That old adage of “Well, you have kids, better take them to Disney” may apply to some folks, and rightly so. But, what if you don’t have progeny? Are you just supposed to forgo an awesome experience because you don’t have a toddler or two in tow? The Disney Parks are not just limited to families of the nuclear sort. As all ages are not only welcome but catered to in the awesome vacation destination known as Walt Disney World.
There are plenty of great things you can do without the kids at WDW, and below is a list of the top 10 things I recommend for couples or groups from late college through Empty Nesters! And while the list below does not discriminate against children, as we all know it’s Disney and children are welcome in almost every location (save areas where you must be 21!), the list comprises those events and experiences that adults may glean more from than children.
1. The Disney Spa Experience
A lot of guests are surprised when I recommend the Disney Spas on their vacation. I mean, in most people’s minds, this is a Theme Park experience and the existence of a spa may be opposed to what they were thinking they would encounter while at Walt Disney World. But this ranks WAY up there for me, because it is a VACATION after all, you need to be pampered! And honestly, the go go GO! of a Disney vacation especially can make you feel like you need another rest when you get home if you don’t take proper steps to ensure you slow down. Hence the SPA. There are two world class Spas on Property, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, plus Spas located at The Dolphin Hotel in the Boardwalk Area. They do have some offerings for younger children (mini manicures, etc.) but the bulk of the Spa menu is directed at adults. Massages, Steam baths, Manicures, Pedicures. You name it and the dedicated masseuses can accommodate! Follow this up with a night at the World Showcase and you are in Disney Heaven! To book and for a complete menu of services call 407-WDW-SPAS, or check them out online at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/spas/
2. World Showcase, In Detail
I always feel that the World Showcase is the “forgotten park”, when really it’s a place that I think the Disney Imagineers really show their talents. Intended at conception to be it’s own separate park, according to veteran Disney Imagineer and Legend Marty Sklar, in a stroke of brilliance they pushed Future World and World Showcase together, and boom! you have Epcot as a whole. The World Showcase is the reflective portion of the Epcot experience. Where Future World shows the various Sciences, both current and future theories on a multitude of subjects, the World Showcase shows the Humanities and Cultures portion of the World. It is also one of the more intrinsically beautiful spots in all of Disney Property. As I said, this was a great spot for Disney Imagineer’s to show off their amazing talents, and they do not disappoint. From gorgeous architecture, to beautiful gardens, the colors, sounds, and sights of the World surprise visitors. It is also a Foodie paradise. Some of the best restaurants in WDW are present in the World Showcase and as a couple or group of adults you can take your time and experience all this area has to offer.
Also in the Fall, World Showcase hosts the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Attending this festival means that in addition to sampling wines from every corner of the world you can also partake in over 40 food booths representing as many countries from across the Globe and many different cuisines all located around the World Showcase Lagoon. Not to mention if you are a budding sommelier or chef you can take classes from top chefs and wine aficionados! These classes are an additional cost and you need to register early, but they are a wonderful experience to add to your vacation!
Did I mention as well that the World Showcase also boasts some of the more unique shops as well on Property? You can find everything from Chinese puppets to French perfumes, Moroccan fish drums to English Teas. Every country has it’s own distinct shopping areas and some of the more unique items I have purchased on our trips have come from this area of the park.
3. The Richard Petty Driving Experience
Yes, as you pull into the Magic Kingdom parking lot, that is a Nascar style raceway. So if you’ve ever want to experience life in the fast lane, here is your chance. I think it’s pretty safe to say that you are going to have to have a class first, which you do by the way. Then you are suited up and taken around the course at 180 miles per hour. Finally you are in the driver seat! I recommend booking this WAY in advance if you choose to do this, as well you can gift it to your spouse while you take in the spa or vice versa! 407-WDW-PLAY to book.
4. Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Another festival themed around Epcot, but this time more for the gardeners and horticulturists that Disney employs to strut their stuff! Some of the most imaginative topiaries are viewed at this time of the year: Fully realized Pirate Ships and Disney Charaters of every stripe and color abound in beautifully appointed gardens in around both Future World and the World Showcase. Not to mention, would you like to learn what it takes to make all of this happen? What about learning everything from proper soil composition to growing luxurious gardens back home? Just like with Food and Wine Festival the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has a multitude of classes for every type of garden, the occasional to the constant!
