Disney World for Adults

Deal Expert, Chicago
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Note: Since this article was written “Be Our Guest” at Fantasyland now serves beer and wine and Cat Cora’s Kouzzina at the Boardwalk has closed.

I recently took a family vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Why might this be odd? Because the age range of my family is 26-61. But what I learned is that going to Disney World as an adult is just as fun, if not more so, than going at age 6. And here’s why…

Adult beverages: Experiencing Disney World with an adult beverage in hand is an entirely different experience, if not jarring at first. Disney Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom all serve adult beverages from beer to cocktails to wine. Try turning the World Showcase at EPCOT into a global drinking game, tasting specialty drinks from each nation. Beer lovers should head to the Animal Kingdom to find some rare finds from Africa and India. But Mouseketeers beware, the Magic Kingdom is a dry park.

Evening hours: Disney keeps its gates open late for guests staying at Disney resorts. And we’re talking late … as in 2 a.m. in some instances. These “Magic Evening Hours” rotate which parks are offering them on particular days during peak seasons, but it’s worth investigating. Most of the rides and some shops stay open, and it’s perfect for night-owl adults who want to enjoy the parks after most of the kids have gone to bed.

Culinary delights: You might not expect it, but Disney World is home to some fantastic, upscale restaurants featuring some of the world’s most renowned chefs. From Wolfgang Puck’s Café in Downtown Disney, to Todd English’s bluezoo at the Swan & Dolphin hotel to Cat Cora’s Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Area, there’s something for every palate. There’s even a AAA 5-Diamond restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s, that has a dress code and age requirement.

Tours and activities: There are countless activities in Disney where you won’t likely find a throng of screaming children and appeal to a more mature audience. EPCOT offers a Behind the Seeds tour of their state-of-the-art greenhouses; Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek offers a three-hour safari not far off from the real experience; at Hollywood Studios you can dine with an Imagineer, the creative minds behind the magic; and several resorts have their own marinas where you can rent boats of all sizes by the half hour and hour.

My family’s visit to the happiest place on earth was one filled with unconventional experiences (including my mother being honored in Disney fashion for drinking a liter of German beer by herself). But for a family who hadn’t been on a vacation together in nearly a decade, it was a memorable trip of a lifetime. I hope Walt would be proud.

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Show 22 Comments
  • Jennifer Chambers Purefoy

    Chris I agree with you that Disneyworld is for everyone. I go at least once a year if not more and love all of the parks. Epcot though is my favorite because I am able to travel the world. Are you aware that when you go to the countries that they are worked by authentic people. That means Disney gets people from those countries to work there for 6 months and then they go home. That authenticates the experience. I love Disney!!!

    • Kotep

      Wonder when the Afgan pavillion opens?

  • Bob Hooper

    I go as often as 6 times a year, and have been retired for almost 4 years. I am liking it more now than when the rides were a central feature of the visit. The food and wine event is always a great time as well as the garden show… it is also nice to explore with friends who are mature and not seasoned visitors, exposing them to the often ill trodden areas of Epcot or Studios….

  • andrea

    Magic kingdom is no longer dry. You can have beer/wine at Be our guest. Do your research!

  • jplay

    @Andrea… yes, one place serves drinks, but the park is dry because you cannot leave that one specifc spot. Calm down gremlin.

  • MimiBklyn

    Kouzzina is closed & Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom serves liquor. As another commenter said, do your research!

  • Native Floridian

    Must offer a few corrections as a spouse (and former 28 year cast member) of a current cast member.

    1. The Magic Kingdom is NOT dry. Beer and wine IS available (ONLY) at “Be Our Guest” in the new Fantasyland. Dine in only, they don’t have a walk up window for you to make a purchase and walk with it.

    2. “Extra Magical Hours” is for exclusive access to resort guests and is usually limited to one additional hour and it may be during preopening of the park or after normal park closing hours. It is rarely for more than an hour and is not available at all parks at the same time. You receive a schedule when you check in showing you which park has the hour, which day it is and if it’s in the AM before the park opens or after the park closes. They also don’t do it 7 days a week. Note: If the extra hour is after the park closes, they don’t clear the park of the “regular” folk. You must show you hotel wristband to access the rides. Best time in my opinion is the AM extra hour when it is just you (hotel guests) allowed in.

    3. Cat Cora’s Kouzzina at the Boardwalk is long gone closed. However Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has opened an Asian inspired restaurant at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)in the building that used to be Mannequins Dance Palace during the old Pleasure Island days. Excellent and happily doesn’t vacuum all the cash from your wallet.

