The benches on the piers at the base of Nessie's loops. It's amazing to me to sit there and watch the trains go by, with the track feeling like it's barely an arm's length away. And the pier at that point doesn't get much foot traffic, I guess because most people both enter and exit from the same place instead of going across. (For those who don't know, I'm talking about the piers that lead to the Rhine River Cruises. There are piers from both Scotland and Germany, and they connect so that you can actually take a dramatic shortcut across the park, as long as you don't have a heart attack or stroke from the steep hillside staircases.) Actually, I'm pretty sure I went on the River Cruise once or twice, going from the Germany pier, before I realized the piers connected, so you can take a shortcut to Scotland, and that there's this fun place to sit and watch Nessie.
For the picturesque, I like the gazebo in the Wild Reserve, just above the Lorikeet glen.
Nearby, not at all hidden, but hardly anyone ever stops there -- the table with umbrella beside the first aid station, at the edge of the Wild Reserve. Love to people-watch from there, as that table sits right beside the main walkway passing through the wildlife areas just before you cross the train tracks into Aquitaine.
I love to look out over the Bavarian village of BBW from the area to the left of the Festhaus (if you are facing the Festhaus), just before the entrance to the Black Forest picnic area. You can see the Wolf trains just as folks start down the first lift hill, and see the curves through the village. Small detail: If you are entering this area, with the corner of the Festhaus on your right, the end of the building that houses the bumper cars is on your left. There are some lovely (but fading) paintings of medieval or renaissance fair folk, with a jongleur and even a cute performing dog holding a long ribbon in his mouth, on the bumper car building. Details like these are what make BGE so special. Watch for details on many of the buildings throughout the park -- on the walls in Aquitaine, for example, and as you walk along the shops area in Oktoberfest. Keep your eyes on the roofs -- several concrete statues of birds in nests and things like that are everywhere.
Lots of people use this one, but the seating area built by Lowe's as you are leaving France and entering Germany, gives a nice view of the "valley" below and Griffon (up high) and is very shady and nice.
Any of the bridges -- I like to watch the Le Scoot flume and Alpie from the covered wooden bridge. Love to look out over the river from the bridge from Germany to Italy. And before you reach the bridge, if you're going downhill from Germany, there's a little photo-op alcove where the stream flows down the hill with BBW's track above you.
Oh, and I have to add one more -- I love to sit at the tables at La Cucina and watch the Roman Rapids boats go by -- and I'll admit, I've shelled out plenty of quarters to shoot at the riders, but it's also very pretty and the banks of flowers and plants across the Rapids are lovely.
I'm realizing how I could go on even longer -- but what are your favorite "hidden" places in the park?
Other place, the little courtyard in Germany with the clock tower and the carousel nearby. Very nice.
Martha -- yup, those seats are great, or even walking on the path as a train roars by, screams filling your ears. I think Alpie passes there after going through the short bridge at the bottom of the second loop (is that right, folks?).
We would say over by the Griffon, if you walk past Bistro and by where the water element is, you can go to the fence and look up at Griffon as it is hanging there. Great place to get pics of family in the front row.
Chris -- kewl!
In the summer, I tend to seek out the shadier areas for a little bit of cool. Overall my favorite country to just sit in is Ireland, because I seem to enjoy the rambling feel of the landscape plants. There is a little area near the entrance to Secrets of Castle O'Sullivan, directly to the left across from the water fountain. There are a couple of benches, and a large wisteria growing against the wall. I also love the gazebo near the Lorikeet Glen. In fact I love the entire area between Ireland and France, and often choose a bench in this area to sit and people watch.
I also enjoy the large wooden swings near the covered bridge leading from New France to Germany. It is so shady and cool there, and that is another favorite resting place.
I also love the flower gardens in Italy, near the battering ram and DaVinci's Cradle. I admired a huge bed of snapdragons just this weekend...they were neon yellow and absolutely gorgeous! But I have to say that the benches there aren't the best. They have no back, and are really kind of small. So that prevents me from stopping for too long in that area. It also can get a bit crowded!
I can't think of any more right now. I will add more if I do!
Tim -- well, if you look sharp you can actually see BGE's own "Rhine River" to the far left right at first, but as you turn the curve, the main body of water you see is the James River. And it's a lovely view indeed -- and then you get to look out over the brewery and the park as you hang waiting to drop!
Also, the Rhine River Cruise is a nice relaxing adventure and the Rhine Captains are great!
Often overlooked as people are rushing into the park is the long waterfall in the main gate area. Also, the beautiful waterfall under the Big Bad Wolf.
The Backyard Habitat in the Wild Reserve is so peaceful and quiet. Be sure to look for the goldfish in the ponds near the aforementioned gazebo.
The walkway from the entry area to the England Parking lot is very shaded and nice!
There are just so many other places I could mention too, but these are some of my favorites!
I still take my daughter (3 year old) on the Rhine river cruise if she seems to need a nap. Twenty minutes of calm, slow movement puts her out every time. The view of Apollo's Chariot (especially in the early spring and fall when there are no leaves on the trees!) is very interesting from the boats, too.
From this location we were able to relax while watching (and listening to) four of the five excellent coasters at BGE (the only coaster you cannot see from the pier is Apollo's Chariot) cycling around us. We took dozens of excellent photos, and even made some friends among the turtles that swim around in the brackish, green water.
The best part was waiting for the moments when LNM, Alpengeist, and Griffon all converged, roaring through the area in an exhibition of beautiful steel power! Exhilarating!