When Disney Blogstorians (because that will totally be a thing) document the history of the bizarre phenomenon of sites like this one, today will live in infamy as the date this site jumped the shark. Today we are covering the top toilets at Walt Disney World. This list is a combination of great hidden away locations, top-notch restrooms, and a couple of bathrooms that make the list because they are flat out bizarre. Picking a favorite restroom is like choosing a favorite child, so it has been tough to narrow this list to 10, but against all odds, I’ve done it.
This is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I’ve avoided it because, well…it’s weird. That is, until the Tangled Toilets opened a couple of years ago, and every blog had like 38 posts on them. All bets were off at that point. I don’t know why I was shied away from the topic; it’s not like it’s taboo or anything. It just seems like a ‘no turning back’ point in terms of legitimacy. That Peabody Award I was going to get for my excellence in construction wall reporting? Gone.
Still, it’s not as if this blog has the gravitas of The New York Times or anything. Besides, there’s probably some dude sitting in a forgotten corner of the WDI offices in Glendale with the title of “Potty Show Design, Tiling & Technical Director” who takes his work very seriously, yet is always the butt of jokes. Well, good sir, your day is finally here. You can now do a celebratory fist-pump and regale your family with the kind words this blog told of your fine work. Suffice to say, this post has been a long time coming, it just took me a while to collect a sufficient number of photos of various restrooms.
I’ll bet most of you reading this have never taken photos of a restroom. Why would you? Until this, I hadn’t either. (Aside from a really awkward situation in which my DSLR inadvertently fired off a burst of frames as it was pressed to my side while I was standing at a row of urinals.) So, you probably don’t know about restroom photography decorum. Namely, you never take a photo when another person is in the restroom, especially if they cannot see you. Can you imagine sitting in there–alone–and hearing someone waltz in, fire off a series of photos, and then rush out? That pricey once in a lifetime Walt Disney World trip just got even more expensive due to the years of therapy after it.
While the restrooms on this list are my favorites at Walt Disney World, it’s tough to take a topic like this too seriously, so…uh…enjoy, I guess?
If you’ve ever been in the men’s restroom here, you know exactly why it made the list. That. Mural. I assume (and hope, quite frankly) that this is some sort of twisted inside joke among the Imagineers added clandestinely during construction, and by the time someone in management caught this thing, it was already too late to change it. Whatever the reason for this inexplicable mural, it is glorious. Sorry, ladies, but from what I understand, you don’t have the national treasure that is this mural in your restroom. Our friend Adam recreated this mural in a brilliant piece of performance art, but I don’t think the internet is ready for that photo yet, so here’s a celebratory group photo of my crew in there following the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Modern Americans use the restrooms more than our forefathers in 1982. Or, so you would think if you strolled through the World Showcase and found small restroom after small restroom, all of which are insufficient for demand, especially in the era of “Drinking Around the World.” Teddy Roosevelt once offered words of motivation to those toiling in the quest to find a restroom in Epcot: “courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” These sage words gave former Epcot VP Jam MacPhee a spark of inspiration, and he used them as his motivation for adding new restrooms to American Adventure. Easily the largest set of restrooms in World Showcase, these toilets embody the American Dream.
Despite the restroom situation being pretty deplorable in World Showcase, there are some gems. These include the ones up and outside Katsura Grill in Japan, ones back by International Gateway, and who could forget the fabled Denmark pavilion (you read that correctly) potties?! Of all of these, though, my favorite is the restrooms inside San Angel Inn. Classy, rarely crowded, and the most convenient spot if you’re in urgent need after spending some time at La Cava del Tequila, these are a beacon of light in the darkness that is the World Showcase restrooms.