  • Bev Hendricks

    I live about 40 minutes away from WDW and I go several times each month, mostly with my daughter and grandkids. We stay in the resorts 3-4 times each year, a couple of times over race weekends, but other times during the lowest attended times. As others have pointed out, most of what you said is true – I love visiting WDW so much more now as an adult then I did as a child. It’s awesome. The cast members make the theme parks, hotels, restaurants an magical experience. I take my 80 year old mother over there 2-3 times each year, just to get her photo taken with the characters.

    • Jennifer Brackeen

      Hi Bev when would you recommend is a good time to go, we have no kids and are looking to go for our honeymoon. We live in Reno, and I don’t know your weather patterns too well. Thanks!

      • Bev Hendricks

        There are a lot of variables to consider. I don’t like to go in the summer, because it’s just too hot and too crowded. I usually stay away most holiday weekends. I go a lot in January and February during the week, because it isn’t crowded at all. Personally, I think the best two times of year to go are during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (late September to mid-November), except the race weekend (early November), and during the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival (early March to mid-May), except during the race weekend (mid-April). At least it’s warm enough to take advantage of the fabulous pools during that time. If you have questions about hotels, they have something for every budget. There are a couple that I’m not wild about and there are several that I love for different reasons. It also depends on if I’m going with adults only or also with kids.

        • Jennifer Brackeen

          Thanks Bev, I was planning early May. I’ll check into the dates for the Flower and Garden festival. I’m not so concerned about the crowds, my question was more weather related. Is spring a rainy season for the area? I know I can’t predict the weather unfortunately so I’ve just been checking average weather patterns. I was hoping to get some hometown advice. Are the parks open in inclement weather?

          • Bev Hendricks

            April and May are usually pretty good. The closer you get to June the more rain you get. By the end of June/early July it rains everyday. April and November are the months with the least rain.

          • Jennifer Brackeen

            Thank you for all your help! Truly appreciated!

          • Bev Hendricks

            The parks are open during the rain. some rides may not run, and more rides may shut down during lightning. The park has closed for hurricanes. Hurricane season runs June-November – Most active time for hurricanes is August thru early October. I’ve gone to the parks in the rain many times. I have a bunch of $1 ponchos from the local Dollar Tree. I take a poncho if I think it may rain. When it’s hot out the rain can be a welcome sight.

          • Jennifer Brackeen

            Thank you Bev, I believe you have sold me! I can’t wait to get married and go on an amazing honeymoon. You should work in travel 🙂

          • Bev Hendricks

            I just got this blog post today on the upcoming Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, to give an idea of what it’s all about. http://thedisneyblog.com/2016/01/29/new-details-for-new-90-day-long-epcot-flower-garden-festival/

      • Michele Schwartz

        Jennifer, I was just there and January is considered “low time.” The Magic Kingdom was very crowded. There really isn’t a time anymore when you won’t have extended wait times at the Kingdom. That’s why staying at a Disney resort, using the fast pass + option and taking advantage of magic hours is such a huge bonus. I would schedule your trip based on other parks you will want to visit and what else you might want to do. For example, if you’re excited to go to Animal Kingdom, go when the sun is out later, because that park typically closes at or near dusk, because you can’t see the animals after dark.

        • Bev Hendricks

          If you were at Magic Kingdom on Disney Marathon Weekend (Jan 6-10), yes it’s busy over those 5 days, or over MLK Weekend (Jan 16-18) it was busy. If on a regular weekend, no race, no holiday, not spring break or summer, Sundays are usually less crowded because it’s a travel day for most folks. Superbowl Sunday is usually a good day to go, except people are catching on to that one.

          • Michele Schwartz

            I was actually there post-marathon and mid-week. As I said there are so many different variables there isn’t really an off-season day anymore and it’s best not to plan a honeymoon around a time when there won’t be long lines at the Kingdom. There are other factors the couple should consider when planning their honeymoon.

          • Bev Hendricks

            There are many variables, especially where the resorts are concerned and budget is definitely a big part of that. I probably visit the three other parks 2-3 times before going to the Magic Kingdom, partly because it is the most crowded park, except during certain times. I try to chose my Magic Kingdom dates wisely. In the past year I have been twice when I had no wait on any ride, with the only exception being the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Honestly, I’m more into the entertainment, the stage shows, the parades and the fireworks. I’m going to Disney Hollywood Studios on Thursday evening just for dinner hosted by Minnie Mouse and the Symphony of Star Wars fireworks.

          • Jennifer Brackeen

            Thanks for the info, we pretty much have a date in mind and are deciding to go to either Disneyland or Disney World. My concerns aren’t so much the long lines, it’s the weather as I had inquired about in another post. I know when a good time to go to Disneyland is but I’m looking as to weather related issues. Both of us have never been to Florida so I feel as if it would be more fun.

  • mikem77764

    I really miss the old Pleasure Island days. They need to bring it back.