13 Different Ways to Hide Another World

Originally published 1/8/2017. Some edits have been made.

From magical schools to wardrobes to after-school clubs: the different ways other worlds have been discovered in fantasy/scifi

The best fantasy world you can come up with exists in a different plane of existence, somewhere without the real world as we know it: WesterosMiddle Earththe Star Wars galaxy, etc. These are places where the storyteller creates the entire world, which allows for a lot more freedom.

However, these worlds can be difficult to introduce to audiences without overwhelming them, or it may be difficult to justify the existence of real-world features in the entirely fantasy world. This is where you get places like Hogwarts or the Batcave, which give you an entirely different basket of strengths and weaknesses.

Today, we will be focusing on the latter: fantasy or scifi worlds that your protagonist must discover, and the different ways they’re been discovered throughout the ages. Time for a rapid-fire list!

Many of these portals or hiding spots are quite famous, but there are probably some you’ve never heard of! Because of this, every mention of a magical world in this article is linked to its Wikia page, every book/DVD/movie mention is linked to its Amazon page, and every mention of an author is linked to the respective Wikipedia article. All photos are from Amazon.

Harry Potter

1. Magical School
Ex: Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

polar express

​​2. Magical Train
Ex: The Polar Express in The Polar Express by ​Chris Van Allsburg

night at the museum

3. Magical Museum
Ex: The American Museum of Natural History in Night at the Museum 

percy jackson

4. Magical Camp
Ex: Camp Half-Blood in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

code lyoko

5. Ancient/Forgotten Site
Ex: ​The factory in Code Lyoko

See also: Spirited Away


6. Tree House
​Ex: The tree house bases in Codename: Kids Next Door

power rangers

7. Clubhouse
Ex: The Power Rangers bases in Power Rangers

See also: Monster Buster Club and The Troop

kane chronicles

8. Relative’s House
Ex: The House of Life in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

See also: Fablehaven 


9. Random/Unexplained Magical Portal
Ex: The wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

See also: Spirited Away and The Wizard of Oz

wizards of waverly place

10. Family Hiding Spot
Ex: The lair in Wizards of Waverly Place

11. Space ship/space station
​Ex: Anything ever having to do with aliens ever

magic schoolbus

12. Magical Schoolbus
​Ex: The Bus in The Magic Schoolbus

13. Somewhere deep in the ocean/forest
Ex: Atlantis in the DC Extended Universe

See also: Ferngully and the Secret of NIMH

And let’s not forget the Bermuda Triangle in the Talismen Series (wink wink #ShamelessSelfAdvertising).

​I’ve recently become fascinated by the different ways authors allow their characters to interact with magical worlds that exist within our world. My personal favorite, of course, is the magical school, which I hope doesn’t stay overdone for too much longer.

That being said, I’ll likely be doing a series of articles on different storytelling categories like this. Currently, I’m planning out “ways to give your character powers,” “how to kill off parents,” and “how to have your characters spy on other characters.” Let me know if you think I should make a separate category for this stuff!

Stay up reading, my friends.


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