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Author: Local Diva

Throughout my many trips to the WDW resort, I have discovered that there is just NO way to see it all on one single trip. However, if you are looking for a way to spruce up your Disney vacation, or want to know what you may miss if you don’t know where to look, here is a list of my favorite “hidden gems” around the world!

At the parks
FREE WATER! Most people do not know this, but ice water is FREE at the parks – simply walk up to any beverage station and ask for a cup of ice water – MUCH more refreshing than at a water fountain!

Epcot offers “KidCot Fun Stops” around the world. They are currently offering “Duffy Bear” passports for the kids to decorate and have stamped in each country. Just look for the “Fun Stop” sign!

Soda in Epcot – Epcot has an indoor station called “Club Cool” where you can sample different sodas from around the world. It is a very refreshing, FREE, and air conditioned stop!

Epcot has a back exit near the Paris pavilion that leads to a walkway about 2 minutes from the “Beach Club” resort. On days when the park is crowded, we take that back path over to the Beach Club for lunch at “Beaches and Cream” – another hidden gem? The Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae!!!

Epcot is the hot spot for great rides, but did you know that there are also two rides hidden in the World Showcase? Norway and Mexico offer great boat rides inside!

Magic Kingdom now has the “Pirates League” that offers pirate makeovers for your little ones – call ahead for reservations if possible

The best time to hop on one of the mountains (Space, Thunder, or Splash) is during the PARADE!

OR if you are hitting the parade, try to get a spot under the umbrella stand (between the castle and Liberty Square) – the characters give you even more attention if you are holding one of those frilly umbrellas, not to mention the shade they provide!

The barber shop on main street in the Magic Kingdom gives out FREE pixie dust!

The Pinnochio Village Haus and the Columbia Harbour House offer second floor seating that is usually pretty empty at lunchtime. 

Have you heard of DiVine at Animal Kingdom? Keep an eye out for on the path between Africa and Asia!

Animal Kingdom seems to be the hottest park with the least amount of indoor activities – cool off by catching the train to Rafiki’s (INDOOR) Planet Watch. 

Hollywood Studios is home to “Starring Rolls Cafe” – make sure you swing by for a cupcake – you will not be disappointed!

Have a kid (or husband) who LOVES Star Wars? Make sure to catch the Jedi Training Academy show next to “Star Tours” at Hollywood Studios, where your kids get to be in the show with Darth Vader himself!

At the resorts
Make sure to stop by Port Orleans Resort (Riverside) around 8pm Wed-Sat to catch Yehaa Bob – he puts on an amazing (and FUN) show in the lounge. Heads up – he loves to involve audience members! 

There are hidden Mickeys all over the resorts – Wilderness Lodge offers a tour (or you can get a list of clues from the front desk)

Fort Wilderness offers a great campfire singalong nightly (With Chip and Dale). It also offers wagon rides, pony rides, hayrides, and has a horse museum on property!

Every evening around 9pm, the “Electrical Water Pageant” floats by. This lit up water parade can be visible from the beaches of the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness campground.

Check with your front desk upon check in for a resort activity schedule. All resorts offer nightly movies and pool activities, and the moderate and deluxe resorts offer crafts and games. Some offer nightly campfires.

The Vacation Club resorts offer DVD rentals in your room.

The Grand Floridian hosts a couple of different Tea Parties with princesses throughout the week. Call ahead for reservations!

1900 Park Fare at The Grand Floridian offers a second opportunity to dine with Cinderella herself, plus Prince Charming and her step sisters!

Every resort offers package delivery service, which means that you can purchase souvenirs ANYWHERE on Disney property (including Downtown Disney) and have them delivered to your hotel free of charge!

Everywhere else in the world
Disney Dollars! Stop by any front desk or Guest Relations and exchange (dollar for dollar) real money for “Disney Dollars” – dollars with the mouse himself that are valid in parks and resorts. These are a fun way for kids to buy their souvenirs. 

Many restaurants offer kids fun during your meal! To name a few, Chef Mickeys has a dance party on the hour, Whispering Canyon Cafe has a kids horse parade, O’Hana has coconut races, and Tusker House has a musical parade with characters. 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney (or in Cinderella’s castle) will transform your little sweetie into an official princess (or Diva). Reservations are required.

Goofy’s Candy Co. at Downtown Disney has a “design a treat” station. Choose a treat (crispy cereal bar, sugar cookie, marshmallow, etc.), then a dip (chocolate, caramel, white choc.), then a topping (cookie crumbles, M&Ms, sprinkles, etc.) and top it off with another drizzle of chocolate! All for less than $10!

Downtown Disney offers a boat ride from one side to the other. Kick back and let your achy feet enjoy the ride!

Baby Cakes Bakery has recently opened at Downtown Disney. Their cupcakes are gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and peanut free. They are also DELICIOUS!

Disney’s Boardwalk offers some great meals and entertainment. Check out the magic show if you have time!

Downtown Disney recently opened the “AMC Dine in Theatre” and will soon open a new bowling alley.

Check out the Hane’s “Desgin a Tee” shop at Downtown Disney, and…well…design a t-shirt!

Downtown Disney has a shop dedicated to prices being UNDER $20!!!

There are TWO mini-golf courses on property

Check out Disney Quest (an indoor interactive theme park) in Downtown Disney if the rain changes your park plans!

What are your favorite “Hidden Gems”? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!!!