Mention Walt Disney World to those who don’t regularly go, and they might immediately think of a place for children. (Ah, Disney novices….)
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty for kids to do at WDW, but what some people don’t realize is that there is TONS for adults to do too! So whether you’re taking a couple’s trip, going with a group of your best buds, or just putting the kids into the baby-sitting club at your resort for the night, Disney is chock-full of adult activities to make your trip fun and unforgettable!
Now, we all know about the rides at Disney. If you don’t, I’m including a list of my personal favorites at the bottom of this very post! (From one of my other blog articles about Disney – just scroll on down!) Disney’s rides are not just about the “ride,” they’re also about the entire immersive theatrical experience: story-lines, props, sets, characters. Each ride is a detail-rich full out experience.
(It also helps to be an adult who’s still a big kid at heart.)
So rides aside, here are some ideas for a fun adult time at Disney when you have no kids in tow.
*Visit the lounge at California Grill*
Located atop the Contemporary Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area is the Signature Restaurant, California Grill. It’s great for dinner, but it’s also wonderful for a late-night outing. They have a bar and lounge area where you can have some cocktails and enjoy some food, while taking in the fantastic views of Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you time it right, you can even watch the Wishes fireworks from this perch above the World! There are no reservations needed if you’re just going up to enjoy the bar and lounge. (Although during busy seasons, I would call ahead to make sure there’s room.) Just take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort and head up to the 2nd floor to take the California Grill elevator to the top!
*Drinking Around the World*
This activity is so popular, it even has a bunch of websites dedicated to it! Not for the faint of heart, “drinking around the world” entails hitting all the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase and having an alcoholic beverage at each. (Bear in mind, there are eleven countries and the Outpost.) If you decide to go hard-core and hit every country, start early in the day and eat a hearty breakfast. Also bring a good amount of cash – drinks are not cheap at Disney. My suggestion? Hit a few countries in an evening to get a sampling of what World Showcase has to offer. (You can always get drinks from the countries you missed on other park days.) My must-get drinks are the Grand Marnier slushie at the kiosk in France and the Horchata at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico. Also, if you time it right, you can grab a beer at the Rose and Crown bar in the United Kingdom and catch the live British tribute band (performing in the back of the pavilion) while enjoying your drink.
*Enjoy a nice Signature Dinner*
Some of Disney’s table-service restaurants are considered to be “Signature.” In other words, they’re a bit nicer, have fancier food and ambiance, and higher prices. They also cost 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Since I ALWAYS do the Dining Plan (yes, I am 100% PRO-dining plan) I usually do just one or two Signatures per trip. What are my favorites? Well, I highly recommend Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas. Think African fusion with a nice selection of unique entrees. I also am a ‘forever-fan’ of Le Cellier. This steakhouse located in Epcot’s Canada is extremely hard to book, but worth it! Narcoossee’s in the Grand Floridian resort is also a great option. They get high marks from me for their steak and lobster dishes. Plus, you can watch the Wishes fireworks from the pier after you eat your dinner – perfect! (Some of my other general favorite dining options? Just CLICK HERE.)
*Splurge for a visit to Victoria and Albert’s*
Also located at the Grand Floridian resort is central Florida’s only Five Diamond Award restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s. This restaurant serves a Prix Fixe menu starting at $135 per person. Wine pairings start at $65 per person. That covers your seven course meal, which is truly a one of a kind experience. The restaurant is small and exclusive, so reservations are a must. They also have a strict dress code, and men must wear a jacket. Don’t have a jacket? You’ll have to wear one from their closet. So what’s all the fuss about? The food and service are like nothing you’ve ever experienced in your life. You will be treated like royalty and eat some of the best food you’ve ever put into your mouth – it’s really that good. They offer you a few choices for each course, and the menus change daily. Even picky eaters will find themselves loving foods they never thought possible! (It was where I tried my very first souffle! Which was amazing!)
*Bar-hopping at Downtown Disney*
Even though the old version of Pleasure Island is done and gone, there are still some good bar options in Downtown Disney for those looking to stay out late and have some drinks. I really like the bar at Raglan Road. It’s roomy and has a nice vibe to it – plus they have live musical entertainment. It makes for a really good time. You can also catch some great live music at the House of Blues and Bongos Cuban Cafe.
*Treat yourself to a spa visit*
Disney World has some great spa options. Why not have a relaxing massage or a pampering pedicure? Several of Disney’s resorts have spas, so there are many options to choose from. Here’s a LINK to read more about your options!
