Pros and Cons of Disney World Without Kids

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Disney vacations are marketed as the quintessential family trip. The commercials, the planning DVDs, the website, the mailings, and oodles of other Disney vacation propaganda all showcase the glowing, smiling faces of cherub-cheeked tots in addition to the satisfied radiance of their perfectly coifed parents. No doubt about it – if you have a family, Disney is on your radar.

This sight is exciting for adults and kids alike!
This sight is exciting for adults and kids alike!

But what about a Disney World trip, without the kids? Disney World is a popular destination for honeymooners, to get engaged, and even for a couple to get married, right in the parks. Millions of couples choose to vacation in the House of Mouse without their progeny for many, many reasons. It could be celebrating a special anniversary, only in town briefly for a conference or work trip, or perhaps, they just it’s time to rekindle that romantic spark sans diaper bags and sippy cups. Whatever the reason for your adult-inspired journey into America’s Neverland, let’s explore the pros and cons of traveling to Walt Disney World without kids.

Pros

Limited Baggage. This perk has so many levels. For those who travel on airlines with baggage fees, this could be a huge savings! And if you’re brave enough to venture into the parks with just your ID, MagicBand, and credit cards, you can skip the bag-check line at the parks head straight to turnstiles… er…glowing Mickey heads…entrance. No heavy diaper bag slowly dislocating your shoulder throughout the day or leaving you with those flattering sweat marks on your back. Just you armed with nothing but your sense of adventure (and credit cards, of course)!

Adult Beverages. Whether you’re staying on Disney property or not, the prevalence of transportation options (buses, boats, monorails and cabs) means you can indulge in that adult beverage you’ve always wanted to try (or indulge in a few more)! The only thing holding you back is your alcohol tolerance and your bank account.

Fine Dining. The Walt Disney World Resort has some of the most eclectic fine dining experiences east of the Mississippi. Without having to worry if they have “mac ‘n cheese” on the menu, you can treat yourself to five-star dining complete with the magically immersive atmosphere that Disney is renowned for. And without a curfew or bedtime to worry about, stretch that evening out and top it off with a nightcap at any one of Disney’s luxurious lounges throughout the resort.

The Kiss Goodnight is a light show projected on the castle when the park closes.
The Kiss Goodnight is a light show projected on the castle when the park closes.

Exploit the Thrill Rides. You want to ride Expedition Everest seven times in a row and skip Tricera Top Spin? I applaud your adrenaline rush ambitions! No need for Child Swap, just queue up and keep on riding.

Single Rider Line. Now you say you want to ride Expedition Everest seven times in a row within an hour? You are my people! The beauty of the Single Rider Line is its typical minimal wait. If you have older kids, this could definitely be an option for you. But as childless adults loose in the parks, I say, live it up! Single Rider Lines are your friends (and friends of any Touring Plan you’re using).

Late Nights. Tired little legs and droopy eyes usually make families head to the front gates right after the evening fireworks. But not you! You’ve just stopped at the most recent Starbucks addition for your caffeine infusion and you’re ready to go! Time to hit it hard until they kick you out, right? If you’re in the Magic Kingdom, see if you can stay late enough to watch the Kiss Goodnight, an end of the night castle light show.

Cons

Missing Little Details. Little legs and little eyes mean seeing little details. Disney has so many magical details that adults can just blast past while on the mission to complete their Touring Plan. Sometimes, spending 40 minutes playing in the dancing water fountain outside of Journey Into Imagination With Figment can be just as magical as conquering Test Track. Or watching the miniature train display in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot is just as special as getting that 60th picture with Mickey. Little ones can help us big kids slow down and really take in the magic in a different way.

This dancing water fountain outside Epcot's Journey Into Imagination can leads to hours of entertainment
This dancing water fountain outside Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination can leads to hours of entertainment

Experience Magic through Young Eyes. You’ve never seen fireworks until you’ve seen them with a four-year-old. Their whole face lights up because for them, it isn’t a feat of pyrotechnics, it’s pixie dust. And as cool as pyrotechnics are, I’ll be the first to admit, that pixie dust is far cooler. Spinning in a dancing, enchanted tea cup, meeting the real Cinderella, and having Chef Mickey make you breakfast are magical experiences, all made that much more magical by the pure belief and wonder of little ones. And watching those moments happen make us all choke up (even if they’re not our kids)!

