Walt Disney World: Not Just For Kids

by Tacey Atkinson, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 03-22-2011

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Traveling

You have to have children to enjoy Walt Disney World, right?

Horsefeathers! I am here to dispel that myth. There are some of us who either have no children or whose children are grown up, and we still love Disney as much as those experiencing it through the eyes of a 4-year-old. There are so many things for adults to enjoy at Walt Disney World!

Grand Floridian Tea photo
Grand Floridian Tea

Tea at the Grand Floridian.

Let’s start with the Disney resorts. Because we are adults, do we have to stay at the Deluxe resorts with spas and the works? I don’t think so at all. I love to stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. It gives me a fix of nostalgia while being modern and funky at the same time. It has the whimsy of Disney’s All-Star Resorts with the adult feel of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. I love to stroll through the lobby, looking at the things that I grew up with. It’s a fun, friendly atmosphere and I love it!

Now, let’s head off to Downtown Disney. Here I would highly recommend the Downtown Disney West Side. The place I never miss on our annual trip is The House of Blues Gospel Brunch. This is the best food on property for an all you can eat breakfast buffet, in my humble opinion. There is something for everyone -- a fruit selection, salad bar and the omelet station which has the most delectable fixings I have ever experienced. The performance is second to none. I mean where else can you get a rousing choir that gets you clapping and foot stomping during an incredible breakfast? I highly recommend this to all my friends.

We are good and full, so let’s head off to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a performance that in my opinion is even better than Cirque De Soleil’s La Nouba at Downtown Disney. I am speaking about the Festival of the Lion King. This is well choreographed, supremely acted and sung, and the way the cast involves the audience makes sure young and old have a great time. It is funny, heart-warming and visually satisfying. I have seen The Lion King on Broadway and I still prefer the Animal Kingdom version. If you are looking for a fun, relaxing, indoor spectacular, this is the place to be.

Now that we’ve seen a great show and brunch has been over for some time, let’s head over to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for afternoon tea. Now while there are teas for the little ones such as the Wonderland Tea Party, it is not necessary to exclude yourself from the decadence of high tea in such plush surroundings. The Garden View Tea offers a huge assortment of teas, pastries and other treats. Anyone seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle that tends to be a Disney vacation really should give this a try. What a great place for a quiet recharge!

Once your tea is done, grab the monorail from the Grand Floridian to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, where I feel as though I've been whisked away to a Polynesian island. The atmosphere is so tropical and lush. I love to sit by the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon and people watch, and if you are feeling adventurous, rent yourself a boat and float in the middle of the lake to enjoy the peace and privacy of it all.

Now that we are all recharged, let’s check out Disney's Hollywood Studios. One Man's Dream, the story of Walt Disney and the magic he created throughout his life, is a fitting tribute to the man who started it all. You could easily stay here hours, lingering over the many exhibits and learning more about Walt's fascinating life. There's even the video of Walt introducing EPCOT here. While the reality of Epcot may be very different from the vision he talked about in the video, watching it, you can understand how much vision one man possessed.

Speaking of Epcot, itt’s getting dark, so let’s head off to today’s final destination before heading back to our resort: Epcot! Here you'll find IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the best fireworks show I have seen in a long time. The music, the barges, the torches around the lake; everything just sets the mood to make it the perfect end to a Disney day. On a side note, I do suggest that you test which way the wind is blowing because if it’s blowing toward you and you are near the waters edge, you may be covered in smoke. So always go to the opposite side of the lake then the direction that the wind is blowing.

Tip: Take a Break from the Parks
For a break from the parks, go over to the Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort and rent a canoe or kayak. There are many waterways running through Fort Wilderness that are surrounded by trees. It's very peaceful and a great way to take a break and recharge. - tip contributed by Donna
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Well, I hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse into why Disney isn’t just for kids. There is nowhere else in the world I can ever imagine going for vacation. So the next time your friends say, “Disney World? That’s a place for kids!” you can reply "HORSEFEATHERS!”

Epcot - Food and Wine Festival photo
Epcot - Food and Wine Festival

Sampling some of the food and drink samples available from the various booths around World Showcase.

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About the Author:
Tacey is a huge Disney fan - so much so that her friends call her "Snow," in tribute to her favorite princess. She makes an annual trek to Walt Disney World.

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Reader Comments:

So, my wife and I have taken our kids to Disney three times now, so its our turn! This will be our first time going without kids, so what do people recommend? What things seem to be better without the kids? Personally, I'm looking forward to using table service credits for a meal without characters! smiley for :)

     hawkeyearcher on December 15, 2010 @ 6:01 pm
Eating at signature or nice restaurants without kiddos and the craziness of photos and autograph books sounds good to me!

     debrabrown on December 15, 2010 @ 6:25 pm
What about a backstage tour? Most of those are for people 16 and over so it's nice to not have kids around.

