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The "Off the Beaten Path" Disney Bucket List

Welcome to the Disney Friends Blog Hop! This month's theme is "bucket list" and we hope you enjoy our take on this fun topic. Once you finish reading, be sure to check out the next post in the chain by using the link at the bottom of the page.


Whether you have been on a Disney World adventure many times or are thinking about making a first time trip, everyone has a list of things they have seen others do and just can’t wait to try. Here at Magical Adventure Co. we have put together a list of a few “off the beaten path” experiences that we believe should be on everyone’s list. Have you had a chance to try these out?

Do an EPCOT Scavenger Hunt

During each of the EPCOT festivals (Arts, Food and Wine, Flower and Garden, and Holidays), Disney provides a fun little scavenger hunt throughout the World Showcase. They give out a map with hints to find a special hidden item or image at each pavilion. While this is mainly for kids, adults can have quite a bit of fun with this as well - especially after you are 4-5 stops deep into your plan to “drink around the world”.

One of our favorite scavenger hunts isn’t actually an official EPCOT sanctioned hunt, but is still quite fun. During the Festival of the Arts, Disney paints small hidden characters throughout the World Showcase. You can find Peter Pan in England, Lumier and the Aristocats in France, Mushu in China, and Dante in Mexico just to name a few.

Artistic drawing of Lumiere (the candlestick from Beauty and the Beast)
Lumiere hiding on a ledge in the France pavilion

Enjoy the Water Taxis

When on a Disney World adventure, we often get caught up in trying to get to our destination as quickly as possible. However, it can be quite refreshing to just sit back and enjoy the journey, especially when that takes the form of a calm trip across the Disney World waterways. The following are our favorite boat rides at Disney.

1) From Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort to the Magic Kingdom: This ride across the Seven Seas Lagoon offers views of the three beautiful resorts on the lake, including a close up shot of both the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts (you also stop at the Polynesian Resort on the way). But most importantly, the approach to the Magic Kingdom, with a view of the train station and Cinderella Castle, is spectacular. For an even more magical journey, hop on at night to see the resorts and park lit up for the evening.

2) Along the waterways around Disney Springs: We specifically enjoy the ride from the Port Orleans resorts to Disney Springs. It really does feel like you are exploring the bayous around New Orleans. You get unique views of the plantation homes of the Riverside resort and charming architecture of the French Quarter. A mid-afternoon ride to Disney Springs and back (which will take about 45 minutes round trip) can be a great way to relax during the day, while also experiencing something new and uniquely Disney. We should note that while these boats have not yet reopened after shutting down in March of 2020, they are definitely worth mentioning for when they do start operating again.

3) From the Magic Kingdom to Wilderness lodge to grab lunch at Whispering Canyon: We include this option because of the experience of going over the water bridge that spans World Drive, the road that leads to the Contemporary Resort and Cast Member access to Magic Kingdom. While this isn’t the only water bridge at Disney, it is the only one where you can actually watch cars go under you as you pass over top. Also on this ride you can get a close up view of the Monorail, as you pass underneath.

Calm waterways as seen from a slow moving boat down the Sassagoula River.
View from the boat around the Port Orleans Resorts

Appreciate the Clever Theming

There are numerous unexpected joys to be found throughout Disney World, thanks to the clever and innovative theming throughout. Here are a few of our favorites.

Make sure to look down - In Magic Kingdom you can find carriage wheel treads and horseshoe tracks on the ground throughout Fantasyland as well as peanut and animal tracks in Storybook Circus. Oh and don’t forget to check out the river of sewage running through the middle of the streets in Liberty Square just like in the 1700s (gross!). In Animal Kingdom the trails are all intended to look like they are made of dirt and reflect the theming of the land you are in. And finally, Over in Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios you will see Andy’s footprints on the ground, except here they are exceptionally large, because you are the size of a toy. Of course!

Use the “Good Bathrooms” - If you are looking for a little extra Disney Magic, even while you use the facilities, be sure to check out these great spots. At Magic Kingdom, you will find the Tangled bathrooms located between It’s A Small World in Fantasyland and Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square. Overall, the theme of the restrooms is incredibly cute and well done. But our favorite part is checking out the “Wanted” posters for all of the ruffians from the movie. They are hilarious! Over in Toy Story Land, you will find that the bathrooms appear to be made of different color Lego bricks and fit perfectly in with the overall theme of the land. If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be a toy and go into a Lego building, then this is your chance.

Pull the Rope at Indiana Jones - Just do it and see what happens ;)

A wanted poster that reads "Back by Popular Demand, Hookhand, at the Piano, Tearing up the keyboard nightly"
One of the wanted posters at the Tangled Bathrooms

Visit the Animals

While Animal Kingdom has definitely upped its game, with the addition of some great attractions since opening in 1998, a lot of people tend to forget that it is still a fully functioning animal conservatory. One of the best ways to experience this is to take the Wildlife Express Train out to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here you can check out all of the effort Disney is putting into conservation as well as check out different animal habitats and the veterinary care the Animal Kingdom animals receive. If you don’t have time to hop on the train, then we definitely recommend checking out either the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia or Gorilla Falls Exploration trail in Africa.

Get the best spot on the ride

There are several rides throughout Disney World where the experience can be drastically different based on where you sit on the ride. We would recommend that you ask a cast member to let you wait for a seat in these spots to get your best “Bucket List Ride”.

  • The back row at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • The front row on Tower of Terror

  • Console B, row 1 on Soarin’

  • Seats 7,8,9 or 10 on Flight of Passage

  • Pilot on Smuggler’s Run

What are your other “off the beaten path” experiences that you think should be on everyone’s bucket list? Or, want to find out more about how to make these a part of your next adventure? Either way, let us know!

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Head on over to Stress Free Mickey for the their Bucket List post:

The complete list of Disney Friends participating this month: