Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeAnimal KingdomDisney For Adults

Disney For Adults

Cinderella Castle at night

Welcome to the fourth installment of Disney for…Everyone! (But specifically broken down into guides of Disney for: Little Kids {Toddlers and Preschoolers}, Kids {Grade-schoolers, age 5-11}, Teenagers, and Adults-Only). If you missed the first few blogs in this series and would like the full introduction, or if you are traveling with Little Kids, click here for full details, or if you are planning a Disney vacation for grade-school age Kids, click here for the guide, and for Teen/Tween guide, click here

If you are looking to jump right into the best tips for going to Disney for an Adults Only trip, you’re in the right place (and actually, even if you’re not solely traveling with adults, but have a few hours to grab a date night or solo spa treatment while the grandparents stay in with the kids, you will find the suggestions on this list helpful as well)! 

In this blog, we will cover:

Disney for Adults Here for the Rides, Shows and Park Tours

Disney for Adults Here for the Food and Drinks

Disney for Adults Here for the Sports

Disney for Adults Here for the Shopping

Disney for Adults Here to Relax (yes, it is possible to relax in Disney, I promise)

And if you’re here for all of the above? Even better! Settle in, because you’re about to discover why the Most Magical Place on Earth is just as Magical for Adults as it is for kids. 

Wine

Whether you have kids and are looking to recharge your own batteries, or you’re planning a “grown-ups” weekend away with friends, or you’re celebrating a milestone birthday, anniversary, or upcoming wedding, or you just need to get away to a place where you know the hospitality and customer service are the best of the best, you can trust Disney to provide you with a Magical experience that is unparalleled. 

Because let’s face it, the Magic of Disney can be just as real for adults as it is for kids; while getting a hug from our favorite character may not spark that sense wonder it once did in childhood (or maybe it still does, because honestly there’s nothing like a good squeeze from Mickey Mouse himself, especially after so long without one), the Magic we feel as adults comes in different forms, from your first uninterrupted-still-hot-morning-cup-of-coffee in months brought to you fresh by room service, to strolling through the countries of World Showcase with a drink in hand, but without doing a kid-headcount every three feet, to letting the world melt away during a spa treatment, to sinking a hole-in-one (at the links or on the mini-golf course, whichever game suits you best), and even to a behind-the-scenes look inside Cinderella’s Castle. The Magical moments for Adults at Disney can be endless, as long as we give ourselves the opportunities to really feel and appreciate them.  

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Disney for Adults Here for the Rides, Shows and Park Tours

Rides

For all those Adults who are truly kids at heart, and for any of us who wax nostalgic about our childhood memories of Disney trips, the rides are where it’s at. For me, I will never be able to visit Magic Kingdom without riding Peter Pan and “it’s a small world;” there’s just something about flying over London and swaying along with the hula girl dolls that makes me feel seven years old again. And honestly, who can go to Animal Kingdom and not ride Flight of Passage, which remains The Best Ride of All Time (and yes, I’ve been on Rise, too, but sorry Luke, Jake has my heart forever)! Of course, the rides that bring back fond memories, and the ones that still make your stomach tingle, will be different for everyone, so if you’re Here for the Rides, prioritize your own favorites, grab your Genie+/Lightning Lane time slots, and feel the Magic as you throw your arms in the air from #Row15 (iykyk). 

Minnie and Mickey Cavalcade

Shows

And don’t forget about the amazing shows performed at all four parks! Disney does a great job of keeping those that have stood the test of time that, like certain rides, will bring back memories of being awed as a kid (Indiana Jones I’m looking at you), and adding new shows to keep up with the most recent movies, and even our changing world (social distancing hasn’t been much fun in most circumstances, but it did give us Character Cavalcades and Kite Tails, so maybe clouds do have silver linings sometimes). In addition, for all those Broadway fans out there, don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy Broadway-caliber shows included with your daily park ticket, like Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage and A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King. And, of course, be sure to stay for the fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT as well; it can get crowded, but if you don’t mind missing the projections, the actual fireworks can be seen from so many other less congested areas in the parks. 

