Nothing excites us more than hearing our readers plan an adult Disney trip.
Don’t get us wrong, Disney with the kiddos is magical. But ya gotta admit that traveling with adults can be a heck of a lot easier.
Contrary to what most people believe, Disney is bursting with things catered primarily toward adults.
How else are they going to turn Disney skeptics into Passholders?
Anyway, we’ll give you all of our favorite adult things to do on property, but as you’re creating your itinerary, there are a few things you should consider.
What’s the overall feel of your trip?
- Are you planning to hit the parks all day, erry day?
- Do you want to ride the headliners and have time to explore what Disney offers outside the parks?
- Do you want to try as many different restaurants as possible?
- Are you going for a laid-back vibe? Or something more on the luxurious side?
We can help you plan your trip further here, but first, we have some general tips and “must-do’s” for your adults-only visit to Disney World.
Picking when to visit
While “low crowds” might be hard to come by at the World, there are better times of year to visit – especially if you have the flexibility of traveling with only adults.
We recommend planning for a time when school is in session. During the school year, pay special attention to the weeks before or after big holiday breaks.
We especially love to visit the end of April through early May, most of September (though the weather can be a wild card), and the last half of October/first half of November.
Consider upgrading your resort
We like to think of adult trips as sophisticated, “treat yourself” adventures at Disney (which may be problematic for our wallets, now that we’re saying it out loud).
Even if you plan to be at the parks most of the day, returning to a Deluxe Resort is a treat in itself.
Deluxe Resorts hold a handful of perks for guests, including nicer pools, Extended Evening Hours, and, often, signature dining onsite. The ambiance is much quieter, and the rooms are typically far more comfortable.
For a stay that combines convenience with indulgence, we especially love to stay at:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- BoardWalk Inn Resort
- Yacht or Beach Club
For moderate options, we like staying at Coronado Springs the best. So many amazing restaurants for the adult crowd.
If you’d rather stick with a tighter budget to pack in more of the other things on this list, we recommend Pop Century for convenient access to the Skyliner and the dedicated bus line.
Adulting at the parks
Ok, if you’re visiting the parks, you know they’re pretty family-oriented.
That being said, we’re adult Disney-goers who are big on the parks, and we have found that there are lots of things to do at each park that are actually better enjoyed with fellow adults!
- Hit the headliners in the morning with Early Entry (or Rope Drop). No height restrictions holdin’ you back!
- Enjoy an early lunch at Skipper Canteen, our favorite sit-down pick at Magic Kingdom for a more adventurous menu and the delicious and “secret” (not really) menu item: Pao de Queijo, aka Brazilian cheese bread!
- Take an afternoon break from the park and hop onto the monorail for a visit to Trader Sam’s at the Polynesian.
- Return to the parks and plan to stay late to enjoy nighttime Main Street vibes (1000/10), lower crowd levels, and try out our End of Night ride strategy (i.e., getting in line to ride a headliner up until the last minute of park operation)!
This one is our favorite park to recommend for adults! We like to plan two days minimum to really slow the pace, take it all in, and give ourselves the freedom to ride everything we want (multiple times!) and try everything we want.
- Plan for lots of time in the World Showcase!
- If you can swing it, plan your trip when there is a festival, such as Food and Wine.
- Check out a concert at the America Gardens Theater stage in the American Adventure Pavilion!
The shows are quick and casual, but you could get lucky and catch musical performances by artists like Air Supply, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, and a whole lot more.
- Stop at Choza for a frozen marg or grab a pub blend from Rose & Crown! Our two favorite watering holes.
- Enjoy a sit-down meal at Rose & Crown, San Angel Inn, Biergarten, or Le Cellier.
- Our #1 recommendation at Animal Kingdom is a visit to Nomad Lounge! It is hands down our favorite spot for a refresher in the park. They also offer several delicious non-alcoholic drink options.
Order a few small plates, sip a Lamu Libation, and catch a breeze on that beautiful covered porch.
- If you can snag a spot at Nomad later in the evening, you’re in prime position to check out Pandora when it gets dark!
- Avoid spending money on an Individual Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage and hop in line at the end of the night instead (yes, you’ll be waiting in standby, but end-of-night wait times are often hyperinflated!).
Due to the majority of rides being headliners, this is a park we absolutely recommend hitting with Genie+ and a strategic plan.
- Skip the coffee and go straight for the adrenaline. Head over to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Rope Drop to ride them both standby.
Later, ride them both again using your Lightning Lanes! One ride just isn’t enough.
