Last month, I was lucky to be able to travel to Florida with my family for the fourth time. This was the third time I visited Disney World, and the first time visiting the USA at legal age. My family is easygoing, fun to be around, and lovers of a good time— I’m blessed! On this trip, we stayed at a rental home in Kissimmee, which is about 6 miles from Disney World. We spent one day in Magic Kingdom and one day in Animal Kingdom.
Unlike our previous two trips to Disney World, this time we did not have any little kids with us. We wanted to spend the day doing all the big rides, but also those classic rides that we have loved since childhood. I have always found, like many, that there is something truly magical about Walt Disney World. As a kid, it was the friendly characters and beautiful scenery that made you feel like you were in a real-life fantasy world. As an adult, the magic was the seamlessness of the whole operation— the number of staff, the innovation and engineering, and the sheer size of the park. And how much money must flow through there every single day.
In this way and others, Disney World is not the same for a group of adults as it is for a group of adults with children. When you’re with kids, you’re focused on their enjoyment, their reactions to the rides and characters, and making sure the kiddos are having the times of their lives. As adults, you’re reminiscing, having fun, and looking for a thrill. I am here to tell you some of the tips and tricks I picked up for enjoying Walt Disney World as an adult.
Side note: I have never stayed in the Walt Disney World Resort accommodations. All of my Disney World experiences have been day trips.
First things first: download the app. This trip to Disney was drastically more efficient because of the My Disney Experience mobile app. Incredibly, the entirety of the Disney World Orlando Resort has free wifi access, so don’t worry about not having Internet access. Through the app, you can book your tickets, book your FastPass+ experiences (you get three free FastPass+ with ticket purchase), and check out maps and live wait times. You can even book restaurant reservations, order from the gift shops for pick up, and view and order your PhotoPass photos that you have professionally taken throughout your day. It’s fantastic.
Now you have to pick your parks. If you have time and can afford it, of course you’ll want to visit them all. But, for a lot of people, me included, that is super unrealistic. The main parks are Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. As I mentioned, this time we visited the first two. Epcot has a lot for adults, including amazing cuisine, beautiful simulation rides, world pavilions which are visually stunning and educational, and in the fall of the year they have a food and wine festival which sounds like a blast. Hollywood Studios has a good mix for kids and adults, with some super thrilling rides like Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror. This article will focus on Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom is the optimal choice for the first-time Disney visitor, the Disney fanatic, and the person looking for a walk down memory lane. Of course, you have to get your picture in front of the castle, which is truly breathtaking. Main Street USA is at the entrance to the park and has the best gift shops. There are four ‘lands’ of Magic Kingdom: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Based on what I like (i.e. thrilling rides and reminiscent activities) here is the ideal Magic Kingdom itinerary:
Stroll straight down Main Street USA— you’ll want to save your shopping for the end of the day so you’re not carrying stuff around all day. Get your photos by the castle and take a left towards Adventureland. Here, all you’ll want to do is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride— it’s not thrilling but it’s an awesome ride for big fans of the movie. Continue on to Frontierland. This is where the best classic rides are, the ones your parents definitely rave about: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. You’ll want to FastPass+ these (book that on your app!) as the lines can be quite long. Have fun! Now you’ll probably feel a little hungry so it’s a good time for lunch. Honestly, Magic Kingdom doesn’t have the best food unless you go somewhere fancy (and expensive), so it doesn’t really matter where you eat because it’s mostly greasy and deep fried. Perhaps try Liberty Square, which is on your way to Fantasyland. Fantasyland is mostly for kids, but they recently opened the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, which is a fun rollercoaster. Finally, head over to Tomorrowland and ride Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, and visit the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. Stick around in the evening for the most spectacular fireworks show of your life. Don’t forget to grab your souvenirs as you head back down Main Street USA.
Some rides are obviously for kids and you know not to waste your time in lineups for them (like the Kiddie Carts in Tomorrowland and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets in Adventureland) but some are not so obvious, especially if they’re indoors. What should adults definitely skip in Magic Kingdom? Unless you’re a super-fan of the movies that go along with these rides, you will definitely want to skip the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Winnie the Pooh. These can be a little boring. You will also want to skip It’s A Small World— it’s long, annoying, creepy, and there are too many conspiracies wrapped up with that thing!
What do you think of these tips? Did we miss anything? We would love to hear your suggestions and Disney hacks. Comment below or reach out on social media, @twowildtides on Facebook and Instagram. We love hearing from our readers!
Have a magical trip!
Bob K says
Great piece, takes me back 🙂