5. Disney Behind the Scenes Tours
There are some tours that are specifically for kids, and those can be fun, but what I am speaking of are the Keys to the Kingdom Tours. These behind the scenes tours pull back the proverbial curtain and show how the Disney parks are built and operate. From taking visitors to the MousePad beneath the Magic Kingdom to experiencing the backstories on a multitude of Disney Classic rides, guests will have a guide through the park and get to know the Magic Kingdom on a more personal level! The tours can be booked in advance (and it’s recommended), but also the cost is more in tune with touring couples or groups of adults. Not to mention they can take several hours so plan accordingly! 407-WDW-TOUR is your contact for booking.
6. Lunch with an Imagineer
Like the Behind the Scenes Tours, Lunch with an Imagineer is also geared at adults, or families with older children (above 13). Set up in groups (around 16-20) your lunch is included in the overall price, but the real treat is getting to meet and speak with Disney’s own Rock star, an Imagineer! You are dining with a Cast Member who has personally overseen or been involved in the conception, design, implementation of the very Attractions you are enjoying on your vacation! The Lunch usually is at the Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios or at the Boardwalk Resort, and can last around 2 hours. The topics covered can be as diverse as the Imagineer you dine with, but if you ever want the inside scoop on what it takes to make a Disney attraction come to life, this is your ticket to the information you desire! Check out the availability for your travel dates here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/boardwalk/dine-with-an-imagineer/
7. Epcot Segway Tours
An early (ish) morning tour in Epcot’s World Showcase, the Segway Tour is a great idea for adults and couples looking for a different take on the parks experience. You start with training, you don’t have to outright know how to ride a Segway, they show you), but after your lesson you explore Epcot’s World Showcase before it opens. Your guides will show you the ropes and it’s quite a nice quiet and relaxing experience to start your day. Not to mention, FUN! 407-WDW-TOUR is your contact for booking. As well you have the possibility of being placed as well on the Moving Forward Tour!
8. Disney Water Sports, Tennis Courts and Golf Courses
Not enough is said I feel about the Sports you can experience at Walt Disney World. From Skidoos (Mouseboats) t0 Fishing Excursions the Disney Fleet is here to serve. Not to mention Disney has well appointed Tennis Courts, running and walking trails, and 3 count em, 3 Professional Golf Courses. You can set up tee times, and even add Water Sports and More on to your package when you book for further savings on your bookings. Call 1-407-WDW-GOLF to book tee times in advance. And also Call (407) 939 -6244 to book Water Sports or Any Other Disney Recreation, plus they can be searched out online at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/
9. Illuminiations and Fireworks Cruises
While you can experience these cruises with younger children, they may be a little overwhelmed by being so close to the action (especially with the Illuminations Cruises). That being said not many folks know you can book a member of Disney’s fleet for the evening and if you secure a large enough vessel add in a Dessert party! Seriously, fireworks, wine, dessert, your one and only and DISNEY. Does it get any better? You can book specialty cruises 180 days in advance, and there is a dedicated number of guests who book, but you have to be one of the first people on the phone for your chosen dates. And what I would recommend is have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd selection for when you call so you can at least get one of the dates during your trip. This is an experience where you make your trip work around it and not the other way around. Hit that Phone early on your day of booking and call 407-WDW-PLAY to book!
10. Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s
One of the TOP restaurants on property is Victoria and Albert’s. Named after the former English Monarch and her beloved Prince Albert, this restaurant is one of the few Disney restaurants with a strictly enforced age limit and dress code. Now, in addition to the outer dining room, Disney’s head chef at this restaurant also has a private dining area. At the Chef’s Table you not only get the pleasure of meeting the Chef, but also partaking in personalized cuisine fit for a Queen (or King) set to your personal palate. This experience does range in price and it can be expensive per plate, but well worth it! Like many of the experiences listed this as well should be booked in advance. To make it happen call 407-WDW-DINE.