Now that junior's got his fill of Goofy, and the little princess has posed once too often with Cinderella, it's time to go adulting in Disney. Whether you're at Walt Disney World for romance, for alcohol, or for some of that top-shelf pixie dust, this is your guide to the mature magic.
From weddings to bar crawls, romantic dinners to dancing, karaoke, and golf, Disney World offers a lot to the over-21 crowd, but sometimes it's hard to find amidst the mayhem and the meltdowns of the well-under-21 crowd.
A Walt Disney World vacation without kids can be relaxing and rejuvenative—not to mention raucously fun, if you're looking for raucous—but you need a guide to get you past the kiddie rides and the stroller rentals and the Mickey stickers.
In this "adults-only" book for planning Disney World vacations without the kids, Katherine Walsh shows you how to party in the pixie dust, and not regret it when you wake up with Mickey (or Minnie) the next morning.
Dust off those mouse ears—and don't forget your ID.
Chapter 1: On My Way
Chapter 2: When Will My Life Begin?
Chapter 3: Be Our Guest: Lodging
Chapter 4: Why Should I Worry?: Tickets
Chapter 5: Rumbly in My Tumbly: Dining
Chapter 6: A Whole New World: Drinking Around the World
Chapter 7: Be Prepared: The Monorail Crawl
Chapter 8: Bella Notte: The Crescent Lake Crawls
Chapter 9: Try Everything: The Disney Springs Bar Crawl
Chapter 10: Skumps
Chapter 11: You Can Fly: Magic Kingdom
Chapter 12: One Little Spark: Epcot
Chapter 13: Fixer-Upper: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Chapter 14: Circle of Life: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Chapter 15: Hawaiian Roller-Coaster Ride: Water Parks
Chapter 16: How Far I’ll Go: Special Experiences
Chapter 17: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
Chapter 18: Mother Knows Best
Chapter 19: The Bare Necessities
Chapter 20: When Can I See You Again?
My name is Katherine. I am a Disney fan. Not one of those “chicks who grew up in the 90s and just really have an affinity for Ariel from The Little Mermaid” Disney fan. More along the lines of the “I have the 1990 Disney Easter Parade on VHS and watch it…often” kind of Disney fan.
I’m a married 31-year-old working for the government, and I live in a medium-sized town in Pennsylvania. I do not have children, but I love Disney. And that, my friends, is quite all right. Walt Disney World is not just for children or for the parents of children. I believe Walt Disney World can be for adults, too. I’m here to tell you the ins and outs of Disney World for adults.
Like most of you, I wasn’t always an adult. I was once just a Disney-loving kid. My parents took me for the first time when I was three years-old to Disney World. I was hooked. When we returned home and resumed our regular lives, I would follow my mother around the house and recite for her the order of the scenes from the Great Movie Ride. I begged them to go back. We ordered the glossy brochures from AAA and planned our next trip. Unfortunately for me, my dad was (and still is) kind of a cheapo and a Disney hater. I never had the experience of staying on Disney property as a kid. (But more on that later…)
We went for a handful of trips when I was young, and then we stopped going. I’m not sure why, but I always thought my parents and I had one more night in the nursery before I was too old for Disney World.
It wasn’t until college that my love for Disney was unlocked again when a group of friends decided to road trip from Pennsylvania to Disney World. Five college kids crammed into an Oldsmobile Alero for a 15-hour trip, with a few Waffle House stops along the way. We had an amazing time. We attacked each park and spent full days with no breaks for napping—a feat I’m not sure my 31-year-old self could accomplish now. The best part was, Disney World was just as awesome as I remembered! I remember specifically seeing Mickey’s PhilharMagic for the first time on this trip and thinking, “Wow, it wasn’t just my incredibly low childlike standards—Disney is still pumping out the magic!”
A year later, in 2007, my parents offered to take my then-boyfriend (now-husband) Matt and I to Disney World for my father’s retirement trip. Matt had never been there. Growing up in Long Island, New York, he would order the Disney vacation tapes and play them for his parents—subsequently begging them to take him. This clever ploy did not work. This was a big trip—Matt’s first Disney vacation, and also my first time staying on-property. Ever since this trip, Matt and I have saved our pennies and employed the philosophy of “work hard, play harder” when it comes to our time off and our Disney vacations. Sure, we have skeptical co-workers who roll their eyes and say, “Ugh, Disney again?” Then we high-five over their sad faces and proceed to have a kick-ass time in Walt Disney World.
In the last five years, I have vacationed at Disney World over twenty-five times. I have stayed for week-long trips, long weekends, and on- and off-site at values and deluxe resorts. I’ve eaten Dole Whips, Mickey Bars, and cheeseburger spring rolls (rest in peace). I’ve driven. I’ve flown. I’ve experienced Stitch’s Great Escape. I’ve become an annual passholder and a Disney Vacation Club owner. There are still places I haven’t stayed and restaurants where I haven’t eaten, but that’s what keeps me going back for more. What I aim to do with this book is give you the best advice from the perspective of someone who is passionate about Walt Disney World—someone who isn’t traveling with children—someone who wants to eat, drink, and play at Disney.
I will add a disclaimer for you: I have so much love and respect for the things I’m about to talk about. They are a huge part of my life. Disney World is like family to me. You know how you might have an annoying sibling, but it’s only OK if you call them annoying, but no one else is allowed to? That’s how I feel about Disney. I am writing this in a conversational manner, the same way I would if you came over to my house and we had beers together. I believe my sarcasm will shine through. If you want a strict Disney planning book, there are plenty of resources online that will guide your way. However, my goal is to give you candid advice the way I hope a friend would, knowing I had an upcoming trip somewhere, and to (hopefully) make you laugh.
Katherine Walsh was born and raised in south-central Pennsylvania. She was a Public Relations major at York College of Pennsylvania, where she met her husband, Matt. After they graduated, Katherine got a job with the federal government. Katherine and Matt have two adopted cats, Archie and Matilda.
Katherine’s non-travel time is spent doing a variety of extracurriculars. She is an esteemed member of her trivia team. She contributes to the Disney podcast WDW Happy Hour (subscribe today!). She listens to a lot of Weird Al Yankovic, showtunes, and 90s alternative rock. She sings karaoke and plays the ukulele. She drinks wine and acts like a “Real Housewife of York, PA.” She can also be found watching television and movies, specifically, The Office, The Golden Girls, and The O.C.