Spring is almost here! Living in New York, I’ve almost forgotten what grass and even concrete looks like without snow piled on top of it. Thus, I am dreaming of spring and the sunshine, warm weather, and flowers it brings. It got me thinking of all of the great spots in Walt Disney World to simply just stop and smell the roses. While exploring the parks, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush from one attraction to the next and miss out on enjoying the beautiful atmosphere around you. Sometimes, we just need to stop and relax for a few minutes whether it’s to people watch, rest our feet, enjoy a snack, or even just to smell the roses. So let’s check out some of the best places to enjoy the fast approaching (I hope!) warm spring weather in WDW!
Magic Kingdom Park
- The New Hub – Construction is finally almost completed on the new hub area in front of Cinderella Castle and several areas of it opened to the public this last week. Featuring beautiful fountains, character statues, flowers, and grass, the area is open to guests to have a seat in the grass and relax. What better place to enjoy the sun and the beauty of the Magic Kingdom than on a warm stretch of grass in front of the Castle?
- Along the Rivers of America – From Frontierland all the way to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square, there are plenty of paths and benches along the Rivers of America for you to enjoy! I love sitting along the outermost path and just taking in the atmosphere from the Mansion’s howling dog in the distance to the Liberty Belle gliding past every so often. It’s a great place to stop and relax for a few moments on a busy day in the park.
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority – PeopleMover – While this technically requires riding an attraction to relax, the TTA offers beautiful views of Tomorrowland combined with a cooling breeze and the opportunity to sit back and relax for a few minutes. This is one of my favorite things to do in the parks, and I love being able to people watch and enjoy the weather while being whisked around the highway in the sky.
- Sleepy Hollow – Offering a small seating area off the beaten path, this eatery located just over the bridge from the hub to Liberty Square serves up some delicious treats including fresh waffles smothered in fruit. A great way to relax for a few minutes and take it all in, is to chow down on one of these delicious waffles while sitting and enjoying the view of Cinderella Castle. You can even view the Castle Stage Show from the seating area and have some entertainment while enjoying your snack!
- Entrance to Future World – Since the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival just officially started, the annual main topiary has been installed in the greenery just inside the entrance to the park. Featuring a play on American Gothic, this year’s topiary is fun to check out and also offers a great place to stop and literally smell the roses for a few minutes. Throw in the awesome music from the entrance plaza and you’ve got a great place to relax and take it all in for a few moments.
- Fountain of Nations – Offering up a beautiful water show several times an hour, this is a great place to stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of Epcot for a few minutes. With the new Starbucks location just steps away, why not grab a drink and simply enjoy the view and the fountain the next time you are in Epcot?
- Victoria Gardens in Canada – While the gardens here are currently adorned for the Flower and Garden Festival, they are always beautifully arranged and maintained. Slightly removed from the beaten path in World Showcase, the gardens offer a quiet place to stop and relax before continuing to explore Epcot.
- Fountain in France – While this World Showcase spot is not as quiet as the gardens in Canada, it offers a ledge to sit on and a perfect place to people watch. Whether enjoying champagne, pastries, or gelato there is no wrong way to enjoy this lovely spot.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Along Echo Lake – Typically not as busy as other areas of the park, Echo Lake offers up some gorgeous views of the surrounding attractions and buildings and allows for a quiet few minutes before stepping back into the movies.
- Sunset Boulevard – I love simply sitting on a bench along Sunset Boulevard and taking it all in. From nearby delicious snacks to people watching and the sights of Hollywood to the distant screams from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, this street offers up a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.
- Muppet*Vision 3D’s Courtyard – Featuring a fountain that only the Muppets can pull off, this courtyard feels secluded and is a great place to either stop and relax for a few minutes or even enjoy your pizza to-go from nearby Pizza Planet.
- Starring Rolls Café – After doing the running with the tourists to Toy Story Midway Mania! when the park first opens, I love to double back to Starring Rolls and stop and enjoy a breakfast of champions. The café offers up a range of breakfast foods including bagels and pastries, but their cupcakes are the stars. My favorite is the Butterfinger Cupcake which can be enjoyed in the small seating area outside the small café with a coffee while people watching in the morning light. A perfect way to relax in Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you ask me!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Tree of Life – The Tree of Life is so intricately carved that it is easy to get lost in trying to spot as many animals as you can on the trunk. A new extended area featuring brand new carvings was just unveiled on the side of the Tree facing the entrance of the park. I cannot wait to stop, take some photos, and just enjoy the atmosphere the next time I am in WDW!
- Dawa Bar – Located in Africa, this outdoor bar offers up some delicious cocktails with the bonus of a cool spot to sit down and still be able to enjoy the sights of Harambe. It’s a great place to stop in the afternoons and wind down before embarking on the nearby Kilimanjaro Safaris.
- Maharajah Jungle Trek – Offering everything from bats to tigers, this winding self-guided tour in Asia features beautiful architecture and details along the way. Since it’s a bit off the beaten path, it is almost always quiet and allows you to relax and truly appreciate the beautiful habitats and ruins along the way.
- Flame Tree Barbeque – In the back of this quick service dining location there is a seating area that can’t be beat. Looking out across the river and offering a sweeping view of Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, this is one of my favorite spots in the entire park. It’s a great place to enjoy some amazing food, get off your feet for a few minutes, and take in a great view.
- Polynesian Village Resort Beach – The parks aren’t the only places to stop and smell the roses in WDW! The beach at the Polynesian is one of the most relaxing places and combines a fantastic view of the Magic Kingdom with the calming breeze of Seven Seas Lagoon. If you are lucky enough to score one of the hammocks, you are in heaven!
- Streets of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter – I love wandering the streets of this resort as you can stumble on courtyards, gardens, fountains, the Sassagoula River, and the whimsical Doubloon Lagoon pool teeming with mischievous alligators! You never know what will be around the corner at French Quarter, but it will always be beautiful.
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s Breezeway – Located high up between the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower this breezeway offers gorgeous views of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Monorail, and the Magic Kingdom on one side and Bay Lake and the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge on the other. On a warm day, what better place to stop and enjoy the breeze and view?
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Strolling along the Boardwalk is a relaxing way to spend a few minutes of a day in WDW. From the beautiful lake to the boats calmly floating by and the smells from nearby restaurants to live entertainment along the way there is no better place to leisurely stroll and enjoy the world around you.
There are so many fantastic places throughout Walt Disney World to take a few moments out of the fast paced day and stop to enjoy everything around you. I would love to hear what some of your favorite places to stop and enjoy are, so please let me know in the comments! Now that spring and warm weather are on the way, be sure to stop and smell the roses wherever you are!
(All photos are from the author’s personal collection.)
Are you ready for spring? What are your favorite spots to stop and smell the roses in WDW? Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.