For my 40th birthday this year we are headed to Walt Disney World, and our first stay as Disney Vacation Club Members at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. It is on my Disney Bucket List to visit on my 40th, so I’m glad I can cross that once-in-a-lifetime goal from it! Going on holiday to Orlando is something we’ve been doing for several years now – we love it there – but what is different about this next one is that it is an adults only trip to Walt Disney World. That’s right, my teenager (Liam) is staying home, whilst my husband (Steve) and I jet off to the Sunshine State!
I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this. It’s not that Liam is too old for Disney, it’s just… He has college, a job, and having been the last few years, fancied a break. I’m sad that he won’t be with us, especially as it’s my birthday, but you have to give your kids wings and let them fly (with a sprinkling of Pixie Dust!). I am excited though, as it’ll be the first just the two of us holiday that Steve and I have ever had. Sure, we’ve been for long weekends away, but not a full on 2+ week holiday!
I don’t think we’ll be doing things much differently on my birthday trip – I mean, we go to Walt Disney World so that we have a chance to be carefree, forget all our troubles, and feel like we are kids again! That isn’t going to change. However, we will be able to do lots of things that we may have avoided in the past due to have a child in tow. I’ve put together a list of great ideas for an adults only trip to Walt Disney World, which I hope to cross some things off from, and I hope that will give you inspiration for your trip! I’ve stuck to things solely at the Walt Disney World Resort in this guide.
Ideas for an Adults Only Trip to Walt Disney World
Where to stay?
It must be stressed that all of Disney’s Resorts are family friendly, but I do think that there are some resorts that are more suited for us adults. We have only ever stayed in 2 Disney Resorts, so these are not all personal recommendations (but the plan is to try and stay at every Disney resort!), rather from my own observations from visiting the various resorts over the years. Most of these resorts fall into the Deluxe and Moderate category for Disney accommodations, but if there is a time to splurge, it could be on an adults only trip!
Also, make use of those late Extra Magic Hours – the ones that run till midnight and into the early hours!
I do plan on writing in depth articles about all of the resorts, so please do subscribe to stay up to date! For now, I’ll leave a brief overview of the resorts, and photos I’ve taken over the years.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – it’s tucked out of the way, and is the resort is stunning. The lobby’s of Kidani Village, and Jambo House are gorgeous, with lots of artwork to admire around the resort. There is the option to have a room overlooking one of the four savannas (if your budget can stretch to that), which is home to over 200 hoofed animals and birds. .
- Wilderness Lodge – you are close to the Magic (just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom) but also feel like you are in a secluded forest. The lobby is magnificent, with huge comfy sofas, and an amazing fireplace, which you can sit in front of on rocking chairs. There is even a quiet pool, aptly called Hidden Springs Pool.
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – all I think when I visit here, is how upscale it all feels. The lobby area is huge, with a live orchestra playing at various times during the day. The resort is just one stop away from Magic Kingdom on the Monorail, and home to several fabulous fine dining restaurants including Victoria & Albert’s, a Five Diamond Award restaurant (AAA’s highest accolade).
- Beach Club – shares many amenities with its more formal sister resort – Yacht Club – and is within walking distance of Epcot (International Gateway entrance), as well as a boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Yacht Club – see above!
- BoardWalk Inn – located across the water from Beach Club and Yacht Club, you can walk to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from here, as well as catch one of the Friendship Boats. The Boardwalk is a great place to visit, especially in the evening when it really comes alive.
- Contemporary Resort – has the Monorail going straight through the A-frame building! Just a walk away from Magic Kingdom! California Grill at the top of the hotel has an amazing vantage point for watching Wishes.
- Bay Lake Tower – situated next door to the Contemporary Resort (and shares amenities too).
- Polynesian Village Resort – I have to mention this one as it’s our Home resort. I’ve always wanted to stay here – I love the South Seas and Tiki style of the resort – and finally that dream has come true! It’s on the Monorail and two stops away from Magic Kingdom, plus you can watch the fireworks from the beach!
- Port Orleans Riverside – a Disney Moderate Resort, with a picturesque setting that evokes the romance of rural Louisiana. You can walk along the Sassagoula River to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
When to visit?
If it’s an adults only trip, you may be able to visit outside the kids’ school holidays – a bonus! The parks are a little less busy, and flights tend to be cheaper too – as are room rates. Late April/ early May is a good choice as you generally miss the Easter holidays (although, that will depend when it falls, from year to year) and Spring Break, and you can still see the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. September and October are good choices too – the weather is a touch cooler, and there is the Epcot Food & wine Festival running at that time of year – plus Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
That said of course, you are free to visit whenever you like; but we are looking forward to being able to visit when kids are generally back to school! Also, it is worth bearing in mind that certain events can increase crowd levels. As we found out when we visited Animal Kingdom during one of the Disney Marathons! Check out the crowd levels and events on the Touring Plans website, which we have found an invaluable resource over the years.
Where to dine?
There are hundreds of places to grab a bite to eat onsite at Walt Disney World Resort – from fine/signature dining, character dining experiences, dinner shows, quick/counter service locations, bars, and lounges, as well as snack kiosks. But to really push the boat out, a meal at one of the fine/signature dining restaurants, is, I think, a must-do when on an adults only trip to Walt Disney World. We have used the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan twice now, and LOVED it, because we love dining out, and it meant that we could try nearly all of the signature restaurants at Disney World.
I’ll list them below, and in time, they’ll turn into links on my website for reviews of them (as I publish them on Disney Tips & Trip Reports). The photos are of some of the dishes we tried from the restaurants we’ve dined at.
