Making magical memories in Orlando do not need to include kids. Adult adventures are abound at Walt Disney World.
Planning a trip as a young couple to Walt Disney World allows you to make very special memories with your partner. This intense, fun and silly trip lets you be a kid again. Running from ride to ride. Eating terrible food. Giggling on thrill rides. This magical place unearths memories of your own childhood to share with your better half. Bridging separate pasts with your present makes it worth every moment.
Another reason to go without children is that when you do go with kids, it will be a whole different experience. Going to WDW with kids for the first time can be incredibly stressful. Between expense and lack of naps, it can be a major meltdown for kids and adults. You will see a whole other side of the parks – kiddie playgrounds, slow paced rides and lots of “I WANT THAT!” But, when you go as a bigger family it’s all about creating new experiences for your children – which is so special.
We had a magical trip this past October, where Brian and I celebrated Halloween in the Magic Kingdom. I also love Halloween so the combination was irresistible. We wanted to share some of our top tips for making the Walt Disney World fun at any age:
- Stay on Property – This can add some cost to your stay, but it is so worth it. We stayed at Port Orleans – Riverside because of it’s Southern charm (of course) and good price point. We were quickly transported from our hotel to the parks whenever we wanted to without any fuss at all. It was so nice to be car-free for the long weekend. A bus transfer from the airport to the hotels is also included in your stay so it saves you a bit there.
- Get a Park Hopper Pass – Another added cost, but again so worth it. We were able to start our day in one park and eat dinner in the next. On our first day we started in the Magic Kingdom, had dinner in Epcot and came back to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks show – a wonderfully perfect day. We also added our credit card to the pass card so I didn’t need to carry a purse, which is such a luxury (isn’t it ladies?!). We took every possible transportation between the parks – boats, monorail and buses. All fun, fun, fun!
- Read the Buses – We had a serious bus snafu when we tried to get to Downtown Disney on a hotel bus on Halloween night. What a disaster. It was the lowest point on the trip. Downtown Disney was NUTS because they were having an event and we were tired, hungry and hot. Not a good combo. We also got on another wrong bus going in-between parks which was less of a disaster, but still cost us time. Just read the signs and don’t be dumb.
- Plan for Some Down Time – We packed all 4 parks into 3 days on our trip which was a bit crazy. We were EXHAUSTED by the end of the third day. While we totally recommend going to every park because they each offer something different, just pace yourself. For my time, I’d prioritize visits to the Magic Kingdom first, then Epcot, followed by the Animal Kingdom with Hollywood Studios pulling in the rear. The parks are a lot smaller than you’d think – the Magic Kingdom feels a whole lot smaller than Disneyland on the west coast. You can do it all, just pace yourself. Also, prioritize what you want to do now as a couple sans kids and keep other experiences to share with your little ones down the road.
- Enjoy the Lines – I love standing in lines, sad huh?! I get focused time with my husband to talk, people watch and build anticipation for the ride. Since you are inevitably going to stand in lines, embrace it and make fun of some people’s shoes.
- Use the Fast Pass System for Happy Couple-dom – Such a brilliant invention, you scan your ticket and it “stands in line” for you so you get priority when you come back a few hours later. We used this for rides that I wanted to do, but Brian wanted to skip. Worked really, really well for a couple that has different tastes in rides.
- Be Prepared to Unplug in the Hotels but Count on Mobile & Social Media – There was NO wifi in the hotel room and broadband plug-in was iffy. We had to rely on phones for connection. We downloaded a few very useful apps to help us plan our visits to each park. Gowalla has a whole location-based game to earn badges and other fun add-ins.
- Epcot Serves Booze – I repeat, Epcot serves booze. Need I really say more? While this is awesome, it also makes Epcot a little more duche-y than the other parks after dark.
- Stake Out the Grub – There are so many choices in the parks from quickie snacks to sit-down dinners. Our faves were:
- Columbia Harbour House – Magic Kingdom New Orleans Square – Greasy, but good, fish and chips type of food
- Cool Ship – Magic Kingdom Tomorrow Land – Get the blue raspberry and cherry icy mixed all pretty like
- Flame Tree Barbecue – Animal Kingdom – Yummy sandwiches and tropical offerings
- Riverside Mill Food Court – Port Orleans Riverside - They made me special lactose-free Mickey waffles – total win and why I LOVE DISNEY!
- Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court – Port Orleans French Quarter – Beignets for breakfast – yum!
- Best Rides -For romance, humor and just all around awesomeness, our top picks are
- Haunted Mansion – Magic Kingdom – Creepy, grab your lover fun
- Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom – Best thrill ride around
- Jungle Cruise – Magic Kingdom – Take this ride at night, always worth it for the humor and water splashes
- People Movers – Magic Kingdom – Yes, this is the Grandpa ride of boring-ness but you get to make out with your lover in a private slow moving buggy and be off your feet for a while = bonus points
- Mission: Space – Epcot – It’s on Brian’s A-list and my pass list (I can’t do spin rides) but you do get to fly to Mars so that’s a win
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Epcot – Nice integration of 3D technology with a eco-friendly message
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Hollywood Studios – (Look sad and maybe a nice Aussie will give you his extra Fast Pass) Great theme integration in the queue and fun creepy drops
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – Animal Kingdom – Live animals + free ranging jeeps + individual animal guide sheets = good times
- Rides to Avoid – We might be starting some debate, but here are the rides to avoid!
- Maelstrom – Epcot – LAME dark ride showcasing Scandinavian culture including giant off-shore oil rigs. Ummm, can we say environmentally insensitive?
- Living With the Land – Epcot – I went on this ride when I was younger and it did not live up to my memories. The dated videos and items showcased were not worth the wait in line
- The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management – Magic Kingdom – Terrible update to a wonderful Disney classic. BOO!
- Astro Orbiter – Magic Kingdom – Barf bag please!
I think the Disney Parks a one of the best vacations a couple can take, but I’m probably not the most unbiased blogger. I have always had a special place in my heart for Disney. One of my secret dream careers to work for Disney’s PR or marketing teams. Granted I have my dream job, but being part of adding Disney joy into people’s lives would be amazing. I love all the detail of Disney. I love the careful customer service, the orchestrated communications, detailed way-finding. It’s the gold standard of creating a truly immersive environment for customers and I find it inspiring.
Why are you planning a Disney vacation? Do you have any super secret tips to share?