You’ve probably heard of hidden Mickeys before, but did you know there are hidden bars, secret ceremonies, and special magical extras at many of the Disney resorts? We’re talking about super-secret, totally under wraps happenings you’ll have to see to believe!
And not to worry — they aren’t just for the guests staying there; everyone’s invited to join in the fun! Here’s our list of the Nine Disney resort experiences you didn’t even know existed — until now!
1. Nanny Chairs at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
Anyone who’s ever passed through Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort has probably stopped dead in their tracks by this unsettling duo flanking the lobby’s fireplace. We’re talking about the nanny chairs. Just a warning– it gets MUCH weirder!
There’s actually four of these little guys and they’re all cast from original 19th-century carousel chairs. These types of chairs were originally intended to give nannies a much-needed rest while the children they watched rode a carousel. If you look at their backs, you’ll see that each one is personalized with a hand painted name. There’s Todd, Paul, Alex, and Carrie — rumored to be names of the children of imagineers who created them.
What’s really spooky with these chairs is how much they move around the resort! Two are usually hanging out upstairs in the lobby while the other two loiter around downstairs.
One day Todd and Alex may be upstairs, but the next day you might find that Paul and Carrie are in their places! I swear these creepies wander around the resort unaided at night… .
2. Slog Some Grog at Trader Sams!
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort holds many untold mysteries of the South Pacific. Our favorite unearthed treasure? Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto! Stay on the lookout as you navigate the hallway past Capt Cook’s towards the marina — the infamous headhunter and proprietor’s hangout is easy to overlook with its very simple door.
But beware! Once inside you might anger the tiki gods depending on which cocktail you order! Consequences are swift — brace yourself for volcanic eruptions, loud claps of thunder, sprays of water, a sneaky Octopus, and more!
This spot is a blast for a few fun drinks, but it is VERY small inside. If you want to grab a seat without a wait, try to head there before opening (usually at 3 or 4pm most days) and grab a spot in line.
DFB TIP! Another really neat thing that happens each day at the Polynesian is the Torch Lighting Ceremony. You won’t find published times for this rather smallish event, but around the six o’clock hour (or whenever it gets dark) between Tuesdays and Saturdays, you’ll get to watch a fire performer awaken the spirit of Polynesia and light the torches around the resort!
3. A Grand Band at Disney’s Grand Floridian
Did you know Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has its very own band? Yup, you read that right! The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra plays free nightly performances in the lobby of the Grand Floridian most afternoons and evenings!
Sit back and relax to some ragtime, Dixieland, and traditional jazz tunes with a few Disney hits sprinkled in for good measure!
4. A Night at the Museum in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, with over 800 unique pieces of original art, is one of the largest assemblages of African art outside of the continent of Africa! Stunning paintings, sculptures, and artifacts fill Animal Kingdom Lodge’s lobbies, hallways, and corridors. The largest piece? A 16-foot tall mask made by the Igbo people of Nigeria displayed in its main lobby!
Head over to this resort to check out some of the amazing art while you watch the animals roam outside the resort. Maybe swing over to Sanaa in the Kidani Village building for a taste of authentic African dining. Sanaa is Swahili for “Work of Art” and features some beautiful African art and elements of nature, like Weaver birds’ nests and Acacia trees, throughout the restaurant.
5. Knee-Slapping Fun at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
If you haven’t stayed the night at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, then chances are very slim that you’ve ever heard of Yehaa Bob. After all, he’s self-proclaimed “under the radar!” Young and old fans of musical comedy will delight over Yehaa Bob’s family-friendly performances.
Yehaa Bob performs most Wednesday through Saturday evenings at the River Roost Lounge located adjacent to Boatwright’s. Check out his website at Bobjacksonmusic.com to see if he’ll be “tickling the ivories” next time you’re in town.
6. Behind the Scenes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
While you won’t be allowed in the kitchens, you can take in all the decor and find out about the symbolism behind the designs of each restaurant! You’ll even sample a few bites from the menu! The tours take place in the early afternoon and generally last about 30 minutes — check it out next time you’re in that neck of the woods!
7. Secret Menu at Disney’s All-Star Movies
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort has been keeping a huge secret! Go to the World Premiere Food Court and ask any cast member behind the Roxy Counter for the secret menu. You’ll be shown to a special briefcase and told to enter the classified combination to unlock it!
What’s inside? A Viewmaster!!!!!! Printed on legit Viewmasters, you’ll have to click your way through the slides to make your menu selections! Last time we were there, the menu featured a Cinnamon Bun and Candied Bacon Cheeseburger as well as a Poutine with Gravy and Cheese Curds and a Bacon Mac and Cheese Dog!
8. Do You Know the Way to Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club?
You’ve heard of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, but you might not have ever heard of Stormalong Bay — Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club’s signature pool. If you’ve ever wanted a chance to swim in a sand-bottomed pool, complete with lazy river AND whirlpool…right at your RESORT HOTEL…this is your spot! This pool is more like a mini-water park than it is a standard hotel pool!
This massive pool features bridges, sandbars, islands, a huge shipwreck waterslide, lazy river, whirlpool zone and the super cool white sand bottom pools. The pool bar, Hurricane Hanna’s even serves up kids meals in sand buckets so kiddos can build sandcastles after they eat! You can take in its sight for free on your way to Beaches and Cream but to take a dip you’ll have to book your stay here! Your magic band will be checked on the way in… .
9. Thar She Blows — Fire Rock Geyser at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!
Our last hidden gem takes us to the Wilderness Lodge to see the Fire Rock Geyser erupt! This man-made geyser is fashioned after Yellowstone’s “Old Faithful” and erupts every hour on the hour starting at 7 AM and ending around 10 PM! Shooting 120-foot streams of water into the air, the geyser can be viewed throughout many areas of the resort including some guest rooms — lucky campers!
These are only a few of the many secrets hidden throughout the Disney resort properties! The rest you’ll have to discover on your own — or you can watch this video where we reveal even MORE secrets happening around Disney World!
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Do you know of a Disney Resort secret? If you do, tell us about it in the comments below!