Planning an all-adult Disney World trip? Despite what your colleagues might think, it isn’t a holiday just for kids. There’s actually tonnes of stuff you can enjoy without a screaming child in sight.
As a couple who couldn’t think of anything worse than a Disney trip with kids, we’re pretty well placed to share 13 must-do activities for adults at Walt Disney World. Let’s go…
Stay at Pop Century
If we’re being honest, the moderate hotels are probably the best ones for adults, but we’re not all made of money. So for us, Pop Century is the pick of the values.
The beds in the All Star Hotel’s aren’t big enough for two reasonably sized adults, so that option’s out. And the theming at Art of Animation is all geared towards little ones. So as much as we’d like to pose next to giant models of Scar and Ariel every morning, we’d suggest Pop Century as a good happy medium.
Although it still has plenty of OTT theming, it’s the least ‘Disney’ of the value resorts. The rooms were refurbished in early 2019 so the aesthetic is clean and minimal, perfect for adults. It’s also on the new Disney Skyliner system making transport to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios quick and simple.
Get to morning extra magic hours early
If you want an uninterrupted view of cinderella castle, you best make the most of those extra magic hours.
One of the perks of staying on-site at Disney World is you get access to the parks before the general public. Different parks open early on different days, and we’d suggest arriving at least 30 minutes before the advertised opening time.
And why is this such a good idea for adults? The kids haven’t quite woken yet so it’s a great time to get pictures taken in front of the castle. The photopass photographers are generally quieter too so you can get plenty of couple, friend or solo photos with nothing but the beauty of Disney in the background.
Head for the thrill rides first
Admittedly, some of the best rides at Disney World are the fantastic family dark rides, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for us thrill-seekers to enjoy.
From the unforgettable Tower of Terror to the sheer magnificence of Expedition Everest, Disney World is home to some of the best themed thrill rides in the world.
If you’re like us, you’ll want to do EVERYTHING at the parks, but as a rule of thumb we’d suggest starting with the more thrilling attractions on your adult-only trip.
In Magic Kingdom that’s Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
In Epcot that’s Test Track and Soarin’.
In Hollywood Studios that’s Rise of the Resistance, Rock n’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror
In Animal Kingdom that’s Expedition Everest, Flight of Passage and Dinosaur.
Character dine at Tusker House
One of the best ways to meet Disney characters without wasting valuable attraction riding time is to book character dining.
There’s tonnes of character dining options at Walt Disney World, and none of them are bad. But for us, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is the best one for adults.
Why? Because the food is beautifully varied. You’ll find so much more than burgers and Mickey Waffles here as Tusker House is inspired by the flavours of Africa. The food on offer doesn’t disappoint and provides a different flavour to the usual character dining fare.
You also have the opportunity to meet Mickey and friends, so it ticks meeting the big man off your list without subjecting you to 45 minute+ queues, or using a Fastpass on a character meet.
Grab a pretzel and a beer at Baseline Taphouse
Baseline Taphouse, a bar in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, is our favourite spot on property.
Inspired by the industrial buzz of downtown LA, this quirky little bar is stocked with California beers and snacks.
Even better, it has a gorgeous outdoor area perfect for relaxing when your feet are starting to ache. We‘ve spent many an hour here watching the world go by the with a cold beer.
Make sure you save some room in your tummy too as the Bavarian pretzel with beer-cheese fondue and spicy mustard is to die for.
Drink your way around the world
Another alcohol themed tip but it works just as well with food. World Showcase in Epcot is one of the most incredible theme park experiences in the world.
Where else could you journey from Germany to Canada and then on to Norway in one afternoon?
But the best thing about World Showcase is the delicacies in each country. You’ll find mojitos in Mexico, a Tokyo Sunset in Japan and a good old Snake Bite in the UK.
And if there’s an Epcot Festival on (especially the Food and Wine Festival) it’s even better. Epcot is a lovely park, but it isn’t the most exciting. Yet we’ve had some of the best times at Disney World drinking around the world then heading for a few rides on Soarin’ tipsy… you can’t beat it.
Pamper your feet
This one is inspired by a pretty difficult time I had drinking around the world in a fair bit of pain.
Disney World holidays are hard on your feet. Like really hard. If you’re not used to walking much it might come as a bit of a shock that 20,000 steps a day is the norm in Disney World.
As adults, we like to be up earlier than the kids and awake after they’ve all gone to bed, which means long days and lots of time on your feet. Although we’d highly advise mid-afternoon naps, another good way to cope is to look after your feet.
Make sure you wear super comfy shoes and pick up foot salts, painkillers and cream (Walmart is a good place for these) so you can give them some TLC between parks and a new lease of life for an evening at Disney Springs.
Do a backstage tour
This is one we’ve yet to do, but that we want to tick off one day if we have the extra money. There’s a number of one-of-a-kind tours on offer at Walt Disney World. From the ‘Behind the Seeds Tour’ which takes you backstage in Living with the Land at Epcot, to the ‘Backstage Magic Tour’ which shares some of the biggest secrets of the Magic Kingdom.
