Florida’s Walt Disney World has the reputation of being the most magical place on Earth, but it isn’t just a destination for little kids. It is an enormous empire – twice the size of Manhattan – filled with theme parks, hotels, restaurants, and stores, and you don’t have to be seven years old to find fun things to do.
With so many options, it’s beneficial to do your research, so you don’t miss out on the plethora of buried treasures that Disney World has to offer. Chances are if you make the trip to Disney you are taking some kids. And, the trick to making the most out of your Disney adventure is maximizing fun for adults and children at the same time. So, this list should help you put together a fun trip for the entire family and give you some ideas that everyone can have fun with, as well as some entertainment for just the grown-ups.
Going to Disney World is a dream come true when you are little, but it can also be an exciting place to visit as an adult. Here are 15 Disney World musts for every adult who makes the trip to Lake Buena Vista, and five fun family activities to add to your Disney game plan.
20 For Adults: Epcot Challenge Around the World
Much like the Drinking Around the World, this challenge features the 11 countries that makeup Epcot’s World Showcase, but instead of drinks, it focuses on 11 different ethnic dishes. The challenge is simple – have a meal in each country and try to make it around the world.
You have your choice of food at each stop. But some of the most popular include a totopos and guacamole in Mexico, school bread in Norway, pork and vegetable egg rolls from Joy of Tea in China, bratwurst in Germany, authentic wood-fired Napoletana pizza from Italy, funnel cake with vanilla ice cream in the U.S. tonkotsu ramen from Katsura Grill in Japan, honey chocolate baklava from Morocco, a chocolate crépe in France, fish and chips from the UK, and filet mignon from Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada.
19 For Adults: Hidden Mickeys
They started as in inside joke among Imagineers when they were designing Epcot in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but they quickly became a park tradition. Some are in plain sight, and others hide in the shadows, but there are a ton of hidden Mickeys throughout the park.
If you are competitive or simply enjoy a challenge, you can try to find them all. But, no one knows how many there really are since they close down, refurbish, and replace attractions.
You can opt to buy a guidebook, download an app, or do it the old-fashioned way, but keep your eyes open. They can be in the carpet of your hotel or in a coiled rope on the ferry boat docks – they can literally pop up anywhere.
18 For Adults: Spa Day
Everyone can use a spa day, and if you are looking for a day of rest and relaxation during your Disney trip, the Senses Spa at either the Saratoga Springs Resort or the Grand Floridian Resort is where you want to go.
At the Grand Floridian, there is a Victorian theme from a Florida garden at the turn of the 20th century. Their services include aromatherapy massage, tropical immersion facials, and body wraps.
At the Senses Spa at the Saratoga Springs Resort, they offer Magical Manicures and Princess Pedicures for the kids. And for the adults, they offer blueberry facials, bamboo-fusion massages, water therapy, and a myriad of relaxation treatments inspired by the healing properties of the natural springs in upstate New York.
17 The Whole Family: Kilimanjaro Safaris
The park lights up the Kilimanjaro Safaris every night, so you can explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom after sundown. You will ride an open-air safari vehicle through an 18-minute guided tour through the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve.
Visitors will possibly see hippos, elephants, lions, hyenas, and zebras, so it is best to keep your camera ready. And when you go at night, you get to see some of the nocturnal habits of the different animals in the rocky wetlands, open plains, and shady forest landscapes.
It’s the closest most of us will get to experiencing African wildlife at night, and it’s something you won’t forget.
16 For Adults: Jungle Cruise
It’s a favorite among guests, and it’s quite cheesy, but you can’t visit Disney World without making time for a Jungle Cruise. This is a ten-minute trek through the Amazon, the African Congo, the Nile River, and the Mekong River – complete with puns and bad jokes.
Your guide will say things like, “As we approach, please notice that there’s a dock on the left, and a dock on the right. But don’t let it confuse you. It’s a paradox.”
While this is a ride for all ages, it’s easier to appreciate the humor when you enjoy this boat tour as an adult.
