One of the best things about Walt Disney World is the small things you notice while you are there. However, this has become a challenge with the way vacation planning has changed the way guests experience Disney parks. The latest attractions get the most press, and the classics remain iconic for many returning Disney fans. But Fastpass Plus creates a more rigid structure to your day. You’re less inclined to take the time to find unplanned attractions. Walt Disney World attractions that Disney doesn’t directly promote get overlooked. Especially if they don’t resonate with enough fans.
There is a different way of experiencing the Disney parks that people are forced to learn all over again. Now that Fastpass is gone at Walt Disney World, people are showing up without return times. They are taking in their surroundings and making decisions moment by moment. They experience it the way an annual pass holder is more likely to do. While it may come at the expense of an efficient game plan, it allows for a level of spontaneity that has so long been missing from the parks. That freedom lends itself to discovering new treasures or trying something out that you always put aside. To give you an idea of what I mean here are some Walt Disney World attractions that are so easily overlooked by hurried park guests.
Swiss Family Treehouse
The original Swiss Family Treehouse was transformed into Tarzan’s Treehouse because Disney thought guests would better connect to Tarzan than the Swiss Family Robinson. But the Swiss Family Robinson is a classic Disney movie. Tarzan is great, but it’s not exactly a classic. The Swiss Family Robinson captures our imaginations and the spirit of Adventureland as a whole. So, it’s wonderful that the Treehouse still towers above the jungles of the Magic Kingdom. The attraction is so overlooked that it could use some TLC. Still, it’s a fun walkthrough of an impressive Disney treehouse.
Tom Sawyer Island
Tom Sawyer Island is such a large part of Frontierland, yet so many people only see it from across the rivers of America. You may bypass it, promising yourself that you will explore it on your next visit. Worse, you might never even be aware of its existence. So many people overlook this Walt Disney World attraction and never know they are missing a large chunk of the Frontierland experience. In addition to the bridges and play areas, Tom Sawyer Island provides a unique vantage point of the Haunted Mansion and other attractions. There are also humorous nods to the stories of the island’s namesake.
Muppet Vision 3D
Okay, so this show is pretty dated. It is. But It’s still a solid entry from the Muppets and a good 3D experience. The problem is that Disney Hollywood Studios has changed so much and with it, there isn’t much room for the Muppets anymore. Newer Disney acquisitions have edged them out of the picture. Now there’s a whole Star Wars Land and rumors of more Pixar dedicated areas to come. Not to mention that Disney Hollywood Studios has changed its image from a working studio with backstage themed attractions to the home of Disney’s best thrill rides. Muppet Vision 3D is resigned to a corner of the park where only ardent Muppet Fans acknowledge, but It would be nice if the rest of the world showed them some love.
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the animals almost take a secondary role to the incredible attractions imagineered for each section of the park. This is unfortunate because the animals are the whole purpose of the park. There is only so much you can do between Expedition Everest and Avatar: Flight of Passage. Which is why most guests are satisfied to take the safari and count that as the day’s animal viewing. What most people don’t ever notice is that when exiting the Safari, there is an entrance to a fascinating Gorilla habitat that you have to turn and look behind you to see. This is just one of many animal trails you can take in the massive park.
Cultural Galleries in Epcot
Epcot is known for its festivals, but there has always been a strong focus on world cultures within the park. All around the World Showcase are hidden galleries that most guests have no idea are even there. Beyond the shows, shopping, dining, and rides, these tiny exhibits provide a quiet retreat from the heat or the crowds. Some galleries hide in plain sight like the one at the entrance to the Mexico Pavilion, or the one in the waiting area for Reflections of China (soon to be Wondrous China). Others are found in Norway, Morocco, Japan, and The American Adventure.
Don’t forget to check out the Disney World height restrictions!