Are you going on an adults-only Disney World trip? Count yourself lucky – that’s my favorite kind! I consider myself quite the expert on the adults-only Disney World trip, in fact, so I’m sharing my tips and tricks for making the most out of the Disney magic without kids.
Bring on the childless millennials!
Most of my tips assume that you are going with a small group – I’ve found that adults tend to go as duos or trios, instead of full families. But even if you do travel with a group of other adults, you have a lot more independence than if you are bringing kids along with you, which is great!
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1 – Avoid your resort’s dining locations in the morning.
My mom and I always go to fill up our mugs and then scamper on out of there. Trust us – you will be glad you did.
Your resort’s quick service spots and restaurants, as well as the gift shop and the lobby, are going to be packed with families preparing for their day. If you want to grab breakfast, wait until the early morning park rush has passed. I recommend skipping a full breakfast (see #3) but if that’s not an option or you just love breakfast and heading to the parks.
Either way, stay out of the quick service area, most of all. It’s a madhouse.
2 – Schedule character meals for characters you love.
If you are a big Disney fan, don’t tell yourself that character meals aren’t for you.
My mom and I have scheduled not one but two character meals for our upcoming trip, and we could not be more excited. We can enjoy the characters too – and there is absolutely no way you’re going to find me waiting in line to meet Winnie the Pooh when I could get breakfast with him instead.
3 – Don’t spend money (or dining credits, or time!) on a full breakfast.
If you don’t have any young people in your party who will be hangry without a full breakfast, pass on the sit-down meal. I recommend you eat something in your room, grab something in the parks (#TeamMickeyPretzelForBreakfast) or eat an early lunch once you’ve started your day.
Mom and I always head straight to the park of the day’s Starbucks location for a coffee (the best use for the dining plan, btw) and eat a protein bar or some other portable breakfast in our first line of the day. We have breakfast plans one day for this trip and that’s all!
4 – Resort hop.
Kids might not love to appreciate the amazing architecture, scenery, food and beverages of the many Disney World resorts, but you will. Hop on the Skyliner and check out the Caribbean Beach resort and the Riviera Hotel (once it’s opened in December). Or take the monorail from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, which is a must-see.
We love eating at resorts more than any restaurants in the parks and definitely recommend a lot of that for adults-only Disney World trips.
5 – Take the nap.
Just because you’re a grownup doesn’t mean you can skip a nap in Disney World.
Mom and I like to head to the parks right after the rope drop rush, enjoy a few rides and head back for a rest before dinner. If we end up at the parks later in the day, we might skip the nap because we slept in. We do not try to go all day! We tried that on our last trip on the first day, and we regretted it.
6 – Don’t discount something just because it’s “for kids.”
Even if the ride or attraction seems like it’s for kids, you might really enjoy it. For example, we love Under the Sea, the Little Mermaid ride, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. They are definitely kid attractions, but it’s fun to rest your feet for a second and enjoy the storytelling and the Disney magic.
If you hate characters and kid rides, don’t force yourself into it just to do it. But don’t tell yourself it’s not for you, either. Everyone’s a kid at Disney World!
7 – Plan your “must dos.”
Just like you ask your kids what they want to do at Disney World, you and your traveling party should identify your own “must dos.” No one likes to be disappointed, and if you’re traveling adults-only, you might not want to speak up and rock the boat. Have a conversation at the beginning of every day about what rides you would be sad to miss and what attractions you’re happy to skip.
Mom and I use the bus ride on the way to the park in the mornings as our chance to plan our strategy for the day ahead. We spend extra time planning snack breaks!
8 – Always encourage spontaneous decision-making.
Veer off-course when the situation warrants it!
It’s great to have a plan at Disney World – in fact, I wholeheartedly recommend it. But I also don’t think you can do Disney World right unless you embrace spontaneity, at least sometimes. Order the churro because it looks good. Ride Soarin’ for the third time because the line is short. Stop to meet a character you love.
9 – Eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty, sit when you’re tired.
This is a good rule for kids but a better rule for grownups! We like to think we can power through it.
We cannot. We get hangry too. We get dehydrated too. And by god, our feet hurt.
So, take a seat. Eat a snack. Speak up! Mom and I always check in with each other regularly about our status, and we take plentiful breaks.
10 – Eat great food.
No chicken tenders and pizza for you – unless you want it, of course. Without kids, you can enjoy so many great dining experiences in Disney World that probably wouldn’t be picky-eater-friendly.
Mom and I, for example, loved Sanaa, an African-style restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and this year, we’re going to Jiki, the Signature Dining restaurant in the same resort. Those restaurants would not have made the cut for me as a kid – and if my parents brought me anyway, I probably would’ve ordered a hot dog.
Take advantage of the freedom. Eat all the food.
11 – Take advantage of the single rider line.
If you’re not responsible for holding onto a kid and you have a small party, look for the single rider lines! There are only four rides that allow for single rider – Test Track, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, the Millennium Falcon and Expedition Everest. If the lines are long, hop in the single rider line and save some time.
Don’t forget my favorite planning resource…
If you have a trip coming up, make sure you have a copy of my Disney bible! I can’t recommend the Unofficial Guide enough. I get a new copy every year and read it cover to cover. This guides so many of my FastPass, dining and general planning decisions every year, and I recommend it to everyone.
Photos from www.MagicGuides.com.