“Adulting” At Disney
By Nicole Wood
If you’re a Disney lover without little ones, you’ve probably had someone ask you why you choose to go to Walt Disney World as an adult, and why you don’t go elsewhere.
First of all, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life (Ha!) and you shouldn’t feel like you need to defend your vacation destination to anyone. If Disney is what you love, even as an adult, you do you!
Maybe it’s your first time venturing to the parks as an adult. Perhaps you’re going with a significant other, or as a girl’s trip. Heck, maybe you’re even taking on the parks as a solo adventure! Whatever way you’re taking in all the fun that Walt Disney World has to offer, there is something for everyone.
What I’d like to dive into with today’s post is how to “Adult” at Walt Disney World (henceforth abbreviated to WDW, okay? Okay.) I am going to dig into some of my experiences during my most recent trips as well as some fun ideas and activities that are on my WDW wish list.
Another fun thing that I like to look out for at Magic Kingdom (and all the parks, really) are hidden Mickeys.
Let’s start with Magic Kingdom (I dare you not to tear up just a tad as you round that corner on Main Street USA and see the castle for the very first time!). What I have come to appreciate about this park as an adult is the rich history behind every little detail. Have you ever looked up at the windows on Main Street USA? See all of those names? The windows are designed to act as credits leading up to the big show at the end, which is Cinderella Castle. All of the names have to do with someone who was involved in creating Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney’s name can be seen right above the ice cream parlor, forever having the greatest view of the fireworks.
Another fun thing that I like to look out for at Magic Kingdom (and all the parks, really) are hidden Mickeys. These have become a sort of phenomenon within the Disney community, and they are a lot of fun to try to find. The next time you’re riding the Haunted Mansion, see if you can spot the hidden Mickey in the dining room dance scene (hint: look for a 3-plate place setting). This kind of attention to detail is something that I truly respect and love as an adult.
Animal Kingdom has evolved so much since its opening, and I still feel like it’s such an underrated park! Some of my must-dos when I’m in Animal Kingdom are as follows: Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to be a Bug, Kilimanjaro Safari, and exploring Pandora. As stated with Magic Kingdom, the detail here will blow your mind, especially in Pandora. This park is filled with fun adult things to eat and drink; Grab yourself an African Bloody Mary (extra spicy!) from Dawa Bar, Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork from Flame Tree Barbecue (it’s heaven- trust me on this), and finish up your hot Florida day with a refreshing Dole Whip (with a splash of rum, if you’re so inclined) from Tamu Tamu Refreshments. Ride the rides, eat the food, drink the drinks, and take in all of the sights and sounds around Animal Kingdom.
*Drumroll, please* Epcot. Let’s talk about Epcot. The older I get and the more times I visit WDW, I grow fonder and fonder of this park. In my humble opinion, Epcot has the MOST to offer in terms of “adulting”. Not only does Epcot deliver amazing festivals throughout the year (Festival of the Arts, Flower Garden Festival, Food and Wine, Festival of the Holidays) but World Showcase is hands down the most fun to do as an adult.
Let me say it one more time for the people in the cheap seats: THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS IMPECCABLE! I won’t say it again, I swear.
Starting with Future World as you enter the park, I love going into the Land pavilion to ride Living with the Land (look out for hidden Mickeys!). It’s always amazing to see all of the different things that Disney and Epcot are doing to really be eco-friendly within the parks, and this ride is something that can show you a real look behind the scenes. If you’re really into this aspect of the park, take the Behind the Seeds tour. This tour is something that you can generally book day-of, and it’s only $25/person! This is something that is near the top of my WDW wish list.
Also within the Land pavilion is Garden Grill Restaurant. This is a family-style restaurant where you get to meet Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale, which alone will leave you absolutely fan-girling (just me? Okay…). Not only is the experience a 10/10, but the food and atmosphere really take this restaurant to the next level. You actually rotate through parts of the Living with the Land attraction while you eat, and you are eating fruit and vegetables that are grown in the greenhouses that you go through on Living with the Land! How cool is that?! I highly recommend this character dining experience, whether you’re 9 or 99. And as an even bigger plus, you don’t have to wait in line to meet Mickey Mouse and his pals because they come right to you!
Alright. Here we go. World Showcase. Buckle in and get ready because we’re diving deep here, friends. World Showcase is home to 11 different countries, countless shops, awesome rides and shows, and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). What’s not to love?
It’s exciting to step outside of your comfort zone and to take in all that the pavilions have to offer all while enjoying your refreshing adult beverages.
One of my favorite activities to do around World Showcase is to Drink Around the World. By now, this is something that most WDW goers know about, and it is a well-loved must do by locals and visitors alike. Below you will see some pictures of my last venture around the world (we only made it to 9 countries). The drinks are delicious and it’s a fun way to try things that you may not normally have access to back home. For instance, I’m from Wisconsin. We have beer and old fashioneds galore, but you won’t find a place to serve you a Grand Marnier Orange Slush like you can find in the France pavilion. It’s exciting to step outside of your comfort zone and to take in all that the pavilions have to offer all while enjoying your refreshing adult beverages.
As I mentioned earlier, Epcot is home to some amazing festivals. Over the past couple years, these festivals are pretty much offered year round, and there’s truly something at each one that everyone can find to enjoy. My personal favorite is Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival (because, well, food and wine). This is another fun way to drink and eat around the world, because on top of the 11 countries, there are multiple pop-up countries that appear during this festival. Most of the pop-up stands will offer small bites and beverages, and again, it’s fun to step out of your comfort zone!
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Hollywood Studios. With this park going through so many changes over the past and coming years, I haven’t been able to get to “re-know” this park as much as I’d like to. However, definitely hit up Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster- they will give you the best adrenaline rush ever!
One last area that I want to touch on is Disney Springs. On my most recent trip in October of 2018, I fell in love with Disney Springs. We spent an entire evening wandering through all of the shops, getting dinner, and enjoying the live entertainment. Really, Disney Springs has something to offer for absolutely everyone. There’s Splitsville, which is a restaurant and a bowling alley, House of Blues, and Goofy’s Candy Co. to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Disney Springs is the perfect place to spend your arrival day/night, and you don’t have to purchase an additional park ticket – it’s free to get in!
So, to wrap all of this up into a nice tidy package: the next time someone asks why you, as an adult, like to go to Walt Disney World, give them some of these answers. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even convince a non-Disney lover to go with you, and maybe they’ll see just how magic this place can really be.
Just a small town, Wisconsin girl, dreaming of making it in a Disney World. Hi, friends! My name is Nicole Wood, and the love of Disney is deeply ingrained in my heart and soul. I just recently became an Annual Passholder for Walt Disney World (OMG, right?!) and I try to get to the parks as often as I can. If you’d like, I’d love to have you follow my adventures over on Instagram @nic0l3lynn3 - Happy travels!