It’s simple to have an amazing Walt Disney World vacation as an adult, but what do you do when you’ve had enough of the strollers, frazzled parents, screaming kids, etc. There are some secrets that make it totally possible to enjoy the happiest place on earth in adult solace. In the article, I’m going to share the top 10 ways to find adult only escapes in Walt Disney World.
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Don’t forget this handy packing checklist before you go.
1. Timing is Everything
Plot your trips around the school calendar. It’s as simple as that. Families don’t always take their kids out of school to vacation and tend to take advantage of fall break, winter break, spring break or long holiday weekends to travel. Check the crowd counters and schedules for national holidays and schools local to the Walt Disney World location. It also helps to watch Annual Passholder blackout dates. Vacationing during lower crowd times ensures that you’ll see fewer children, and can find more ways to find adult only pockets of time.
2. Party at Epcot
Oh yes, Epcot is the happening place if you want a party! The bar at UK’s Rose & Crown Pub really kicks it up a notch with live music and flowing Guinness. Or you could get crazy with margaritas, guacamole and tequila shots at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico. No matter your flavor, there’s a bar for you in Epcot. Not sure which one you like the most? Go drinking “Around the World!”
3. Single Rider Line
This is not only a great time for getting on rides faster but also a great tip for avoiding kids and families. Young kids can’t be left alone to ride by themselves and families tend to avoid being split up while riding the rides. This means that the chances of waiting in line, sitting next to and riding with a kid are rare. Obviously, there are times when your single rider might have to fill a car or row with an already seated kid, the likelihood of having to interact with them at all is limited because you’ll be seated for the ride and take off. Worst case, you’ll get stuck with an independent tween or group or tweens, which in my experience, actually listen if you tell them to “chill out” for a few minutes.
4. Upgraded Transportation
It’s bound to happen, you load up on that bus to head back to your hotel after a long day in the parks and the meltdown from a sleepy little one serenades you the entire ride back to your hotel. Talk about needing a drink when you arrive back at your room. Whenever you want to avoid families on the multiple free modes of transportation (monorail, boat, tram, bus) you can opt for making the hike to some of the more walkable locations (Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs are walking distance to Epcot) or hire a car to move you from Point A to Point B in relaxing quiet.
5. Hidden Bars
Outside the parks are some excellent escapes for the 21 and over crowd. Hit up Disney Springs and enjoy cocktail-centric locations such as Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, or take a ride over to the Polynesian Village for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. There’s plenty of family-friendly locations to attract parents with kids into that most more adult-friendly locations before 8:00 PM won’t be filled with the pitter-patter of little feet and many of them turn into 21 and better after 8:00 PM.
6. Extra Magic Hours
When you book at one of the Walt Disney World resorts, you get access to “Extra Magic Hours” which allow you to enter the parks before or after operating hours. This perk affords those who want to limit their interactions with children at the advantage of how well they can decode the patterns. Most families are up early and into the parks upon opening, especially when a park offers these extra hours. If you want to avoid this rush of small feet, visit later in the day or simply avoid the park where those hours are being offered, since most families can’t afford a park hopper pass for their entire brood. Then, take full advantage of the evening hours, especially anything after 10:30 PM, because most families with little ones are going to have headed back to the hotels for bedtime. In general anything after 10:30 PM or following the evening shows are peak times for childless adults to enjoy the park.
7. Less Popular “Child” Attractions
This doesn’t mean hanging out in a less popular attraction all day. What this means is gauging the popularity of attractions by time and plan around them. If there’s a parade going on, hit up all the attractions around it that won’t be attracting the families with children. Another nice way to escape the family rush is to hit up the exhibits and educational rides within Epcot. There are plenty of shops to browse through, just avoid the areas with toys and linger more on the adult merchandise for a little peace and chill.
8. Restaurant Selection
This is a tip that is one of my favorites – as a Disney foodie and childfree adult – select the higher end establishments such as Jiko – The Cooking Place, California Grill, Narcoossee’s or Victoria and Alberts. Okay, so even if you can only afford to visit one of these on your trip to Walt Disney World you won’t regret the food or experience, along with the peace and quiet that accompanies these locations. Most parents won’t bring their families to these restaurants not only because of their high price point, but most of these menus are enough to scare away parents with picky eaters. Enjoy a nice meal and escape from the bustle of the park and family noise. Just make sure you make reservations!
9. Time Your Meals
Anyone with kids knows that schedules and consistency are vital to avoiding tantrums and meltdowns. The childfree adult should look to use this to their advantage. Scheduling you snacks and meals during less popular times ensures that you are exploring the parks when families are dining and dining when families are exploring the parks. Pick schedules that overlap with parades or shows during the evening and head out afterwards to enjoy the park while the parent are dragging their brood back to the hotel for bedtime. I also highly recommend packing your own snacks to avoid that mid-afternoon craving for popcorn or ice cream with a line full of families.
10. Special Events
Yes, I know, here’s another paywall to the Disney experience – but it’s only a known fact that families won’t always pony up for anything that means an extra cost or ticket. That’s why Halloween, Christmas, Epcot Food and Wine Festival are great times to avoid large crowds of children. Another excellent option is Disney After Hours, which grants a limited number of guests access to a closed Magic Kingdom for three hours. If you want to enjoy Disney without seeing a single underage face, this might be $149/person worth budgeting into your trip.
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What do you do to find an adult only escape at Walt Disney World?
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