“Excuse” to Nap. “Little Jimmy’s tired and cranky, time to go back to the room to take a nap” is perfect code for “my feet are killing me and I’m on the brink of heat-exhaustion, get me to the AC, stat!” We all need a break sometimes. Having the kids with us can be the excuse we need to keep from having parental meltdowns.

No StrollerWhat? How is this “con”? Bear with me, I have a point. Strollers are arguably the greatest child-accessory invented. They hold your kid, they hold your stuff, they’re on wheels, all you have to do is push – if they were motorized or remote controlled, everyone would have one! It’s portable storage. Not sure if you need extra sunscreen? Bring it anyway, just toss in the stroller. Impulse purchases in gift shops? No big deal, just toss it in the stroller. However, if you’re one of the poor saps traveling through Disney World without kids (without a stroller!) you’ve gotta schlep that stuff around in a backpack or *gasp* a fannypack! Not only do you risk a run-in with the fashion police (no matter how handy fannypacks are…) but you’ve essentially turned into your own pack mule. Suddenly the needs of the day turn into a mental battle of “do I really wanna lug that around all day?”

Strollers - they're not just for kids anymore - it's the new portable storage!
Strollers – they’re not just for kids anymore – it’s the new portable storage!

With or without kids, solo or in a group of friends or family, every Disney vacation has its own “pros” and “cons”. What are yours? Do you have any “pros” or “cons” to add to this list? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

Lisa Gilmore

My passion for Disney runs deep; I've got pixie dust in my veins. Everyone loves the famous Mickey Mouse, but Disney vacations host a wealth of sophisticated experiences, too. On my bucket list is to seek out and enjoy every last one of them!

18 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Disney World Without Kids

  • July 22, 2014 at 11:34 am
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    I love going to Disney World with my kid (okay, she is 24 years-old!!). While it is fun traveling with younger children every now and then, I love the freedom of not having any younger ones 🙂 It’s a whole different experience

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 11:44 am
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    Is it wrong that on our upcoming all adult trip in September (where none of us have kids) we’re seriously considering finding a cheap stroller to use as a mobile base in the parks? it’ll be great to have a place to put our small cooler for lunches among other things, and our Figment Plush can ride in the seat so easy access for cute pictures with him! This totally isn’t an insane idea…. right? heh.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm
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      Hi Kelly,
      I don’t think you’re crazy at all! Like I said, strollers are the new portable storage – and everyone needs easy access to their favorite Figment plush!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 11:46 am
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    My husband and I honeymooned in Disney 23 years ago this October. We have taken our kids a zillion times (as they say) and now we go every fall sans kids to celebrate our anniversary. We love it <3 We were able to do the segway tour, go at our pace, only do things we wanted to do. It is easier to keep two people happy than four! I wish my kids were little to take them back to Disney all over again. But until I have grandkids, I will enjoy these adult trips with my husband.

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  • July 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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    When my wife and I got married 10 years ago, originally she wanted to visit Italy for the honeymoon. I knew she had already been there with her parents 6 times to visit the family back in the old world, so I suggested why don’t we try something different and dropped the idea of Disney World. One trip and she got hooked, bought into the DVC and we go twice a year. Since we are still proudly dual income, no kids, we love the adults only aspect and regularly bring other adult friends/family for trips with us. Not to say we don’t like the idea of having children in the party and regularly bring nieces/nephews, but the freedom to hit any attraction, any restaurant, never having to worry about naps or possible picky eaters(My brother is far worse than his kids honestly) it is great. It also makes for some great spontaneous trips, surprise 4 day weekend, or decided that, on our return from some business trip to have an extended lay over in Orlando we can do it without worrying about having to setup the babysitters. Every adult couple should try it at least once.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm
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    We did the Magic Band + smart phone in our pockets (nothing more) last January and it was awesome. You don’t have to have a credit card if you tie your card into your Magic Band. You have to know the pin to use it to purchase so it’s pretty safe.