Walt and Mickey

Tours

Besides the rides and shows, Disney offers tours as well, which, depending on the one you select, might actually be more suited for adults than children. From the 50th Anniversary Tour, which spans multiple parks and lasts around eight hours, to the Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, a five hour historic tour of Magic Kingdom, unveiling secrets and historical tidbits of the most iconic park, to a myriad of other options as well. The tours at Disney are perfect for anyone who would appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Disney so Magical after all (a full list of all current tours can be found here). And for the ultimate tour experience (with or without kids), a VIP Tour will take you anywhere you want to go in the parks, with your own personal guide to sweep you to the front of every line, and who will regale you with their wealth of Disney knowledge along the way. 

Fancy Drinks

Disney for Adults Here for the Food and Drinks

Restaurants 

It’s no secret that the Food and Drinks at Disney are some of the tastiest and most creative in the area. Not only that, but Disney’s premiere Deluxe Resort, The Grand Floridian, is home to Florida’s only AAA Five-Diamond Award-Winning Restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s, which will grant you the ultimate fine dining experience. And if uber fancy isn’t your style? Don’t worry, there are a plethora of restaurants to fit every mood, style, and food craving you can imagine, and even some counter service options that you don’t have to plan so far in advance to enjoy. 

If you don’t mind planning in advance, though (60 days in advance to be exact, and for guest staying at a Disney resort, you can reserve 60 days from the day you arrive, plus 10 days into your stay), here are some of the best options catering more toward an Adult clientele, as opposed to the more kid-friendly options (though all are still at Disney, so the presence of children is always a possibility). NOTE: All restaurants within the four parks require a park ticket and park reservation, while restaurants in Disney Springs or at any of the Resorts do not. The starred restaurants are my own personal favorites if you want a few top choices at a glance. 

Topolino's

Amare at Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, serving Mediterranean cuisine

*The Boathouse in Disney Springs, serving American, Seafood, and Steakhouse cuisine

California Grill at The Contemporary Resort, serving American, Seafood, and Sushi cuisine

Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, serving Steakhouse cuisine

Citricos at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, serving American cuisine

City Works Eatery & Pour House in Disney Springs, serving American cuisine

Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, serving American and Seafood cuisine

*The Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios, serving American cuisine

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar in Disney Springs, serving American cuisine

Il Mulino at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, serving Italian cuisine

Le Cellier Steakhouse in EPCOT at Canada, serving American and Steakhouse cuisine

Narcoosee’s at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, serving American and Seafood cuisine

Paddlefish at Disney Springs, serving American and Seafood cuisine

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in Disney Springs, serving Irish cuisine

*Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, serving African and Indian cuisine (children will likely be at this restaurant, especially since you can watch animals like giraffes stroll by the windows, but the food, and legendary bread service alone, make it a worthwhile trip for adults)

Shula’s Steak House at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, serving American, Seafood and Steakhouse cuisine

*Space 220 Restaurant and Lounge in EPCOT, serving Modern American cuisine (children are likely to be at this restaurant, but this new space-themed dining experience is not to be missed no matter what age you are!)

Steakhouse 71 at The Contemporary Resort, serving American and Steakhouse cuisine

Tiffins at Animal Kingdom, serving African, Asian and Latin cuisine

*Topolino’s Terrace-Flavors of the Riviera at Riviera Resort, serving French and Italian cuisine

Victoria and Albert’s at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, serving American cuisine (this restaurant is temporarily closed, but this list will be updated as soon as the status changes)

*Wine Bar George in Disney Springs, serving American cuisine

Disney is home to hundreds of restaurants, so this list is just a starting point to help you narrow your choices if you’d like options leaning towards an Adult-centric atmosphere. 

Space 220

Lounges and Bars

In addition to all the restaurants, Disney has many bars and lounges, some of which are part of the most popular restaurants, and even serve the same food, but getting a table is always dependent on the crowd/wait time on any given day. If you are the type of person (and are also traveling with the type of people, unless you’re flying solo), who can pivot plans easily, and flexibility is one of your strong suits, you may want to take your chances at some of the lounges, especially if you missed the 60-day-prior reservation opening, and still want to try to experience some of the best dining options in Disney. Again, I’ve starred my personal favorites if you’d like some top choices at a glance.