     Mystic on December 15, 2010 @ 6:59 pm
There's actually a sub-forum here in the Planning area that you should definitely check out, Disney for Adults! smiley for ;) There are several threads that offer some great ideas and suggestions for planning a vacation solely for the "big kids!"

:luck: and congrats on the upcoming trip!

P.S. I just have to plug 1900 Park Fare though (character buffet); who better to have a meal with than the evil step-sisters and their mother?! smiley for :D

     aliceinwdw on December 15, 2010 @ 8:08 pm
my husband and i do not have kids, and we went to disney for the first time last month. it was GREAT. best experience? (other than all of the magic kingdom, which was amazing, but would be amazing WITH kids) Epcot until midnight on friday night. we walked around world showcase and tried to share a food item and an alcoholic drink item at every country (we only made it through four before becoming too full...but it was fun trying!) book a romantic meal overlooking fireworks of some kind (which is on our list for our return trip in may). sit by the pool and enjoy the silence--and by pool i mean 'the quiet pool where kids are not'. stroll the boardwalk. hold hands. be in love. disney is magical for people of all ages. have a GREAT time!!!!

     elbodans on December 15, 2010 @ 10:29 pm
TS meals are great. seeing shows, traveling at our own pace. we've done tours..just think of anything that you've passed up because you needed to move on to keep the 'kid' flow going. both with and without kids is fun

     oldmom on December 15, 2010 @ 11:20 pm
My fave things to do as adults w/o kids is taking everything at a leisurly pace. Take the time to look at the windows on Mainstreet, people watch. Wander through world showcase like you're really in another place smiley for :) I know it sounds corny, but walking into Mexico getting a margarita or a cider in the garden in UK and enjoying the sheer beauty of the pavillion is awe inspiring! Or any other beverage or pavillion works too those are just my 2 faves smiley for :) And at AK we like to spend time really wandering through the Oasis area and around the tree. Its so beautiful and there is so much in that area I didn't realize was there until my last trip. Oh, and I think this is DH's all time fave, if you can take a boat somewhere, do it! We would take the boat to DTD in the evening just because we could, lol! Sleep in, thats another nice thing about not having kids smiley for :D get a later start and stay until closing, MK and EPCOT are so beautiful at night. Hope you guys get to have some magical grown-up memories and relaxation.

     Tink8726 on December 15, 2010 @ 11:42 pm
The last time Dh and I were there alone...we stayed at the Poly and loved walking along the shore of seven seas lagoon at sunset before or after dinner like Narcoossee's....taking the extra time to really be able to look in the shops at world showcase.....staying up late without meltdowns(well ok Dh may have had one but that was 5th day in and he was tired)...lol hahaha It is wonderful doing disney as a couple enjoy every last minute of it...we do...we alternate years taking kiddos with us.....next year is our couple year.....yay!!

     Ceara's mawmaw on December 16, 2010 @ 12:05 am
DH and I did 1 trip just us and believe it or not I missed the kids! LOL it was nice to just be able stroll and not have to please everybody in the group. We did a nice dinner at Le Cellier, San angel Inn etc. kids aren't into world showcase so we were able to take our time and actually look in the stores and spend time with each other! spent time in the hot tub which we wouldnt do with the kids. Hope you have a good time!!!!

     tessatilli on December 16, 2010 @ 12:59 am
My advice for adults only trips is to take your time. Only ride the attractions that you want to ride, plan a few special meals and maybe some special experiences. I think a couples massage is a great treat. I've been on a couple of the tours and they are interesting and informative.

     ilovedisney247 on December 16, 2010 @ 1:20 am
I'd definitely go for some signature dining! :yummy:

     chezp on December 16, 2010 @ 1:59 am
If you can afford it, make an ADR for Victoria & Albert's. It is TS dining extraordinary and will be one of if not the most memorable meal of your lives!

Do keep in mind that unless you're on the Platinum DDP, you'll have to pay OOP for V&A.

I'm drooling just thinking of the fantastic experience we had there! It was absolutely worth the outrageous amount of money we spent.

     Her Dotness on December 16, 2010 @ 4:21 am
How fun!!!! We took a kid-free trip in October and it was fantastic! Some fun things we did (that we wouldn't have done with DD in tow) included the tequila bar in Mexico and dinner at Bistro de Paris (we got a late ADR - 8 p.m. - and saw Illuminations from our window table). She usually goes to the kids' club a couple of evenings during each trip, so we have been able to go on the big rides that she can't go on - but it was nice to do so during the day instead of heading back to the park in the evening when she was in the club. It was also very nice, I must say, to sail on by all the meet and greetssmiley for ;). We did one - the 7 dwarves during MNSSHP.

