World Disney World is not just for kids. Sure, it has a real family-friendly reputation but trust me, you can visit as a childless adult and have an absolute blast. The combination of fun rides, nostalgia and a few adult-only treats is pretty magical. Here are the 20 best things to do at Walt Disney World for adults.
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There is a strong possibility that a lot of these will involve alcohol because…well, why not, you’re an adult!
- 1.) Visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- 2.) Watch the Parades
- 3.) Do All the High Octane Rides
- 4.) Grab a Drink at Oga’s Cantina
- 5.) Join a Star Wars Lightsaber Workshop
- 6.) Watch the Fireworks from a Bar
- 7.) Ring in the New Year at EPCOT
- 8.) Shop Without the Nagging
- 9.) Explore with Some Resort Hopping
- 10.) Drink Around the World at EPCOT
- 11.) Take a Backstage Tour
- 12.) Live the Night Life
- 13.) Play a Spot of Golf
- Mini Golf
- Real Golf
- 14.) Try Disneybounding
- 15.) Relax at Nomad Lounge
- 16.) Indulge in Some Nostalgia at Magic Kingdom
- 17.) Take on runDisney
- 18.) Pilot the Millennium Falcon
- 19.) Get Up Close at Animal Kingdom
- 20.) Get Married
- Final Thoughts on the Best Things To Do at Walt Disney World for Adults
1.) Visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
It is so nice to have a seat at the end of a long park day, and it is even better when the seat is in a cocktail bar. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a tiki bar with a few tricks up its sleeve. Dn’t be alarmed when your drink comes with a bar full of people shouting merrily, gets you a quick soaking with a water pistol or causes the gods to be angry. This is part cocktail bar, part Tiki Tiki Room and the interactivity is half the fun. As patrons come and go, you will pick up on the routines and begin shooting along merrily too. Best to book ahead but they do accept walk-ins.
2.) Watch the Parades
Disney gives good parade! There is definite magic in those parades. As the floats roll by it is so nice to see how the characters and stories you know and love are converted into 3D. Yes, you can wave until your favourite princess notices you and yes, you can sing the songs with gusto. Here, nobody is judging your enthusiasm.
3.) Do All the High Octane Rides
Coming from the Disney across the pond (Disneyland Paris) the rides at WDW always seemed distinctly tame. However, there are a few gems and they are upping their game recently.
- Tron – Tron is one of WDW’s newest rides, and takes the he crown as its fastest. Riders sit as if on motorbikes which really enhances the feeling of speed too. 58mph
- Test Track – Currently under re-imagination (re-imagineering?) Test Track reaches 65mph as you sit in a car.
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster – Flashing lights, funky music and its speed of 57mph make this one of the coolest rollercoasters at WDW.
- Expedition Everest – Not going above 50mph, Expedition Everest isn’t the fastest but its blend of forward and backward motion, and the stop at the edge of the “broken track” gives it a real adrenaline rush.
- Slinky Dog Dash – Slinky doesn’t too fast, with a top speed of 40mph but the build up to the mid-ride launch really makes it feel like a much bigger acceleration.
- Tower of Terror – 39mph and the ride drops are picked randomly by a computer so you shouldn’t get the same ride twice
4.) Grab a Drink at Oga’s Cantina
The closest thing to a cool bar within the parks, emerging from Oga’s Canteen after an hour is a bizarre experience. With the music, the dark lighting and the cocktails you could forget that you aren’t actually in the outer reaches of Batuu. The cocktails here aren’t cheap (obviously) but they are really fun with with fabulous presentation aplenty. One leaves your lips numb with peachy goodness, and another glitters with shimmery bubbles. The food isn’t much to write home about, apart from the alcoholic Rodian Ration jello shots which are fun and tasty. Everyone must order one drink, and no more than two and you may be standing so the whole experience is usually 30-60 minutes.
5.) Join a Star Wars Lightsaber Workshop
You can make your own lightsaber in the Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. Some choose to do the cheaper version in Tatooine Traders but for the true pros, the class at Savi’s Workshop is the only way to go. During the 40 minute experience, you choose a theme, a core, handles and more. These alightsabers re not to be thrown around or smashed into siblings tummies and that is why it is excellent for adults. The lightsabre is a souvenir you can display proudly…and if the bad guys ever turn up, you are prepared. Bear in mind that this experience costs a whopping $249.99 plus tax so it is only for the real Star Wars fans. You can attend as a pair but if you go as the free guest, you are not allowed to create a lightsaber.