Enchanted Rose

*AbradacaBar at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, serving American cuisine

Barcelona Lounge at Coronado Springs Resort, serving American cuisine

Bar Riva at Disney’s Riviera Resort, serving American and Mediterranean cuisine (this is the only “pool bar” on the list because it does not feel like a pool bar, as it’s separated by a fence and walkway, and feels more like a Mediterranean bistro)

BaseLine Tap House in Hollywood Studios, serving American cuisine

Citricos Lounge in The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, serving American cuisine

Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar in Disney Springs, serving American cuisine

Crew’s Cup Lounge at The Yacht Club Resort, serving American cuisine

Crockett’s Tavern at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, serving American cuisine

*Dahlia Lounge at Coronado Springs Resort, serving Spanish cuisine

Dawa Bar at Animal Kingdom, serving American cuisine

*Enchanted Rose at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, serving American cuisine

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Hollywood Studios, serving American cuisine

Il Mulino Lounge at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, serving Italian cuisine

*Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs, serving American cuisine

La Cava del Tequila in EPCOT at Mexico, serving Mexican cuisine

*Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom, serving African, Asian and Latin cuisine

Sanaa Lounge at Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani Village, serving African and Indian cuisine

Shula’s Lounge at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, serving American and Steakhouse cuisine

Space 220 Lounge in EPCOT, serving modern American cuisine

Steakhouse 71 Lounge at The Contemporary Resort, serving American and Steakhouse cuisine

Tambu Lounge at The Polynesian Village Resort, serving American cuisine

Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge, serving American cuisine

*Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at The Polynesian Village Resort, serving American cuisine

*Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at The Polynesian Village Resort, serving American cuisine

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in EPCOT at Italy, serving Italian cuisine

Victoria Falls Lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge, serving American cuisine

Again, there are hundreds of dining options throughout Walt Disney World between the parks, the resorts, and Disney Springs, but most of the options listed above will generally work well for an Adults-Only party. 

Beauty and the Beast Topiary

Food Festivals

In addition to all the incredible restaurants that are permanently part of the Disney landscape, there are also festivals and holiday celebrations in the parks with pop-up outdoor kitchens serving specialty bites that often sell out, depending on popularity. Foodies, oenophiles, and beer connoisseurs alike should not miss out on the following festivals and holiday celebrations:

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, Celebrating the Creation of Art and Cuisine, held annually in January and February

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival, A Springtime Event Abloom with Brilliant Gardens and Fresh Flavors, held annually from March – July

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, A Taste Tour Across 6 Continents and More, held annually from July – November

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party / Disney After Hours Boo Bash, A Disney Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom complete with spooky-themed treats, held annually from August – October 31

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party / Disney Very Merriest After Hours, A Disney Holiday Celebration in Magic Kingdom with treats made special for the season, held annually from November – December

Holiday Treats

Although there seems to be some sort of festival or holiday celebration going on almost every day of the year, there might be a few days of downtime in between, which is a plus for crowd size, and if you find yourself in Disney without any festival goodies to try, you can always fallback on the old standby of Drinking Around the World, since every pavilion in World Showcase at EPCOT has a country-specific drink to try (which is also always an option during festivals as well). If you are Here for the Drinks, more so than the food, just be sure to know your limits and drink responsibly, as Disney has strict policies on behavior and conduct. 

Again, for a full list of Disney’s Festivals, Special Events, and Tours, click here.

Golf

Disney for Adults Here for the Sports

Wide World of Sports

Disney is well aware that some of life’s most memorable, and Magical, moments happen on a court, course, diamond, or whatever type of arena your sport of choice takes place. Perhaps that’s part of why Disney has been home to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex since 1997. Although an Adults-Only Disney vacation may not be the time to bring the whole team along (unless you’re traveling with your whole all-adult softball, baseball, bowling, or any other type of team you may be part of, in which case, have at it and go team!), but all sports fans will appreciate a tour of the Complex, especially if you have some coaches in your group, who may be looking to scout great locations for team training or competitions. 

