Thursday, January 16, 2014

Disney World for Adults

In 2009 I took my first trip to Disney World.  It was a wonderfully magical week and we have since been back several times. 

(Side note: As of August 2015, this post has been updated to include information from more recent trips.)

When people hear how much we love Disney World, they are often surprised, and sometimes downright skeptical.  I get it.  Why the hell adults without children would spend their time and money going to Disney World rather than laying on a beach and guzzling margaritas, or having romantic dinners beneath the Eiffel Tower?  So, I thought I'd explain it to you guys.  All the reasons you don't have to be a kid (or have kids) to enjoy Disney World.

The hotels:
Disney knows how to be hospitable. If you stay on property, you're pretty much guaranteed to love your room.  When we stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom resort, our balcony overlooked a nature area with animals. Like with actual zebras and giraffes and stuff. (Can't find any pics, womp womp.) And most resorts have an awesome pool area. 

When we stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort last May, this was only steps from our hotel room door.

We've  also stayed at the Grand Floridian, which was absolutely beautiful!  It is one of Disney's most expensive resorts, but if you feel like splurging, it will be well worth it.  See for yourself...


Of all the places we've stayed so far (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West, Caribbean Beach, and the Grand Floridian), we haven't once been disappointed.  Caribbean Beach is a bit more affordable than some of the other resorts, but still has plenty of amenities.  If you're in the mood for a real treat, you absolutely cannot go wrong with either Animal Kingdom Lodge or the Grand Floridian.  Animal Kingdom Lodge is such a unique experience.  Where else are you going to see giraffes from your balcony?  As for the Grand Floridian, it's opulent and luxurious, and oh so classy. 

The food (and drinks!):
I love to eat.  Nom nom nom.  There is so much deliciousness to be found at Disney.  Epcot is home to a world showcase, which in my mind means a selection of delicious food from all different cultures.  The pizza in Italy is to die for.  

Other note worthy meals we've had at Disney include shrimp and grits (also in Epcot), bratwurst in Germany, and Smokie City at Raglan Road.  (It's like a savory dip with smoked haddock in it.  Trust me, it's amazing).  Oh, and yes, there is plenty of alcohol as well.

Smokie City. Yum.

While we're on the subject of food, let's talk about arguably the best time of year for adults to visit Disney World...

Every fall, Epcot hosts the Food and Wine Festival.  This is an amazing time of year to visit Disney because its not so damn hot anymore, the crowds have thinned since kids are back at school, and of course, all the oh so delicious food & wine.  Imagine yourself traveling the world, eating and drinking your way through Mexico, Africa, England, France, Germany, Canada, and about 20 other countries.  Sounds like a dream come true, right?  Since chances are good you won't get the opportunity to actually do this, Epcot's World Showcase is the next best thing.  The Food and Wine Festival features the most iconic food and drinks from different countries around the world, and is a like a massive, multi-cultural food truck park and bar all thrown into one magical place.  Oh and if you need a breather from stuffing your face, you can always sight see or do some shopping.


The rides/attractions:
There are tons of rides that are great for adults at Disney! There are amazing roller coasters, (Space Mountain, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Mount Everest), beautiful rides that will be both gentle and awe inspiring (Soarin') and the advanced technology throughout all the rides will impress even the most cynical people.  Haunted Mansion is seriously cool.  The visual effects are so believable, you're practically convinced it seriously is haunted.  And, if you've been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you'll admit that you were convinced you were underneath a gorgeous night sky, despite the fact that it was 1pm.  Some of my favorite rides include but aren't limited to: Soarin', Haunted Mansion, Toy Story, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Dinosaur.  Notable shows include Mickey's Philharmagic, and the "It's a Bug's Life" and Lion King shows at Animal Kingdom. 

  A couple other points about the rides:
1. The lines get a worse rep than they deserve.  I'm sure if you've got a tired child or three in tow, it may feel like a century to wait, but as an adult, the lines really seem to move pretty quickly.  Most of the biggest attractions with the longest lines are equipped with entertaining things to read, see and interact with while you wait, making your line time much more enjoyable.

2. Disney World's rides are long.  There is nothing worse than waiting in line for an hour and then getting on a ride that lasts 26 seconds.  It's totally not worth it. The first time I rode Splash Mountain I kept thinking we'd come around a corner and see the big drop at the end, but nope.  Around every corner was something amazing and magical to look out.  Each ride is truly an experience, and all are worth the wait. 

The attention to detail:

Perhaps its true that kids are better at buying into the magic of Disney than adults are, but its not until you get older that you can really appreciate the tiny details and all the meticulous work that goes into making that place run so smoothly.  Like how you never see a piece of litter on the ground, or how all the employees in the world showcase are actually from the countries they work in, or how there are hidden mickeys all over the place.  All of the parks run like well oiled machines and its fascinating to speculate how they must do it all.

Downtown Disney:
Downtown Disney is an area seperate from the theme parks and is full of shops, restaurants, bars and live entertainment.  The best part about it, no ticket is required to get in.  Reid and I have seen a Cirque du Soleil show here, and it is home to possibly my favorite restaurant ever, Raglan Road.  The Christmas store is magical, and its always fun to stop in and watch the glass blowers in action.  At night the streets fill up with musicians and the stores stay open late.  Every night feels like a Saturday night, and I've seen everything from bachelorette parties to romantic date nights happening here.  Just be careful not to stay out too late and miss the last free shuttle to your hotel, like we did, or you may find yourself forking over money for a cab ride back to your room. (What do you mean the buses don't run at 3am?!) 

A street performer playing a didgeridoo in downtown Disney.

The night we stayed out too late and missed our bus. May 2013. 

All the "extras":
If great food, lots of alcohol, wonderful resorts, nice pools, fun rides, clean parks, shopping and night life aren't enough for you to be convinced, don't worry because there is so much more!  There are fireworks, parades, light shows, live animals, gentle boat rides, character dinners, 5k races, half marathon races, home and garden showcases, golf courses, drive in movie theatres, live performances, and themed weekends! I truly believe there is something for everybody at Disney.  

So, for all your childless adults out there, I highly recommend you try Disney at least once. You will have an absolute blast making memories and getting in touch with your inner child at the most magical place on earth. 

Our second trip to Disney together, in 2012. 

At Food & Wine in October 2014.

What about you? What are some of your favorite vacation destinations? As always, thanks for coming by!


  1. Good info to know! It's so cute that you guys love that place so much, but now I understand why. There really is soooo much to do. I've never been to Disney, but I went to Downtown once and I've been to Epcot once. Enjoyed both trips!

    1. It really is so much fun! I'm already counting down the days until our next trip in October!


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