Mark enjoying the spray on his faceMany a Disney day can be described as “go, go, go.” From arrival to departure there’s more to do than can realistically be done, so… go, go, go! And there’s nothing wrong with that! But amidst all that go, go, go-ing, there’s room—and opportunity—for standing still and seeing where that takes you.

We didn’t always think this way.

For years, go, go, go was all we did, because no matter how much we ever did it was never enough. There was no day empty enough, no ride we could ride enough to make us ever entertain the idea of not go, go, go-ing.

It wasn’t until we became passport holders and increased our frequency that we started to feel a little less competitive towards time. Instead of trying to race it to the finish line, we allowed it to pass. This idea became even more compelling when we began making our annual pilgrimages to Walt Disney World, FL. Our first trip was for five days. Our longest trip was for ten. Being able to visit the parks multiple times within the span of a week (or so) both afforded—and necessitated—the idea of stopping and letting time pass.

Isn’t that just a snack break?

At first, it was a snack break that got us to stop long enough to regenerate our cells and take it all in. But gradually, between our photographs and the desire to inhale the happiest molecules on earth more deeply, we agreed to take more time just being.

To be clear, this wasn’t a new mandate, but something we could allow ourselves to be open to should inspiration and circumstance collide. An unexpectedly crowded day, for instance, can be enough to inspire a retreat.

When it works

There are places within every Disney park that give pause—sometimes in retrospect, or from looking at our photos upon our return, that make us think, “Hey, that’d be a really nice place to take a break and hang for a while.” We’d be so excited about returning on a subsequent visit only to only to find it overrun with hyper kids and their slogging adults. So it goes, best laid plans, right, right. Laugh and/or gaze in disbelief, then move on. But when everything comes together, and the day and the place invite you to linger, you discover an entirely new Disney attraction.

Where are those places?

Each Disney park offers numerous possibilities for hang time: a bench on Main Street, an outdoor lunch spot off-hour, a discreet hide-away in a nook or cul-de-sac. Depends on the park, the hour, the time of year, your exhaustion level… The point is, it’s always there, you just need to find it.

The Upside/The Downside

In your desire to “Zen out” Disney-style, be careful of getting so focused on that “Shangri-La” destination that you exceed your stamina or expectations, as both can be lethal. You may want to check out our lesson learned the hard way in Burnout: It Happens, where we encountered those very limitations—and big time. In our determination to find that serene, meditative spot in Disney’s Animal Kingdom—and on one of the the hottest and most crowded days we’d ever encountered—we nearly killed ourselves, and then took it out on each other. Epic fail, but an invaluable success.

Wherever, Whenever

To help jumpstart your own repertoire of happy finds—even if they’re just going to roll around in the back of your mind until such time that go, go, go becomes stay, stay, stay—here are some of our favorites. For Us, it’s just about giving the body a break while giving the mind the opportunity to wander.