When most people think of Disney they think of families with young children traveling together riding rides, and meeting characters. They’re not wrong in thinking this either since many families do travel to Disney with little ones, however they’re not the only ones who are traveling to Disney. Now there are more extended families traveling with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family members. However there are also those traveling to Disney without little ones.
Now for some people this is their vacation to get away…a parent’s trip away from the kids, so they may or may not want to be constantly surrounded by children. It’s inevitable at some points but there are ways to enjoy Disney without so much child interaction.
One of the benefits of traveling without little ones is that there are no nap times, bed times, and hopefully no debilitating temper tantrums. Which all lead to the fact that you can do just about anything at just about any time you want. Those traveling with little ones cannot, they are on the children’s schedule. A great tip is that little ones are not always the first in the parks, and often times not the last either. This means that if you want to get to the parks when there is the least amount of kids go at park opening. Be one of the first in line at rope drop and then you will be able to get on more rides before waiting in them surrounded by kids. This will also help you out because you can save your fast passes for later in the day instead of in the morning when the lines are shorter anyways.
The other option, if you’re not an early riser, is the stay in the park until the park closes. Most little ones will leave the park after dinner or after the parade and fireworks. Those traveling without kids don’t have bedtimes and therefore will have the park to them selves. Lines are shorter later at night, and if you haven’t experienced Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, or Expedition Everest at night, you need to. You can use your fast passes earlier in the day, normally the middle of the day is when it is busiest. When you are staying in the parks later there are not as many lines and it would be a waste to use fast passes.
Keeping with the late night tips, many resort pools are open late, and kids tend to go to bed early even at Disney. If you want to enjoy the pool and don’t mind missing out on the slide then a late night swim is for you. Not only are there less kids, but there are also less people in general. Sure you wont get a tan, but it is a great way to cool off after a long day in the park.
Now if you can’t help but be in the parks while they’re crowded, kids or not, a great thing to do is people watch. Every park provides this opportunity. In Epcot you can find a quiet spot somewhere around World Showcase, like in the back of the Japan pavilion or by the Seas With Nemo and Friends before going in. In Hollywood Studios people watching is great, pick a bench or curb and just sit and watch. Before long you won’t just be people watching, you may get included into some of the Streetmosphere entertainment that happens there continuously. It is a great time to enjoy some of the food that you can only get at Disney: dole whip, Mickey ice cream bars, and giant ice cream sandwiches.
Another idea when traveling without kids is skip the parks one day. Go to the spa at one of the resorts. I can almost guarantee you wont see any kids at the spa. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, some of the spas will do your nails or hair, and even if it’s only a half hour, it’s a half hour away from the kids in a quiet and calm environment. If you’re into sports, rent some tennis rackets, golf clubs, or bikes and go out and get some fresh air. Another option is enjoying some late night entertainment at the Boardwalk resort. There is a piano bar called Jellyrolls. This is a great place with a great atmosphere where adults can escape for a little while.
You could also choose to travel during the less busy times of year, such as between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A favorite time of mine, though busy, is during the Food and Wine Festival. At Epcot there will be a lot of people but there will be less children. The crowds will also be well worth it when you get to taste food and beverages from around the world! When thinking about your advanced dining reservations think about steering clear of character dining. They mostly have children and their families at them; instead look into restaurants like Le Cellier, California Grill, and Jiko.
Now I don’t want anyone to take offense to anything I have said or get the wrong idea. From working at Disney I have to say that there is little greater then seeing the joy on kids’ faces while they are at Disney. Whether it is because they are meeting their favorite character, being called prince or princess, or even getting a great snack. Even if you aren’t traveling with children, while you’re at the parks you can catch a glimpse of these magical moments. These tips are just tips for those that want a little escape, or maybe some peace and quiet through out the day. This is not to say that you can’t go to character dining, please do. Or that you can’t go and talk to the characters, I certainly do.
While you’re at Disney with or without the kids feel free to be a kid yourself. It is for both young and old and that means everyone should be able to enjoy the parks the way they want to. So until next time grab your favorite pair of mickey ears and have faith and trust, and enjoy the pixie dust however you see fit!
Jess was born and raised on Long Island, New York but once college began so did her adventures. She’s lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and now South Carolina. Her family is part of the Disney Vacation Club and has been visiting since she was a little girl, and continuously goes every year. Besides being a big Disney fan she has also been a Disney Cast Member working in Magic Kingdom, and she counts it as one of the most magical experiences. She worked with everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, Cinderella’s Carousel, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Jess has also visited Disneyland, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and gone on two Disney Cruises. She has so many great memories from Disney besides running half marathons and 5ks, birthday parties, and family reunions. If asked where she would want to go it is almost always Disney, and when asked why, it is almost always because she can eat awesome gluten free food! And it doesn’t hurt that there is always faith, trust, and pixie dust with magic in the air!