     WeRDisneyFanatics on December 16, 2010 @ 10:29 am
Have fun! Do all the attractions you maybe weren't able to do with the kids along. Not having to wait in long lines for Winnie The Pooh, and Peter pan, etc. So get in all the other attractions. Linger where you want. Enjoy your TS dinners!

     Sue M. on December 16, 2010 @ 10:58 am
I'd try the segway tour at Epcot. And signature restaurants are more fun with just adults.

     JoanneS on December 16, 2010 @ 12:45 pm
Definitely, the segway tour - we loved it!
We went sans kids last spring and we took afternoon breaks for the first time without the kids keeping us going. We took our time walking up Main St and peeked in every store. We went into the little church in Norway and wandered through Innoventions for the first time. - Basically - we just found we kept a slower pace and had a lot more pool time. and yes - we did miss the kids!

     Suzie-Q on December 16, 2010 @ 5:03 pm
We did a couple trip Jan last year. It was terrific. Like everyone else said, you can take it at a slower pace and really savor the shops, windows, nooks and crannies that you miss as you are whizzing by with kids. We took the backstage tour, the one that is 7 hours, and you don't need a ticket. We just loved it. It went into all 4 parks, behind the scenes. And we got so much Disney info, I thought my head would explode.

And the dinners, were just heavenly. Leisurely, calm, quiet, drinks, unusual new food! And sleeping in just a little. I can't wait to do it again, just the 2 of us. You are going to love it.


     ddavis on December 17, 2010 @ 4:47 pm
Oh, and this is a good opportunity to go visit and explore the other resorts.


     ddavis on December 17, 2010 @ 4:50 pm
Have fun!!!

Maybe some TS signature dining?

     ferrazalves on December 17, 2010 @ 6:53 pm
ddavis;3513838 > We took the backstage tour, the one that is 7 hours, and you don't need a ticket. We just loved it. It went into all 4 parks, behind the scenes. And we got so much Disney info, I thought my head would explode.

We have been thinking of doing this tour, not this trip, but our next. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! It sounds like a blast and the kind of fun that is right up my alley smiley for :)

     Tink8726 on December 17, 2010 @ 10:24 pm
It is always just me and the DH and even riding the rides seem less hassled without children when looking around at other people. We enjoy doing the parks especially Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The World Showcase and taking a restaurant such as Artist Point or California Grill would probably be nice. Me and the DH are also thinking of taking a tour for the first time this May.

     Feisty Fairy on December 26, 2010 @ 12:48 am
Well, I am hoping to take a trip just me and DH someday! Last August we went just with our younger son (2) and left the our older kids with my mother. We go pretty often so they weren't too upset. Even with only one child, we are able to enjoy WDW at a slower pace and take everything in smiley for :)

Since I love IASM, Pooh, etc., I would still do those rides on a couples trip, but also fit in more TS dining, shopping, and resort hopping. Even the little things like a leisurely breakfast at Main Street Bakery are nice to share. We did miss our older kids though :crazy:

We went to WDW twice before kids and it truly is a Magical experience. Have a wonderful trip! smiley for :D

     HakunaMatata on December 26, 2010 @ 6:18 am
Our first trip to Disney was as empty-nester adults and we loved it. While we did tear up a few times picturing our own grandchildren through the eyes of children there, WDW was a perfect adult vacation for us. My husband went just to keep me happy (I'd asked for years to go to WDW, this first trip was for my birthday) but he was the one who said first, "So, when are we coming back?" While I would love to be there with the grandchildren one day, unless we win the lottery, that's just not going to happen, so for now, this is our adult vacation spot.

     GreyHairedGrammie on April 4, 2011 @ 8:55 am
My husband and I LOVE going to WDW without our children. The first time we went without them I actually had tears the first night in my hotel room :cry2:but by day two I was just fine smiley for :D. We enjoy taking it slow, getting breakfast at Main St. Bakery at MK and sitting at the yellow tables that are close to the end of Main St. We are able to eat a relaxing breakfast while gazing upon Cinderella Castle. We also take tours. We have taken the Keys To The Kingdom tour and the Backstage Magic tour with Keys To The Kingdom being our favorite by far! I purchased a book at my local bookstore entitled "The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World" by Susan Veness. We spent alot of our time finding the hidden "gems" that were written about. Be sure you take the book with you into the respective park :read:. My husband and I found walking the trail between The Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness to be very romantic. There was nobody along the trail, the scenery is beautiful and we even stopped to watch 3 deer drink from a pond. At the end of our walk we ate at Trail's End which is located at Fort Wilderness. I hope these ideas help you and your spouse have wonderful time.

     elmb1972 on April 4, 2011 @ 3:42 pm
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Updated 03-22-2011 - Article #611 

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