15 For Adults: Extra Magic Hours
Have you ever wanted to ride the most popular rides without any wait time? Well, then extra magic hours are for you. They can be early in the morning before the park opens or late at night after it closes, but this is the time to avoid the little kids and enjoy Disney World as an adult.
You must be a guest at a participating Disney hotel to take advantage of this sweet feature, and you have to check the online calendar or a printed Times Guide at your hotel front desk to find out which park is open when.
14 For Adults: Be Our Guest
Disney World and alcohol don’t really go together, at least in the Magic Kingdom. So, if you want to enjoy an adult beverage during your time there, your only option is the Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Here, you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage along with a quick-service lunch or a sit-down dinner inside the Beast’s enchanted castle. But be sure to make a reservation well in advance because they can be hard to come by. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m., and Belle and the Beast will serve you your choice from a selection of beers and wine.
13 The Whole Family: Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
If you decide to stay at a Disney resort, this island escape is a fun (but expensive) option for the whole family because it features over-the-water bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon – like what you would find in the South Pacific island of Bora-Bora.
Each bungalow has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, hanging rattan chairs on the deck, padded chaise lounges, and a private plunge pool.
They also have a view of the Magic Kingdom (which means you can watch the fireworks), and there is supervised childcare at Lilo’s Playhouse, so the adults can get away to enjoy an evening by themselves.
12 For Adults: Star Wars Launch Bay
If you love Star Wars and/or movie memorabilia, the Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios is a fun stop. You can check out models and props from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, watch a behind-the-scenes documentary, and give Chewbacca a big hug.
You can also get an up-close look at costumes, props, and concept art from the film.
This attraction serves as an introduction to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which opens in the fall of 2019 and will give fans a chance to live their own Star Wars story. Guests will also have the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon and explore the planet Batuu.
11 For Adults: Jellyrolls
After you put the kids to bed or leave them with some trustworthy adult supervision, you can head to the Jellyrolls dueling piano bar and sing some Billy Joel and Elton John covers. If you want to grab a table, be sure to get there early because it is one of the hottest spots in Orlando, and it’s standing room only by 9 p.m.
The doors open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. You have to be 21 to get inside, and there is a cover charge of around $12.
Make sure to eat before you go because they don’t serve food. However, they do offer a complimentary basket of popcorn.
10 For Adults: Raglan Road
If you’ve ever wanted to visit a real Irish pub, then you need to go to Raglan Road. They actually built this place in Ireland and then shipped it overseas to rebuild it at Disney World. Open seven nights a week, you can eat fantastic Irish cuisine – like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie – while watching Irish dancers and listening to an Irish band.
You can book a table and check out the showtimes menu on their website.
Unlike Jellyrolls, you don’t have to be 21 to get in, and they serve lunch and dinner, along with a selection of Irish, European, and American beers.
9 The Whole Family: Carousel of Progress
A classic Disney attraction at the Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress was Disney’s entry into the New York World’s Fair in 1964 – and Walt’s favorite attraction.
You don’t have to wait in line, it has good seating, and there is air-conditioning, which is a nice break during the hot summer.
While sitting in an area that rotates around a stage (like a carousel), you get a cool 21- minute history lesson via animatronics about how technology from the past century has changed the lives of the American family.
While following a family through four generations over the past 100+ years, you get to see how different technological marvels have made life better while paving the way for more innovation.
8 For Adults: Tune In Lounge/50’s Prime Time Cafe
If you find yourself at Hollywood Studios and are in the need of a drink, check out the Tune-In Lounge which is attached to the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
The Tune-In Lounge is a retro hot spot where you can order a specialty cocktail and watch classic 1950s television. They offer a full bar, and you can order from the Cafe menu.
But, if you feel like a little humiliation, head on over to the 50’s Prime Time Cafe where the servers nag you to finish your plate and mind your manners. It can be quite fun, and if you have the kids with you, they will enjoy watching the role reversal.
