Favorite Quiet Spots in Disney World Parks

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September, the best time to find peace and quiet.

Where do you go to get away from it all (when you’re getting away from it all) at Walt Disney World? In particular, where do you go for a little respite from the crowds and chaos? Unless you visit during an especially slow time of year, it’s unlikely you’re truly going to get away from much of anything. People are everywhere. Hope is not lost, however, as the intrepid Disney adventurer is not without options.

Some have an inherent fear of slowing down, of taking a break in the middle of a busy, Touring-Planned afternoon. We don’t want to miss anything. While understandable, the concern is at best misguided, and at worst a recipe for a miserable day. Regardless of whether it’s your first time, or your thousandth, no matter how hale and hardy you may be, it’s a good idea to take some time every so often to recharge your batteries, and I’m not just talking about the ones for your gadgets. Your traveling party will thank you, and you will thank you. Of course, if you thank yourself loudly enough in public, it may just give you that extra personal space you’ve been looking for.


Please welcome Bob Whitten to the TouringPlans blog team. Bob lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife and won us over with the sentence “There are, of course, those who oppose all things serial in nature, whether killers, commas, or cables,” which showed the proper use of the word “there,” an understanding of the Oxford comma, and, most importantly, a sense of humor.

What Makes for a Good Quiet Place

There are only a handful of criteria I consider when seeking out a temporary sanctuary. First, it obviously has to be at least a little quiet. If I can’t hear myself think, that means either I’m not thinking or the place is too loud. Either option is disturbing. Again, odds are you’re not going to find complete isolation, even on the slowest times of the year, so don’t fret if your favorite quiet spot is suddenly invaded by other peace-seekers. More than likely, they’re just as afraid of you as you are of them. Maybe that’s bears, but that’s fine, I hear they like the quiet too, except for our fine ursine friends at the Jamboree. Second, there should be seating. It’s good to sit down. You will be walking and walking, and when you’re not walking, you’ll be standing. Any chance you have to rest your feet you should take. Sometimes, it’s not enough to just get off your feet, say by dangling them from your seat in Soarin’; sometimes, it’s good to consciously rest them. Third, I prefer locations that offer some shelter from the Florida sun. It’s not easy resting and simultaneously overheating. That may be fine for some folks and I tip my cap to them, but I’m not a hot-weather person in the first place, despite having lived my whole life in the South.

One of the keys to finding some quiet is to search it out when others are not. Learn to operate slightly out of sync with the throngs, and you will find some otherwise crowded places relatively spartan by comparison.

Favorite Quiet Spots in Disney World

Magic Kingdom

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Time for a hard-earned funnel cake.

Sleepy Hollow is a name that practically screams peace and quiet, well, maybe not scream, so much as beckon with the scent of fried dough and cinnamon, which is even better. Nestled just outside the entrance to Liberty Square, Sleepy Hollow may not have places where you can actually indulge in nap time, but there are a few picnic tables under a relatively shaded patio where most likely the only thing that will bother you will be a seagull or two. We rarely encounter much of a crowd, but with only a handful of tables, even when the place is at full capacity there really aren’t very many people around.

Seating at Cheshire Cafe is limited, as it is at Sleepy Hollow, and that’s a good thing if you get there early enough to snag a table. Despite being situated near the Carousel and across from Cosmic Ray’s, it still feels relatively remote. This is especially true in the morning. This is an excellent spot to grab a coffee after your first round of attractions, while everyone else is still waiting to experience Peter Pan’s Flight.

We often visit Walt Disney World in the Fall, which means seasonal hours for several counter service locations in the park. The Golden Oak Outpost is often closed in the evenings during slower times of year. Once it shuts down for the day, the concourse near Golden Oak Outpost tends to be nothing more than a conveyance to and from Adventureland to Frontierland. There is a limited amount of seating along the concourse, so if you can snag a seat, you should have some quiet.

There is a spot down a little cul-de-sac on Main Street with a table or two that is almost always taken, but if you’re fortunate enough to arrive at a time of tabletop transition, you may find yourself quite alone, even on the busiest of days. As there is nothing to do or see, the only people you’ll encounter are people waiting for you to vacate so they too can enjoy a respite from the mass mania of Main Street. You can try avoiding eye contact, as they silently plead with you to surrender your sanctuary, but I can’t promise it won’t make for an awkward moment or two. I also can’t promise it won’t feel like it lasts much longer than that.

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No man’s an island, and this island has few of them–women too.

The combination of the time it takes to get to Tom Sawyer Island and the little there is to do once you arrive generally leaves this attraction looking downright desolate relative to the rest of the park. This makes it a good spot for quiet. It may be the only place in Walt Disney World where you actually can get away from it all. There aren’t too many places to sit down and relax, but spots can be found.

