The Secret Disney Vacation (Walt Disney World for Adults)
The Secret Disney Vacation: Shhh No Kids Allowed
Often when I am chatting with people about Walt Disney World vacations, the conversation turns to all of the great things for adults to do at Walt Disney World. A lot of people seem to think that a Disney vacation is just for kids.
This is when I bring up what I coined as: The Secret Disney Vacation.
When I was a Luxury Disney Travel Advisor specializing in Deluxe Disney vacations, I often had couples who sometimes booked two Disney trips per year: one with the entire family and the second one an adults-only Secret Disney Vacation.
The Secret Disney Vacation is an adults-only Deluxe trip to Walt Disney World and when I would plan these trips for clients I would take a very covert approach to the entire vacation-planning process. The point here is to avoid alerting the kids to exactly where their parents are going. This usually means that no tickets or other correspondence are sent directly to their home and the couples also implement a no-photos policy for their Secret Disney Vacation. Cameras are forbidden, PhotoPass opportunities are politely declined and the evidence trail ends when you check out of your Deluxe Disney resort.
In other words: what happens at Walt Disney World stays at Walt Disney World.
No parent wants to risk incurring the wrath of a child scorned if they were ever to discover that their parents went to Walt Disney World without them.
The Walt Disney World Vacation for Adults
So for those of you who may not quite understand why adults would want to visit Walt Disney World without children, here is a brief overview of some of the many great and first-rate experiences on my recommended list that you can have on your very own adults-only vacation (whether or not it is a Secret Disney Vacation).
It goes without saying that the theme parks are just as fun regardless of whether you are four or 40 (and you won’t have to worry about height restrictions), so I will focus here on experiences outside of the rides and attractions to give you a partial glimpse into the wonderful world of Disney for the adult crowd.
Disney Club Level Concierge Accommodations
Let’s start with where you should stay.
If you are going on an adults-only Disney vacation, you may as well go big. Even though you’ll appreciate staying in Club Level accommodations with the whole family, when it’s an adult-only getaway, you should seriously consider taking advantage of these premium accommodations offered at Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort hotels.
The Disney Club Level Concierge sections are offered exclusively at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts and include an abundance of extras for you to enjoy. These include a lounge area with complimentary snacks and appetizers throughout the day (changed, on average, six or seven times daily), plus the added bonus of complimentary beer, wine and aperitifs during the evening hours. Premium services also include a separate keyed area of the resort, dedicated concierges, advance itinerary planning services, check-in that bypasses the main lobby area, turndown service each evening and much more. This is the ultimate way to experience Walt Disney World Resort.
If you are looking for the best of the best in this regard for your Secret Disney Vacation, I recommend the Royal Palm Club at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and the Atrium Club at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Choose Theme Park View rooms in both cases for the most magical experience (if you are going to do it, do it right). In the Epcot Resort area, look to the Regatta Club at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort for Club Level accommodations. There you will find that balconies are offered for all Club Level rooms (which is not the case at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort next door). Plus, the Yacht Club is a quieter and more refined resort versus the Beach Club, making it ideal for the adults-only Disney vacation experience. While the Club Level lounges are much smaller in the Epcot area hotels versus the Magic Kingdom area resorts, the service from Club Level Cast Members is definitely top notch.
A Spa Treatment for Two at Senses Spa
The Senses Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is ready to pamper you. Enjoy this world-class facility with your loved one and make it the perfect place to relax and unwind. Whether it is a relaxing spa treatment, or a romantic, candlelit room tailor-made for couples, the Grand Floridian Senses Spa is sure to set the mood for the rest of your vacation. There is also a Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. So if the couple’s spa experience is on your radar, you will be all set with Disney’s Senses Spas.
Romantic Dinners in World Class Disney Restaurants
If you thought dining at Disney World was all about character meals and Dole Whips, you are greatly mistaken (although just to be clear, those things are pretty darn good). But for special occasions or just a nice night out, Walt Disney World has several first-rate restaurants that are ideal for quiet dinners alone and the utmost in a romantic evening with your loved one.
