Beyond Neverland-Watching Illuminations Outside of Epcot

Our recent trip to WDW included a non-park “Beyond Neverland” day.  We had heard that you could see part of Epcot’s Illuminations, if you stood on the bridge that connects the Boardwalk Resort to the International Gateway, the back entrance to Epcot in World Showcase.  That evening, after Mama Darling and Emily returned from Morimoto Asia we all took a leisurely stroll around the Epcot resorts.  Around 9:00, we made our way to the aforementioned bridge and noticed a huge crowd!  We weren’t expecting to see much, as a lot of Illuminations is centered around lower level pyrotechnics and lasers, but we could see all the fireworks that shoot off into the air.  We also could hear the music coming from Epcot, which was an unexpected surprise.

Here’s a brief video of our view:

We did notice that because the higher fireworks go off and then there is a lull in the action (when the lower level parts are happening) about half of the people left the area before the grand finale.  So they missed the best part of the show! Now this isn’t something we would go out of our way to do, like viewing Wishes from outside of the Magic Kingdom (where you can see and hear the whole show), but since we were staying in the area it was fun to experience.  The Boardwalk area in general is a nice place to explore in the evening.  As a mini bonus, we could see the higher fireworks from Fantasmic while we were in our room at the Dolphin. Maybe someday we’ll splurge for one of the Epcot view rooms on the upper level of the Dolphin and enjoy Illuminations from our balcony. We can dream, right?


Beyond Neverland-Finding a Quiet Spot at the Beach Club



If you’ve read our previous Beyond Neverland posts, you will know that we enjoy going to Walt Disney World even when our passes are blacked out. We love to explore everything The World has to offer outside of the theme parks.  We call this leisurely exploration “Beyond Neverland.” A while back, Emily was deciding whether to book or not to book a trip New Year’s weekend, and it came as no surprise that she decided to book!  Arriving on January 1st meant that we would have a Beyond Neverland day, since our seasonal passes started up again on January 2nd.  As all of the Disney resorts were extremely expensive this weekend, she was able to get a more reasonable rate at the Dolphin Resort.

When we checked in on New Year’s Day our room wasn’t ready yet, so we ate lunch at the Dolphin’s quick service restaurant, Picabu, and set off to tour the all the resorts in the area. We were happy that the Christmas decorations were still up at the Boardwalk, and Yacht & Beach Club. We strolled around all the resorts, taking in all the festive touches.

We happened upon a really nice spot at the Beach Club called the Solarium. It is a lovely, quiet light-filled room where you can sit in a comfy chair and read a book or play games that are sometimes scheduled there. There is also a flat screen TV, which had a football game on at the time, although the volume was either low or off entirely. The architecture and decor reminded me of being at a Cape Cod beach house.

Walking down the hallway which led to the Solarium, we enjoyed viewing the paintings that lined the walls and found hidden Mickeys in each of them.

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It’s these type of activities that we really love to do, to slow down and explore the details and incredible theming that surrounds you. This experience definitely fit in with our philosophy-that there is always something new to experience at Walt Disney World, no matter how many times you go. And when you slow down, there is so much more to enjoy.