For many people, there’s no longer such a thing as a disconnected vacation, even at Walt Disney World. As laptops and smart phones have become ubiquitous, so too has the expectation that work calls and emails will be responded to within hours, even on vacation. While I’m not here to offer a biting commentary on the cultural shift of always being “on call” (suffice to say, I’m not a fan), I can offer some insight on where find quiet places to get work done at Walt Disney World.
The best place to get work done is going to be your hotel room, and this where I do most of my work on the road. I wouldn’t say I exactly look forward to sitting on the hotel balcony with a cup of coffee and my laptop…but this is about as good as it gets in terms of workplaces, and I have developed something of an appreciation for these quiet moments in the mornings.
With that said, you can’t always choose where to get work done. Depending upon your occupation, duty might call (if you’re Superman, for instance) in the middle of the day while you’re at Magic Kingdom. In circumstances such as these, you need to make the most of your location, and get stuff done right away. As such, we’ve reserved spots on this list for each of the 4 parks, plus Disney Springs. With that said, here’s our list…
10. Town Center Welcome Center – I’ve only ever needed to get work done at Disney Springs once, and stumbled upon the Town Center Welcome Center by accident. I appreciated the rocking chairs with a view out over the water, the shady setting (Disney Springs is really lacking in shade–something I hadn’t realized because we normally visit at night), and the lack of crowds. Any restaurant with a terrace out onto the water is going to have the same result, but you’ll have to pay for that experience (or rather, for food). Likewise, Starbucks is an air-conditioned option at Disney Springs, but it’s not going to be quiet.
9. PizzeRizzo Balcony – Given that Pizza Planet was often derided for its loud, raucous atmosphere, it may come as something of a surprise to see PizzeRizzo on this list. While the revamped restaurant is significantly quieter, it’s mostly on this list for lack of better options. Tucked away back in Muppets Courtyard, this is the least-busy area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and during off-hours, you’re likely to find few people up on this balcony. If you don’t need a table to do your work, finding an isolated corner in the courtyard may be a better choice.
8. Innoventions – As Innoventions has basically become a ghost town with exhibits being removed on both sides, fewer and fewer guests venture into these (pretty depressing) halls. As such, you can find quiet spaces that are a reprieve from the crowds. With the status of these buildings in flux, you might find Innoventions closed entirely at some point in the near future, meaning you’ll need to look elsewhere…
7. Flame Tree BBQ Seating – Animal Kingdom has a ton of quiet spaces, particularly throughout the Oasis and Tree of Life trails, but the problem with all of those spots is that these can be relatively tight spaces, so all it takes is one loud party to come your way and eliminate what was once a reprieve. Due to that, I much prefer getting work done in the Flame Tree BBQ seating area during off hours. If you’re here outside of the prime dining hours, you can typically grab a table with absolutely no one around. Few things beat a workspace with Everest in the background.
6. Hotel du Canada – If you head towards the sun in the photo above (to the left of the Hotel du Canada), you’ll find yourself at a location in the Canada pavilion where few other guests venture. There are a few benches back there, and it’s the perfect environment to get work done–or just to relax away from the crowds. I frequently head up here for the relaxing roar of the waterfall, which can also provide a nice ‘blanket’ of white noise.
5. Disney Vacation Club Community Rooms – In almost every DVC resort, there is a community room (actually, I’m not sure if the newer ones have them). These rooms usually have board games, televisions, and reading chairs. The idea, as reflected in the name, is that they’d be a gathering place for community events. The problem (or in our case, benefit) is that almost no one ever uses them. I’ve spent hours in the ones at Old Key West, Wilderness Lodge, and Beach Club Villas and have seldom had anyone else join me in the room.
4. Katsura Grill Outdoor Seating – There have been several times when we’ve opted to eat at Katsura Grill not because we were in the mood for Japanese cuisine, but because we wanted to escape the crowds at the outdoor seating area up here. There’s rarely anyone around, and it’s especially serene at night with the lanterns hanging overheard and the reflecting ponds nearby.
3. Crescent Solarium – I would hazard a guess that there are lifelong fans who don’t even know this exists. I didn’t until stumbling upon it by chance a few years ago. Located in a quiet wing of Beach Club as you head towards the Villas, this hallway and airy atrium rarely has many people in it, making it a great place to work. (Pro tip: it’s also a great spot to eat whatever you order from Beach Club Marketplace, should you be forced into eating there.)
2. Tomorrowland Terrace – A quiet seating area with shade and a view of Cinderella Castle? This one is nearly impossible to beat. While it “closes” early to set-up for the dessert parties and sometimes is actually operational as a restaurant, early in the day, it’s perfect. (Pro tip: even if you don’t have any work to get done, grabbing breakfast and taking it here to eat with no one around–and a castle view–is the perfect way to start a day!)
1. Wilderness Lodge Fireplaces – The fireplace in the main lobby of Wilderness Lodge is “okay.” It’s so popular it sometimes has multiple rows of rocking chairs sitting out at it, which is fine if you want to see the back of someone’s head. The good news is that Wilderness Lodge must’ve bought its fireplaces in bulk, as they’re all over the place. For a more secluded experience, head upstairs to the alcoves, which have fireplaces and overstuffed reading chairs and couches around them. #SERENITYNOW
Even if you have no intentions of ever answering a work email on vacation or putting together a spreadsheet of [insert whatever people do with spreadsheets–I don’t use them!], hopefully this list gives you some insight into where you can find some quiet corners at Walt Disney World. Now, don’t make me regret sharing these with you by being loud and obnoxious in any of them! 😉 What about you…do you have any quiet places you like to go to get down to business (or just escape the crowds) at Walt Disney World?