The ones with an asterisk (*) are our personal favourites! All of the restaurants listed accept the Disney Dining Plan (which is 2 credits per person), except for Victoria & Albert’s.
- Artist Point (at Wilderness Lodge)
- The BOATHOUSE (at Disney Springs)
- California Grill (at Contemporary Resort)*
- Cítricos (at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
- The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Cafe (at Disney Springs)
- Flying Fish Cafe (at Disney’s BoardWalk)
- The Hollywood Brown Derby (at Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
- Jiko – The Cooking Place (at Animal Kingdom Lodge)*
- Monsieur Paul (at Epcot World Showcase, France Pavilion)
- Morimoto Asia (at Disney Springs)
- Narcoossee’s (at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)*
- Victoria & Albert’s (at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
- Yachtsman Steakhouse (at Disney’s Yacht Club)*
It should also be noted that there is a dress code when dining at a signature restaurant – the official word is:
Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. Not permitted are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.
As long as you are smartly dressed, you are fine. We have seen people in dressed in t-shirts at some of these signature restaurants, and they were not turned away – but it feels “right” to dress up! For Victoria & Albert’s though, the dress code is pretty strict:
Guests must wear proper attire. Men must wear dinner jackets with dress pants or slacks and shoes. Ties are optional. Women may wear a cocktail dress, nice dress, dressy pant suit or a skirt with a blouse. Jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes are not permitted.
As well as the fine dining, remember that you’re in Walt Disney World, and head to at least one character dining experience! We love them, and I’ve seen plenty of couples dining in them without children. Our personal favourite is Crystal Palace with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet! We’ve been for breakfast, and lunch, and have dinner booked for our next holiday – on my birthday!
What to do?
Since this post has already gotten a lot longer than I anticipated, I’m going to just make a list of all the things you could do on an adults only trip, and expand on it in future posts – hopefully being able to share some of my own photos of the things we managed to do on my birthday trip to Walt Disney World!
And it goes without saying, since you are staying right in the heart of the Magic, to remember to have fun! Sing along, dance in the street parties, hug the characters, wear your Mouse ears, scream on the roller coasters, and eat the Mickey ice cream bar! Be silly, smile, and laugh, and make those memories!
Check out current prices etc over on the Walt Disney World website, some are expensive, some are cheap, and some are free. There really is so much to do on a Disney holiday, and for me it’s just an easy excuse to keep going back again, and again!
- Take a horse and carriage ride at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, or at Port Orleans Riverside.
- Fireworks Cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon.
- Tour the resorts during seasonal events to see the displays: pumpkin carvings at Halloween, decorated eggs at Easter, Christmas trees, and gingerbread houses at Christmas.
- Enjoy a spa for two at one of the Senses Spas at Grand Floridian or Saratoga Springs.
- Hire a golf cart at Fort Wilderness and tour the campground. During Halloween and Christmas guests often have fabulous displays outside their accommodation.
- Go to one of the seasonal parties at Magic Kingdom – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Go on one of the behind the scenes tours, there are several to choose from – Keys to the Kingdom; The Magic Behind our Steam Trains; Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour (all at Magic Kingdom); Behind the Seeds (at Epcot). Several of the resorts offer tours too, including: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club.
- Spend a couple of days at Epcot Food & Wine Festival – you can eat and drink your way around the World.
- Visit during the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and see all the gorgeous floral displays and topiaries. As well as sampling some food and drink at one of the outdoor kitchens.
- Head to Jellyrolls at Disney’s BoardWalk, a duelling piano bar, where you can have a few drinks and sing the night away. Try to stump the pianists with obscure requests! Over 21s only.
- Dance the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney’s BoardWalk with music from the 80s to present day. Over 21s only.
- Enjoy a cocktail at one of the resort bars/lounges, and if you’re not a drinker, you can still enjoy a soft drink, or coffee. There are some great ones to check out, most serve snacks or light meals, and some have entertainment like Scat Cat’s Club at Port Orleans French Quarter. Try a Polynesian Pearl at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, or Tequila flight at La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase.
- Celebrate with Disney Floral and Gifts – from flowers, and chocolate, to balloons, and gifts (and more!); you can arrange a special delivery to your resort room.
- Spend a night on the BoardWalk – watch the street performers (like jugglers, and fire-eaters), try your luck at one of the carnival-style games, rent an old fashioned Surrey bike, or just soak up the atmosphere.
- Enjoy a boat ride and just sit back and relax as you glide across the water. There are boats to and from several locations, including the loop around Crescent Lake, which visits Epcot, BoardWalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan and Dolphin, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios; boats from Disney Springs to and from Old Key West, Port Orleans, and Saratoga Springs, as well as the boats that sail around Seven Seas Lagoon, which visit several of the resorts.
- Get active! There are water sports, horseback riding, fishing, bike rentals and more.
- Watch Disney movies under the stars at one of the Disney Resorts (great schedule list here). Pack a few snacks, and enjoy a picnic at the same time. Locations for these movies are on the beach, in the woodlands, or by the pool. Some locations also have a campfire where you can toast marshmallows and join in the sing-a-long!
- Visit the parks at night – you should find that the parks empty out a bit as the night goes on – especially of families with young children
- Get couples photos taken with as many characters as possible! Disney Photographers will gladly take photos using your own camera, as well as their own for Disney PhotoPass
- Spend the evening at Disney Springs – lots of things to see and do there, including live entertainment, bowling, movies, shows, shopping, and some fab restaurants.
I’m sure I’ll write additional posts to this, but there is lots here to get ideas going for your adults only trip to Walt Disney World!
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