Escapes & Strolls: Animal Kingdom Shaded Alcoves

img_5646Even on a busy holiday, there are places to go for an escape in the parks. Over the Memorial Day weekend, we decided to get out for an escape with some fresh air. Since the rides would all be very busy, we needed to head somewhere else for a little peace and quiet. We chose Animal Kingdom, as there is a lot to see there without waiting in any lines.
Our parking spot was about the farthest it’s ever been from the front entrance. This was fine because we needed the walk, but the temperature was dangerously warm. By the time we got to the front gate, it was time for a cold drink. We decided to stop by Joffrey’s conveniently right outside the front entrance of the park. Unfortunately, Joffrey’s is having some sort of technical difficulty and is only accepting cash or MagicBands. I verified that this is not an isolated incident and is happening in multiple parks. So we had to hold off on getting our iced cold brew.
We headed through the front gate and made our way up the hill to the right. After passing by a couple of animal enclosures on either side, we came to the top of the hill. Although there aren’t any more animals here, there is a hidden space. This is where we ducked in and made our escape.

Inside front of park alcove entrance

The best way to spot the alcove here is to look off to the right for a bench in between two cliffside walls. I believe this used to be an old smoking section before smoking was banned inside the park. Now its a hidden away gem with the backdrop of a verdant landscape. When we stepped in there was no one in sight and we couldn’t even hear anyone talking. There is a bench to sit down, some shade from all the trees surrounding the area and a wood fence with a nice view of the waterway below. Across the water is an unoccupied area with a white roof. 
img_5660This area is definitely secluded and peaceful. It’s a good place for pictures, to take in the surroundings or have a snack. In our case, the plan was to enjoy our cold cold brew together in the quiet and shade. There are other stands a little further into the park to grab a soda or beer that are in close enough walking distance to this spot as well. img_5653Since we didn’t get exactly what we had set out for, after a short stop we continued on. We did end up getting a cold brew at Creature Comforts, but that’s not the focus of this trip.
Not far away there is another former smoking area that is now a peaceful escape.

Exit to Caravan Road

This area is closest to the Caravan Road and Mr. Kamal food stands on one entrance and a little further away from Tamu Tamu Refreshments on the other. This area is again very secluded. It is almost completely in the shade from the large trees overhead. There was hardly any noise and only a few people even walked through the large area during the time we were there. The main walkway through this part of the park is down below on the other side of trees and therefore the people walking don’t even notice this locale.
img_5667I think this spot is even nicer than the alcove at the front of the park. It is more well covered and there is a small stream that flows down the hill and under the walkway beneath you. There is even a perfectly cut out viewing area for the Tree of Life between the trees and vines.

This little escape also has a fairly large covered seating area. I have successfully hidden from a bad rainstorm at one of the tables here before. This would also be a good spot for a picnic or to sit down and enjoy a cocktail. With the previously mentioned food stands in close range, it’s an easy point to return to once the food has been acquired.
Although things didn’t work out exactly as planned, we learned just how nice these little former smoking sections really are. They are both in convenient locations, provide great shade and even have a place to sit. I recommend planning a detour to one of these areas for a nice break from the sun and the crowds, or photo opportunity amongst the lush foliage.

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