*Take a Specialty Fireworks Cruise*
Instead of watching the Wishes fireworks from the park, why not enjoy them on a private boat? With the basic package, you can have up to 8 guests on the boat and enjoy this unique perspective of one of Disney’s classic experiences – the night time fireworks! It’s a pricey alternative, but if you’re looking for something special, this is a wonderful option! Here’s a link with some more information: Disney Specialty Cruises
*Pop the Question*
Disney World is a very popular location for couples getting engaged. In fact, Disney will even help you make it extra special if you like! CLICK HERE for the link to Disney’s engagement page. Disney Florist can assist in the process, or you can even book the “Glass Slipper Engagement” at Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant in the castle! Don’t want to go so formal? Find a nice romantic location in one of the parks or resorts for your proposal, and have it captured on film by a nearby Photopass photographer. Also – the concierge at your hotel can sometimes assist in something as well – just ask! Guest Services in the parks can also help – simply ask a (non-busy) CM for some help and most will be happy to help deliver the Disney magic. The most popular option though is still in the areas around Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. (A knowledgable travel agent can also help make suggestions as well!)
*Take the Wanyama Safari!*
Guests staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas are eligible to sign up for the Wanyama Safari. A small private safari vehicle will take you and a small group of other guests out into the resort’s savannah for up close and personal animal viewing. Learn all about the various species and even find out some of the animals’ individual names. Your safari is followed by a multi-course feast at Jiko restaurant. (Alas, you’re not allowed to pet the animals, even though you’ll REALLY want to!) This tour is only offered to guests staying at Jambo and Kidani and runs about $200 per person, so it’s definitely something to do as a special treat.
*Explore the many Resorts!*
Disney has SO many resorts to choose from, and you are free to walk around and enjoy everything each resort has to offer. There are especially some extra beautiful and unique resorts that can help create a relaxed romantic evening. (Or a fun energetic one!)
Some of my suggestions? Head on over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas. Jambo House (the original building) and Kidani Village (the DVC villas building) have so many wonderful areas where you can go and view the animals. There are inside and outside viewing areas and even special activities depending on the time of day. The resort is only a short bus ride away, but you’ll get a real sense of peace and tranquility out there. And both buildings have really nice bars – although I suggest heading over to the one in Sanaa at Kidani Village for the yummy munchies you can get there to go with your drinks. (Get the Indian Style Bread Service – trust me on this one!)
I also really love walking around the grounds at the Polynesian Resort. (FYI – it’s currently undergoing construction as they add DVC villas there.) But the entire property is full of lush tropical vegetation and has a lovely beach area where you can sit and relax under the stars. It’s also a wonderful place to watch the Wishes fireworks each night! (And they have a nice bar on the 2nd floor of the lobby. Be sure to order a “Lapu Lapu.”) If you’re looking for something a little different, there’s the Boardwalk area. It’s in the Epcot resort area – right behind World Showcase. The whole resort is set up to look like the east coast boardwalks of yesteryear. It has some wonderful restaurants and bars – including a “dueling-pianos” bar. There’s also a dance club too.
*Order Room Service*
Each resort has an option for In-Room Dining. (You can even use the dining plan – 2 credits!) If you’re feeling like you want a romantic night in, just order something special and enjoy yourselves!
Here’s a LINK to more special events at the Walt Disney World Resort!
No matter what you do, Disney is guaranteed to bring out your inner child, no matter what your age! Enjoy every little part of it! (And have a drink for me!)
******Fave rides and experiences….
Pirates of the Caribbean (boat ride that inspired the movies!)
Haunted Mansion (light-hearted “scary” fun!)
Space Mountain (mild roller coaster in the dark)
Splash Mountain (super long log flume ride based on “Song of the South”)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (wild west themed mild roller coaster – “The wildest ride in the wilderness!!!!”)
Wishes Fireworks – fireworks over the castle complete with musical score!
Main Street Electrical Light Parade – the best classic parade ever! EVER!
Soarin’ (feel like you’re hang-gliding over the landscapes of California)
Test Track (design your own car and then put it through the full ringer of tests)
Illuminations – fireworks, water, explosions, music, awesomeness!
Expedition Everest (take a train ride up Mt. Everest looking for the Yeti – full out roller coaster in and around the mountain)
Kilamanjaro Safari (see all the real animals of the safari!)
Dinosaur (take a bumpy ride back in time in search of your dinosaur target)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Tower of Terror (take a ride in a “service elevator” in a haunted hotel)
Rockin’ Roller Coaster (full on roller coaster, in the dark, with loops, while listening to Aerosmith)
Star Tours (visit the many planets and worlds of the Star Wars franchise – ride it more than once – no ride is ever the same)
Toy Story Mania (test your aim and see who gets the highest score!)