Picture credit: Walt Disney World and CNN
That picture above may be your worst nightmare. When most people think of theme parks, they think of screaming kids, long lines, frying in the summer sun, and really expensive vacations. Disney World does have all of those things. But that’s not all they have…
My wife and I are what are called “Disney Adults“. We actually go on vacations to Disney parks without taking children. When my kids were young, we did take them to Disney a couple times, and do you know what? It’s more fun without them!
At least three times a year you can find us in one of the Disney Parks. In fact, I’m going this week. To be clear, I’m not staying in the Disney park for the whole week. They do a sweep after close to get any stragglers out. How do I know this…?
I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why? Just why would grown adults without kids spend a day at a Disney World instead of a beach in The Bahamas?” For one, you don’t need a passport. Two, the Disney owned resorts are just as beautiful as anything you can find in the Caribbean.
How about a Tahitian overwater villa with a beach? And guess what, someone will bring you margaritas while you tan. Don’t love the beach scene? Go to Epcot
Yeah, back when I was a kid, and when I took my kids, when I heard Epcot, my first thought was that someone was going to try to educate us about different countries. Yes, there are some fun rides at Epcot. If you just want to be laid back rather than trying to hold your eyeballs in on some roller coaster, try the ride Soarin’. That’s a laid back, fun ride.
My secret is to use the indoor rides as breaks from the hot sun. Other Epcot laid back rides that are nicely air-conditioned are: Soarin’, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth, Frozen Ever After, Living With The Land, Gran Fiesta and Journey into Imagination with Figment. The two in that last sentence that are italicized are rides so laid back that you’ll be in danger of dozing off while on the them.
As an adult, Epcot is not a theme park. What it is, is one of most epic walking pub crawls ever! You can eat and drink your way around the world all day. Most of the restaurants/bars open at 11:00 a.m.
You can challenge yourself, as many have, to drink one cocktail, beer, or glass of wine in each of the 11 countries in Epcot. But don’t limit yourself to just drinks! Epcot has over 50 places to eat which includes, food carts, quick service restaurants, and full-on sit down restaurants. And, as anyone will tell you, start at Mexico and while you’re there, get some nachos, quesadillas, or anything they make there. It’s all good and you should put something in your stomach before drinking. It will slow down your buzz.
If you’re a wine fan, you’ve got to hit the Weinkeller in Germany for plenty of choices of fine wines, including the option to get a wine flight!
Disney Springs! If you’re not familiar, Disney Springs is the shopping, eating, drinking, entertainment center that is a must see if you are visiting Disney as an adult. Don’t bring the kids because they’ll want you to buy them something they see every ten seconds. Of course, the same could be said about my wife.
Pic from KingdomMagicTravel.com
Disney Springs truly is a theme park for adults. There are more than 60 places to eat and drink at Disney Springs and my wife and I are eating and drinking our way through our list of them each time we go to Disney World. We have our favorites that we repeat, but we’re hitting new ones each time we go. I’m guessing we may be up to forty or so after the next trip. These restaurants aren’t your typical theme park places to eat. Some are world class, run by famous chefs kind of restaurants. My favorite is Raglan Road, an awesome Irish pub with live music and Irish dancing. The food is great and I had a great beer from Iceland there once. If you love Irish stuff, they’ve got a great gift shop.
Disney Springs is not just eating and drinking. There’s spectacular shopping where you can find Disney themed knick-knacks, items, movie themed toys, and several high end clothing stores that have nothing to do with the Disney brand. You can also find a couple athletic clothing stores as well as a Harley Davidson store.
One of my favorite places is the House of Blues. It’s a restaurant, store and performance venue attracting well known bands from all over the world. Their gift shop is pretty cool.
Pic credit: Me
Pic credit: Me
Gin Blossoms. Pic credit: Me
Another different way to entertain yourself while at Disney Springs is Splitsville Luxury Lanes
. It’s a bowling alley and a restaurant. Also, if you want to have some great movie snacks and get out of the heat, there is the wonderful air conditioning of AMC Dine-In Disney Springs theater
. You can sit in your seat and order your meal from wait staff and it will be brought to you shortly while you watch the movie.
Pic from SplitsvilleLanes.com
In Orlando, depending on where you choose to stay, you may have access to Disney transportation to the parks. There are buses, water taxis, and the Disney Skyliner. To use these transportation options you’ll have to stay at a Disney resort or a Disney affiliated hotel. The Swan and Dolphin are Marriott owned hotels that are affiliated with Disney World. Both are great hotels. If you stay at them you can walk to Epcot in about 5-10 minutes. If you don’t like hoofing it, you can easily grab a water taxi in front of your hotel. There’s also a Doubletree Hotel within walking distance of Disney Springs or you can get a free Disney bus ride to Epcot. That will save you money over the Disney resorts. I’ve stayed there. It’s a very good hotel.
A nice advantage of staying at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels is the Disney Boardwalk. It is a boardwalk type area around a lagoon. On one side is a couple Disney resorts, but on the other side there are restaurants/bars, (including a dueling piano bar and a dance hall), souvenir shops and food and drink carts.
Lastly I’ll comment on Disneyland. Disneyland is just 500 acres, while Disney World is about 40 square miles. Both are excellent, but because of size, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, doesn’t have the extraordinary amount of choices. Also, unless you live in Anaheim, you’ll have to brave the traffic on the California highways, which sometimes can add a lot of time to your day getting there and back. Don’t get me wrong, I like Disney Land. Their Marvel Avengers campus is really awesome, as is the Star Wars area. But if you’re adults who don’t need themed rides and restaurant, then Disney World is the better choice for an adult vacation.
Despite this being a relatively long blog post, don’t just take my word for it. Hit THIS LINK and scroll past the sponsored Disney ad and read the plethora of blogs and websites saying what I’m saying. This is only the tip of the iceberg…
If you happen to see me at any of the aforementioned places this week, feel free to say Hi! ~Phil