11 September 2015

World Traveler

There are times when you are at Walt Disney World that you just want to sit, take in the moment, and relax. No rushing off to the next attraction, meal, or itinerary item, just a few moments to soak in everything a park or place have to offer. Sometimes it’s nice to keep these quiet corners where we take solace in the parks to ourselves. We wouldn’t want them to get overrun after all. Today, however, as I don’t think too many of these are big secrets, I thought we’d look at my favorite tranquil spots in Epcot.

5 – Imagination
This may seem a bit counterintuitive, with all of the jumping water, but stick with me. Once upon a time I used to love spending time on the upper level of the Imagination garden area. The jumping water, always just out of reach, was a favorite pastime of mine. The area still pulls in a great number of children, and between their clamoring and the roar of the backwards waterfall, the area isn’t exactly peaceful. Below the waterfall, where guests can grab their photograph with the water feature, isn’t exactly quiet either. If you’re seeking a bit of respite, however, you do have two options. Walking towards the back of the pavilion, near the restrooms, provides amble space and quiet, especially if you’d like to marvel at the architecture of the towering glass pyramid. Secondly, and my choice for a quiet space, is the garden path between Imagination and World Showcase. This path is well traveled, but not overly so, you can sit near fragrant rose bushes, within earshot of the waterfall for that relaxing sound, and even watch a monorail pass overhead. It’s the perfect getaway in the heart of Future World.

4 – International Gateway
Sure, when you first walk into Epcot the last thing you want to do is stop. International Gateway is an enticing spot though, particularly as you make your way around World Showcase. Watch the Friendships come and go, listen to the music from around the globe, sit in some shade; it truly has everything you could ask for in a quiet corner to call your own for a few minutes.

3 – Canada
True, Victoria Gardens are quite fetching, but have you ever noticed that there is nowhere to sit and enjoy the orchestrated blooms? This is, however, where most people are going to spend their time in the pavilion, between the gardens, Le Cellier, and O, Canada. My favorite corner, however, takes you to the upper level of the pavilion, beyond the trading post, to the cabins, Hotel du Canada, and mountain range. While there isn’t much shade here to hide from the Florida sun, it does offer solitude and quiet. Of course, the imaginary Imagineer inside me also likes to come up here to remember what used to be up here, and what might yet still be some day.

2 – France
This is a bustling pavilion, there is no question about that, but France also has a quiet space of its own. Cutting through the arcade and past the parfumerie, or coming up from the front of the pavilion and making your way around to the back side of the hedge garden, you’ll find your way to the coziest corner in the pavilion. There aren’t a lot of bunches to sit on, but there is a short wall that is present as part of a planter. I’ve spent many an afternoon napping away in this alcove, first as a child in a stroller, now as an adult perched along the wall. A word to the wise, don’t fall asleep too hard as there is nothing but hard ground to catch you if you turn over and tumble off of the wall.

1 – Japan
The gardens of Japan have long been one of my favorite spots in all of World Showcase, and with their recent refurbishment that affinity has only grown stronger. There is moving water and koi fish that bring life to the area, abundant exotic foliage, warm, glowing lamplight after the sun has set, unique pathways and bridges, and new seating to welcome weary travelers. Perhaps there is something to the fact that I see this entire section of the pavilion as the Japan I’ve always wanted to visit, it feels like the global clipper scene from Delta Dreamflight come to life, or perhaps it is just expertly designed to feel welcoming. Whatever the reason you are drawn to this corner of the pavilion, there is plenty of reasons to stay, rest, explore, and reflect.

As I went through this list, I realized all of my selections are in the western half of Epcot. True, there are a multitude of reasons to explore the entire park, but these are my hideaways when I want to get away from it. They just happen to all live on a single side of the park. We all have our own spaces where we take some downtime in the parks. Are any of these on your list when you’re in Epcot? Where else do you go in the park when you need a quiet place to just rest?

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