Disney World attracts adults

Even for seasoned travellers, a trip to Walt Disney World Florida is like a breath of youth. Grownups can forget worries, wear caps that say ‘I’m never growing up’, lace on running shoes, and then play, play, play. The real magic of Walt Disney World (WDW) is that it offers something for everyone. While the kids marvel at the actual rides and events, grownups marvel at the detail, the memories, and the planning that makes them happen. We get to revisit our childhood and have fun running around.

Speaking of running around, make sure you take at least two different pairs of comfortable walking shoes. There’s a lot of walking to do at Walt Disney World. When the first pair gives you blisters, the second pair will rub in different spots. If you forget, Disney sells athletic shoes inside the parks.

Depending on the time of year, there can be a lot of waiting too. Even though Disney invented creative crowd control, there can still be long lines and long waits. You can bypass the wait on the most popular attractions by using their ‘FASTPASS’ tickets. We seriously recommend taking advantage of them.  FASTPASS tickets let you book a specific time to go in witho waiting in line.

A word of warning:
During the winter months, the parks close at different hours. Epcot is the last to close.  If you’re inside a park when the gates close, you can stay later. However, if you leave, you won’t get back in. Purchasing an ‘eticket’ gives you entry into the parks during extended hours.

One enticement:
Disney often offers price breaks to Canadians, to make it easier to vacation in the USA.  For instance, last winter, one seven day ‘Park Hopper Plus’ pass for full price allowed Canadians to get a second pass for 50 per cent off. 

As well, Disney accepted Canadian dollars at par on all other park passes. That’s something American visitors didn’t get, and it make it easier when you have some grandkids along with you.

Disney had great success with the Canadian incentives during 2000-2001, and we’ve been told they tend to repeat successful promotions. There’s a good chance Canadians will get the same type of treatment for the 2001-2002 season.  Promotions are usually introduced in October, so keep watch.

Touring the park:
WDW is actually many parks in one. Here’s what you can expect:

Magic Kingdom
A trip to the Magic Kingdom reminds us adults of all the stories we grew up watching on the Wonderful World of Disney. Climbing through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, catching a ride on a ferris wheel, and literally walking through childhood again. This is why people keep coming back.

Epcot Centre
Dining, dining and more dining. If you haven’t had a chance to travel the world, this is the place to see and eat your way through some fascinating cultures. There are enough very good international restaurants at Epcot Centre to last an entire week without repeating. The food is that good, if a little pricey.

Beyond the food, of course, there’s lots and lots to see at Epcot, especially for adults.  For instance, the Spaceship Earth ride – which takes place inside the large geodesic dome that dominates this park – is an astounding piece of Animatronics. 

MGM-Disney Studios
There are some really fun things to do at the studios. The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is a must-see, even for the most jaded of movie fans.But use that FASTPASS, because there’s always a line. 

MGM-Disney also offers a wonderful backstage tour of their animation studios, where you can actually see how their movies are created. Make sure you visit this one between Monday and Friday, so you can see the animators at work.

While at Walt Disney World, take advantage of their ground transportation.  They’ve got a wonderful monorail system that can take you between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Not only that, but it connects with all the boats, ferries, and buses. And it’s free. 

The monorail gives you a good overview of where things are. There are 28,000 acres to Disney World, and it’s easy to miss something.  

Shopping, entertainment
Downtown Disney’s main attraction is Cirque du Soleil. It’s housed in a tent-like theatre built specifically for the Montreal-based troupe. It seats 1600 people. This is the home for ‘La Nouba’, one of the Cirque’s most impressive shows. It’s worth the expensive ticket price.

Meanwhile, Downtown Disney West Side and Pleasure Island are where the grownups go to party at night. You will find comedy, dancing, and music. Clubs include Gloria Estefan’s Bongos Cuban Cafe, Dan Ackroyd’s House of Blues, and Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. One note: there is a $21.00 cover charge to enter Pleasure Island after 7 p.m.

Most of the shopping available in WDW is for Disney products and merchandising only. However, at Downtown Disney, you’ll find other stores selling non-Disney things. 

Hotels and Resorts
There are so many resorts in and around Walt Disney World that it’s difficult to decide which experience you want. There are all sorts of styles from camping at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, to Disney’s most luxurious new resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Each hotel has its own theme, flavour, culture, restaurants, and activities. For example, the Animal Kingdom Lodge will let customers have their breakfast ‘on the savannah of Africa’ while giraffes munch on trees beside your table.

If you can afford it, stay on the WDW premises. From your hotel, you’ll have free unlimited transportation to and from all the Disney parks and facilities. There are even some ‘budget’ level hotels, like the All-Star Resorts.
Weather advice
Remember to bring some warm clothes. Florida has cold weather from time to time. We’re talking freezing rain and frost weather. This can happen in December or January. It can put a damper on your activities if you’re not ready for it. So pack some woolies just in case, and bring your coasts. The evenings can be cool too. In fact, we ended up wearing our winter jackets one night, even though the next day turned out to be shirtsleeve weather.

This said, most of the time Florida’s winters are like summer. There’s nothing like getting a blast of warm sunshine when you don’t expect it. Walt Disney World’s world is a nice place to experience it.