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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tip Tuesday: Quiet time in the parks

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

Anyone who has been to Walt Disney World with younger children know that there comes a time (usually in the afternoon) when the kids run out of gas and crash. For parents, there are a few ways to handle this situation. The first, and most obvious, is to return to their resort and put the kids down for a good nap (and maybe one for mom and dad too!).

While this can be the best overall option if you're staying at an on-property resort (especially one that is close to the park you happen to be at), this becomes much more of a problem for those staying at the value and moderate resorts, or even off-property. The hassle of getting a bus to the resort and all that mess means that the power nap could be over by the time you get back to your resort.

Consider another option - finding a quiet place in the park to allow the kid(s) to nap. This can work quite well, especially if the child is in a stroller. But where do you go to find some quieter places to sit and relax for a bit while the little one is taking a short nap?

(Oh and this tip also goes for older visitors who just need to find a quiet place to relax for a bit!)

Here are a few suggestions:

Magic Kingdom:
The back walkway between Tomorrowland and ToonTown is sparsely used and there is plenty of shade and a few benches. The only major sounds that will come your way are the low rumble of the Tomorrowland Speedway and the occasional train whistle.

Another area that you might consider would be the waiting area for the Liberty Square Riverboat. There are several benches, but this can become crowded as guests queue up for the boat.

Finally there is a small seating area just at the entrance to Adventureland from the hub. Just before you cross the bridge into Adventureland, there is a small circular seating area with a tree in the center. This is generally well shaded and if you sit on the far side, you enjoy a view of the creek and can listen to the music.

This is easy and hard at the same time. All throughout the pavilion are some nice seating areas. The trouble is finding somewhere quiet, as there are different events and activities during the day. One place you can try is the walkway to the International Gateway just past the bridge over the lagoon. There are a few benches there and it is well shaded.

Another place to try is just after you cross the bridge from the United Kingdom into France, there is a seating area on the right, down some steps. The good news here is it's quiet, the bad news is there's little shade.

In Future World, there is an area near the entrance to the Coral Reef restaurant at the Seas pavilion where you might find a bit of shade and the quiet(er) sounds of the splashing water and talking gulls.

Hollywood Studios:
This probably is the most difficult park to find a large amount of shade and quiet in the same place. There are a few places to try, though.

Right along the banks of Echo Lake are some benches, the quietest of which would be on the Indiana Jones side of the lake. You might be able to find a bit of shade here.

Another place to try would be inside the Magic of Disney Animation. Go in the "back way" through the shop. There are some benches in the main character meet and greet area and near Disney's Oscar display.

I believe there are some benches near the Indiana Jones shop as well (located to the right of the 50's Prime Time Cafe). There's a fair amount of shade here and not much guest traffic.

Along the walkway in front of the ABC Commissary are some nice seating areas with pretty good shade. Depending on the time of day, it might be fairly quiet.

Animal Kingdom:
The major downside of Animal Kingdom is that it's HOT much of the year. The big upside is there is a LOT of shade and plenty of quiet places to sit and relax (and allow little ones some time to crash).

There are several places along the Discovery Island trails where you can find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds in relative shade. There's a great place just before you cross the bridge to Africa - there are some trails to the right side of the main path that are very well shaded and offer beautiful views of the river and the Tree of Life. Devine is known to frequent this area as well.

In the Oasis, there are a few trails in the center and a small open cave where you can sit and get a bit of quiet.

There are quite a few seating areas along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Mararajah Jungle Trek. You might encounter higher guest traffic, though.

One other place to try is along the backside of the main circle, between Africa and Asia. There are a few places you can sit above the river with a magnificent view of the Tree of Life. Photopass photographers do sometimes use this area as a picture taking spot, so just know that ahead of time.

Yes, Walt Disney World can be a very busy place, especially during peak times (Easter, 4th of July and Christmas especially), but even during these times, you can find some time to let little ones take a nap while you get a chance to relax.

So enjoy that bit of relaxation. In a little bit, you'll be ready to take on the rest of the day and enjoy all those nighttime spectaculars!

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