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Hidden Gems of Disney

You don’t need to know one of Snow White’s seven dwarves to find these hidden gems, I know all the overlooked secrets and I’m going to share my personal favorites. Starting with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian resort and spa

This is one of my favorite experiences I’ve had in Disney!  It’s great for families, bachelorette parties, or just a girls afternoon out.  It can be on the pricy side depending on which package you choose, but you get so much included and it is tons of fun!  Be sure to come hungry because you get a lot more food that you probably would think. 

Fun fact: last time I did this, I actually got to meet the President of Twinings Tea because he happened to be at the next table over from us.

Surrey Bikes

Several of the resorts offer Surrey Bike rentals which often gets overlooked by many people.  This is always a lot of fun to do and it is the perfect activity for the entire family!  I personally recommend the Boardwalk because it has the best views, especially at sunset!  Plus, you also get to see the Yacht and Beach club resorts and Swan and Dolphin because they are all on one big loop.

*photo credits to BlogMickey

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Jelly Rolls

Jelly Rolls is located at the Boardwalk resort, and it is for the 21 and older folks only… but wow is this one SO WORTH IT!  It is a dueling piano bar that features some of the best musicians/entertainers I have ever seen hands down!  They can play absolutely any song you can think to request from classic rock to country to pop to Disney songs (of course).  I was serious when I said absolutely anything!  If they don’t know it, they go backstage, learn it, and come back out to perform it.  This place is very high energy and interactive.  I guarantee you will be impressed with these guys’ skills!  Keep in mind it is a full bar with some great drink specials, but it does not serve any food (besides free popcorn).  Cocktail servers will keep an eye on you as long as you are there, so no need to get up and order after you get a table.  Seriously if you are of legal drinking age I cannot recommend this enough!  There’s truly nothing else like it!

***Pixie dust pro tip: Try to avoid going on weekends if possible to ensure you get a table!  Friday and Saturday nights this place gets to standing room only quickly.

*photo credits to BlogMickey

Scat Cat’s Club

The Scat Cat’s Club is located at Port Orleans French Quarter resort.  This place is the epitome of a hidden gem!  It’s a smaller more intimate setting for sure, but there’s always live entertainment that changes all the time.  It typically doesn’t attract a large crowd so it can be a nice change of pace if you need a break from the usual hustle and bustle of Disney World.  Here you can also order the New Orleans inspired beignets.  You can get them original style or boozy filled with Baileys, Rum Chata, or Kahlua.

*photo credits to WDW news today

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Scat Cat’s Club

The Scat Cat’s Club is located at Port Orleans French Quarter resort.  This place is the epitome of a hidden gem!  It’s a smaller more intimate setting for sure, but there’s always live entertainment that changes all the time.  It typically doesn’t attract a large crowd so it can be a nice change of pace if you need a break from the usual hustle and bustle of Disney World.  Here you can also order the New Orleans inspired beignets.  You can get them original style or boozy filled with Baileys, Rum Chata, or Kahlua.

*photo credits to Tanner Patrick

Check out some night vision goggles at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is so much to see on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, however, the animals are often more active at night which obviously is more difficult for guests to see them.  If you stop by the front desk, you can actually check out some night vision goggles to add a whole new level to your animal watching experience!  Its only available at certain times so keep checking back as often as you like.

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Stay for the Kiss Goodnight at Magic Kingdom

This happens every single night just a few minutes after the fireworks show, when the park is almost completely cleared out.I won’t go into too much detail so I don’t spoil it, but it’s just a nice way to end your day and adds a little bit more magic to your night.Plus Main Street is usually empty by this point which makes for some great photo ops!

*photo credits to Tanner Patrick

Check out some night vision goggles at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is so much to see on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, however, the animals are often more active at night which obviously is more difficult for guests to see them.  If you stop by the front desk, you can actually check out some night vision goggles to add a whole new level to your animal watching experience!  Its only available at certain times so keep checking back as often as you like.

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Scat Cat’s Club

The Scat Cat’s Club is located at Port Orleans French Quarter resort.  This place is the epitome of a hidden gem!  It’s a smaller more intimate setting for sure, but there’s always live entertainment that changes all the time.  It typically doesn’t attract a large crowd so it can be a nice change of pace if you need a break from the usual hustle and bustle of Disney World.  Here you can also order the New Orleans inspired beignets.  You can get them original style or boozy filled with Baileys, Rum Chata, or Kahlua.

