While visiting the Walt Disney World Parks might seem like a child’s affair to others, many of us adults have found ourselves enjoying time alone or with a partner at the parks, proving that the worlds are not just for the younger set.
If you are a kid at heart, or simply someone who loves shopping, dining and exploring, I’ve compiled three reasons why you should take a quick getaway to Orlando whenever you need an escape this summer. Oh, and don’t forget to pack your hot weather clothes, sunblock and all-around adventurous spirit. And, always keep an eye out for those coveted Disney Florida Resident Deals.
There’s Great Shopping, Dining and Merch at Disney Springs
One of the best things to do when you arrive in Orlando, especially if you are driving up from South Florida, is making your first day and evening one spent at Disney Springs.
While the parks also offer an array of Disney and park-themed merchandise, World of Disney at Disney Springs has one of the most extensive selections of clothing, accessories and those colorful and character-themed Disney ears that we’ve ever seen. For the month of June, World of Disney also has a huge selection and beautiful Pride-themed display, featuring backpacks (a Marvel-themed one caught our eye,) rainbow-striped Disney ears, as well as colorful Disney-character shirts and plushies celebrating Pride.
As you take a walk around Disney Springs, you’ll even spot booths with brands such as Coursicle, where you can snag the perfect Disney or Marvel character aluminum bottle, one that you can fill up with water to take to the parks since it promises, and does, keep your liquids cold for longer. Other merchants include Pandora Jewelry, Havaianas, and even a Star Wars Outpost and Marvel store.
Disney Springs is the perfect spot to create a cool theme park outfit that expresses your personality and individuality. This time around, I brought my Scarlet Witch Disney Ears, which I paired up with a Marvel Scarlet Witch character dress, one of my favorite characters in the Marvel world. Proving that there’s nothing better than having some fun with your outfits while there.
As for dining and making the visit the perfect night out, besides more casual spots like House of Blues (which we highly recommend for the live music!), we recommend setting aside a reservation for dinner at Paddlefish, where fresh fish, chef-crafted desserts and a wonderful steak await. Oh, and do not leave just yet! The perfect nightcap is an Espresso Martini or a glass of wine at Wine Bar George, a cozy dimly lit spot with a fantastic wine selection, bites and food.
Staying at a Disney Resort is Worth It
From Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, which has the fantastic cocktail bar Enchanted Rose, to more budget-friendly spots such as the Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it’s worth it for yourself or you and your partner to book a stay while visiting the area.
This time around for our summer visit, my husband and I ended up staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had never stepped foot into that resort and were floored by the African-themed architecture and how you can find surprises at every corner of the resort.
First off, we woke up and went to sleep seeing all sorts of amazing creatures outside our balcony. From snoozing giraffes, to zebras, I found joy every morning when I opened our room window and saw these majestic animals strolling by. Quick Tip: Buy a bottle of delicious African wine, such as a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir at the gift shop, bring it to your room, and enjoy the view as you sip a glass.
Speaking of wine, and then food, Disney resorts are known for their fine dining, and it’s not just chicken tenders and burgers (foods that kids love, and adults enjoy as well.) The Animal Kingdom Lodge surprised us with one of the best lobby bars that we’ve been to called Victoria Falls Lounge where we had some of the best martinis ever shaken and stirred, as well as were introduced to African wines. We recommend a flight so you can sample them all. We also recommend one of the high-end restaurants such as Jiko-The Cooking Place, offering dining from Africa in a cozy setting.
Even though the resort is nicely tucked away, it offers transportation to all parks and Disney Springs for free with their continuous bus service. This is another great reason to consider a Disney Resort, saving you time and the stress that at times comes with finding transportation while traveling.
Enjoy the Parks (And the Parks Food and Dining)
We know that Disney in the summer might have friends of yours and even your partner simply shaking their head at the though of a visit. “It’s too hot!” they’ll say. Well, while that is true, there are ways to cool off at the parks, find shade and it’s all worth it for the rides and dining. Yes, dining.
Let’s start with Epcot. Epcot is one of those parks that is perfect for adults, where you can visit the world, trying food and cocktails from every country there. From the perfect Margarita at Epcot’s Mexico, to some seriously well-chosen German beers in the Germany pavilion, and delicious Chinese food in China, and the best Sake in Japan, Epcot’s got you covered. Match that with events such as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, you’ll be covered and have a chance to try all the food and drinks! The festival includes booths in every country’s area with samples, tapas-style, of each country’s unique foods, as well as gorgeous character sculptures throughout the park.
Finally, please go to Space 2020! You will not regret visiting “space,” as an elevator whisks you upstairs and away from Florida into another galaxy, one filled with delicious snacks and beverages at the bar. The spot is also a restaurant, one where you can dine on looking at the earth from space, as well as passing spaceships and astronauts.
The, there are the rides. Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Test Track are the best and most thrilling offerings at Epcot that you need to try.
After, we recommend two experiences: one is a visit to Animal Kingdom for a safari experience, and second is Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance. The safari experience will educate you on a variety of animals whose home is the park, the care provided to them and their background, meaning and diverse personalities. Then, Rise of the Resistance is one of the best and most immersive Star Wars-inspired rides, taking you through some serious storytelling, as you become a part of a dramatic escape and chase.
Animal Kingdom has a variety of bars and restaurants, including the high-end and comfortable Tiffins Restaurant, offering delicious lunch and dinner options, matched perfectly with unique wines and cocktails. This and the adjacent lounge, part of Tiffins, will give you the perfect space to cool off and relax between walking the park and enjoying different rides.
As for Hollywood Studios, please make sure to set aside time for a visit to Oga’s Cantina, a Star-Wars inspired bar with music, unique cocktails and snacks inspired by the galaxy. You will be greeted by a lively spot, where the staff have as much of a good time as you will.
Happy summer visits!
If I’ve convinced you to book your Adult Disney experience, make sure to check out this link for Florida Resident Deals throughout the year! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/florida-residents-tickets-passes/