Throwing Shade! Best Places to Find Shade in Walt Disney World’s Parks

Tom Sawyer Island
Credit: DisneyDining

Walt Disney World is such a wonderful place. It’s known for its family-friendly activities. It’s known for its beauty. It’s known for its…heat.  That Florida sun can be a killer. It can really bum out a vacation. Staying hydrated is so important in Disney, especially in those summer months. One of the best ways to combat the scorchers is to find nice, shady places to take a load off in the parks. Believe it or not there are plenty of options! Here are the best places to find shade in Disney’s Parks:

1. Animal Discovery Area Paths

Surprisingly, Animal Kingdom actually has quite a few places to stop and enjoy some shade. One of the best spots to do this is along one of the many Discovery Area Paths. These are often tucked away off the main walkways connecting the regions. I love these areas because they’re completely tree covered and secluded. They’re generally quieter and more peaceful. Not to mention have some really cool critters to discover.

2. Area Behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

I’ll admit this isn’t the most exciting spot on this list, but it has some great shade. Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is located on the edge of Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, and this area is by the bridge that connects the Square to the entrance of Adventureland. This bridge actually goes over part of the Cinderella Castle moat. This area has an open space and cement wall seating to take a load off. There’s also a pavilion where you can sometimes catch Mary Poppins!

3. China Pavilion Garden

The China Pavilion in Epcot is absolutely gorgeous. There’s a ton to see inside the pavilion itself, but outside holds a spectacular garden that happens to hold some great shade. You can explore the zen garden and take a breather here. The garden has some stone benches that are perfect for relaxing. My favorite thing to do is to grab an Iced Oolong Peach Tea and pot stickers from Lotus Blossom and enjoy the shady garden.

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4. United Kingdom Pavilion Garden

I love the UK Pavilion in Epcot because it’s a lot bigger than it looks. Most people see the Fish and Chips and keep going, but there’s so much more to it! Behind all of the shops, there’s an open garden area in front of the stage where tribute bands play. This area is often great for shade, especially in the back by the building façades. But the tea garden around the corner is incredible. Lots of shade, lots of beauty, lots of fun.

5. Harambe Walk to Pandora

This area is brand new to Animal Kingdom and I was stunned the first time I saw it. The Harambe Theatre is where the Festival of the Lion King show is performed every day. This whole area is super cool and detailed. But if you keep walking, you’ll eventually get to Pandora. The walkway from these two parts of the Park is large and mostly shaded. I couldn’t believe how open it felt. This is a great spot to enjoy a stroll and shade.

6. Side Alleys off Main Street

Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom is truly a wonderful place. There’s so much joy and excitement, but not a lot of shade. However, Main Street does have a couple side alleys that are fun to explore and relax! These are just small areas between shops that have a few tables and sidewalks where guests can unwind. These areas are totally shaded most of the day and are often pretty clear. See if you can hear a piano lesson taking place while you’re back there!

7. ABC Commissary Seating

Hollywood Studios’ Commissary quick serve restaurant is awesome for its seating. Its indoor area is extensive with two seating rooms. But its outdoor area is awesome too. Because the building is so large and there’s another building across the walkway, that seating area is almost always shady. There are tables and walls to sit on, and just some open space to let kids run.

8. Along Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios has a bunch of shady choices, which is a bit ironic considering its name. There’s some great shade outside of Starring Rolls Café and that small section at the entrance to the street. There’s also a covered seating area outside Catalina Eddie’s, Rosie’s, and Fairfax Fair. The queue to Tower of Terror is quite shady, too.

9. Tom Sawyer Island

Tom Sawyer Island is like being in another world from the rest of the Magic Kingdom. It’s an entire raft ride away, but once you get there you’re plunged into forest and the great outdoors. You might have to explore a little bit to find the perfect shade, but that’s the point of the Island anyway: to explore! Tom Sawyer Island is a great spot to chill out away from the sun and craziness of the Park!

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."