12 Ways to Turn Disney World Into Your Adult Playground.
Move over Vegas! Disney World has fashioned itself to be quite an amazing vacation destination for adults – yes adults! While the vast majority of the family crowds scope the big-ticket attractions at Walt Disney World like Universal Studios, Animal Kingdom and SeaWorld, the young-at-heart grown-ups can certainly uncover an unexpectedly entertaining and sophisticated experience. Walt Disney World Resort is forty square miles of pure amusement (nearly twice the size of Manhattan). The area boasts world-class entertainment and recreation featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); thirty-four resort hotels (twenty-four owned and operated by Walt Disney World, including seven Disney Vacation Club resort properties); eighty-one holes of golf on five courses; two full-service spas; Disney’s Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex encompassing the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side. Whether you are looking for a destination wedding, to celebrate your anniversary, spend some quality time with family or for an exciting get-away with friends, Disney World is the place to do it! No kids required.
Where to Stay:
1. Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts: These are colossal, lakeside Disney Deluxe resorts that feature lush landscaping with the casual elegance of a grand yacht club. Think Martha’s Vineyard and East Coast beach houses. Inside you’ll discover incredible customer service from the moment your host greets you in the lobby. Outside you’ll stumble on the three-acre, Stormalong Bay which is arguably the best resort water park in Disney World – a beach right in Central Florida with a sandy bottom pool and water currents in all! While staying here you’ll find both Epcot and the BoardWalk entertainment district just steps away. You can also rent watercraft from the Bayside Marina, go on a fishing expedition or take a private cruise on the Breathless.
2. Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort: In a perfect location, this resort connects to nearby Downtown Disney with a water ferry and a pedestrian bridge. Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort affords the most serene surroundings with its equestrian-themed, Victorian-style deluxe villas situated on the shores of Village Lake. The resort includes the Treehouse Villas, which allow up to nine guests to sleep high up amongst the lush forest leaves. The vacation villas within each of the resort's six sections offer many comforts of home, such as full kitchens and washer and dryers, with charming Victorian touches. The three bedroom grand villas are large enough to sleep up to twelve people, ideal for large groups.
Where to Eat:
3. Via Napoli: Discover the flavors of southern Italy in the newest restaurant to join the Italy Pavilion at Epcot theme park. Here you’ll enjoy an authentic array of pastas, salads, and gelato, but even more impressive are Neapolitan style pizzas—the chefs travel all the way to Italy to learn their process of pizza making. In the open concept kitchen, you’ll see three uniquely decorated wood burning ovens that resemble large smiling faces set at 800 degrees, which means it only take two minutes to cook your pizza! If you’re not into pizza, then be sure to try the absolutely scrumptious homemade veal and parmesan meatballs.
4. La Hacienda: Another one of the newest restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase, old world hospitality thrives at La Hacienda de San Angel. Here you’ll indulge in the smoky flavors of southern Mexico. And talk about authentic—they actually brought in two taco specialists from one of the best taquerias in Mexico to help create the menu. La Hacienda also features specialty tequila flights and they have a “tequila ambassador” who will take you through the history of tequila. After dinner and drinks, you’ll find the view here perfect for the nightly IllumiNations Fireworks Spectacular.
5. Paradiso 37: Located in Pleasure Island, this high-energy restaurant and bar serves up unique cuisine inspired by the eclectic tastes of the North, Central and South Americas. This new restaurant features signature frozen margaritas, an international wine bar and a one of a kind tequila tower bar with thirty-seven kinds of tequila and a selection of signature frozen margaritas. In fact, the first four pages of the extensive menu are dedicated to alcohol choices. Be sure to get a table on the patio where you can enjoy the sounds of a live band and take in the sights of Downtown Disney.
What to do:
6. Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Each fall, Epcot transforms itself into an international extravaganza with more than twenty-five international marketplaces surrounding the park’s World Showcase Lagoon. It is here where you’ll come across over 900,000 savory treats and over 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne to partake in. You’ll also have an opportunity to take seminars on wine pairings, mixology and cooking taught by world-renowned chefs—with plenty of samples! This is by far one of the greatest food festivals in America!
7. Party for the Senses: During the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, dozens of Disney and celebrity chefs whip up flavorful temptations and sweet treats. In addition, wineries and beverage makers offer tastes from around the world during one of several Party for the Senses premium grand tasting extravaganzas.
8. Saratoga Springs Spa: If you are looking for some relaxation or simply to retreat for a few hours, the Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa provides world-class massages and spa treatments. This boutique style spa with luxurious beauty products and access to health club facilities is set in a peaceful atmosphere reminiscent of old upstate New York. Be sure to pamper yourself with one of the specialized massage therapies designed by relaxation experts to release tension, promote harmony and restore your sense of well-being.
9. Rix Lounge: This high energy, upscale sports lounge can be found in the lobby of the Coronado Springs Resort. The bar includes a separate room that can be reserved for private parties and Moroccan style VIP areas for you and your friends to enjoy. When the DJ isn’t spinning, you can sit back and watch your favorite sporting events on one of their many flat screen TVs.
10. Fuego by Sosa Cigars: The rich enticing aroma of premium tobacco welcomes cigar aficionados to Fuego by Sosa Cigars, an upscale cigar bar now open at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. Here is where the cigar connoisseur can savor a smoke in an intimate lounge setting where premium wine, beer, spirits and specialty coffees are served daily. The gathering place blends contemporary furnishings and high tech with old world charm. Custom-designed, hand-crafted wooden humidors hold more than 100 facings of hand-rolled premium cigars, from the legendary Fuente Fuente Opus X to the highly rated house-branded Sosa cigars. An expanded terrace offers guests outdoor seating as well.
11. Soarin': This multi-sensory attraction simulates a peaceful hang-gliding flight over as you are lifted forty feet into the air. An IMAX projection dome wraps 180 degrees around you, so you're engulfed by the impressive scenery. Here you really feel like you're flying as you glide over such awe inspiring scenes and landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Malibu and Los Angeles, to name a few. You’ll also get a bird's eye view over a PGA West golf tournament, a skiing and snowboarding exhibition, and float above cowboys on horseback as they race through the wilderness. As you feel the wind in your hair, you’ll notice the air fill with the scent of orange groves, evergreens and the sea breeze.
12. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: The term, La Nouba, literally translates in English "to party, to live it up," and this idea is clear in the energetic performances, the colorful costumes and the moving live music. This show is a mesmerizing and extraordinary avant-garde circus spectacle performed by Cirque du Soleil exclusively in Downtown Disney. See the magic up close for yourself when you attend a performance of La Nouba!