Disney is known for going the extra mile by packing their parks and resorts full of details and special touches that transports guests into their stories! One of our favorite things about this extra special approach is that not all of Disney's hidden touches are out in the open, but are there whether you see them or not and reward those curious and observant enough to find them!
Today's Hidden Gem can be found at Disney's Hollywood Studios, near the entrance to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
As you can see in the picture, there is a dig site sitting back from the main traffic path where it looks as if someone has been doing some digging! Perhaps Doctor Jones is hunting for another lost artifact?
If you get a bit closer, get real quiet and listen. That's right! You can hear voices coming from down below! Kids are sure to get a kick out of this, especially if they're Indy fans.
Now turn and look across the path. In the trees you will see a table, (pictured below), covered with a variety of items including a skull and Indy's trademark hat! What a great hidden detail!
So on your next trip to Hollywood Studios, do a little wandering around Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular to enjoy these hidden gems!
Indiana Jones Was Here
Have you ever noticed this little sign just outside of the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe? Most guests don't even notice it; and if they did, they probably wouldn't realize that it's actually a little piece of the Disney family tree hidden here at the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square!
This sign is a sweet, sentimental ode to Walt Disney's grandfather, Kepple Disney!
Kepple was born in 1832 in Ireland. He and his parents immigrated to North America when he was a child. He married Mary Richardson and they had eleven children, one of which became the father of those famous Disney Brothers who are responsbile for the Disney Company. His name was Elias.
While this sign is a subtle reference that few will notice, we think it sends a special message. First of all, it shows that people who traveled from other lands, such as the Disney family, eventually made their home and flourished in America. Therefore, it's appropriate that this sign be present in Liberty Square.
Secondly, it's only fitting that Walt's family roots and family history are still present in a place that Walt built for families!
This hidden gem is a great piece of Disney history. Be sure to look for it on your next trip to WDW!
When strolling down Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios, we are sure you have seen the shop whose marquee reads, "Once Upon a Time."
The marquee tends to generate a lot of attention; but the real gem, the building itself, is often ignored.
This shop actually represents an important part of Disney history, and it now has a twin at another Disney park, Disney's California Adventure!
This shop is a replica of the Carthay Circle Theater in old Hollywood, the home for many premieres and an icon of that glamorous golden age of the cinema. Even more importantly, the Carthay Circle Theater housed the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first animated feature length film which, next to Mickey Mouse, helped started it all!
When you pass by this shop at the park, Disney has hinted towards this piece of their history with the vintage posters of Snow White in the window displays.
Therefore, due to its history and role in the breakthrough of Disney animation, this theater replica definitely deserves a spot in Disney's Hollywood Studios, a park which celebrates the magic of Hollywood. But now, at Disney's California Adventure, they now have their own replica of the Carthay Circle Theater too!
In California, their replica of the Carthay Circle Theater houses a lounge, an exclusive club, and restaurant, and it's all brand new! So now when you visit Disney's California Adventure, you can step back in time to experience what it was like in old Hollywood when Walt first arrived.
So regardless of what coast you're visiting, be sure to notice these replicas of the Carthay Circle Theater at the Disney parks and remember the history that's behind them!
Poster in the Carthay Circle Theater
Did you know that you can get your haircut at the Magic Kingdom? It's true! You can get a truly magical cut and trim at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street U.S.A.!Tucked out of the way, near the Emporium, this working barber shop follows the Disney tradition of offering not only service, but pixie dust too! This is especially true for young guests who may emerge covered with Mickey stickers and temporary colored hair and Mickey glitter in their new do! Also, little guests who are receiving their very first haircut are rewarded a pair of "My 1st Haircut" Mouse Ears and a certificate! Now that's making memories!
Harmony Barber Shop offers an old fashioned, laidback style, keeping with the theme of Main Street U.S.A. No one is in a hurry here and there is plenty of laughs and conversation going around, including a few gags! The Dapper Dans may even drop by to sing a tune or two. However, for you older princes and princesses, be aware that the services here aren't just for kids, adults can get a trim or a new style here too.
If you would like to visit the Harmony Barber Shop, or have your child's first haircut at the most magical place on earth, you will have to call and schedule a reservation at (407) WDISNEY; and to see some photos of this hidden gem and their barbers work, check out some galleries here from allears.net!
Located in Fantasyland, just around the corner from Castle Couture (to the right when facing the castle rear), you may find a fountain featuring a statuette of Cinderella!
This charming fountain fascinates and charms all who encounter it; and children may notice that the crown located on the background is positioned right on her head, a detail many adults miss because it depends upon your point of view!
Near the fountain there is a plaque which reads,
"La Fontaine de Cendrillon. Cinderella Fountain. Inspired by the French fairy tale and the Walt Disney film classic."
