The last time I went to Disney World I was nine years old. My father took me and there’s a picture of me wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Recently, I got to relive that childhood memory and go back, back, to Orlando, ‘lando. In tow with one of my close friends, another writer, we set out to make our mark on Orlando; more specifically Disney World, as grown ass women. Generally, when you think of the happiest place on earth you think of children and families. Castles, princesses, (of which there were many), and Mickey. But the truth is, there’s actually a big market for those visitors which fall under other categories, including bachelorettes. Or in our case, two close gals taking a weekend getaway. The older you get, the rarer those getaways become. So when the opportunities arise, family, married or single, you take the chance to get away and do something fun. These are the things that keep us young. If you make it a trip to Disney World, even better. Turns out, it really is kind of a magical place. One with the ability to turn the most cynical of grown ups, even those from New York City, into smiling goofs. But while you may be surrounded by kids, you’re not one, technically. Even if it sometimes feels that way. Read on for some ideas to master your Disney World for adults vacation.
1. Get your Ears Primed and ready to Insta. In the old days, one could only rely on taking pictures during their trip, then waiting later to develop. Now, it’s a new world. One where your entire trip to Disney World can be documented, tweeted, and of course, Instagrammed. In this case, the predilection towards the latter can be found more in the phones of the adults, (well, sort of). Case in point? The new rose gold sequin Minnie ears were so highly photographed and sought after (not by kids, but by WOMEN) that we found out the entire park, every single shop, was completely sold out. Guess the light pink ones would have to do for our Disney World for adults experience. Because if you went to Disney and didn’t photograph it, did you really go at all?
2. Hit up the Drive in Movie theater. Most of the park is filled with kids and families as expected of course. But there’s a totally different vibe inside Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine in theater. The restaurant, located in the retro Hollywood Studios park is a throw back to vintage drive-in’s, right down to the cars, old B-movies and commercials. Get the complete experience when you stop in, right down to sitting in your car and slurping your shake. Plus, everything is indoors. It’s also home to the Magical Star cocktail; a Disney concoction complete with glowing, ice cube souvenirs. Getting my Pulp Fiction on was one of the personal highlights of my Disney World for adults trip. And if you love anything retro, and old movies, it’s definitely a must stop attraction, either for lunch or just a drink.
3. Stroll through Disney Springs instead of the Disney shops. The renamed area is by far the chicest section of the entire park. Comprised of mostly boutiques, stores, and a few restaurants and bars the vibe is way more grown up in the Disney Springs side. It also seems to be the spot for Orlando locals looking for a lively night out too. Make sure to also make a stop at local shop Sugar boo & Co for fun t-shirts, cool notebooks, candles and more.
4. Stop for lunch or dinner at Morimoto Asia. The grown up Disney Springs area boasts lots of good eats that don’t include candy apples and cotton candy. The Pan Asian themed outpost of Morimoto’s famed restaurant offers a more upscale dining option, and is definitely a must stop on your Disney World for adults adventure. Try the Iron Chef award winning Buri-bop which gets prepared right at your table. Grab a drink, and take in the day’s festivities.
5. Check out the Disney Boardwalk. No Disney World for adults vacation would be complete without checking out their boardwalk. In addition to nightlife, restaurants, and shows, it’s also only 21 and over. In addition, it provides spectacular views of Epcot, making it one the best spots to take in the fireworks show. That is, if you can still handle it after scouring the park all day long. It’s way more tiring than one would think.
6. Explore some Nightlife. Of course, the mass majority of exciting offerings happen during the day, when most families are visiting. But there’s actually a bigger element to Disney World for adults than people might realize. Even if you’re not the Disney obsessed grown up, who wants to eat with Belle, and do sing-a-longs with Disney characters, there’s still fun to be had. Though they closed down their only dance club, they’ve made up for it with countless shows and entertainment, including Dueling Pianos, and Burlesque. Even a tiki themed bar complete with whacky, whimsical details is on hand. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto looks like the perfect place to chill out, have a drink, and take it ALL in. And it would seem, there is a lot to take in. I for one, am a huge fan of quirky travel spots, and if you are too, this is the place to check out.
7. Stay at the Ritz. There are lots of on site properties that will make your Disney World trip fun, and convenient; most geared towards visiting kids and families. But if you’re going with a partner, or best friend, and want to do more of a Disney World for Adults type of trip, it might be a good idea to venture a little off the Disney path. Orlando’s Ritz Carlton Grand Lakes hotel boasts awesome amenities, views and happens to be under ten minutes away from the park. It’s the perfect place to lay your adult head at night after reliving your youth all day long. And if Disney World gets you exhausted, (which it will, even without kids!), dip out, head back to your hotel and treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment.
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