Several years ago, I was about to turn 40, had a new baby, and had been tasked with hosting and entertaining a crowd of 18 family members on a Disney vacation. In short, I was beyond stressed – and needed a few minutes alone to find a happy place at my happiest place. Thankfully, my understanding family encouraged me to take some private time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
That day, I set out on a mission to find a nice, quiet spot to reconnect with both God and myself so that I could once again be at my best for others. Here are my favorite peaceful spots in Disney World to pray, relax and rejuvenate.
The Hall of Presidents waiting area is a quiet, air-conditioned spot with benches where you can sit until folks start meandering in to wait for the next show.
Tom Sawyer Island rocking chairs are a great place to sit and make-believe you are deep in the woods where Huck Finn ran wild. You might catch a glimpse of children dashing by from time to time, but otherwise, you can find some peace and rock your cares away.
The United Kingdom Courtyard has a few benches and an especially beautiful garden with only a few people walking through the hedge maze from time to time. It does get busy when one of my favorite bands, “The British Revolution,” is about to perform covers of some great British rock bands like The Police, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles.
Canada’s Victoria Gardens, inspired by the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia, are the largest of all the national pavilions. It’s easy to spend a lot of time here, walking through the beautiful gardens – a true escape.
Honestly, Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have too many quiet spots that I’ve found yet. But Echo Lake, a sweet little lagoon surrounded by palm trees and benches, is a nice place to stop and relax. There’s even a large dinosaur named Gertie to silently keep you company.
Sometimes, Writer’s Stop, a café/book store located on the Streets of America, is a quiet place to stop – at least it is when the lines aren’t out the door for one of their yummy carrot cake cookies!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch, accessible by the Wildlife Express Train (a peaceful, quiet ride itself), offers places to sit and enjoy an area devoted to the preservation and care of animals. You might find the outdoor discovery trail and animal petting zoo a source of peace and relaxation, as well.
The lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge boasts some fabulous rocking chairs by the great fireplace. If you want to imagine you’ve escaped to the Pacific Northwest for a serious getaway from the tropics of Florida, this is the spot.
Disney’s Beach Club Villas has a cheery Solarium that is often vacant during the day. Here, you can plop down in a comfy chair, close your eyes, and almost hear the waves crashing against the shore.
There is a beautiful, white-sand beach at Bay Lake Towers at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, just past Bay Cove Pool. Overlooking Bay Lake, you will truly feel as if you’ve stepped back into the Florida of yesteryear.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort offers a 1.7-mile “promenade” along the Sassagoula River which connects the Riverside and French Quarter areas of the Resort. This is one of the most peaceful trails I’ve walked in Walt Disney World, both for exercise and meditation. The only signs of people I saw were when the Friendship Boats or horse-drawn carriages went by.
The Monorail is a favorite of mine, since childhood. I love to ride alone, if I can manage it, in one of the cars, where the only sounds to disturb my peace as I watch the scenery of the Magic Kingdom and its surrounding resorts go by are, “Por favor manténganse alejado de las puertas” (“Please stand clear of the doors”).
Disney’s Friendship Boat Fleet can offer some quiet time as you travel between Parks and Resorts throughout Walt Disney World. And, if you’re really blessed, you’ll hop aboard one where the Captain serenades you with a beautiful rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Now if that doesn’t bring you peace, I don’t know what will.