6.) Watch the Fireworks from a Bar
Sticking around in the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT for the fireworks is lovely. However, you have to stake out your spot early, and there is always the last-minute stress of thousands of children going up onto their parent’s shoulders and completely blocking the view. If you like a more relaxed viewing spot, or want to watch the show on non-park days, then grabbing a drink at either of these bars is a great plan. (There are restaurants with firework views but they charge a pretty penny and this is a much more relaxed option).
Polynesian Village Resort
Walk through the main resort building and past the pool until you reach the sand. Grab some deckchairs, or just pick a spot on the lake’s edge and settle in. This is not officially a bar but the poolside kiosk sells Dolewhip topped with rum, the perfect treat to sip on the sand. Every night, the adorably retro Electrical Water Pageant plays. This show, full of cute colourful lights is super charming. Then, you fireworks at Magic Kingdom can be seen, as the music is piped over the beach. It is a lovely way to spend the evening.
Coronado Springs Resort
Head up to the Dahlia Lounge at Coronado Springs for a sophisticated evening of tapas-inspired bites (the portions are large), Spanish cocktails and an extensive wine list. Stake your place along the railing about 40 minutes before the show is due to start for a good view. From here you will see the EPCOT fireworks. The music isn’t piped in but when we visited, savvy spectators managed to time a YouTube video perfectly so we could listen to the soundtrack. Oh, and if it is a little chilly, the boozy hot chocolates/coffees are especially good. There are also some seats further down in the hotel where apparently, the sound is played but when you can opt for tapas and Licor 43, you should.
7.) Ring in the New Year at EPCOT
Which park to visit for New Year’s Eve is debatable but after much consideration, we think EPCOT is the way to go. We did New Year’s Eve at EPCOT in 2018 and had an absolute blast. Here’s why:
- You can dance at several parties around the World Showcase. During our visit there was a techno stage in Italy, dancing in Japan and China and another party going on near Spaceship Earth.
- EPCOT has much more of an adult feeling around the park compared with Magic Kingdom, the other most popular place for NYE.
- There are plenty of options for buying an alcoholic beverage, with every country in EPCOT selling its drinks. Plus, you can have plenty of free caffeine and sugar from the Cool Club to stay awake for the big moment.
- You can watch the fireworks show earlier in the evening and then even more when the big moment rolls around. It is an excellent 241.
8.) Shop Without the Nagging
Shopping at your own pace and with your own thoughts is a treat not to be underestimated. There is no-one to tug on your arm to drag you to another piece of plastic to clutter the front room, or throw a strop because you have said, “No”. instead, you can buy what you want, when you want…or throw a strop yourself because your other half says you don’t need another piece of crystal cluttering the front room. guests staying at Disney Resorts can have their purchases sent straight back to their rooms so you can really shop til you drop. Just don’t forget about your luggage allowance.
9.) Explore with Some Resort Hopping
The hotels and resorts of Disney are an attraction in themselves. Spending a day hopping between them is a lovely way to extend the Disney Magic. You can check out the shops which are all different and have some unique pieces, try delicious food and drink or just soak up the different vibes that each spot has. Here are a few reasons you might want to visit our favourite resorts:shopping unique
- Fort Wilderness & Wilderness Lodge – These twin properties feel a world away from the theme parks. The lake and forested areas are perfect for bookable activities such as kayaking, fishing, horseriding, archery and more.
- Beach Club Resort – The Beach Club has a classic nautical theme and has a pool where you can cool off your feet right off the Boardwalk. If you are still warm then you have to pop into Beaches and Cream for the best ice cream in WDW. It is home of “The Kitchen Sink”, a HUGE ice cream sundae served in a sink! They say it serves four….challenge accepted.
- Port Orleans – This neat riverside resort is all themed for New Orleans so expect lots of Princess and the Frog vibes. Don’t miss Scat Cat’s Club Café where you can try Mickey beignets. There are also boozy beignets; regular pastries that you can squeeze your favourite creamy liqueurs into. A very naughty treat that we had for brunch! You can catch a free boat ride from here back to Disney Springs which is gorgeous on a hot day.
- Polynesian Village Resort – A beautiful resort full of decorations inspired by the South Pacific islands. There is a beach here that lines the lake. As mentioned before, this is a brilliant place to watch the fireworks and it is home to the Traders Sam’s bar.
- Grand Floridian – Full of grand old style (think the old rich grandma we all want to be one day) this is the place to come for a special occasion. They do a lovely, traditional afternoon tea, fun art classes, and soap and bath bomb making at Basin White, which would make such a fabulous souvenir. If you are visiting at Christmas then make sure you visit for the the huge gingerbread house that is put on show every year.
