Some of my most precious memories of my kids happened at Disney when they were too young to remember.
One of my kids, at the age of two, went through a phase where he did NOT want any help at all with anything, ever.
The problem was that he was not very proficient at quite a few activities of daily living. If you tried to help, he would say, “NO!” and swat your hand away.
In fact, he did this when boarding and exiting every ride in Fantasyland: Winnie the Pooh, It’s a Small World, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mad Tea Party, Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
I got a little nervous with Dumbo since there was water below the ride vehicles. Although this was a bit stressful at the time, it’s a cherished and funny memory now.
But even though I’ve made great memories at Disney with my kids, I’ve also had some great trips with just my husband and some friends.
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Can Disney World be for adults?
Yes, yes, a hundred times yes! Disney World can absolutely be for adults! In truth, I am of the (perhaps) unpopular opinion that Disney World is primarily for adults.
As much as I love visiting Disney with my kids, it is really and truly wonderful to visit Florida theme parks without them. These days when we visit Orlando, we typically bring along my in-laws so that the grandparents can keep the kids and we can have a Disney date night.
Sometimes friends with very young children ask if it’s “worth it” to take their babies or toddlers to Disney. “They won’t remember it,” they often say. Maybe they will or maybe they won’t. However, YOU will remember it, and you’re the one financing the trip.
Which Disney park is best for adults without kids?
My favorite park to visit without kids is Hollywood Studios. With multiple park expansions in recent years, there are tons of thrill rides and entertainment.
Star Wars fans will love exploring Galaxy’s Edge. There are also a couple of incredible rides that have been there a long time, including Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.
EPCOT is a very close second. Fortunately, these two parks are close enough to each other that it’s easy to hop from one to the other on the same day or night.
What age group is Magic Kingdom for?
Magic Kingdom has attractions and entertainment for all ages. There are plenty of rides without height requirements, so some guests find it the best of the Disney theme parks for young children. Plus, it’s the best place to see Mickey!
That being said, Magic Kingdom is also home to Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which are legit thrill rides. Between this and the nostalgia factor, Magic Kingdom can be just as fun for adults.
If you’re planning an adult vacation soon, here are my top tips for adults visiting Disney without kids:
1. Splurge on a stay at a Disney Resort Hotel
My favorite area to stay on a Walt Disney World vacation is near Crescent Lake. It’s located between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
The area includes Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts (they share an epic pool called Stormalong Bay) and The Swan and Dolphin hotels.
Each hotel has several noteworthy dining options. The Disney Boardwalk is home to fantastic entertainment as well. For example, Jellyrolls is a piano bar for guests ages 21 and older.
The Atlantic Dance Hall is open late and features popular music from the 80s, 90s and now. You don’t have to be a guest at a Disney hotel to visit. Still, it’s super convenient when you can walk home at the end of the night.
It’s no secret that it’s expensive to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. However, splurging for a couple of nights on your girls’ trip might be worth it.
Most standard rooms at deluxe hotels sleep up to 5 adults, and you’ll have access to some other perks like early theme park entrance and extended hours at select parks on select nights.
Other resorts to consider include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Saratoga Springs, Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter or Disney’s Riviera Resort.
2. Check out the restaurant lounges
Many of Disney’s most popular restaurants have separate small dining areas called lounges.
They typically share a kitchen with the main restaurant as well as several menu items. However, advanced dining reservations are not required and the atmosphere is typically more relaxed.
Some of my favorites are Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs. Lounges are a great spot to hang out with friends and enjoy a drink and a quick bite.
3. Plan a dinner along the Monorail loop
Speaking of lounges, there are several great ones on the Monorail resort loop. Consider taking a self-guided tour of each of these incredible hotels and visiting a lounge or restaurant at each stop.
I recommend Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. You’ll also find several dining options at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The fanciest is probably Victoria & Albert’s.
You can finish your tour at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The California Grill offers lounge or traditional restaurant seating.
Either way, the dining room offers a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. If you’re visiting before the show, you can keep your receipt and return for the fireworks later in the evening.
4. Spend some time in the World Showcase at EPCOT
It’s no secret that I love EPCOT and especially the World Showcase. And these days it’s highly likely that your vacation will happen during a festival.
The Food & Wine Festival typically runs from July to November. It is followed by the International Festival of the Holidays in November and December.
The Festival of the Arts happens in January and February, and it is followed by the Flower & Garden Festival which usually runs from March into June. There are really only a few weeks each year without a festival.
Whichever season you plan to visit, Disney adults should spend some time in the World Showcase.
5. Visit Animal Kingdom at night
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has only been open at night for a few years, and I think it’s the best time to visit, especially if you don’t have kids with you.
Pandora: World of Avatar is an incredible experience at night. Also, be sure to check out Avatar Flight of Passage.
You might be able to skip the line with an Individual Lightning Lane. However, the standby queue is actually pretty cool and it might be a good opportunity to check it out. You can also hop in line just before the park closes to shorten your wait time.
The Kilimanjaro Safari is also a must if you’re visiting Animal Kingdom after dark. Several of the animals are more active once the sun goes down.
Finally, be sure to make the trek to Asia to ride Expedition Everest. This roller coaster is fun no matter what time of day, but there’s something really cool about experiencing it in the dark.
Do you enjoy visiting Disney without the kids? What are your best tips? Let us know in the comments.