We’ve only been here at night, but at that time at least, the second floor of Columbia Harbour House rarely has very many people. As an added bonus, if you can snare a window seat overlooking the Fantasyland-Liberty Square concourse, you can enjoy a little people-watching along with your tasty chocolate cake or cobbler.

Epcot

As a rule the Land Pavilion is pretty hopping, as anyone who’s ever waited in line for Soarin’ will tell you. But as you venture toward Sunshine Seasons you’ll find seating squirreled safely enough away from the tumult that affords you a decent place to gather yourself if you time it properly. We have eaten here at Christmas time and while I wouldn’t say we found peace and quiet, it was remote enough to afford us a small measure of seclusion. Try to grab one of the back tables along the edge. It’s rare to find this much seclusion in the parks, and you’ll do well to take advantage of it.

There is a somewhat hidden path from Test Track in Future World to the Mexico Pavilion in World Shawcase which runs along the exterior of the long closed Odyssey restaurant. Although it fails my shade criterion, there are a few seats and the location isn’t very crowded. This is also where you’ll find restrooms and the Baby Care Center. (Ed. – note that the Odyssey is current hosting guests viewing World Cup action. Things will calm back down after the finals.)

There is a small mostly hidden seating area outside the Japan Pavilion’s Katsura Grill. Because of the pagoda obscuring the view of World Showcase Lagoon, this place tends to be uncrowded. Due to the small number of tables here, you may find yourself standing during your quiet time. It’s peaceful, but not quite at the top of my list. Something about the way it is set up actually seems antithetical to resting there, but it can be done.

Victoria Gardens in front of the Canada Pavilion, and the waterfall-flanked walkway leading to O Canada! offer more tranquillity by way of flowers and trees and the always relaxing rush of water. This location fails two of my criteria, as there is no seating or escape from the sun, and I suppose if you throw in the roar of the waterfall, it fails all three. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to find relief. Sometimes, not just the crowds, but the parks themselves can be loud. There is always something vying for your attention and it is all good fun. Here, however, you will find none of that. Here, you’ll have a chance to get back to nature–as long as you stay behind the railing.

At the very back of the Morocco Pavilion, before the gift shop, there is a vast expanse of shady, quiet space. There’s nowhere to sit, but at least it’s cool and relatively quiet.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Flametree BBQ is almost always crammed with people, which is appropriate since cramming is my favorite pastime at Flametree—whether it be BBQ or chicken or ribs or pretty much anything they put in front of me. It may seem antithetical to peace and quiet, but it can be found. If you arrive early enough, there are a few highly coveted spots right next to the water with a great view of Expedition Everest. (Ed. – try to avoid sitting under the trees here – I have one word: “birds.”)

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Not only the lion sleeps in the jungle.

While it’s difficult to argue that any attraction is overlooked, the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharaja Jungle Trek are definitely not as popular as they should be. This is a fun, relaxing part of Animal Kingdom that many people rush through in a quixotic attempt to tick off items on an imaginary checklist (or a very real Touring Plan) to quantify their visit to the park. You may notice the animals are spending their time chilling out. Granted, they probably don’t have FastPass+ reservations to Kali River Rapids, but perhaps we should take a cue from them nevertheless.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The seating in front of the ABC Commissary is a good place to sit and watch people; the best view is directly across from the back side of the soon-to-be-defunct American Idol Experience. There you will find stalwart cast members panhandling for volunteers to audition for the experience of singing in front of tens of people. Thanks to the Commissary building and a few well-placed umbrellas, the seating area is also fairly well-protected from that relentless pain in the neck otherwise known as the sun.

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The Writer’s Stop at Hollywood Studios

The Writer’s Stop used to be one of my two favorites places in all Walt Disney World for a little peace and quiet. With the removal of the front seating area, my feelings for it have diminished somewhat. If you can manage to get a seat, you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee and the iconic carrot cake cookie in relative peace. There is, however, a fine line between having a slight selection of seating that creates an intimate setting and so few that getting a seat takes on the qualities of a dark, dystopian piece of fiction. Sadly, if you want to sit and rest here these days, you’ll probably have to go Mad Max on someone. (Not that I endorse such behavior.)

Final Thoughts

The problem with any of these suggestions is that invariably, and in particular on the busiest days of the year, quiet spots will be hard to come by. The key is to take advantage of the quiet when it comes and, more importantly, not to rely on others or the perfect conditions to attain it. There are any number of tricks you can practice to get a little quiet, even if you can’t get a little privacy. You may not get large blocks of quiet, but if you pick your spots, it can help. I’m definitely one who cherishes his quiet time. I’d like to say I use that time to collect my thoughts, but there’s really not much external evidence for such braggadocio.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to linger in the parks after closing or during late night events, adding quiet times when you could be back in the peace of your own room. Quiet, however, comes in many forms. Sometimes, quiet is needed just to get a break from the craziness of the parks. But sometimes, quiet is a moment taken to reflect on the magic that permeates a magical place with loved ones. There have been a few times when my wife and I have shared a special moment on the bus back to our resort, or sitting in Pinocchio’s Village Haus late at night, amid the ruin of cups and trays. Those are probably the times I recall most fondly, not the number of times we’ve experienced Soarin’ or sailed with Captain Jack Sparrow. They are the shared quiet in chaos when we are acutely aware of the place and the moment.

