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Grown Ups at Disney World [Michael Gutenplan]

Two adults take a vacation to Disney World over a holiday weekend. While this would be a great start to a surely hilarious joke, it is the true story of my friend Julia and my true-life adventure for a fantastic, fun filled few days in Central Florida’s best-known theme park with an adorable rodent problem.

It all started a few months ago when my college friend Julia emailed me about our annual trip. In the past we have met up in Pittsburgh (where we went to school) or in New York City (where she works and my family lives). This year, Julia offered a whole slew of options and at the bottom of her list was the most magical place of all – Walt Disney World.

For some people, a trip to Disney would include cyanide pills, as they would without a doubt want to kill themselves rather than be stuck in the humid air, waiting on line for hours to watch animatronic children sing about what a small world it is, but for me, it was an adventure into happiness, a chance to relive my youth and be a child for a few days. So without hesitation, I agreed to Disney and started preparing to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid of the happiest place on earth!

One of our main goals of this trip was to make sure that we kept it an adult vacation and Disney World seemed to have a whole world of activities and restaurants geared just for adults. In addition to the parks themselves, this resort destination has fantastic dining, great themed hotels and a whole variety of leisure activities and sports. From the research that I did, I learned that Labor Day week was actually a great time to go. The crowds are typically low and the weather, while humid, is bearable. It seemed, on paper at least, to be a great time to visit.

With the date chosen, we figured that the weather would not be conducive to golf or jogging, so we put aside our non-existent desire to exercise and opted to book a hotel with what is considered the best pool on the Disney property – The Yacht Club. This pool is a mini water park with a waterslide, sand bottomed pool and a lovely lazy river complete with rafts to float on. Another benefit is that the Yacht Club itself is often said to be the most adult hotel on property, with few younger kids staying there (they tend to go to the sister property The Beach Club).

Arriving at Disney I didn’t know what to expect. I had done my research and booked tables at the best restaurants on property, but I still wasn’t 100% sure that my vacation would be in the “adult” category… boy was I surprised. Everything that you want and expect on a luxurious adult vacation was there. From the moment we got off the free bus transportation from the airport to the hotel it was magic. The greeter at the hotel addressed me by name as I exited the bus and we were quickly checked into a fantastic room with a balcony we could relax on. We found glorious, well staffed bars at nearly every park, restaurant, and hotel. As promised, the pool was fantastic, with very few children running around so we could lounge and relax There were no lines at any of the parks and nearly every ride was running. The food was very good, if not great at times. And most importantly, we were having the time of our lives. You see, Disney with your family isn’t a vacation… it’s a hassle. We watched countless parents display the tell-tale look of exhaustion and annoyance and chasing their kids or buying useless trinkets – but Julia and I had a look of Euphoria. We were enjoying our vacation, eating well and taking in the sights… and to add to the pleasure the weather was surprisingly nice.

Here are a few highlights from our trip if you want to be even more convinced that this was an awesome trip.

  • Spending time with one of my best friends with not a care in the world with only a charge card in my pocket and a smile on my face.
  • Eating at overpriced, yet very, very good restaurants every night with stunning attention to detail and excellent customer service (Julia is gluten-free and at every single meal, including the fast food operations, the chef came over to chat with her about what she could eat and what they could adjust for her)
  • Visiting four theme parks and enjoying the wonders of childhood without the restrictions or hassles that come with family travel or being young.
  • Having the wisdom of age to know what’s the right souvenir to buy and what is just a waste of money.
  • Taking odd pleasure in watching kids have major meltdowns and enjoying even more the way the parents dealt with said kids!
  • Relaxing in the pool after a long day in the park, with a lovely frozen strawberry daiquiri.

If you were to just read the above highlights, you would notice that this wasn’t just a trip to a family friendly theme park but a vacation to a resort destination where adults could be kids, where nothing but happiness mattered and where the occasional thrill ride just added to the fun. Disney World for adults is a true vacation into the heart and soul of what it means to relax – you just have to make sure that there are no kids to hold you back from having fun!

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featured image credit: andrybl