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The 8 Best Places to Catch Your Breath at Disney

Visiting the Island

Image: DisneyParents tend to think of Magic Kingdom’s Tom Sawyer Island as free babysitting. They send their kids to this spot and then look for the nearest joint that sells alcohol. It’s an understandable reflex, but it’s a mistake. The entire Tom Sawyer Island visit represents an opportunity to calm down during a busy day at the most crowded theme park in the world.

You’ll take a raft over to the island. This step alone is enough to justify the suggestion. It’s a rustic journey that gives you an opportunity to collect your thoughts. Once you arrive on the island, you’ll discover a treasure trove of rocking chairs. Feel free to sit down and take a quick cat nap. It’s scientifically proven to reduce stress.

Watching a show

Image: DisneyI’m generally avoiding attractions in this article, particularly rides, as they feel like a cheat. I’m going to make an exception for a handful of shows, though. All four theme parks host delightful shows that can fundamentally alter your mood. One moment, you’ll be on the verge of totally melting down in front of dozens of strangers. Then, you can turn your day around by taking in a show.

The trick is to pick one that’s indoors. The combination of a darkened environment and soothing air conditioning will help you forget that you’re in the middle of the maelstrom that is Walt Disney World. At Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s PhilHarmagic is an ideal 12-minute escape. The Circle-Vision 360° movies are glorified travelogues, but they’re among the emptiest places on the Disney campus.

Hollywood Studios is home to several delightful shows including my favorite, Voyage of the Little Mermaid. And Animal Kingdom hosts the most popular one, Festival of the Lion King. It’s also the most kinetic and hectic, which makes it less appealing than some of the other shows listed here.

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