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Disney for adults? That’s absolutely a thing. Whether you plan a trip with no kids or schedule an adults only-park visit as part of a family trip, Disney World without kids is magical in its own way. Being able to explore Disney without carrying So. Much. Stuff. that you feel like a human pack mule is just one reason why. Here are all the reasons we think a visit to Disney for adults only rocks.
When you’re brainstorming ideas for adults-only getaways, Disney World in Orlando Florida might not come to top of mind. But, it should. The most magical place on earth is a great choice for couples trips, girlfriend getaways, or any other sans-kids groups you want to put together.
Disney with my kids is fun and magical but Disney for adults only is fun and magical in a different way.
Don’t tell my kids, but some of the best times I’ve had at Disney World have been without them.
Disney for Adults Only? Yes, That’s a Thing!
When you’re planning a Disney vacation with kids, most likely everything is planned around them: How you’ll get there. Where you’ll stay. Which park you’ll visit in which order. And how long you think you’ll be able to stay before your kids get bored, need naps, etc.
Planning an adults only trip to Disney or even just a “Disney for adults” afternoon at one of the parks will be much different.
If you get the chance to do Disney World for adults only, here are some reasons why it’s it’s awesome:
1. No Giant Backpacks
Disney with kids means toting water bottles, snacks and sunscreen and all the things you bought before Disney to save money. That includes hand sanitizer, wet wipes and the mouse ears your kid won’t wear because they’re pinching her head. Oh wait, there’s more. Autograph books, pens, and rain ponchos for everyone. The glow sticks you brought from home because you’re too cheap to pay sky-high prices for the light-up trinkets they sell in the park at dusk. A gazillion plastic baggies, extra clothes in case someone gets wet on the water rides, and all the portable chargers.
Whew! That’s a lot.
Disney for adults is different. You still need hand sanitizer and wet wipes but you can probably forgo the large backpack. Without kids, you can get by with a small crossbody bag or cargo shorts. A stick of sunscreen, your phone and portable charger and you’re all set.
Exploring Disney when you’re not a human pack mule is something every Disney-loving parent should experience at least once.
2. You Can Eat Real Food
Real food, AKA something not chicken nuggets. Disney has some world-class dining experiences that might be wasted on picky kids. You will appreciate this if your child is in the “Only eats chicken nuggets, grapes, and Cool Ranch Doritos” phase.
On my last girls’ trip to Disney World, my friends and I ate at Tiffins, which is inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s a cool, travel-themed restaurant with an adventurous and trendy menu. My kids would have totally hated it.
I’m not saying Tiffins isn’t kid-friendly or that your kids wouldn’t like it. They might! For our family, eating at Disney World usually means character dining or grabbing something at a quick service restaurant so we can hit more rides. But, Disney has so much more than just breakfasts with Mickey, quick service snacks and Mickey Ice Cream Bars (although those are really good.) A Disney for adults trip is your chance to really explore the dining options without wondering, “Would my kids eat that without whining?”
And, if you really want fine dining and an authentic Victorian era atmosphere, snag a reservation* at Victoria & Albert’s located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
*We recommend Advance Dining Reservations for all table service restaurants. Consult the main Walt Disney World website and your My Disney Experience App for current park info, to include possible closures. Or, use a Disney travel agent, like our favorite, Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it. If you call to make your purchase be sure to mention TravelingMom!
Yes, you can imbibe when you’re visiting Disney with your kids. You might feel you need to, no judgment from me. Disney for adults offers you a guilt-free cocktail. Or two. Grown-up Disney drinking is a different situation than having someone give you the side-eye because you ask for a cocktail menu at character dining.
And don’t forget to check out Disney Springs – there are endless opportunities for drinking and dining, with a little shopping thrown in. House of Blues and Raglan Road are two of my favorite places to grab drinks.
4. Take Advantage of the Naptime Wall
Most families with young kids go to the park early, leave for a snooze or pool break during the afternoon and return in the early evening to check out the fireworks and parades. When you’re visiting Disney with younger kids, that makes sense.
But you’re visiting without the kids, so shoot for a 2 p.m. arrival. The hardcore rope droppers (according to our Disney glossary, those are the folks who line up to get in the park before opening) are leaving. They’re leaving because their kids are melting down. They’re leaving because they’re tired, hangry, or out of snacks. Who cares why? They’re out, you’re in.
