My Happy Spots in the Walt Disney World Resorts

Credit: Disney

It could be very easily argued that every spot in Walt Disney World is a happy spot, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on specific ones in the Resorts themselves. Walt Disney World has this way of making ordinary things extraordinary. It’s all about bringing magic into everyday situations. That’s kind of the whole point, right? When it comes to being on property, they’re not exactly subtle about this desire. Not that I’m complaining! There are certain places around the resorts that just make me feel good and happy and comforted. Take a look a some of my many favorites!


Polynesian Beach

When I am having a hard day at home, or need to ground myself, I think of the Polynesian beach. This may sound a little funny, but it’s true. I’ve been visiting this beach every single year for 25 years. It feels like mine. On a typical day at the Polynesian Resort, the beach out back isn’t too terribly crowded. If it’s time for Magic Kingdom fireworks, that’s a completely different story. But generally, the beach is quiet and serene.

I love sitting in the sand, or on one of the swing benches if they are available, and simply listening to the softly lapping waves against the shore. I could stare out at Cinderella Castle from across the lake all day long. For me, this is such an important place to unwind and breathe for a minute.

Related: A Taste Of Polynesia: Dining At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Credit: DisneyDining

Grand Floridian Lobby

The Grand Floridian’s name is not a joke. This resort is so elegant, so beautiful, so grand. I simply adore the entire property, but there’s something about its lobby that is unlike anything else. From the moment you step inside the building, it’s like a weight is lifted from your shoulders. It even smells elegant. I’m not even sure how to describe that. But everything is so absolutely spotless that it sparkles. For me, ultimate peace is when I can sink into one of the oversized couches in the lobby and be lulled into a sleepy state by the wonderful man playing the grand piano. There’s something extra magical about watching the little princesses back from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique dancing to the music with wild abandon. I just love it here.


Out on the Savanna at AKL

Even though the Savanna is a much different vibe from the Grand Floridian Lobby, I love it just the same. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my favorite resorts anyway (I mean – have you been to Jiko?!). The fact that there’s an African savannah outside of the resort is pretty much the coolest thing ever. The lookout space behind the resort pool provides amazing views of the beautiful animals who call the Lodge home. I could spend hours here. And I have. Regardless of the time of day, you can go out there and enjoy the company of the animals, including zebras and giraffes! Sometimes at night, you can find Cast Members passing out night vision goggles so you can even see them in the dark! The Cast Members stationed at the lookout are amazing too. They know everything about these animals and they are incredible to talk to.


The Back Deck at the BoardWalk

The BoardWalk is one of my favorite places ever. But my favorite spot here would have to be the deck off the lobby. When you enter the resort, you take a quick left and can find reception and a beautiful seating area. But if you just walk straight, you end up outside on the back deck. This deck overlooks the entire Boardwalk and the lake beyond it. There are a bunch of big, cushy, white wicker chairs to lounge and relax on. I think my dad has fallen asleep one or two times on these chairs. It’s so easy to do! What I don’t understand is why this patio area is usually so empty. If I were staying at the BoardWalk, I’d be out there every second. It’s really the perfect spot because if you get hungry while lounging, you just have to go down the steps and grab something by the pool or boardwalk and head back up. Easy peasy!

But if nothing else, the back deck at the BoardWalk is a place to unwind, to breathe, to sunbathe, to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings. If you haven’t spent some time here, I highly recommend it.


Hammocks at Old Key West

In my opinion, Old Key West Resort is highly underutilized. This Resort has so many fun things about it. From amazing restaurants to an incredible theme, there’s so much to do here. I love just walking around this place. There are many outdoor activities to take advantage of at Old Key West, so it’s no surprise that Disney made sure the outdoor spaces were up to par. If you walk past the pool and playground area, there is a secluded little courtyard almost. Here you’ll find a few hammocks and some nice amphitheater-type benches. I was absolutely tickled to discover this little hideaway because it is so private and relaxing.


Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness

I’ll admit: this one is mostly for sentimentality. When I was really little, my family always stayed at Fort Wilderness in my grandparent’s RV. This meant that we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Trail’s End. I love to go back now as an adult. It just feels like home. All of the decorations and smells and sounds are the same. This is such a comfort place for me. But even without the history, this is a great restaurant and Resort to unwind and simply have a ton of fun.

About Molly Elias

Molly Elias has been a dedicated Disney fan since she was 18-months old. She has grown up with and learned from Disney her whole life. As her family's main vacation spot, Disney World is a place of love and laughter and magic for her. Her family also prides themselves on their Disney Cruise Line knowledge and would rather be on the high seas with Mickey than anywhere else in the world. Molly plans to keep Disney in her life forever, while also pursuing a writing career. She recently completed a master's program in creative writing in the hopes that someday she will be able to be a writer for the Happiest Company on Earth. Molly keeps Walt's famous quote at the forefront of her life: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."