- Riviera Resort – It isn’t worth making a special trip here but if you are taking the Skyliner then hop off to check out the beautiful Tangled mosaic. Grab a drink and a fancy little cake at Le Petit Cafe if you are in need of some aircon.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – Head outside for the savannah viewing area. From here you can spot giraffes, zebra, birds, deer and more. If you spot a member of staff, ask them about the animals as many of them work with the animals and know loads of cool facts. Inside there are more chances to learn about Africa with some intriguing educational boards and At the weekend, if you are lucky you can get involved with an animal enrichment workshop where you help build games and feeding puzzles for the animals. If you are feeling flush, Jiko and Boma are superb dining spots with all kinds of African-inspired food.
10.) Drink Around the World at EPCOT
If you haven’t tried drinking around the world have you <strong><em>even</em></strong> been to WDW!? Well, yes. It is perfectly acceptable to just go to EPCOT and have a nice time without bankrupting yourself and ruining your liver…but it would be fun to try! There are 11 “pavilions” each representing a different country if the world. They all serve speciality drinks and the challenge is to visit each and drink one drink. This means 11 drinks over the course of your visit. Now, there are few things to remember:
- This is a marathon, not a sprint. 11 drinks over a whole day is management, 11 drinks in an hour is not.
- Make use of the free water fountains provided so you stay hydrated, especially in the hot sun!
- Similarly, take advantage of the great food options around the world.l and don’t, whatever you do, skip breakfast. In this case, eating is not cheating, it is a non-negotiable!
- Drinking Around the World isn’t really condoned by Disney, and you will be locked out if you are badly behaved. There is no official merch for drinking around the world, but many independent sellers produce clothing and accessories online.
- With the amount of booze (and the fact it can cost up to $150) it is probably best to split the challenge between two or more people, sharing drinks and glory.
11.) Take a Backstage Tour
Not a cheap activity but definitely one you will appreciate as a grown up. If you love history or are a real devil for the details then there are loads of tours to try. You can opt for an official tour pick from a huge array of passionate private guides. There are ex-Imagineers, ex-cast members and Disney enthusiasts to discover on platforms like Viator.
The official Walt Disney World VIP tours are more of a full day experience. You will be picked up by a private transfer, guided by a knowledgeable member of the cast and zipped onto rides using Lightning Lanes. The price of the VIP tour, which is not insubstantial does not include park entry so remember to get your tickets first.
12.) Live the Night Life
Once the sun goes down, and the little ones go to bed, it is time to start the party. There are loads of options for an adult evening out and here are some of our favourites:
- Jellyrolls – I can’t help but wonder if Disney knows the meaning of Jelly roll. It sounds cute but actually meant sex back in the early 20th century when it was sung by many a blues singer. Either way, it is now home to Disney’s duelling pianos. The incredibly talented players play songs and try to out do each other. You can request tunes but be prepared to tip if you actually want them played.
- AbracadaBar – This dark, very grown up cocktail lounge has a magic theme (as you have probably guessed). Drinks are strong so you might wonder if the poster really did move or if you’ve have one too many.
- Atlantic Dance Hall – Disney’s only true club plays floor-filling tunes from the 1980s onwards. If the place is busy the atmosphere is bumping. However, on a quiet night, it can feel a little like an awkward wedding disco. Find some friends and bring the party!
- Wine Bar George – Dreamed up by sommelier George Miliotes, the menu has over 140 wines to get your tongue around. You can pair these with fancy cheese and charcuterie for a sophisticated evening…or not. For a more casual bevvie, try the Frozcato; Moscato, vodka and pineapple Dole Whip. Delicious!
- Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar – This 1940s adventurers hangar is named after Indiana Jones’ pilot from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Inside the bar is stuffed with references to Indiana Jones and outside there is a lovely porch overlooking the water. You can enjoy whiskey or beer flights or make the most of their happy hour if you are there early, noon – 3 pm.
- House of Blues – This huge eatery has excellent Southern food, yummy cocktails and brilliant live music to enjoy. Happy hour runs from noon to 5 pm. They do bottomless brunches at the weekend too, a great option for non-park days.
13.) Play a Spot of Golf
Walt Disney World has two mini golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winger Summerland. There are five Fantasia scenes to putt through at Fantasia Gardens. If you want an actual mini golf course then the Fantasia Fairways is less magical family fun, and more a traditional golf course that has been shrunk. Winter Summerland has two course, one themed for summer and the other, winter. The story goes that Father Christmas built this unusual duo of courses. They are just a bit of silliness that is included in several park tickets so why not give it a putt?
