Under-Utilized Disney World Experiences

While there’s lots of discussions about the future of theme parks and IP-infused attractions at Walt Disney World, it’s impossible to overlook the present areas and activities that often remain under-utilized. From overlooked attractions to dormant buildings, WDW holds untapped potential that could enhance the overall guest experience.

In this discussion, we’ll explore these hidden gems that deserve a second look.

Aerophile Balloon: Clear Skies or Stormy Weather?

Aerophile at Disney Springs (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Situated in Disney Springs, the Aerophile Balloon is a helium-filled marvel that allows guests to ascend up to 400 feet, offering unparalleled views of the vibrant entertainment district. On clear days, you can see up to 10 miles away.

Yet, during the frequent Florida storms and hurricane seasons, this attraction remains grounded, missing a significant opportunity. Not sure if the balloon could be repurposed into an experience that could be offered during these storms, but the balloon isn’t the only thing that’s closed during bad weather…it’s also the ticket booth.

Wonders of Life Pavilion at EPCOT: Reimagining Health and Wellness

Former Wonders of Life Pavilion at EPCOT (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

EPCOT’s Wonders of Life Pavilion has remained underused for years, with past attractions like Body Wars and Cranium Command now memories for most of us and a golden opportunity for urban explorers looking to get banned from the Disney theme parks for life. This imposing structure could be revitalized to promote health and wellness in a fun and educational way, aligning with Disney’s commitment to guests’ well-being.

But let’s be honest…it’s just going to sit.

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Boardwalk Bikes: Pedal Through Paradise

Surrey Bike Rental at Disney’s Boardwalk (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Disney’s BoardWalk is a picturesque waterfront district filled with dining and entertainment options. However, the simple pleasure of renting bikes and exploring the charming area often goes unnoticed.

A leisurely Surrey Bike ride along the boardwalk or around Crescent Lake offers guests a refreshing and unique perspective – but the bikes are often found under shelter awaiting the next day that a family wants to spend time “together”.

Tomorrowland Terrace: A Hidden Quick Service Restaurant masquerading as a Fireworks Party Location

Tomorrowland Terrace at the Magic Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Found in the high-traffic walkway from Main Street USA to Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Terrace is a spacious outdoor dining area with a view to die for. While it hosts seasonal events and fireworks, it remains dormant during non-event times.

A creative transformation could see this space used for live entertainment, character encounters, or themed dining experiences.

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World Showplace: Showcasing the World

EPCOT’s World Showplace is a versatile venue mainly reserved for special events and festivals. During off-peak times, it sits vacant. Disney could maximize its potential with rotating exhibits, cultural showcases, or unique dining experiences to elevate the EPCOT adventure.

Tom Sawyer Island Dining: Aunt Polly’s

Aunt Polly’s at Tom Sawyer Island (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom offers a peaceful escape from the theme park’s hustle and bustle. While the island boasts caves, an old fort, and lush greenery, it lacks a dedicated dining option. It used to have a grab-and-go location called Aunt Polly’s but that’s been closed for years with no intention of bringing it back.

It would be great to have Aunt Polly’s back in operation, but for a space that’s only accessible by water – it leaves park management wondering if it’s actually worth it.

The Odyssey in EPCOT: A Futuristic Blank Canvas

The underutilized Odyssey building in EPCOT boasts a prime location and a futuristic design. It could become an educational and immersive showcase for cutting-edge technology, art, or culture.

Currently, it sits as a festival location with a space for a pop-up restaurant. It’s outdated and very run down, but hosts a much-needed washroom.

We just think that the sink hole-adjacent building deserves more!

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WDW Radio Studios: Awaiting Rebirth

Mickey Shorts Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is renowned for its spectacular shows and attractions, but the WDW Radio Studios, previously home to ABC Sound Stage with various exhibits and shows, currently stands as a spot to watch a Mickey & Minnie vacation short film. Disney might reimagine this space with innovative entertainment technology or as a venue for captivating performances.

Or we can bring back Drew Carey.

Hotel du Canada: Amplifying Canadian Culture

Hotel du Canada at the Canadian Pavilion at EPCOT (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

EPCOT’s World Showcase features diverse pavilions representing various countries. The Canadian pavilion, while visually stunning, lacks a standout attraction or quick service dining experience.

Using the already existing “Hotel Du Canada” structure, a potential enhancement could provide a more immersive Canadian cultural journey.

Like a Beavertails stall. Or a poutine spot. That’d be nice.

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NBA Disney Springs / Disney Quest: A New Game Plan

Former NBA Experience at Disney Springs (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

After struggling to gain popularity, the NBA Experience at Disney Springs shuttered. Disney might explore options to cater to a broader audience, offering interactive entertainment experiences or incorporating beloved Disney franchises.

With the new Disney Cirque Draw to Life show open, the west side of Disney Springs could definitely use the space correctly.

Maybe the WWE would circle back with it’s long-rumoured Hall of Fame?

Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Awaiting Transformation

Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is undergoing exciting transformations, yet the Animation Courtyard area remains severely underused. By introducing more character meet and greets, interactive exhibits, or attractions inspired by beloved animated classics, Disney could breathe new life into this space.

Or, we could just bulldoze and start from scratch. It worked for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, so maybe we bring a beloved world that deserves to be built in real life.

Might I suggest The Goofy Movie?

In conclusion, while Walt Disney World is renowned for its iconic immersive experiences, these under-utilized gems represent untapped potential for enhancing the guest experience. With creativity and innovation, Disney can ensure that the magic of the park continues to captivate visitors for generations to come.

Stay tuned for the exciting possibilities in the ever-evolving world of Disney World. Universal EPIC Universe is no longer just an idea, which may see Disney responding with plans to activate these spaces sooner rather than later.

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