Over my 26 years of loving Disney, I have been exposed to a wide variety of people who think and insist that Disney World is just for kids. Or for families with kids.
As someone who was a Disney kid myself and is now a fully grown person who has no children and still spends all of my time planning Disney vacations anyway, I thought I’d address this issue once and for all.
Now, I now what all of the advertisements have you think.
Disney World is only supposed to be experienced holding hands with my child, walking down Main Street and basking in the glory of how well-behaved and curious my son/daughter is being.
But quite frankly, Aladdin and I are shocked that people still think that.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. I completely understand many people enjoy taking their children and if I have kids one day, you bet I’m going to be the crazy Disney mom who dresses them up in sixteen costume changes a day and makes them ride the teacups over and over again until I get a picture for the Christmas card, but I’ve complied lots of evidence that Disney World is actually for the grown-ups.
1. Beautiful, relaxing resorts
There is nothing a kid cares about less than “beautiful” or “relaxing” things. Like, give a kid the All-Star Movies value resort with its bright colors and larger than life Disney characters any day. But Disney has some beautiful, relaxing resorts on property that scream “please stay here to escape the current drama that Phil from the office keeps causing” rather than “Hey, kids! You’re now in Disney World!”
Take, for example, the incredible architecture and palm trees at the Grand Floridian (yes I realize those are children playing in the sand, but I would like you to focus on their father, who is admiring their luxury hotel without a care in the world. He’s not even thinking about Phil, look at him).
Or consider the exotic decor at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Do not tell me that this character-less, tranquil resort was built for children.
Or consider the stunning lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge (you can find my review of the resort here). I find it hard to believe that a child could appreciate the beauty of this resort and the painstaking detail Disney has gone to to make sure it accurately represents and reflects countries across Africa.
2. Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress
Now, I say this as someone who has absolutely loved Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress since I was a teenager and I will fight anyone who says a bad word about them, but WHY do these rides in dark spaces for 10+ minutes exist?
So adults can take a break from being asked to buy something every 5 minutes and/or take a nap, obviously. There is absolutely nothing like a mid-afternoon snooze in Hall of Presidents to keep you going for the rest of the evening because you’re not as young and energetic as you used to be, speaking from first hand experience.
I remember when I was younger and couldn’t stand going on these rides because it seemed like such a waste of time and for lame out-of-touch adults. Now when I get stuck on the Carousel of Progress and have to repeat the same decade over again, I’m thanking the Disney gods for shining down on me.
3. Have you ever actually taken a child to Disney?
Again, I was a Disney kid from the age of 0! I basically grew up on the Peter Pan ride. But have you ever actually taken a child to Disney?
No matter how much money you spend on this dream vacation, a child does not care! They will scream. They will cry. They will get tired. They will throw things. They will pull character’s tails.
The amount of time you spend walking through the parks listening to some variation of, “WE ARE IN THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH. YOU WILL BE HAPPY OR I WILL LEAVE YOU LOCKED UP IN PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’ is too much to count.
Children love Disney, sure. But if you have survived a Disney trip with children without the post-fireworks having-an-epic-meltdown-on-the-tram-because-their-left-shoe-is-untied stress, then you should probably write a book on how you managed that because I think you’d have a captive audience of parents who would like to know the secret.
4. Adult tour options
With so many tour options around the parks and resorts, it’s no surprise that Disney World is for the grown-ups. There is nothing a child would want to do less than standing in a boring group for 2 hours learning the secrets to forced perspective on Main Street. Or getting to taste the latest food options at Boma and learning more about Sanaa’s delicious bread service.
5. Luxury dining options
If there is one thing about most American kids, it’s that they survive on a diet of macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, turkey, goldfish, and the occasional vegetable that their parents force in. So then please explain to me why Disney has signature and premium dining offerings such as California Grill and Victoria and Albert’s exist?
Well, firstly to separate you from your money, but SECONDLY because Disney World is for the grown ups!
6. Real rollercoasters
People have this idea that Disney World is full of “kiddie” rides which are slow-moving and don’t have anything much scarier than getting squished in a capsule with somebody’s giant backpack that they’ve brought the whole family’s lunch in.
But Disney has lots of rollercoasters like Everest at Animal Kingdom, Rock N Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and even Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.
Maybe it’s because I’m older and more prone to motion sickness now, but some of these rides are intense and not for the faint of heart (literally and figuratively), much less children. In fact, there are signs with height restrictions specifically keeping many children out!
7. Walt Disney’s philosophy
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the thoughts of the man himself, Walt Disney. He wanted everyone to come enjoy his parks, and he put it this way: “You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”
So to all of the adults without kids who want to spend all of your disposable income on Disney trips like I do (or maybe you just want to go once to see what it’s all about), Walt and I have your back.
Disney World is yours to explore, too. Have a magical time!