Leading the way is Victoria and Albert’s, the most decorated dining in all of Walt Disney World. This upscale experience is the only AAA Five Diamond Award recipient in the entire central Florida area. There are several levels of dining here, configured into three different rooms: the Dining Room, the Chef’s Table and Queen Victoria’s Room (the ultimate). This is as good as it gets when it comes to fine dining here and it is the only restaurant that does not allow children under 10 and that has a more formal dress code in effect. If you are looking for opulence, impeccable service and a truly gracious dining experience, consider visiting Victoria and Albert’s
Across Seven Seas Lagoon is another recommended dining experience in the form of California Grill. This restaurant has arguably some of the best views going from the very top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort hotel. (At one time many years ago this location was a happening nightspot known as Top of the World.) In addition to the stellar view of the entire Magic Kingdom Resort area, the food at California Grill is quite good. If you can plan your mealtime to coincide with the Magic Kingdom fireworks, you will amplify your dining experience to yet another level.
Other standouts worth mentioning are Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Le Cellier at Epcot, The Grand Floridian Cafe and The Boathouse at Disney Springs. Read my posts on Five Upscale Disney Restaurants or my list of 10 top table service restaurants at Walt Disney World for more details and options.
Romantic Walks After Dark
There are so many great places to take romantic nighttime strolls at Walt Disney World that it is hard to say which ones are best. Some of my most recommended locations include the Boardwalk area, the grounds of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, the grounds of Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts and the grounds of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. A recommended walk is the pathway along the shoreline that connects the Grand Floridian Resort to the Polynesian Village Resort, where you can then enjoy a cocktail or two in the lounge at either resort. If you are lucky, you can also find an empty swing on the beach and enjoy some quiet time alone together in the moonlight.
Many an engagement has happened on the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (including one in my own extended family). If you are at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you will have the added bonus of watching the Electrical Water Pageant and Happily Ever After fireworks from your beachfront spot–probably one of the most romantic cost-free experiences in all of Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney World Lounges and Bars
Walt Disney World has many bar-type lounges from which to choose, so there is no shortage of locations to go for an after-dinner (or mid-afternoon) drink. These include everything from upbeat bars like the Raglan Road Irish Pub in Disney Springs, to theme park lounges like La Cava del Tequila at the Epcot Mexico Pavilion, to hotel lounges like the lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Lounges are just about everywhere, in fact, so ask your hotel concierge for what may be the best place to go in relation to wherever you may be.
If you are lucky enough to be a member of Disney Vacation Club (or are travelling with someone who is) you can stay at Bay Lake Tower and enjoy the Top of the World lounge. For those of you paying attention, this is indeed the name that was originally used by the lounge at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort (which is now California Grill restaurant). It was reborn when Bay Lake Tower was built as a way to pay homage to the tradition of the legendary establishment at its sister resort.
Disney Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
A horse-drawn carriage ride is just about one of the most romantic things going and at Walt Disney World Resort you have your choice of experiencing this little adventure in two separate and distinct locations. Carriage rides can be booked at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and at Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort. The Fort Wilderness trail will take you through a woodland setting of tall southern pines and trademark cypress trees. At Port Orleans, your carriage ride will take you along the banks of the Sassagoula River and the pathways of this charming resort. Both of these are quite nice, so take your pick or better still, do them both and come to your own decision.
During the month of December, the Fort Wilderness horse and buggy is transformed into a seasonal sleigh ride (or as close to it as you can get in Florida). Your carriage will be decorated with festive lights and garlands as you make your way through the woodland beauty of Fort Wilderness. As an added bonus, the campsites at this resort are decorated in some pretty extravagant ways, so a tour of Fort Wilderness at this time of year is well worth it in many regards.
Walt Disney World For the Adventurous Couples
An adults-only Secret Disney Vacation does not have to be all about hand holding, roses and late night walks. For the adventurous couple, there are plenty of things you can do that may not be so easy when you have children with you.
If you enjoy watersports you may want to try parasailing on Bay Lake at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or getting up close and personal in the water with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins at Epcot’s The Seas (Epcot Seas Adventure – Dolphins in Depth). This one is limited to eight people per day, so you will definitely want to reserve a spot ahead of time if this sparks your interest for your Secret Disney Vacation. Or, if you prefer to lounge on a watercraft, check out the many options for cruising Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake on a luxury yacht or a fireworks excursion at night.
Say “I do” all over again: Disney Vow Renewals
Finally, why not consider renewing your vows at the beautiful Wedding Chapel located next to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This idyllic setting will add an extra touch of pixie dust to your happy stay as you say “I do” all over again in the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Of course there are also many more experiences, such as special behind-the-scenes tours and special experiences similar to these that are perfect for the adult couple on a Secret Disney Vacation. I have only scratched the surface here to give you some idea of the many possibilities awaiting you on your very own adults-only Disney vacation.
The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort
Are you considering an adult-only Luxury Disney vacation? Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel™ #LuxuryDisney