- On second thought, don’t skip the coffee. Grab the Cold Brew Black Caf from Galaxy’s Edge. It’s a Joffrey’s cold brew coffee topped with Sweet Cream Cheese and Cocoa Puffs and served with or without Godiva Chocolate Liqueur. Um, yes, please?
- Take a snack break with our longest-standing love affair, the Bavarian Pretzel, at Baseline Taphouse. Grab yourself a flight or a icy cold IPA to go with it!
- Get a walk-up table at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge; try their famous Cobb salad or peek at the extensive cocktail list. This is a favorite of ours when the weather is nice (it’s all outdoors!).
- We recommend Oga’s Cantina at least once for the atmosphere alone! Being a Star Wars fan is definitely not a prerequisite to enjoying the theming or the cocktails and mocktails!
Taking an extended or late breakfast is not something we normally recommend using valuable park time to do.
However, if you have room in your itinerary for a rest day or can afford a late start day in your park schedule, ya gotta make time for brunch!
Here are a couple of our consistent favorites.
- Grand Floridian Cafe (Grand Floridian)
- Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- Trattoria al Forno (BoardWalk)
- Homecomin’ (Disney Springs)
Visit Disney Springs
We consider Disney Springs a must-visit, even if those in your group aren’t big shoppers. With dozens of stellar options for drinks and eats, smaller groups of adults can often get away with no reservations and take first-come, first-served seating at the bars.
Tip: If you’d prefer a sit-down experience or your group is too large to walk up to the bar, check OpenTable (over your MDE app) for reservations!
For adults-only dining at the Springs, we recommend:
- Raglan Road: Delicious food, live entertainment after 6 pm.
- Wine Bar George: Incredible wine list, small plates.
- The Boathouse: Probably our favorite for the Floridan atmosphere and excellent seafood options.
- Morimoto Asia: Amazing pan-Asian entrees and sushi with an ambiance that errs on the swankier side.
Save room for dessert from Amorette’s Patisserie, or finish your evening with a nightcap from Jock Lindsey’s or The Edison.
“Signature” more or less translates to “fine dining” at Disney, with these restaurants often providing the best service, food, and drinks – often at a higher price.
This doesn’t necessarily make them pompous or stuffy, we promise. Just expensive, LOL. If you’re looking for an amazing dining experience during your trip, use the stamp of “signature dining” as a guide.
Our favorite signature dining spots at the Disney resorts are:
- Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge): Worldly cuisine, foodie-approved. Try the Braised Wild Boar Tenderloin app.
- Flying Fish (BoardWalk): Amazing seafood, Disney mainstay. Try the Plancha-seared Scallops.
- Topolino’s Terrace (Riviera): Italian-Riviera inspired. Try the Gnocchi app.
Many of the restaurants and bars we have mentioned so far are already great options for a date night, but these fit the bill to a tee:
Treat yourself to a date night
- Shula’s Steak House (Swan & Dolphin): Classic date night vibes.
- Topolino’s Terrace (Riviera Resort): Phenomenal food with a romantic string-lit rooftop for pre-dinner drinks.
- Dahlia Lounge (Coronado Springs): Nice rooftop lounge, small plates!
- California Grill (Contemporary): Amazing wine list, skyline views of Magic Kingdom, and fireworks.
As Disney park-goers who partake, we’ve gotta admit that the first thing that comes to mind for us when we hear “adults only trip” are all the awesome bars, lounges, and watering holes across property, and extra time at EPCOT.
But there are so many other things that you can fill your time with at Disney, especially if you don’t imbibe:
- Take a tour. We like the Magic Kingdom ones for longer half-day tours, or EPCOT’s Behind the Seeds for a shorter one.
- Plan some time at the spa. There are a handful of spas offering massages and other services scattered around Disney property!
- Go fish. No literally, you can go on a fishing excursion at Disney. Maybe don’t tell your husbands about it, actually.
- See a show. Disney Springs is home to a popular Cirque du Soleil show! Get tickets and plan for a nice dinner out.
- Resort hopping is an Olympic sport, and you can’t convince us otherwise. Just kidding. But it is one of our favorite Disney pastimes.
Hop on the monorail to visit the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, or ride the Skyliner to visit Riviera and the BoardWalk!
- Be creative with your itinerary and consider swapping out a full park day and spending the extra money on an After Hours event, or the Halloween or Christmas party.
Bonus Tip: You can often enter the parks fairly early in the day with many of these events. Maximizing your time can give you a full park day out of your event ticket!
Need more pro tips like these in your life? The Complete Parks Strategy Playbook is bursting with our best park recommendations, tried and true vacation itineraries, plus everything else you need to put the fun back into Disney planning!