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Everything but the Parks
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Sue Holland

Visiting Walt Disney World Without the Kids

Friday, March 14, 3002
by Sue Holland, MousePlanet staff writer

Walt Disney World is a wonderful place to visit for an adults-only trip, even though it is also one of the favorite vacation destinations for families with children. There certainly are plenty of children around the resorts and theme parks, but there are also a number of places geared more towards adults.

Whether you are child-free or just wishing to take a vacation without your children, here are some ideas to help in making your plans.

Lodging is an important piece of the vacation budget, and where you stay can make or break the trip unless you are the type to spend every waking hour in a theme park prior to collapsing exhausted immediately after entering the resort room.

The value resorts (All-Star Sports, Music, Movies, and the upcoming Pop Century) can seem overrun with children because of the large number of young families attracted by the affordable price. If you are staying in a Value Resort, requesting a room on an upper floor that does not face any pool or courtyard will often result in a nice, quiet stay. The buildings furthest from the front of the resort tend to be quieter as well, and when the resort is not sold out, there is a good chance the empty rooms will be back there.

The moderate resorts have a more adult feel to them, with nicer landscaping and additional amenities. The deluxe resorts often include adult amenities such as room service, spa, fitness center, and perhaps more people traveling without children.

No matter where you stay, though, there will be plenty of children, as all of the resorts appeal as much to children as to adults. At the moderate and deluxe resorts, consider using one of the "quiet" pools rather than the main pool. With the water slide, the main pool is a magnet for youngsters, who generally find the other pools boring.

Snack offerings in the concierge lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

One option to consider is concierge-level accommodations. Most of the deluxe resorts offer, for a higher rate, a number of rooms that provide concierge service. In my experience, although there will be families with children, oftentimes there are only couples. For a special romantic occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary celebration, a stay as a concierge guest is a luxurious indulgence.

In the theme parks, there are many attractions not suitable for young children, and an adult trip is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them all! Attractions such as Tower of Terror or Alien Encounter are too intense for young children, while it can be difficult to enjoy the scenic movies around World Showcase in Epcot with the kids in tow. The entertainment in the countries of World Showcase can easily fill a day, and it seems that adult women have a particular interest in watching as many Off Kilter shows as possible. Even the Magic Kingdom can be a good place for adults to visit as long as they get there early can see all of their favorite attractions before the crowds get too heavy.

"Streetmosphere" actors perform at the Studios.

At the Disney Studios, the Streetmosphere actors provide impromptu shows throughout the day in various locations. The shows appeal to children as well, but adults can better appreciate the actors' work. For adults, the show is more likely to be an "attraction," while children are usually looking towards the next ride. At Animal Kingdom, adults can wander for hours studying the animals, such as the incredibly intelligent gorillas in Harambe and the beautiful tigers in Asia.

There are several behind the scenes tours available in the theme parks, and most have a minimum age of 16 years. Most require park admission in addition to the tour fee, but they are well worth the extra expense if you are interested in how Disney creates what you see in the parks.

Taking a break from the parks for a leisurely adult lunch at one of the resorts is always nice. Not all restaurants are open for lunch, since most people are away in the theme parks, but there will generally be one place open in each deluxe resort. Whether it's a quiet lunch or a romantic dinner, the hardest part is selecting from the many choices.

Grand Floridian, home to Victoria & Albert's Restaurant.

Victoria & Albert's is the top-of-the-line adult restaurant, located in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Here, dinner is a set price per person, every server is named either Victoria or Albert, and everything is more luxurious and formal than in any other Disney restaurant. They also have an option where you can book the highly coveted Chef's Table inside the kitchen, and watch the chefs as they work.

Like many of the deluxe resorts, the Grand Floridian has a full-service spa. Adults can visit for a wide variety of spa treatments and massages. For some people, it just isn't a vacation without a visit to a spa, and everything you are used to at other nice resorts can be found on Disney property.

Adults have some entertainment venues that are not open to children. At the Boardwalk, both Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance admit only adults. Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar, where the two piano players take suggestions from the audience. Atlantic Dance has reincarnated itself a number of times since opening, but is a dance club. Check with them when you arrive to see what style of music they currently feature. The Boardwalk area is also home to Flying Fish Caf, which is an excellent seafood restaurant. It is child-friendly but many adults make use of one of the many child-care clubs and get away for dinner alone.

Cirque du Soleil theater at the West Side in Downtown Disney.

At Downtown Disney, shopping in the Marketplace is a popular activity for adults. More and more non-Disney stores keep opening, which keeps things interesting. The latest is Basin, which carries upscale bath and body products. At the West Side, Cirque du Soleil has a permanent show called La Nouba that is a definite "don't miss." With ticket prices ranging from $75 to $85 per adult (reduced price for children 9 and under), it makes for an unforgettable adults night out. Children will be present, but they are in the minority, and the show is so mesmerizing they will most likely be stunned into silence!

Bands perform nightly at the West End Stage on Pleasure Island.

Pleasure Island is seen by many as Disney's adult playground, although it is a bit confusing because Disney continues to permit guests to bring their young children into the nightclubs. There are two clubs that are limited to people age 21 and above BET Soundstage and Mannequins. At the others you might see children in the smoky dance clubs or watching the improv comedy at the Comedy Warehouse and Adventurer's Club. However, the children are a small percentage of the guests, and as the night draws on, the audience usually becomes more adult.

Other activities include miniature golf and seeing a movie. While it may seem strange to do something you could just as easily do at home, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the busy parks. If you are staying in one of the Home Away From Home Resorts with a two-person Jacuzzi-style tub in the master bathroom, you could take your break there definitely a romantic way to spend an afternoon.

Adults traveling without children enjoy a show at the Comedy Warehouse.

There is no reason to deny yourself a trip to Walt Disney World just because you don't take the kids. It will be a different type of trip than your family Disney vacations, but both can be wonderful. Without the children, you are free to visit all the things you like, while skipping attractions like Dumbo and some of the shows geared to young children.

Of course, you can still ride Dumbo if you're a kid at heart!

Contact Sue at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com.

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Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”


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