7 For Adults: The Boardwalk-Atlantic Dance Hall
If you are able to leave the kids at home – or at least back at the hotel – it is essential to spend an evening at the Disney Boardwalk. Guests over 21 will find nightlife, shopping, and restaurants, and it has amazing views of Epcot. So, if you want a good spot to watch the IllumiNations fireworks show, this is the place to be.
If you aren’t in the mood for singing at Jellyrolls, you can get your groove on at the Atlantic Dance Hall. It features a gigantic dance floor, and you can request everything from classic tunes to modern hits. Plus, they play the song’s video on a huge screen.
6 For Adults: Behind the Scene Tours
There a few one-of-a-kind tours at Disney World that will allow you to get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes.
The Disney Keys to the Kingdom Tour is a five-hour in-depth walking tour that will unlock the history of the Magic Kingdom. And, you gain access to hidden areas, including the underground tunnels.
The Backstage Magic Tour lasts for seven hours and gives you an up-close look at the backstage secrets of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.
The Backstage Tales Tour gives you special access to the Animal Kingdom where you get the chance to meet 1,500 animals in their habitats.
The Epcot Seas Aqua Tour allows you to snorkel in an Epcot aquarium where you get the chance to meet marine life like sharks, angelfish, and sea turtles.
5 The Whole Family: The Magic Kingdom Mountains
If your family loves adventure, then you can’t miss the three Magic Kingdom Mountains – Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain.
First, Space Mountain in Tomorrowland takes you on a space ride that starts inside a futuristic launch pad before ascending 180 feet to the top while passing comets and meteors. When you reach the apex, everything goes black before you re-enter via a wormhole to complete your first space flight.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland will take you on a speeding train through desert caverns and a haunted mine before venturing inside a 200-foot mountain.
Be sure to wait until after dark to hop on Splash Mountain (for the views). This is a musical log flume ride that ends with a 5-story splashdown. Warning – you will get soaking wet.
4 For Adults: The Grand Floridian
The most luxurious of the Disney hotels, the Grand Floridian is a Victorian-style resort that represents the golden era of Palm Beach. The front lobby features live jazz and ragtime music, and the pool has a swim-up bar and a 181-foot waterslide.
This is the hotel where the Tanner family stayed during the Full House episodes The House Meets the Mouse Parts 1 & 2. And it is in this hotel’s lobby that Uncle Jesse played the grand piano and sang for Becky after he missed their date to celebrate their anniversary.
Do you really need any other reason to go there?
3 For Adults: Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
If you don’t have a weak stomach and are ready for a scary roller coaster ride, then you must hit the Rock ‘N Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith at Hollywood Studios. On an indoor track in the dark, you go 60 miles per hour in a super-stretch limo while navigating through different loops and twists and listening to popular Aerosmith songs.
Each limo has a 125-speaker, 24-subwoofer, and 32,000-watt audio system that features different songs like Walk This Way, Dude (Looks Like A Lady), Back in the Saddle, and Sweet Emotion.
Plus, they have changed Love in an Elevator to Love in a Roller Coaster. Classic Disney.
2 For Adults: Disney Springs
The new waterfront district known as Disney Springs features world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment divided among four outdoor neighborhoods – Town Center, Marketplace, West Side, and The Landing.
Shop at stores like The Art of Shaving, the Ganachery, Johnston & Murphy, and the Pearl Factory. Then, you can grab a bite at The Daily Poutine, Enzo’s Hideaway, House of Blues, Paddlefish, or one of the dozens of other options.
You can also go bowling, catch a movie, or listen to some live music while experiencing one of the newest parts of the most magical place on Earth. There is so much to do, that time will fly.
1 The Whole Family: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
A scavenger hunt throughout EPCOT, the kids can test their secret agent skills and crack codes while trying to defeat Agent P’s arch-nemesis.
You start out by signing up online and using a smartphone to connect with “The Agency.” Major Monogram and his intern, Carl, will then text clues that the family must solve before Dr. Doofenshmirtz causes major havoc.
You can have up to 9 people on a team, and the clues will lead you through one of six possible pavilions, which means there are multiple missions to complete. They take about 30-45 minutes, so you can do one, or you can do them all.