There are actually three Disney-owned golf course around the Buena Vista area. You can choose from Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista are all 18 hole courses with a par of 72. They are legitimately good courses, so much so that they have all been used for PGA tours. Magnolia and Lake Buena Vista have rather cute Mickey-shaped sand trap s(less cute if you are stuck in them). There is also a smaller 9 hole walking course called Oak Trail if you are short on time.
14.) Try Disneybounding
Have you ever heard of Disneybounding? It is the art of dressing up to visit a Disney park without getting in trouble. As adults, you cannot wear a proper costume or a gown that touches the floor. This ensures little ones don’t get you confused with the character actors. It would be a little shocking to see Belle all boozed-up, Snow White drop an S-Bomb or Tiana throwing up after too many rides on Test Track.
Instead, to Disneybound you take colours and elements of the characters’ iconic costumes and emulate them. Here are a couple of my favourites from the last few years:
15.) Relax at Nomad Lounge
Animal Kingdom is known as the park with a little more shade than the others. That is, in part, due to the increased foliage. Partly it is down to the excellent dining and drinking spots. Nomad Lounge in particular is a wonderful place to spend a quiet hour or when the heat of the day really sets in. The food is inspired by far flung regions of the world and rather adult. No goujons and fries here. There is also a nice selection of cocktails with exotic ingredients. Thaylu can opt to sit inside in the air conditioning but those in the know take a table as close to the river as possible. Along here, at regular intervals there are some of your favourite characters on their boats zipping past. They will give everyone here a nice big wave which is always a treat.
16.) Indulge in Some Nostalgia at Magic Kingdom
Who says Dumbo is just for kids? Am I the only one that still thinks Tinkerbell is a feminist icon? Do you love to hate the Small World song…or just love it? You are still entitled to ride your favourite childhood rides even if you are not accompanying a child. We love a spin on the carousel, singing along and flouting the rules about seatbelts. As adults, they are not required. Take that adorable little ones dressed in precious costumes!
17.) Take on runDisney
Not one I have partaken in myself but something I am almost tempted to train for one day. Disney parks play host to something called runDisney which sees hundreds of runners, joggers and speedy walkers pounding the paths of the parks. The events have some brilliant character meets which are both a lovely experience and a nice excuse to stop. You can usually pick from 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and more. There is even a Wine and Dine event where you run between delicious food and drink stops. That’s my kind of race! Expect lots of costumes, a little competitive spirit and most of all, a lovely sense of community.
18.) Pilot the Millennium Falcon
It is time to be brutal. As an adult, firing the guns during your turn on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is actually quite dull and if the kids upfront are bad drivers, it’s maddening. If you want to have fun, and be in control of the simulator you need to be in those pilot’s seats. You need to ensure you are first or second in the queue when you are lined up to go into the ship. They tend to fill from the normal queue first so don’t go for single rider for this one. Ask nicely if you can be pilots or gently nudge smaller children out of the way for the right spot. (OK, I am kidding about nudging the kids….unless it works).
19.) Get Up Close at Animal Kingdom
If you love wildlife then a chance to get closer to the magnificent beasts in Animal Kingdom is truly special. There are chances to get much nearer to elephants or rhinos (an especially unusual encounter) on individual Up Close tours. You can get a place on these tours for around $50.
For a longer, more grown up experience opt for either the Savor the Savanna or Wild Africa Trek tours. Savor the Savannah takes guests to an area of the Savannah most people don’t get to go. You will also be provided with nibbles and adult beverages. On the Wild Africa Trek, you walk through enclosures with amazing animals including hippos and crocodiles before enjoying some lovely gourmet snacks. These both cost a fair amount $159 – $259 so save them for true wildfire fanatics.
20.) Get Married
Did you know you can get hitched at Walt Disney World? The packages cost a small fortune but as with everything Disney does, it will be slickly organised and wonderfully magical with oodles of lovely little touches. I listen to a podcast with a couple who tied the knot at WDW and now every time they come across a cup of Joffrey’s they have a lovely sensory memory moment. There are small gazebos, areas in EPCOT’s pavilions and other venues all the way up to grand ballrooms. You can even get married in front of the Magic Kingdom castle late at night or in the otherworld Pandora. Couples can use Disney’s excellent expertise in photography, florals, and entertainment. I know what you are wondering…yes, you can arrive in Cinderella’s coach! Finally, don’t skip on the cake as WDW produces some absolute doozies from the discretely Disney to full-on fairytale numbers with castles, dragons or underwater worlds.
Final Thoughts on the Best Things To Do at Walt Disney World for Adults
Whether you are on a mission to rediscover your inner child, or enjoy the magic with a more grown up attitude, there is so much to see and do. We still have more to explore so we will be heading back Orlando to find even more things to do at Walt Disney World for adults. See you there!