Monday, May 23, 2011

Adults Only

Taking time to relax on the TTA/People Mover 
No, this is not a review of late night Cinemax programming, but rather a look at traveling to Disney World without kids: couples, friends, siblings and even solo travelers.  I have been traveling to Disney with and without kids since 2005 and can attest that Disney World without kids is a fun and relaxing way to spend a vacation.

Why would you consider a trip to Disney without the kids, or even one by yourself? 

When you travel with your kids, no matter what you may think, they are in charge.  You may decide to get up early and arrive at opening, but they will dictate your pace: bathroom breaks, meltdowns, naps, snacks, mickey ears, etc.   Parents know this (even though some try and ignore it at Disney hence the famous mid-afternoon meltdowns in the cue for Dumbo) and know they have to adjust their pace to the kids.  With no kids, it’s up to you, your pace.

Faster or slower, it was up to me and my wife (or just me on solo trips).  We could go commando and do every attraction we wanted to, having fun seeing how many we could get in.  We could leisurely stroll through the parks, stopping for hidden Mickeys, drinking in the landscaping (have you done this, if not you are missing out) and reading signs and windows, not concerned about how much we checked off, but enjoying finding new things to check off. 
Finding Hidden Mickeys are a fun way to spend time during a leisurely day at Disney World

Combine the pace with a more grown up eye and you will start to enjoy some of those gems at Disney that you whisked past before on your way to It’s a Small World or Playhouse Disney.  The Behind the Seeds tour, an Illuminations cruise, a performance by Off Kilter or the (unnamed) British band in Epcot, walking the Pagani Forest Trail and finding the key left by the Muppets are just a handful of examples.  Did you know you can even play a game of checkers at the Magic Kingdom?  There are boards waiting for you in Frontierland in front of the shooting gallery and on Main Street USA by the confection shop.

On your way to enjoying the gems of Disney World, don’t forget those attractions that the kids either won’t or can’t go on.  No need to skip out on Tower of Terror (I had to do that for a while until making my first solo trip) or Expedition Everest…jump right on.  How about a show that young kids might not make it through or big kids might find boring?  No problem, take your time to enjoy the likes of Beauty and the Beast.

I have a hard time talking or writing about Disney World without bringing up food.  Once again, your options become your own when you travel without kids.  That does not mean you can’t eat with Mickey or Winnie the Pooh and Pals, if you want to do that (and I have without kids), do it!  Of course other options open up for you as well, signatures dining such as Jiko or the California Grill are wonderful.  While children are certainly welcome there, it is nice to have a nice meal, a glass (or three) of wine and not have to worry about bedtimes, spilled milk and the often mention meltdown.  You can relax and enjoy your meal.

Or, take your meal on the run, eat on your schedule, stop along the world showcase and enjoy the different wines, beers and cocktails. This is much easier to do and with much less guilt if you don’t have the kids in tow. 

Traveling with that someone special is terrific at Disney World. Believe it or not, this place can be very romantic.  Watch Wishes from the beach at the Polynesian, a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness, stroll along the World Showcase after dark (very romantic), enjoy a special meal together or a couples massage at the Grand Floridian.  You may even find that special place to “pop the question” (I may or may not have some experience with that.  Romance at Disney is only limited by your imagination.

Never forget, Walt Disney World is part Neverland, so take some time to be a kid.  Skip through fantasyland or dance to the afternoon parade.  Get competitive on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and have an ice cream before dinner.  Put on your Mickey ears and watch the fireworks.
Epcot's Food and WIne Festival is a great time for an Adult Trip.

Options and pace are the terms I probably used most here with good reason.  Traveling as adults only (or adult only) simply provides you with the most options to experience at your own pace.  My personal favorite time to visit without the kids is during the Food and Wine Festival.  I love to spend time in the World Showcase, strolling slowly which does not always appeal to the teenager or the toddler in the family.  However when it’s just the wife and me, we could spend nearly our whole visit there, sampling the wines and food, talking to cast members from around the world, enjoying the music and shopping and taking our time to be us.

The bottom line is that Travel to Disney World doesn’t always mean packing up the ol’ family truckster with the whole tribe.  It is a place that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter who they are traveling with, or who they are traveling without.  Don’t be shy about visiting alone either, this is the ultimate for making your own pace and itinerary and you may just meet a couple magical friends along the way.


  1. Awesome Post Joe :)

    I've been to Disneyland Paris with my family and also with my boyfriend on different trips. I have younger sisters so on the family holiday, they are definitely in charge! Also everyone wants to do all different things, so you do end up running around a lot to do everything everyone wants to do! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE family holidays to Dlp ... they are magical and I have some amazing memories from them! They are the happiest holidays we've had!

    But ... when I went with just my boyfriend a couple of years ago, I have to say the pace was much slower :) I got more time to wander round and really explore areas that I hadn't before which was awesome!

    I love what you said about Disneyland being Neverland :) I've skipped down mainstreet, danced to the parades, got competitive on Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast and had candy before dinner! And once I wore a Princess Giselle crown while watching the fireworks! ♥

  2. We used to go all the time before we had kids and it was fun. We could sleep late, stay up late, go on any ride without a debate and most important we were able to go to Pleasure Island -well back when PI had clubs--and have a good time and not worry about anything. We had the bus to take us back to our resort and not think about driving.
    But now I can't imagine going without our kids, we all have to much fun and I would have big time guilt telling them where I was going and saying your not coming too. It would be too hard to disappoint them because we are a Disney crazed family, we all love it so much and have the best time, every time. Every year we try and make our stay a little longer than the past one. Now that my kids are a little older they can go on more rides with us or by themselves.
    And getting all the family photos with the characters would not be the same with just the 2 of us. So I don't think I would do it, unless it was a weekend trip or something short like that.
    It's the reason we bring other family members with us so if we go to the Food & Wine at Epcot, we can have a good time and they can go off and do something else while we enjoy our wine. My kids find the World Showcase very boring except Norway of course. While we find it great and like to take our time going around each country.
    That's what makes Disney World so grand, there is absolutely something for everyone. Thanks.

    PS. I'm now following your blog, stop by mine too.

  3. You are so right about Food & Wine and couples only trips. Mary Ann and I normally travel alone, and during December, but went for FW this past October - It was a great visit.

  4. Oh, you are making me want a "just us" trip to WDW so badly! The last time we went to WDW alone was when we were engaged to be married ... 20 years ago! We laughed, danced, hugged, smooched, and were free to be goofy (pun intended) without hearing "I AM SOOOO EMBARRASSED BY YOU TWO!" So thanks for planting the notion in my head to plan another visit.