There are many other quiet spots in Walt Disney World. What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.

Bob Whitten

I made my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1973, but for some reason, did not return for 23 years. Fortunately, that year I married into a Disney family and my lovely wife eventually set me straight. We now make regular trips to the World, despite not having any kids. We do have one cat, though she has yet to express any interest in going with us.

33 thoughts on “Favorite Quiet Spots in Disney World Parks

  • June 24, 2014 at 11:37 am
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    I just love getting to read these blog posts! Thanks Touring plans! You do good work and have a great team!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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    The two big ones for me are the second floor of Columbia Harbour House and the outside area behind Flame Tree Barbecue. We typically go to Disney World in January, and both of those areas are still pretty quiet even during lunch time. The Columbia Harbour House is our eating destination multiple times on every trip!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm
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    We travel with a family member who has issues with sensory overload, so these quiet spots are quite necessary for us in our Disney adventures.

    We’ve found most of these already, but one not mentioned is the path behind Tomorrowland Speedway that connects the Fantasyland train stop to the side of Space Mountain. Not much seating, but very few people. Surprisingly peaceful considering the roaring engines nearby.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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      That pathway behind the Speedway is our favorite. There is a spot for disability dogs to run around and potty and a large smoking spot, but most days we don’t pass another soul the whole time. I take my boys (who have autism and sensory integration issues, too) back there and we run sprints to get the built up nervous energy out.

      For eating, we love the very bottom seating at Flame Tree which we are lucky enough to almost always find empty even if the top sections are full. We also frequent that second story of Columbia Harbor House, although the last few trips the A/C was not working very well and it was too hot to be comfortable up there.

      The one park where we don’t have a specific quiet spot is Epcot. There are so many areas to duck into and be alone or almost alone.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm
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      Thanks for the tip! We’re so rarely over in that area, it gets overlooked by us. Next time we’re there, we’ll definitely check it out. Another thing I do sometimes when I get overloaded, though admittedly only when I’m by myself, because it may seem a bit anti-social, is stuff some earplugs in my ears (of course).

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      • June 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm
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        Oh, he puts earplugs in before we get out of the car…

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  • June 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm
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    Nice work here! I’m currently sitting on a rocking chair on Tom Sawyer Island- and I’d say the surrounding rockers have been empty most of the while. There’s also a smattering of tables and padded chairs that are relatively empty. Two more spots in Animal Kingdom: the seating for Tamu Tamu (tucked back, shaded and quiet) and along the jungly pathway connecting Africa to Asia- there’s a covered seating area with tables and short stools. Never occupied.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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      Oh no, you mean that jungle pathway isn’t my family’s own secret 🙂

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    • June 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm
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      Thanks! We will definitely check out those sites at Animal Kingdom. Any reason to spend a little more time at that beautiful park is good for me. I have also noticed that the walkway to Dinosaur isn’t often very crowded. Plus, it’s shady, and there are seats.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm
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      Discovery Island at AK has some nice trails that are rarely traveled. Find the path to the kangaroo overlook – we’ve yet to pass anyone else when we go there.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm
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    My favorite quiet time place meets all 3 requirements, yet its an attraction! The People Mover in the MK is sooo under rated. This is my family’s go-to ride whenever we need down time and/or a break from the sun or the rain. The added bonus is the smart phone charging station located by the ride! When we visited last Sept., there was a 20 minute rain shower passing thru the park, and since the ride wasnt crowded, the CM let us ride the attraction multiply times without exiting….my 9 year old daughter thought that was the coolest thing. Mary

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    • June 24, 2014 at 1:29 pm
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      I completely agree. It’s a great attraction for peace and quiet. I debated whether or not to include attractions and decided against it only for the sake of brevity–granted, brevity based on my rather loose standards. We have typically availed ourselves of Ellen’s Energy Adventure for the same reason. Honestly, we had been going to Ellen’s for years before I realized Michael Richards was in the show because I was asleep before we got to him. The first time I saw him, I asked my wife when they added him, and she just rolled her eyes.

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      • June 24, 2014 at 2:09 pm
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        Ellen’s Energy Nap! My wife hates it when I call it that. Hall of Presidents is another good one, but the wait is often quite long. The Carousel of Progress is dark, not too loud, and usually a quick entry.

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        • June 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm
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          Ha! I like to think I’m doing my part for energy conservation. Boy, an energy nap sounds good right about now.

