Going to Disney World is every kid’s dream. My grandma used to live in Florida, so my family went to Disney countless times growing up, but stopped going as I got older. At least 14 long years had gone by since I went with my family but it turns out visiting Disney as an adult is just as fun! No matter what age you are, there is something so magical about being at Disney. Most people automatically think of visiting Epcot and drinking around the world when planning their trips as an adult. And while I love Epcot, Magic Kingdom still has a lot to offer the older generations.
I got super lucky that my boyfriend is awesome and pretty much planned everything – from the resort to the Fast Passes and even dinner and lunch reservations. But if you’re looking to book your own Disney adventure, here are some of the main things to think about.
Things To Know When Booking Your Disney Vacation As An Adult
There are a ton of perks to staying at a Disney resort. For one, you get transportation to and from the parks (more on that below). Your MagicBand works as they key to your room; it also works as your FastPass entrance, has your dining plan hooked up, and you can even attach your credit card to make purchases anywhere in the park from gift shops to dining. You quite literally don’t need anything besides this during the day around the park. You get “Extra Magic Hours” at the parks – typically you get to go early and stay late at the parks. Wes stayed at The Disney Caribbean Beach Resort which was great! We spent really full, action-packed days at each of the parks, so we didn’t spend much time at the resort anyway. However, if you’re staying for a longer time in Disney and want a break from the parks one day, you can head to pools at the resorts. Each resort has a main pool (where a lot of kids are) and other less crowded pools without the water slides and all the frills. A relaxing day between all the walking and excitement of the parks sounds just perfect.
The extra magic hours and FastPasses saved so much time and were crucial to getting the most activities in at every park. When you stay on a Disney resort, you get to enter the park an hour earlier than guests who stay off the resort. When we got into the Magic Kingdom, we headed right to the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, as this line during the day can last hours. Directly after we went to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, another ride with an hours-long wait during peak hours. Our FastPasses for the day went to the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight – which were all really good choices. If you wait until later in the night, a lot of the rides with long wait times go way, way down (I’m looking at you, It’s A Small World). There are several rides that are more thrilling, which may be what you’re looking for when visiting Disney as an adult. Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train are all a little more thrilling, but don’t underestimate the cutesy, smaller rides. They are just as fun!
When making your reservations, you’ll have the option to get a meal plan. I 200% recommend getting a meal plan – you’ll save a ton of money this way. For breakfast, we didn’t make reservations at Be Our Guest restaurant, and when we walked by the line looked really long. But instead of calling it quits and finding somewhere else, we decided to wait in line. It turns out, the line can be really deceiving. There was actually no wait at all for us to have breakfast in Belle’s castle (which made me very happy). Pro tip: if we were to go again, we’d definitely just buy a bag of bagels and butter and keep it in the room for breakfast. That way, we wouldn’t have to waste time during our extra hours getting breakfast because we were starving. For lunch we went to Columbia Harbour House and had a tasty fish lunch. We ate a lot of snacks during the day (hi, cream cheese stuffed pretzels and Mickey ice cream pop) so we ate a really late dinner at Casey’s Corner for hot dogs for carnivore Nick and french fries for my vegetarian self.
If you stay on a Disney resort, you can ride the Magic Express (bus) directly from the airport to your resort. Going park to park, you can also use the Disney bus system. I’d certainly recommend this, as it’d be a lot cheaper and time efficient, as traffic around the park is very heavy and the Disney buses has many of their own lanes on the roads. The buses go park to park and to the resort, and chances are you won’t wait more than 20 minutes for the bus you need to come. However, when the park closed at 1:00 AM on New Years Eve, the lines for the buses were massive. We contemplated calling an Uber, but because of the holiday prices that wasn’t an option either.
I love love love Disney parades. Since we visited Disney World in between Christmas and New Years, Disney was still celebrating Christmas so we got to see Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. For New Year’s Eve, they have a special fireworks show. However, we found out that the same fireworks show that happens on December 31 also happen on December 30, so we had two midnight countdown fireworks shows.
What are your tips for visiting Disney World as an adult?