Florida,  States

The 20-Something Guide to Disney World

Disney World is not just for kids. If you’re there for a day or a weekend as a 20-something, you’ll still find plenty to do. Just know – this might not be the Disney you remember from childhood!

The other awesome thing about being an adult is that the parks aren’t the only place to have Disney fun. There are lots of options to have a magical afternoon or day without paying for park admission!

  • Drink Around the World at Epcot

    This is the quintessential adult Disney activity. Epcot’s World Showcase is the perfect place to lost an afternoon. You can start at noon, and go til 9 (generally), finding something to drink at each country. Be warned: this activity is strongly recommended only if you’re not driving!

    Make sure to try the Grey Goose Slushies at France, the Sake in Japan, and the Margaritas in Mexico! It’s up to you which direction you go, but I recommend leaving France or Mexico for last. Both offer excellent drinks with excellent fireworks views (and exit proximity!).

    Just make sure to ride Mission:Space and Soarin’ before getting too much alcohol!

  • Watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks with a Lapu Lapu

    The Lapu Lapu is basically the taste of vacation in a cup – or rather, in a pineapple. Head up to Tambu Lounge in the Polynesian Resort to get a Lapu Lapu and take it on the road to the Polynesian Beach. The fireworks music is piped into the beach, so you get to see everything while being blessedly removed from the craziness that is Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Extra bonus points because you can walk to the parking lot from the Polynesian, so you can beat the post-fireworks crowds.

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

  • Watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from the Top of the Contemporary

    Yes, much of “adult Disney” can be summed up by “finding places to have a great drink and a view of the action.” If you dine at California Grill at the Contemporary (and you should – it’s fantastic!), you can go up to the roof for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Just like the Polynesian, they pipe in the music. If you’re up early enough, you can also see Illuminations at Epcot (though no music is piped in and it’s further away!). The view from the Contemporary is just incredible. In my opinion, it’s the absolute best place to see the fireworks.

    If you can’t snag dinner reservations, you might try heading up close to opening and seeing if there are open spots at the bar. There are no reservations required for the bar, and I’ve had a 100% success rate so far of going up and getting a spot to have a drink at California Grill opening. Keep your receipt, and they’ll let you back up for fireworks.

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

  • Monorail (and Boat!) Pub Crawl

    There are three stellar resorts on the monorail: The Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary. These all have great drink options that are worth stopping for. The Polynesian has, by far, the best drink options. With Tambu Lounge and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, I feel like the Polynesian is the perfect place to start AND finish the pub crawl. Note: don’t drive after this!

    Recommended Itinerary:
    Polynesian: At Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, order the Uh-Oa!
    Grand Floridian: At Mizner’s Lounge, order a Manhattan
    (Bonus Boat Detour) Wilderness Lodge: At the Territory Lounge, order a Magical Star (This can be ordered at just about every Disney bar, but it’s definitely a “Disney Vacation” kind of drink!)
    Contemporary: At California Grill, order a Cucumber Fizz
    Polynesian: At Tambu Lounge, order the Lapu Lapu (and take it to the beach!)
    Extra Bonus Polynesian: At Tambu Lounge, order a shot of rum. The, go to Pineapple Lanai, get a Dole Whip, and add.

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

    However, if you want to spend $170/person, you can have this experience with food and drinks as the “Highway in the Sky” dinner package.

  • Shopping at the Outlets

    Yes, this is not technically Disney. But seriously, if you’re in the vicinity, the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets are worth a stop. They have a few outlets that are hard to find and offer great deals! The North Face, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Lululemon are definite stops.

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

  • An Afternoon at The Boardwalk

    Disney has truly awesome options for eating and drinking. The Boardwalk is an excellent place to hang out. If you’re looking to burn off some of the calories you’ve been ingesting, there’s a great path that goes to Epcot, around the Beach and Yacht Clubs, the Swan and Dolphin, and to Hollywood Studios. You can walk it, or even rent a pedal cart!

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

  • Have Mini-Boat Adventures

    At the hotels on the water (the Yacht Club, the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge), you can rent mini boats for a spin around the lake. This manages to be somewhat expensive at $32 per half hour, but it’s a fun thing to do! (And cheaper than park admission!)

    Bonus: No park admission is required for this one!

  • Go on A Character Picture Hunt

    You know, when you were a kid at Disney, there were always those characters your parents weren’t willing to wait in line for. Go find them! Get the picture. Or think of your favorite character, then find them in every costume you can! (This is especially effective if your favorite character is Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, or Goofy.) Another fun option for this one: challenge yourself and your friends to get as many character pictures as possible. If you’re in a big group, split up and make it a competition.

  • Have an Instagram Challenge

    Disney was basically invented for Instagram. Or maybe Instagram was invented for Disney. But Disney is filled with places to take awesome pics. Food pics, place pics, selfies… whichever floats your boat, you’ll find it in Disney!

    Suggestions for places to ‘gram:
    – Magic Kingdom Castle Pics
    – Epcot World Showcase
    – The Boardwalk Hotel
    – Animal Kingdom’s Asia Section – lots of Nepalese prayer flags, Everest in the background
    – Animal Kingdom’s Avatar for out of this world Instagrams (sorry couldn’t help it)
    – Disney Springs has lots of awesome walls for selfies
    – The Polynesian Hotel – lots of awesome places for beach-themed ‘grams

One Comment

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