    Reply
    • July 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm
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      Hi Debbie,
      Isn’t it liberating just tour the parks commando-style! It’s not for everyone or every trip, but sometimes, when it comes to baggage, you have to take Elsa’s advice and “let it go”!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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    I don’t have kids so I probably shouldn’t even be weighing in on this conversation, but I really do enjoy going to Disneyland with just one other person. Three at the most. Once it gets past that, it starts getting overwhelming. When my boyfriend and I went, it was an amazing experience. We got to go where we pleased, stop when we wanted, and were able to gauge each other on certain things that we could or could not do. When you bring kids to Disneyland, heck, ANY function, the dynamic of it instantly changes because you’re not thinking about yourself anymore.

    It really all comes down to, do *I* want to have a great Disney trip, or do I want my kids to have an amazing Disney trip? Not to say that you can’t still have fun when you’re with children, but your needs just change drastically.

    On a side note though, I really don’t have a problem with not having a stroller. If anything, it’s nice not having to worry about lugging some giant cart around with me everywhere I go and clogging up a thoroughfare that ultimately gets in everyone’s way and is more of a hindrance than a convenience. So… yeah XD mini backpack for me thanks! I don’t need much to keep me happy on my trip. (but I’m also just talking about Disneyland here, NOT Disneyworld.)

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm
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    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm
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    I am planning an adult-only trip in the fall, and I am pretty excited. It will be very short and just for Food & Wine at Epcot. The only real con that I see is missing my kiddos. I don’t think I’d even want to do Magic Kingdom without them.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm
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    My stepkids are already adults so we are now a classic double income “no kids”. I am a big Disney fan and I love Disneyworld, FL. For me it is great to go to the World just the two of us and I am always mighty relieved that we do not have to have a stroller which is difficult to navigate through a crowd and I would never ever leave personal items in the stroller. We are always going very “lightweight”, just with a small belt bag. And I am very happy to say that even if I am nearing my fifth decade, I am still very much a child, seeing and experiencing wonders and details and even if I do not really believe in fairy dust anymore, I still believe in magic. Plus I love the freedom to go where I like to go, stop when I want to and ride what I want to ride which is not possible at this extend with children.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm
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    I had been to the Magic Kingdom in ’75, and Epcot and the Magic Kingdom just after Epcot opened in ’83. During those trips, I just didn’t get the “magic”, even though I was a kid. For one thing, Space Mountain was a HUGE disappointment after the roller coasters at Carowinds. I remember riding it and thinking “this is freaking it??? You are KIDDING ME”. I liked Epcot for the cultural aspects, but it wasn’t “magic”.

    Then everything changed. I proposed to my wife in May 2013(on her birthday) at Disney World (Beach at the Poly during Wishes), then we went back for our honeymoon in October. Now, as a man in his late 40s, I get the magic, thanks to my Disney-fanatic wife 🙂

    Cheers,
    –Lee

    Reply
    • July 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm
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      What a great story, Lee! You found the rare and evasive adult pixie dust. So glad you shared your story!

      Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm
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    My husband & I have no issues with leaving for a mid-day nap or dip in the pool. Kids are not required for that – just the common sense to know when you need a break, no matter what the age of people in your group.

    It also doesn’t require kids to see all the magic. Just a nice relaxed pace & the willingness to be a little silly. And for all the goofy stuff we’ve done in the parks, usually the other visitors & staff don’t mind, and sometimes get in on the fun.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm
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    We took the kids from time to time as they were growing up. But my husband and I only started going multiple times a year after we retired. My husband has insisted on spending his birthdays at WDW for several years. Wave if you’re there on 12/12/14 – I’ve arranged a big day to celebrate his 71st birthday!

    Reply
  • July 23, 2014 at 7:12 am
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    So I am having my 36 birthday party at Disney World this Jan. Us little girls are disappointed that Bibbity Bobbity Botique does not take adults—At least until we discovered Pirates League does! Who doesn’t want to be a mermaid?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm
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    We don’t have kids and dance by the jumping fountains, dance in the rain, dress up as pirates… This year I’m planning a cowboy day. 🙂 yeehah

    Reply
    • July 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm
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      I like your style! And love the idea of a cowboy day!

      Reply

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