Espn Wide World of Sports

Besides the Complex, two other very well known and hugely popular sporting opportunities at Disney are golf and marathon races. 

Golf Ball

Golf

Walt Disney World has not one, but four different golf courses available for anyone who would like to spend a day at the links during their stay. Disney’s Palm Golf Course, Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course, Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course each offer a unique experience for golfers at every skill level. There are even opportunities for 9 hole play at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course for anyone who can’t squeeze in a full 18 hole course. And for something totally different, Footgolf can be played at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course as well. 

Winter Summerland Sign

Mini-Golf

But wait! There are even more golf options at Disney: don’t forget about mini-golf!  Mini-golf is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids (maybe even more so, in my opinion), and Disney has four distinct courses in two different locations for anyone who just wants to have fun with golf, or even engage in some friendly(ish) competition. 

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course and Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course are 18 holes each, and both are located next to the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel; and as per their names, both are themed around the Disney classic, Fantasia. Fantasia Gardens, however, is a much more whimsical experience, while Fantasia Fairways is modeled after a traditional golf course and focuses more on skill than chance. 

Fantasia Golf

Additionally, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, is a pair of two courses themed (you guessed it) to be opposites: Winter and Summer. These two 18 hole courses are located right outside Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park (you do not need a ticket to Blizzard Beach to play the courses, since they are just outside the entrance), and each features creative holiday touches that evoke Christmas-in-July-vibes no matter when you play due to the nearly-year-round warm Florida temperatures. 

Winter Summerland Castle

As far as Mini-golf courses go (speaking as an avid mini-golfer myself, and from personal experience on the courses), the quality always expected of everything Disney is not only met, but exceeded in these courses; they’re creative, challenging, extremely well-maintained, and often less crowded than many other attractions throughout Disney. 

Run Disney

Marathons

runDisney has become a THING, with runners dressing in costumes for the themed races, and thousands of runners flocking to Disney for marathon weekends. What started out as a once a year event has now grown into four different weekends throughout the year, each with multiple races and events, and of course, its own theming. 

Star Wars Marathon Finish

The schedule of races throughout each year is as follows:

January: The Original Walt Disney World Marathon celebrates its 30th year in January of 2023, from January 4th – 8th, with lots of special activities planned, including 5 and 10k races, half and full marathons, and more!

February: The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend will take place February 23rd – 28th, 2023, with 5 and 10k races, a half marathon, sunrise yoga and more!

April: New for 2022 was the Springtime Surprise Race, spanning the end of March and the beginning of April, this race is sure to be back again in years to come!

November: The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will take place in November of 2022, from November 3rd – 6th, with 5 and 10k races, a half marathon, post-race party, and more!

Run Disney Merch

Whether you are an avid marathon runner, or want to run with friends in a group costume, runDisney marathons are super fun, have characters to take pictures with along the way, and low pressure, with just a 16-minute-per-mile pace required for full, half and 10k marathons (no time requirement for 5k races), and proof of time only required to be part of certain start groups. 

For full runDisney details, including how to register, transportation, and logistics, visit the runDisney website here

Disney Springs

Disney for Adults Here for the Shopping

Whether it’s Disney merch you’re looking for, or just to browse through some of your favorite retail establishments, Walt Disney World has you covered with around 300 stores. Here are some of the most popular shopping locations:

Disney Springs Sign

Disney Springs

The mecca of all shopping at Disney, Disney Springs is home to the largest Disney store, World of Disney, plus a number of other specialty stores with Disney merch. In addition, Disney Springs boasts stores like The Lego Store (with incredibly impressive structures built inside, outside, and even in the water near the store), The Coca-Cola Store, Coach, lululemon, Vera Bradley and over 100 more!

Ears for sale

Magic Kingdom

Although there are shops dotted throughout the park, the main drag for shopping at Magic Kingdom is Main Street U.S.A. There you will find store after store lining both sides of the street, with everything from 50th Anniversary Celebration Merchandise, to artisanal candy, to dozens of Ears in every style. 