Tours are a great way to find out more about the parks, immerse yourself in Disney history and unearth some secrets along the way. The latter is one of the reasons tours aren’t really advised for kids. In fact, you have to be over 12 to go on the Backstage Magic Tour, making it a great adult-only activity to do in the parks.
Prices range from $20 per adult for ‘Behind the Seeds’ to $299 our adult for ‘The Ultimate Day of Thrills’.
You can find a full list of the tours available at Walt Disney World on the Dis website.
Spend a night shopping and chilling at Disney Springs
Ah Disney Springs, how we love you so. To us, Disney Springs is a near perfect place to spend an evening as an adult Disney fan.
For starters Disney’s shopping, dining and entertainment complex is full of incredible shops. Like literal retail heaven. There’s high end delights like Sephora, MAC and Kate Spade, as well as lots of specialist Disney shops and the biggest Disney Store in the wold, World of Disney.
We loved DisneyStyle which full of awesome quirky Disney items you can’t get anywhere else (take a look around with us in our vlog from the shop). One of the coolest things here is that most of the high-end brands are stocked with Disney merchandise. So you can pick up a pair of Levi’s adorned with Mickey faces, or a gorgeous exclusive Disney Parks Pandora charm. There’s plenty of stuff here that you can’t get just anywhere.
When it comes to food and drink there’s also lots of awesome adult-friendly places to go. For food you won’t go far wrong with TheBOATHOUSE – one of the best restaurants in Disney World – if you have money to spare, or D-Luxe burger if you’re on a budget.
For drinks we’d suggest grabbing something from one of the carts dotted around Disney Springs (they do beers and pre-mixed cocktails) or heading to Raglan Road, Jock Lindsay’s or Enzo’s Hideaway for genuinely fantastic themed drinking experiences.
Monorail resort crawl
Another one best enjoyed with alcohol if you’re us, or that can be enjoyed without if drinking isn’t your thing.
There’s three deluxe hotels stationed along the monorail route at Disney World; Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Each are absolutely worth hopping on and off to explore too.
We found this to be a fantastic evening activity for us grown-ups and it gave us the opportunity to nose at all the Disney hotels we’ll never be able to afford to stay at.
As well as a few drinks in Mizner’s Lounge (now Enchanted Rose, Grand Floridian), Tambu Lounge (Polynesian) and Outer Rim bar (Contemporary) we ventured in all the shops and soaked up the atmosphere of the lobbies. A must do activity for adults at Disney World.
Late night dining at California Grill
Speaking of monorail resorts, the first dining reservation adults should make is for California Grill.
Especially good value if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, and less good value if you’re not, this is the restaurant of all your Disney dreams.
Located at the very top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you won’t get a better view than you do here, as it looks out over Magic Kingdom.
The reason we’d suggest getting a late night reservation is two-fold. Firstly, it’s a pretty romantic joint, so booking late when there’s less kids around makes for a better experience if you’re on an adult-only trip. Secondly, you wanna be there for Happily Ever After. Watching the show from the outdoor viewing area is probably my favourite Disney memory – so worth every penny spent on the food.
You don’t have to dine at fireworks time to see them though, if you eat here earlier in the day you can grab a ticket to come back and experience the view later on in the evening.
Go shopping in world showcase
I know we’ve already mentioned drinking your way around the world in Epcot. But another fantastic thing to do – especially if eating loads of food and drinking multiple alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing – is to browse all the quirky shops in World Showcase.
Hands down these are some of the best shops in Disney, because they’re full of totally unique souvenirs you can’t get anywhere else.
Each of the shops is full of authentic merchandise from the country in which it resides, so you won’t find much Mickey Mouse here. Although if you’re from the UK like us, you might be gobsmacked by the cost of a few Hobnobs, you can’t help but admire how right Disney were when they chose the merch.
Our favourite shopping spots are the Plaza de los Amigos in Mexico (hello beautiful sugar skulls), Mitsukoshi in Japan and Caramel-Kuche in Germany which is choc-full of the most delicious caramel treats you’ll ever find.
Enjoy your resort
Finally, we’re urging you to enjoy spending time at your resort. A Disney World holiday is absolutely knackering, and it’s good to make sure you chill and relax together.
Although it’s not the most adult of resorts, we had a fab afternoon at Disney’s All Star Sports. We browsed the unique sporting merchandise in the shop, grabbed a tasty flatbread in the End Zone Food Court, mucked about in the very reasonably priced arcade (it’s massive) and swam in the very quiet swimming pool. Top tip: the pools are much more adult-friendly during the day when all the kids are in the parks.
It was a lovely afternoon and I’m really glad we took some time out to enjoy the resort we’d paid so much money to be in.
Phew, that took me some time to write. So there we have it 13 must-do activities for adults at Disney World. Do you have any more tips? Share them with us in the comments!