Disclaimer: This post is not actually about the city of Orlando. It’s about Disney World. Second disclaimer: You need a better source than me if you’re trying to plan a trip to Disney World.
That being said, having been there twice in the last 12 months–most recently as a co-Maid of Honor at my friends’ magnificent Animal Kingdom wedding–I can tell you a few things about experiencing the most magical place on earth as an adult.
1. It’s still fun. In fact, in all honesty, I think it’s more fun. When I went in January, none of the rides scared me. German beer, Mexican margaritas and other alcohol from around the world was fair game at Epcot. And I didn’t cry after meeting Captain Hook.
Disney also actually puts on a number of events geared specifically toward adults–like the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, for instance, which takes place each fall. So it’s not all character breakfasts and It’s a Small World (though those are surprisingly entertaining as a 20-something, too).
2. It’s expensive. Like, really expensive. Park tickets alone will run you $97 for a one-day ticket–unless you’re going to Magic Kingdom, which will run you $105. And that’s just to visit one park in a day. You want to see a few within 24 hours? Add $64 for the Park Hopper option.
The good news is that for big kids, there’s plenty to do outside the parks themselves, which saves on admission fees. You can also buy tickets to use after 2 p.m. or after 4 p.m. only, a great way to save significantly–especially if you take advantage of so-called “Extra Magic Hours,” during which resort guests can stay at the parks past their normal closing times.
3. It’s not for foodies. Disney has a wealth of dining options, but if you’re a gung-ho restaurant-goer, you likely won’t love them–unless, of course, you want to get really high-end. Of course, there’s an exception–Via Napoli in Epcot, whose pizza beats any I had while living in the real Italy.
4. Time-savers are everything. Disney is huge, and while there are myriad ways to get around, they can be slow–especially during highly trafficked times (if you call Disney’s reservation center, they’ll recommend leaving two hours to get from place to place–no matter where you’re going). The good news is that parking is free at the parks if you happen to have a car with you. And the even better news is that Uber now operates on park property.
FastPass+–which allow you to pre-book certain rides during a designated time block, cutting your wait time–is essential, too, especially if you’re trying to pack a lot in. Aim for the rides you’ll think could see the longest lines (Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest and Hollywood Studios’ Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster were a couple of my personal picks), and you’ll breeze right through.
5. Embrace the MagicBand. I have to admit that I was more than a bit skeptical of the brightly colored rubber wristband I was told to wear at all times, but MagicBands are the real deal. They’ll act as your admission passes, room key and credit card all in one, meaning there’s much less to carry and keep track of while you’re exploring. Plus, they can go underwater in the pool ❤