Only commoners should be forced to subject themselves to using paper towel to dry their hands, a truism Disney recognizes when stocking the Deluxe Resort public restrooms with cloth towels for hand-drying. In general, the public restrooms at these resorts are small, but well appointed (often with floor-length, wood doors for the stalls), with nicer soap than their counterparts in the parks. I’m not even kidding. If I had to pick favorites, I’d choose the restrooms outside of Citricos and Victoria & Albert’s, the hallway near Belle Vue Lounge in BoardWalk Inn, and the lobby level of the Contemporary. With the unwashed masses tracking their muddy boots all over the floor, I guess the parks simply can’t do nicer restrooms? 😉
These make the list solely because they are pure early-1990s weirdness. The tiling is right there with parachute pants and neon fanny packs in terms of style, but it’s really the two “rows” of urinals that I find most interesting. While small, these restrooms are tucked away back by Club Cool in a forgotten hallway (that’s not so forgotten on hot days when people seem to be randomly lying on the floor, basking in the AC).
Hollywood Brown Derby
Flush like the stars, in the restroom that is a beacon for the show business elite. These restrooms are located just inside the side entrance to the Hollywood Brown Derby, making them easy options even if you’re not dining at the restaurant. The two upsides here are that they are rarely crowded and well-themed, making them far and away the best options in a landscape of dull restrooms at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My other top picks for that park are all in or near the Streets of America; for whatever reason, Disney didn’t announce their closure when it announced that of Lights, Motors, Action!, despite the restrooms being far more entertaining than that attraction.
The Restroom Odyssey
Epcot is really well-represented on this list, and that’s due to a mix of wonderfully retro bathrooms, and also due to a restroom shortage in the park in light of current attendance. The restrooms located near the Baby Care Center at the former Odyssey Restaurant are great for their retro charm, dearth of crowds, and overall large size.
The opening of the Tangled Toilets paved the way for bathroom blogging, and for that, I think we can all rejoice. There was some initial outrage over the hype about these restrooms, but that was entirely the result of over-coverage by bloggers rather than actual hype by Disney (there was no “grand opening” for the restrooms nor a press release). Irrespective of all that, the restrooms are nice. While they do draw significant crowds due to their location at the boundary between Fantasyland and Liberty Square, they can easily meet demand thanks to their huge size. Other favorites in Magic Kingdom include those in the old Tomorrowland Skyway building (near Carousel of Progress), Tomorrowland Terrace, and tucked away in Caribbean Plaza north of Pirates of the Caribbean.
I know what you’re thinking: “but Tom, isn’t all of Dino-rama just one giant toilet?” Figuratively, yes. However, I would caution you against treating it as such, because security might disagree with that assessment. Being the newest of the parks, Animal Kingdom was constructed after Walt Disney World had really exploded in popularity, so the park built restrooms in light of modern attendance numbers. As a result, you don’t really need “hidden gem” restrooms here, as the park does a much better job–on the whole–of meeting restroom demand. There are some colorful locations up in Discovery Island and my second-favorite location is the restrooms in Harambe Village, but the Restaurantosaurus ones are personal favorites.
Journey into Imagination
This restroom was the inspiration for doing this list in the first place. My absolute favorite restrooms at Walt Disney World. These are on the far right front side of the Imagination Pavilion, and they are never crowded. That’s one selling point, but the even bigger one for a Disney geek like me is that they are one of the last vestiges of EPCOT Center, playing the Journey into Imagination pavilion’s original 1983 background music loop. While the rest of the pavilion got new music in the late 1990s, these restrooms were strangely forgotten–or intentionally spared so we fans could enjoy this wonderful loop. No comment as to whether I’ve ever spent ~15 minutes in here solely to enjoy the full loop. The video above is a small clip I shot on our last trip–the entire time I stood there in fear that someone would walk in, because that would’ve been a fun one to explain. YOU’RE WELCOME, AMERICA.
Normally, I avoid speculating as to what Walt Disney would think, but in this case, it goes without saying that Mr. Disney would totally agree with this list of the best bathrooms at Walt Disney World. As he so often said, “if you can dream it, you can do it.” 😉
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Everyone has their favorites, so what is your favorite bathroom at Walt Disney World? Any location with particularly exceptional theming? Better than average TP? Great music? Low crowds? Share your wisdom on this urgent matter in the comments below!