Hidden Gem: Tom Sawyer Island

It is getting toward mid-day and you are just finishing the first third of an epic Magic Kingdom day. You are hot, you are tired, you just had something to eat, or you are looking to find a little space to enjoy a snack you just picked up. Well then, step right up to the wooden rafts in Frontierland and head over to today’s hidden gem, Tom Sawyer Island. It is a quiet spot that has been through a lot of iterations over the years, and rumors have it disappearing altogether soon. Visit Tom Sawyer Island before it is gone. It has great tree coverage and shade with lots of little nooks and crannies away from the bustling crowds. It can also be a great way for kids to explore and roam a bit more freely given the only access on and off the island are those rafts.IMG_5825_6_7_8_9HDR

Often, on Disney vacations, we just want to get from point A to point B in the parks. Tom Sawyer Island is off the beaten trails, doesn’t connect any two places, and takes some time to get to and back from. If you need a rest and a little breathing room, it can be a nice mini-vacation from your vacation. The views are also really unique. The photo bugs out there may want to visit just to see things a little differently. You don’t often get to see the Great Thunder Mountain or Gracey Manor (Haunted Mansion) from those angles. I recommend, on your next long Magic Kingdom day, you take a few moments out out to explore a bit of a forgotten piece of Frontierland and Magic Kingdom history.

 

 

 

 

Hidden Gem: Jumping Water Fountains

With a less than popular ride and a mostly unused pavilion, EPCOT’s Jumping Fountain, today’s hidden gem, goes unnoticed. These simple water features, which defy gravity, capture the imagination of children and can be a cool place for adults to rest while their little ones chase the dancing droplets and get a little wet. IMG_6888They can be found right by the exit from the Journey Into Imagination with (not enough) Figment and the Disney and Pixar Film Fest, tucked in a corner and away from the more well traveled paths.   I remember being fascinated by these as a child, as well as the nearby “backwards” fountain.  Neither is talked about much or featured on many itineraries, but it is a can’t miss for my family. Surprisingly, my niece and nephews request to visit those fountains every trip. There is no line, no FastPass, no extra cost, and no limit. Too often we can let our Disney vacations become a race from one E ticket (popular) attraction to another. Instead, a trip to the Jumping Fountains can offer a much needed respite and a change of pace and an oasis in the hustle and bustle. Remember, vacations to Disney World are still vacations and EPCOT is the perfect place to slow down and smell the roses (sometimes literally). On your next trip, leave some time to enjoy this oft unappreciated hidden gem.

Additional tip, your kids might enjoy the nearby wildlife too.