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    • June 25, 2014 at 8:18 am
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      When my boys were babies, the People Mover was where I would go to feed them and let them nap in my arms. They would always let me stay on for as long as I wanted. It’s so peaceful with just enough movement to rock a little baby into a deep sleep.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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    We found the Tomorrowland Terrace to be very nice and quiet on our last trip in May. It wasn’t open so very few people were sitting up there. It was the perfect place to enjoy our ice cream sundaes.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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      We had the same experience in September. I don’t think it was open when we went either, but I couldn’t recall. Thanks for the info!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm
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    Thanks, as always, for excellent research and clever writing!
    The last time I was at WDW this ‘secret spot’ was still in the Magic Kingdom, but I think it may not be there with new construction. Head for Space Mountain. Find the large bathrooms to the right; this building was once the base the the Skyride. Just to the left of this building is a paved ramp that leads down to a square area with seating. It’s right next to the WDWRR, but surrounded by high hedges. There were times we had the place to ourselves and could even nap during a busy day in the park. More than once a Cast Member custodian or WDW Security officer wandered in and said, “Oh, you’ve found our hiding place!” It was definitely not “backstage.” It just wasn’t an obvious place to wander into.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm
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      Thanks! Oh boy, I can’t wait to go looking for this spot! I appreciate the tip. It must sound like all we do is scour the parks for hiding places. I can assure everyone I don’t live under a bridge or anything. I am more or less sociable.

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    • June 25, 2014 at 8:20 am
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      Now I am curious. We will be searching this out on our next trip. The wonders of Disney never cease!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm
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    I usually bring headphones, & try to find a nice spot like these, to rest. My favorite music usually helps me relax and enjoy, blocking most other noise out.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm
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    EPCOT is really the hardest park to find quiet & shady spots, which is odd considering how massive it is, but here are some of my favorites:

    American Adventure’s lobby right after a show goes in. You still have a while before the crowd builds up for Voices of Liberty and it is always ice cold in there.

    I like to sit in the theater for the hilariously awful Norway film. It’s dark, cool, and a good place to unwind.

    Electric Umbrella in the morning before they open is great. There’s never a soul inside, it’s air conditioned, and a great place to wait if your party is doing an attraction that you don’t want to do (Soarin’ for me!).

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  • June 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm
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    The rocking chairs on side porch in Liberty Square!

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  • June 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm
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    maybe I’m just oblivious, but I’ve succeeded in sleeping (sitting up) on the benches just before the Spaceship Earth exit.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm
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      Or it could be that you have a super-power.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm
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    My favorite will always be the Rose Garden in MK and the covered seating. I will miss it with the new renovations. In AK Rafiki’s Planet Watch, air conditioning and quiet. I like the gardens behind UK in EPCOT. In HW I’ve had a hard time finding a good quiet spot. The Commissary Lane is quiet when not lunch or dinner.

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    • June 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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      The greatest quite spot of all times was the bar up the stairs from the Brown Derby. It overlooked a fast food spot and was always empty. The decor was fabulous with stage props all around. You could sit at the bar or people watch at tables overlooking the Restaraunt below. Broke my heart when that place closed.

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  • June 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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    The greatest quite spot of all times was the bar up the stairs from the Brown Derby. It overlooked a fast food spot and was always empty. The decor was fabulous with stage props all around. You could sit at the bar or people watch at tables overlooking the Restaraunt below. Broke my heart when that place closed.

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  • June 25, 2014 at 12:47 am
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    Loved this post! Not only very informative, but clever and funny enough to get several genuine chuckles out of me! Great addition to the writing team!!
    My favorite escape spot is riding the WDWRR for the whole loop. Immerses you in the magic, the kids LOVE it and you still get the satisfaction of ticking off an attraction on your list. But, so relaxing. If only the benches were a bit more spine friendly.

    But, honestly, the “tens of people” jab at the idol experience is my favorite thing ever.

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  • June 25, 2014 at 11:11 am
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    If the cul-de-sac on Main Street is the place I’m thinking of, there may not be anything to do or see…but there is something to hear. Two of the upper-level windows are labeled something like “Dance Lessons” and “Singing Lessons.” You can actually hear the sounds from the lessons coming out of those windows. At least, that was true not too long ago; it might have become a victim of Disney budget cuts.

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  • June 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm
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    I like this article EXCEPT for the exclusion of the gardens behind England in Epcot. THAT is, hands down, the quietest and most peaceful area (just as long as the cover band isn’t playing).

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    • June 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm
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      You know, I had thought to include it–it always looks so peaceful and inviting (as long as there’s not a band playing), but I’ve never personally stopped there to rest. That’s only because the timing has never been right. I’m glad to know that it’s definitely a place we can stop and get some peace. Thanks for the confirmation!

      Reply
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