Sometimes, the real action at Disney theme parks has nothing to do with the attractions.
Instead, you simply want to look around and savor the euphoria of other guests.
Children spend their lives dreaming about Disney vacations, and many adults do as well.
When these tourists arrive at the Most Magical Place on Earth, they relish every moment. And I get a contact high from their expressions of joy.
Yes, I must confess that I’m a people-watcher by nature, and I know the best spots do this at Walt Disney World.
ANY Parade or Cavalcade
You will never witness a happier child than when they watch a Disney parade. In moments like these, children believe that anything is possible.
Children watch Disney characters come to life, dancing and singing along to classic songs. It’s all so believable that they gleefully buy into the illusion.
Oh, who am I kidding? Many adults do that as well…and I’m one of them!
Whenever a Disney parade or cavalcade starts, grab a good spot, and then remember to watch others at times! It’ll make everything a bit better.
Benches Near Space Mountain
My wife suggested this one because she feels the same way about Space Mountain that I do about Beatles music.
Yes, many people love each one, but it’s okay if you’re not part of the crowd.
I don’t “get” Paul McCartney, and she doesn’t love the back-wrecking movements of Space Mountain.
For this reason, she frequently grabs a snack and sits on benches near the ride. From here, you can appreciate the kinetic energy of Tomorrowland.
There’s a stage close to this spot where The Incredibles sometimes put on a show.
Also, the activity of Astro Orbiter, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, and the nearby restaurant ensure a steady flow of traffic.
Character Greeting Lines
Here’s a favorite of mine. In fact, one of my best Disney moments ever occurred while I was standing in line to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out.
A Make-A-Wish family came in through the side door and proceeded to receive several minutes of special attention from the characters.
I legitimately saw more than one person cry as we all stared in awe at these cast members.
The people in the Joy and Sadness costumes entertained the entire family, bringing much-needed levity into their lives.
I’ve loved humanity a little bit more ever since then.
Dining at Sunshine Seasons
The activity at the Land pavilion exists on multiple levels. Guests excitedly enter the building on the top floor and then head to the escalator.
Yes, there is a good restaurant and a movie attraction on the second level. Still, most people are heading to the basement. They want to ride Soarin’ and/or Living with the Land.
When you grab a table at Sunshine Seasons, you can watch everyone move with purpose toward the next thing on their Disney itinerary.
Plus, you can catch your breath and enjoy some excellent food here as well.
Eating Outdoors at Pecos Bill
Due to the unique design of Magic Kingdom, parts of Frontierland feel detached from the rest.
Specifically, one hub contains the themed land’s action spots, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.
However, the hub-and-spokes park design guarantees that people will roam the main walkway that connects Frontierland to Adventureland and Liberty Square.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe resides on this walkway, just down the road from Country Bear Jamboree.
When you eat outdoors here, you can watch all the activity. Plus, you might catch a Country Bear entertaining guests on some lucky occasions!
Entrance to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
One of my favorite sitting spots at Walt Disney World resides here.
Whenever I enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I usually take the right turn toward Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Just by the guitar, there are benches where guests can sit. I’ve booked many a FastPass while sitting here.
In fact, for a time, this was my designated spot for Boarding Groups as well. And something I love about it is watching other guests do the same thing at the same time!
Hanging Out at the World Showcase
When I envisioned this, I specifically thought of the indoor sitting area for Wonders of China.
Then, I realized I was being needlessly reductive. The irrefutable truth is that the entire World Showcase provides THE finest people-watching options at Disney.
Sure, some of the folks you’ll see are angry, stumbling drunks, but that’s usually just late at night and not even something that comes up a lot.
Instead, most people-watching at the World Showcase involves guests appreciating just how comprehensive this place is for the first time.
I love when I notice tourists’ excitement growing as they recognize how much more they have yet to do at EPCOT.
For me, the best places for hotel-watching occur outside the theme parks.
You’ll learn plenty about human nature when you study guests checking into hotels and exploring them for the first time.
We once had a check-in issue that left us stranded at Disney’s Beach Club Resort for several hours while they tried to find us a room.
I saw a bridal shower party that was universally day-drunk to the extreme, a mother going to bat for her disabled child’s comfort, and an entitled jerk berating a cast member for…something.
In that one segment of time, I witnessed the best and worst of human nature, plus the excitement that stems from dramatic life change.
That’s the power of Disney vacations right there.
Magic Kingdom Courtyard
Speaking of which, Walt Disney World has unofficial capital, whether anyone admits it or not.
Cinderella Castle qualifies as the North Star for the entire Disney campus. It’s a hotbed of activity that changes literally by the minute.
Anything is possible when you’re standing on Main Street, USA, plotting your next step.
Disney knows that guests want to sit around and admire the view. So, you’ll find surprisingly ample seating in/around the castle courtyard.
Places like The Plaza Restaurant even include outdoor seating. Not coincidentally, you’ll always notice people sitting here.
As often as not, they’re watching the other people, not the castle. We are a voyeuristic culture, aren’t we?
Seating Near Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Here’s an underrated spot that stems from necessity as much as anything else.
Adventureland doesn’t offer the best seating options at Magic Kingdom. To me, that hath never made sense, given the nearby location of Aloha Isle.
Guests who want to visit the area can order a Dole Whip, and then sit down to eat it. While doing so, we also like to watch people.
Thankfully, you’ll find some makeshift stone benches close to Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
They’ll provide tolerable seating while you’re looking at others and enjoying your ice cream treat.
Tables at Woody’s Box Lunch
Here’s another favorite of mine. Disney designed Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios with children in mind.
They delight in what’s one of their earliest encounters with the concept of scale. They see little things at impossibly large sizes, and it makes them gleeful.
When you dine at Woody’s Box Lunch, you can take in all this euphoric activity as the restaurant resides squarely in the middle of the themed land.
Also, as with Sunshine Seasons, the cuisine is exceptional here as well.
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Feature Photo: Disney Vacation Club