*photo credits to Tanner Patrick

Check out some night vision goggles at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is so much to see on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, however, the animals are often more active at night which obviously is more difficult for guests to see them.  If you stop by the front desk, you can actually check out some night vision goggles to add a whole new level to your animal watching experience!  Its only available at certain times so keep checking back as often as you like.

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horsecarousel.jpeg

Scat Cat’s Club

The Scat Cat’s Club is located at Port Orleans French Quarter resort.  This place is the epitome of a hidden gem!  It’s a smaller more intimate setting for sure, but there’s always live entertainment that changes all the time.  It typically doesn’t attract a large crowd so it can be a nice change of pace if you need a break from the usual hustle and bustle of Disney World.  Here you can also order the New Orleans inspired beignets.  You can get them original style or boozy filled with Baileys, Rum Chata, or Kahlua.

*photo credits to Tanner Patrick

Image by Christian Lambert

Now Onto Disneyland in California....

Visit Walt Disney’s bench

If you head over to the right side after you enter Disneyland you should see some buildings off to the side, before you even get to Main Street.  There you will find Walt Disney’s bench.  The very bench that he was sitting on when he started brainstorming the idea of Disneyland and all the magical details before they were brought to fruition.  Sadly it is display only, so you can’t sit on it.  However it is a major historical spot for Disney and a hidden gem that gets bypassed every day.  Stop and take a moment to check it on your next visit!

Find the significant symbol on Walt Disney’s tie

Walk up to the partner’s statue of Walt and Mickey and if you look close, you’ll notice the letters “STR” in a tiny script writing.  That stands for Smoke Tree Ranch, and it’s located in Palm Springs.  Walt Disney and his family would frequently go to the vacation house they had there. 

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Ride Mary Poppins’ Horse

If you are a fan of the classic Disney film, Mary Poppins, you’ll definitely want to find her horse Jingles on the King Arthur carousel.  She has a pretty pink and blue saddle covered in emblems from the movie, such as Mary Poppins’ iconic umbrella and high heels.  She’s also covered in tons of little gold bells which is what gave her the name Jingles.  Julie Andrews actually came to dedicate the horse to Mary Poppins during Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, and now you will also find her initials “J.A.” among the other illustrations. 

Visit Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

This is located at the Disneyland Hotel.  It is family friendly until around 8:00pm then it transitions to 21 and older only.  The drinks here are so fun and the atmosphere is incredible!  There’s a reason “enchanted” is in the name!  It’s all very interactive and your friendly skippers/servers definitely like to keep things silly and lighthearted.  I don’t want to spoil too much but pay close attention to your surroundings when your drink is brought out to you.  Also don’t be alarmed if you find your table getting higher… or maybe your chair getting lower?  There are also some cute fruity mocktails for kids during the day, just remember in the late evening it turns to a 21 and up crowd. 

Side note:  This has been recently brought over to Disney World at the Polynesian resort!  So Floridians you can still enjoy all the magic this tiki bar has to offer.  However, Disneyland’s was the original location that holds a lot of nostalgia for frequent Disneyland goers.  Its also a little larger, and there are more interactions than the Florida one.  Much like with the churros, Disneyland wins in this department!

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Image by Skylar Sahakian

Make a wish at Snow White’s wishing well

If you are walking towards Sleeping Beauty’s castle from Main Street, hook a right towards the drawbridge and it will take you down a little pathway.  This path will lead you to Snow White’s grotto where you will find the famous wishing well that looks like it was straight out of the storybook itself.  Make sure you have some spare pennies!

Lookout for some hidden Fantasyland fun

There are SO many details in Fantasyland, so I’ll mention my favorites!  By Snow White’s Scary Adventure ride, find the Evil Queen’s spell book.  If you rub the golden brass apple next to it, you’ll hear the cackle of the evil witch herself and an ominous message about the ride.  Sometimes you can even SEE the evil queen from time to time by looking up to the window.  You may find her standing there by the parted curtain looking down at you. 

Wonderland also has a couple tricks up its sleeve per usual.  If you go to the Mad Hatter store, check the mirror located on the wall behind the cash registers.  You might see a familiar pink striped cat magically appear.

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Did I miss anything?  Let me know!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the best hidden gems around Disney.  I'm sure this list could go on and on!

*photo credits to the Sorcerer's Guide

Click here to check out my favorite Disney hacks!

Check out some night vision goggles at Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is so much to see on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, however, the animals are often more active at night which obviously is more difficult for guests to see them.  If you stop by the front desk, you can actually check out some night vision goggles to add a whole new level to your animal watching experience!  Its only available at certain times so keep checking back as often as you like.

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