Flower and Garden Merch

EPCOT

One of the best parts of not just EPCOT, but all of Disney World, is the diversity represented and the cultures celebrated in World Showcase. Each pavilion has merchandise actually made in the country it represents, and also unique Disney merchandise made specially to compliment the hallmarks of each country. More centrally located in EPCOT is the Creations Shop, a huge store with many of the items you can find throughout the parks in one location, and EPCOT also has festival-specific merchandise as well.

Galaxy's Edge Merch

Hollywood Studios

There might not be a real Rodeo Drive at Hollywood Studios, but Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard have a number of stores fit for movie stars and wallflowers alike. And of course, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll be head-over-heels for the offerings in Galaxy’s Edge. 

Tree of Life

Animal Kingdom

Many of the shops in this park have animal themed merch, which you won’t find at other parks or locations, so if you’re a fan of animal prints, plan on stocking up while you’re here! You will find two of the most well-stocked stores, Island Mercantile and Discovery Trading Company, near the Tree of Life. 

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile

Resorts

Disney Resorts all have an on-site shop carrying a sampling of merchandise found throughout the Parks and Disney Springs, but each resort also has a section of resort-specific merchandise that cannot be found anywhere else, even online (much like the country pavilions at EPCOT). So if you love where you’re staying, or find an item you love at your resort, be sure to grab it while you can, since you won’t find it elsewhere, and much of the merchandise changes year to year (trust me, there was an unfortunate frame incident in my family years ago that one of us still has regrets about).  

Disney From the Water

Disney For Adults Here to Relax

Although everyone has a different definition of what constitutes relaxation (some people find shopping relaxing, in which case, see above, while others, like Carrie Bradshaw, using shopping as their cardio), but I think most people can agree that settling in for a spa treatment, or spending an afternoon people-watching while sitting serenely in the shade are two pretty good options. 

Grand Floridian

Spas

There are five Spa locations throughout Disney, all at different resorts:

1. Health & Fitness at Coronado Springs, located at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, providing Massages and Spa Services

2. Mandara Spa, located at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, providing Massages and Spa Services

3. Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness, located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, providing Massages and Spa Services

4. The Grand Floridian Spa, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, providing Massages and Spa Services

5. Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, providing Massages and Spa Services

Specific Services range at each location, but generally include popular spa treatments such as massages, facials and body treatments. As with all Disney experiences, the customer service is bar none, so if you have an opportunity to indulge in your favorite spa treatment, don’t miss it!

Boardwalk

People-Watching

No matter where you’re from, a vacation in Disney World will give you a cross-section of the population of the country, and sometimes even the globe. What better way to relax than to find a shady spot, grab your favorite drink and snack, and watch the world go by?

Here are my Top 5 Go-To Spots for a Relaxing Afternoon People-Watching

1. Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom

2. AbracadaBar at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

3. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs

4. Any shady spot at the France Pavilion in EPCOT, preferably with a Frosé or chocolate treat in hand

5. The docks near Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, watching the Riverboat float by

EPCOT France

Of course, you can always stake your claim on a slice of the Main Street U.S.A. curb, and just people-watch until it’s time for a parade, which you’ll then have a front row seat for! With the variety of clientele that Disney draws in on a daily basis, you will undoubtedly see interesting stories play out in front of you no matter what spot you choose, from the excitement of a child receiving their first Mickey balloon to a proposal under the fireworks. 

Skyliner Lantern

Ready to Plan?

Now that you know how much is available for, and even geared towards, Adults at Disney, are you ready to book your next Adults-Only Disney Vacation? Or even your next Family Disney Vacation with some Adults-Only-Alone-Time? I would love to help you plan your next Disney Vacation to make the most out of it, no matter who you’re traveling with! Click here for your free quote from me, Gina Pantina, a proud member of the Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Agent team! 

Disney For Adults

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Julie Fredericksen on About Me
jamier@innovativespaces.com on About Me
Larkin Smith on About Me
jamier@innovativespaces.com on What to Pack In Your Disney World Park Bag!
jamier@innovativespaces.com on What to Pack In Your Disney World Park Bag!