of the American Adventure (also a great place to cool off) with indoor seating at Liberty Inn and outdoor shaded benches on the opposite side. There are more benches with lagoon views and an off the water breeze between the Germany and China pavilions across from the Outpost as well as some bistro-style seating with umbrellas.
Bonus: The Festival Center offers indoor seating in addition to educational exhibits, shopping, and snacks during festivals like the spring Flower and Garden Festival which runs March through mid-May and the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall, mid-September through early November.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
As you explore Disney’s largest park, you’ll definitely want to know where to find some places to take a break as you navigate the winding pathways of Asia or the village of Harambe, Africa.
1. Seating areas around the Discovery River offer views of the awe-inspiring Tree of Life, my favorite of which is a waterfront space with tables and chairs near the Flights of Wonder Caravan Stage in Asia. Other shaded areas and sporadic benches can be found in the Discovery Trails surrounding the Tree of Life.
2. The Dawa Bar in Harambe has plenty of outdoor, covered seating for adults in need of a drink, families waiting for their reservation at Tusker House, or anyone who needs a break from the blistering African (or Floridian) sun.
3. The little traveled Cretaceous Trail is a retreat f with plenty of ferns and foliage and benches to rest among the dinosaurs. Watch out for that carnotaurus!
Bonus: Finding Nemo the Musical, a retelling of the underwater journey of Nemo and his dad, is an indoor show for the entire family to enjoy.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Becoming a star can be exhausting, whether you’re journeying into the movies on The Great Movie Ride, facing your fears on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, or laughing along with the Citizens of Hollywood. Here are some spots to catch a break and dodge the paparazzi.
1. The benches around Echo Lake offer a comfortable place to relax near the center of the park, so once you’ve rested, you’re right back on your way to the next attraction. Stop by Dinosaur Gertie’s for some cool soft-serve or pop into the nearby Tune-in Lounge for an icy beverage while you’re in the area.
2. The Studio Catering Company near the back of the park now has expanded shaded seating. The main dining area has industrial size fans to keep a breeze going, and there is additional seating across the walkway between the merchandise location and the restrooms.
Bonus: Avoid the rush to get into Fantasmic by picking up dinner on Sunset Boulevard at one of the many quick-service locations, like American classics at Rosie’s All-American Café, specialty hot dogs at Fairfax Fare, or pizza and sandwiches at Catalina Eddie’s. Then, take your tray and dinner right on into the theater, get cozy in your seat, rest your legs after a long day in Hollywood, and enjoy the show!
Disney is pretty good about offering benches and resting areas for their guests, but sometimes they are hard to find when you need them or already occupied. These are some of my favorite spaces to catch a break on our trips to Walt Disney World. Families traveling with small children, don’t forget that each park offers a Baby Care Center, a quiet, semi-private space available whenever you need it. Enjoying shows is also a great way to rest while still being entertained. It’s easy to get swept up in the desire to see and do it all, but the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and the company of your friends and family. I hope these spots will make your next Disney vacation smooth, relaxing, and free of leg cramps.
Have a favorite Disney World place to rest we didn't mention? Share it in comments below. While you're at it, let us know your favorite way to rest up and relax on vacation!