Upon entry, head for the ride with the longest wait time. Even long waits are bearable when nobody is whining about the wait or informing you of the need to pee ‘really bad’ when you’re smack in the middle of the line. Plus, waiting in line while having adult conversation can’t compare to waiting in line with people who ask you “how much longer” every 43 stinking seconds.
TravelingMom Tip: Check the closing hours for the park you’re visiting. Changing park hours are just one of the Disney World changes since the parks reopened.
5. No Ride Drama
One kid wants to ride all the thrill rides. The other kid is crying that you’ll ruin his life if you force him to ride Space Mountain. Nope, you don’t have to deal with that.
The tears of a child who is just a smidge too short for the roller coaster she desperately wants to ride? You don’t have to deal with that, either. No child swapping or splitting up your group in the name of family unity. Visiting Disney without kids takes away all the ride drama and leaves you more time to…well, ride.
Also, waiting in line for a ride is much less of a chore with an adults only group. We waited in line for about an hour to ride Flight of Passage in Pandora, the World of Avatar without a FastPass. The hour flew by because we were enjoying the conversation. You wouldn’t have that situation with kids.
6. The Chance to Stay Off-Property
Whether you stay off property or on property (check that Disney glossary!) is one of the biggest (and probably earliest) decisions you’ll need to make about your trip. Disney has announced some changes recently that are potentially driving more families toward the less expensive, non-Disney hotels. Disney is doing away with the Magical Express and cutting Extra Magic Hours (now known as Early Entry) in half.
Even with these unpopular changes, we think staying on property is more fun for the kids and easier on the parents. The Walt Disney World Resort Hotels provide robust free transportation to the parks and are generally closer to the parks.
If you’re doing Disney for adults only, you might feel more comfortable staying at a less kid-focused hotel. I recommend Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (conveniently located near Disney Springs) or the Caribe Royal (a little further from the parks but great amenities.
These hotels will be “less Disney” and are more geared toward business and convention travelers, although that’s not to say these hotels don’t cater to families. Check to see if your off-property hotel offers transportation to Disney. Both hotels I mentioned do, although the shuttles weren’t as frequent as they are from the Disney hotels. But, if you’re doing an adults-only trip to Disney, you’ll probably be happy with catching an Uber or Lyft since you’re not worried about transporting strollers or a giant backpack.
7. Disney for Adults Means Less Whining
No kids at Disney means no holding anyone else’s stuff unless your friend asks you to hold her beer. You don’t have to eat chicken nuggets unless chicken nuggets are your thing. You won’t have the urge to wipe your companion’s nose with the hem of your shirt…at least let’s hope.
And, it’s a safe bet that no one will whine because you’re not buying them souvenirs. When you go to Disney with other adults, they generally bring their own money and can wipe their own behinds. Winning.
Disney for Adults Only Park by Park
It’s not hard to find fun on an adults only Disney trip. Part of the magic is not having to have as much of a plan as you would with kids (although we still recommend those advance dining reservations for sit-down meals.) Here are some of our favorite things to do by park.
The magic of the Cinderella Castle and seeing all of your favorite Disney Characters is definitely a draw for kids and families. It’s still fun for the grownups. If you’re visiting multiple parks at WDW, I recommend doing this one first. The theming will really get you in that Disney mood.
TravelingMom Tip: If you want to hop over to Disney’s Polynesian Resort – just a quick monorail ride away – order a delicious adult Dole Whip topped with Dark Rum.
Any of the Epcot festivals (the Food and Wine Festival is a favorite) are going to provide lots of fun for the grownups. Aside from the festivals, wandering around the World Showcase and eating and drinking around the world is always fun.
EPCOT is thinner on rides than the other park, but Soarin’ and Test Track are grownup favorites.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Ride the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror without being worried about height requirements. Rock out to Aerosmith and and grab a selfie in front of the giant guitar.
And, of course it goes without saying that Hollywood Studios is a paradise for adult Star Wars fans.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest is one of Disney’s “scarier” rides. Even though my kids are tall enough to ride it, one of them won’t. I always have fun on this roller coaster when I go to Disney without kids. The Kilimanjaro safaris are fun with any group.
Although not connected to the Animal Kingdom theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has awesome dining that might be too adventurous for picky kids. My favorite is Sanaa in Kidani Village with Jiko running a close second.
Changes to Disney
Visiting Disney World in 2021 looks a little different than it has in years past. For up-to-date guidance, check out our summary of changes, updated for Covid-19.
Where to Buy Discounted Disney Tickets
We recommend purchasing your Disney tickets through Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it. If you call to make your purchase be sure to mention TravelingMom!