Cinderella Fountain is a great spot for a photo-op no matter what time of day because it is illuminated at night! It's also a treat for any Cinderella fan and is a sweet reminder that the gorgeous castle overhead belongs to this gentle and kind princess!
Be sure to look for this royal hidden gem on your next visit to the Magic Kingdom!
At the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, we stumbled upon a little hidden gem for those looking for a quiet escape or those who are fans of everyone's favorite nanny, Mary Poppins!
Tucked to the left of the resort's entrance, you will find a quiet, secluded area filled with benches and lanscaping with a topiary of Mary Poppins at the center holding her trademark umbrella and carpet bag!
It appears as if the area may be used for the Grand Floridian's Supercalifragilistic Character Breakfast. At this character meal, you enjoy a breakfast buffet while Mary Poppins and Alice and the Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland stop by! Great characters for such an elegant resort!
We discovered this spot during the afternoon and it was completely abandoned. So if you're looking for a quiet place to escape, or you're a Mary Poppins fan, follow the porch around the left from the resort's entrance to this secret spot! Be sure to bring your camera!
On either side of Cinderella Castle, you can find walkways which transport you toward the back of the park, as well as give close-up views of the gorgeous castle itself. However, some guests don't realize that on the path on the right side of the castle, you will find a hidden gem, Cinderella's Wishing Well!
This charming ornate wishing well has its own small area off the beaten path which offers a view of the castle; but not only is this a great hidden spot and a great corner for a photo op, the money you toss in actually goes to charity!
A plaque located at the base of the well (pictured below) reads "Your wishes will help the dreams of children come true." Not only is this wishing well charming, it really does make dreams come true! That's real Disney magic! So be sure to check out this fairy tale hidden gem on your next visit to the Magic Kingdom!
At Disney's Hollywood Studios, there is a a clever, little hidden photo spot that you may have passed by and never noticed! Located on Sunset Boulevard, the same street that is home to Rock n' Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and across the street from Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage right in front of a shop, you will find a Route 66 road sign with a stack of old fashioned luggage underneath!
This is a great photo spot, but many people don't even notice it because it's in a congested area and draws little attention to itself. Its location also keeps many guests from spotting due to the fact that it sits on the curb near the trash cans and benches. However, the families and individuals who do find this vintage road sign enjoy climbing on the luggage and posing for a great pic!
Hollywood Studios has several little hidden gems that pay homage to the world of Old Hollywood, and this particular hidden gem is a little piece of the "Main Street of America", the road that transported Americans to that Hollywood world, Los Angeles! Be sure to look for this spot on your next visit to Hollywood Studios; and if you have found this hidden gem on your vacation, be sure to let us know!
Located on the left when you enter Disney's Hollywood Studios, this laidback shack is one of the most unique Disney shops on property! Why? This shop sells posters, prints, and autographs from popular movies and television shows!
SId Cahuenga's is a great shopping spot for film and TV buffs, and an ideal shop for Hollywood Studios in that you can bring a piece of Hollywood home with you! This shop is also a great place to do a little shopping for those at home or for a birthday or Christmas present!
Because it sits back aways from the action, and doesn't look like much from a far, many guests just walk on by; but because of the unique merchandise for sale here, we consider Sid Cahuenga's a definite Hidden Gem at Walt Disney World! Be sure to check it out the next time you visit Hollywood Studios!
Nestled on Disney's Boardwalk is a sweet little haven from the masses that we recommend you check out during your next trip to Walt Disney World. It's the Boardwalk Bakery! This is a great place to go for a sugar boost, a refreshment, or a quick meal! So instead of stopping by a snack cart or your resort's food court, like everyone else, have an experience and drop by what we consider a hidden gem, the Boardwalk Bakery!
This little place is charming with a vintage, seaside appeal, which makes you feel like you walked into a small town bakery or your own favorite sweet shop from home!
The menu here offers breakfast items, delicious sandwiches for lunch, a variety of beverages, and a myriad of muffins, pastries, and other sweet treats! If you have a rumbling stomach, and a sweet tooth, you may find it difficult to choose between all the options available here!
Once you've made your purchases, take a seat at one of the cafe tables outside, relax, and enjoy the view. It's a good way to escape the crowds, hype, and mayhem for a while and plan the rest of your day. We also recommend sitting outside and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk alive at night as well!
Besides the food, we enjoy dropping in to check out the ulimate sweet treats at the Boardwalk Bakery, the Disney cakes, made and decorated by Disney chefs! Some of these cake cake creations are often displayed in this dining location's cases full of goodies. These cakes, which range in flavor, size, and design, are for guests' special occasions that you can order and enjoy! Even if a cake is not part of your vacation plans, these magical confections are still worth seeing! You may even spot a Hidden Mickey on one of the cakes!
Be sure to look up while at the Boardwalk Bakery to see even more cakes on display!