Walt Disney World Without Children


If you’ve been reading our Tripsided adventures, you’ve probably figured out that we like going to Walt Disney World. We’ve detailed a number of things about traveling there with our kids. But what we haven’t talked about is how much fun WDW can be (gasp!) without children!

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Admittedly, we’ve only visited a few times without them. The first was shortly after we married. That was in the early days of WDW – no Epcot, no Animal Kingdom, no Hollywood Studios as it’s known now. No Downtown Disney. Just the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary Hotel and the Polynesian.

As children of the late 40s, we’d grown up with Walt Disney and his Wonderful World of Color, which debuted on television in 1954. And we’d heard all about Disneyland, which opened in 1955. But living in Georgia, California seemed as far away as the moon.

To have an actual Disney theme park within a reasonable driving distance was a dream-come-true. And we weren’t disappointed.

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That first trip, we stayed at my grandmother’s house an hour or two away. I honestly don’t remember many specifics about the actual park except that it was magical, much more exciting than Six Flags, with something wonderful to see every way you turned.

And since I’m not a fan of thrill-rides, I was relieved to discover that most Disney rides were of the fantasy variety, immersing you in a world you’d only dreamed about or glimpsed on TV or in the movies. My favorites were Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World (of course!), the Haunted Mansion, The Jungle Cruise, and the Riverboat. Just call me a party animal!

There are thrill rides, of course, and mini-golf courses, and water parks – pretty much anything your heart might desire.

We continued to visit WDW often through our children’s growing up years – sometimes four or five times in a year. Times were simpler then, and prices were much lower. And for a while, we had connections that got us free tickets, the best kind!

by Benjamin D. Esham via WikiMedia Commons

As the kids became teenagers and then young adults, we morphed into two groups – them and us. And WDW continued to grow and change with something new to see every time we visited. (That was one of Walt’s dreams – that it never be “finished.” I’m sure he’s pleased… It’s sort of like Peachtree Street, for Atlanta natives…)

And so we meandered at our own pace, sometimes not even going into the parks. As adults without children, if you do decide to go into a park, you don’t feel so pressured to “see everything,” “ride every ride,” and “get your money’s worth.” You’re more content to maybe visit just one park, taking in the sights, and enjoying all that each park offers. Our favorite is Epcot – so many wonderful restaurants, so many great places to just sit down and people-watch.

There’s so much to see and do, wherever you decide to go. Strolling through the hotels, sampling the restaurants, visiting the shops.

If down-home clapping and stomping is your thing, be sure to check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review at Fort Wilderness. Reservations are required.

by David Manning – USA TODAY Sports

Sports enthusiasts are eager to visit the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex where thousands of teams and groups come to play. You can even take in a Spring Training game with the Atlanta Braves!

And Downtown Disney (currently being converted into Disney Springs) offers a huge variety of restaurants, shows and concerts including a special Cirque du Soliel venue as well as the House of Blues. Be sure to check for show times and admission information, since on-going construction might affect schedules and availability.

Another wonderful place to stroll and enjoy street performers, restaurants and clubs of every type, and even rent a bicycle built for two or a surrey with the fringe on top, is the Disney Boardwalk, located along the lake between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It’s a quarter-mile of sights, sounds and aromas from the early days of boardwalks along the Atlantic shore.

By Jrobertiko (Denis Adriana Macias) via Wikimedia Commons

If you stay on-site, you get free transportation on buses, monorails and boats. Probably the best deal of all, it’s something that’s often overlooked by the hordes rushing to visit the parks.

But it’s a great way to spend a leisurely day or evening – just riding around and seeing the sights. It’s especially lovely if you catch a fireworks show from the monorail – the operators usually stop while the show is going on so everyone gets a great view. It’s probably for safety reasons, too, but who cares?

It’s magical! And no kids required!

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