Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups: Park Touring

Visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks as an adult is a distinct experience from visiting as a child or visiting with children – you see and appreciate the parks and attractions differently. It stands to reason that you should approach planning your park days from an adult perspective – but what does this look like?

First of all, you get to set your own pace – Walt Disney World has such rich detail in every corner of the parks, and it’s easy to pass it by, so give yourself time to wander. Explore corners of Main Street USA, take a deeper look into the pavilions of World Showcase, or walk along the animal trails at the Animal Kingdom. I loved visiting the Disney parks as a kid, but I feel like I have such a greater appreciation for the theming and atmosphere now that I’m visiting them as an adult. Take some time to enjoy – grab a drink, sit, and people-watch for a while.

Even though I’ve said all of this stuff about relaxing (and I do mean it), I still highly recommend making at least some plans, especially during busy times of year. Advance dining reservations are highly recommended, and very much needed, for most restaurants at Walt Disney World. These restaurants are also great experiences for adults, with amazing atmosphere and fantastic food. Watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks while you eat at California Grill, indulge your inner seafood-lover at the Flying Fish Café, or have a romantic meal at Jiko. Don’t miss out on these by not making dining reservations. Also, make a plan for what you want to see in the parks. Make your FastPass reservations and hit other crowded rides first thing in the morning or near park closing, to avoid long waits in line. If you do this, you can guarantee that you’ll have hassle-free table-service meals and get to ride your favorite rides, and then you can go with the flow the rest of the time.

There are also a lot of things to do at Walt Disney World besides the classic theme park attractions. If you’re interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at the parks, there’s a variety of tours available – and many are just for adults. Downtown Disney has tons of shopping, dining, and entertainment, no theme park ticket needed. There’s also golf, mini-golf, watercraft rentals, carriage rides, spa treatments… You can make your trip extra special by doing something outside the box.

While there are plenty of “grown-up” activities at Walt Disney World, from tours to sampling drinks throughout World Showcase, don’t forget to take some time to do the kid stuff anyway. The parks bring out our inner child, so go ahead and embrace it. Go meet your favorite Disney character, take a ride on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, wear some Mickey Mouse ears, and watch the fireworks over Cinderella Castle. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the feeling of being a kid.

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Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful family. Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong – but she also realized how good planning can make such a difference for having a fun, relaxing vacation! Elizabeth became her family’s go-to resource for Disney planning. Now she is dedicating her planning skills to helping other families create vacation memories as a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations. She will plan your trip as if it were her own. Her blog, planningformagic.com, has tons of advice on how to plan your next Disney trip, including trip planning instructions, sample itineraries, dining tips, and more. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter for more planning tips and theme park news. Contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@theaffordablemouse.com.

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