It’s the dream of children everywhere, finally getting to visit Disney World. But what about when we stop being children and have to, you know, be an adult and stuff? I’m talking about dragging yourself to work, the crushing disappointment of spending most of your money on bills and the monotony of buying your own toilet roll. What happens when you, an actual real life adult, decide to visit Disney World, and no children are along for the ride?
After writing the previous blog entry about my morbid fascination with the guy who dumped his girlfriend at Disney World (on her birthday by the way), I decided to write a little about my own recent visit to the parks. My wife and I, along with a few of our friends, visited during March this year and I can absolutely confirm it is the happiest place on Earth. It is also incredibly, incredibly exhausting. Despite having visited before, I learned a few interesting things about what it’s really like to visit Walt Disney World as a grown-up.
DRIVING UNDER THE DISNEY ARCHWAY IS STILL INCREDIBLE.
Starting your day by driving to the parks under the famous entrance way, pulling into a themed parking area (will you get Heroes or Villains this time?) and catching the Disney tram is the best way to get the child within you bursting to come out and play.
Excitement level: Rising, Rising…
BAG CHECK SUCKS.
Whilst I totally understand the purpose of it, the bag check and metal detector procedure can delay you for a good 20-30 minutes once you’ve arrived at the park. If possible, try to take just one backpack
and everyone else in your party can then use the ‘no-bags’ line.
Excitement level: Fading, Fading…
CHARACTER MEET & GREETS CAN BE SUPER AWKWARD.
Okay, so you’re in the park now, and you head over to have a photo with your favourite Disney character… With no kids in sight. As you stand there in a queue full of families and children, eagerly clutching your camera and your autograph book, you start to feel a little uncomfortable. Then, when you finally get to the front of the line, you go and pose next to what you are somewhat aware of as being a person in a giant costume.
A silent, creepy person. Yet you still hug them and utter something like “I’m so happy to meet you Goofy!”. Fortunately, Disney now has some
characters who can talk to you like Kylo Ren or Moana. We were fortunate enough to have Moana tell us all about how her tribe celebrates birthdays and it made Emma’s day!
Excitement level: Maximum Happiness Achieved.
IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR A BUTTON, RIGHT?
I would like to say that the buttons (or badges as they are called here in the U.K) are reserved for children, but I’m pretty sure they’re there for everyone to enjoy. There is totally no shame in asking for them. In fact, I now have a collection of: Happy Birthday, Just Engaged, 1st Visit, I’m Celebrating and Happily Ever After buttons. What’s more is the cast members will help you forget you’re an
and immerse you in the magic by acknowledging your button/badge. For example during a Stitch photo op, the character acknowledged our ‘Just Engaged’ buttons and spent extra time with us acting all over excited, cute!
Excitement Level: Nirvana.
THERE IS SO. MUCH. WALKING.
Especially at EPCOT. Walt Disney World resort is 43 square miles in size
, which is about the size of San Francisco. Or if you’re in the U.K, that’s the same size as Oxford, Cambridge and York COMBINED. You will
finish each day with sore feet, this is a fact. You will end up utterly and completely exhausted.
You, a grown up, will be begging for a hot tub and some beer after the evening fireworks. And then as you sip said beer you’ll wonder just how that 5 year old you saw at about 8pm still had the energy to charge past you onto another ride. How!?
Excitement Level: Pooped.
TANTRUMS WILL BE THROWN.
It turns out that visiting Disney as an adult isn’t too different from visiting as a kid after-all… If you factor in the above point about walking, and the typical Florida heat, AND the long hours at each park, it can lead to some grouchy-ass individuals. This is perfectly normal, but you’ll watch in horror as either you or one of your party of grown-ups becomes said tantrum thrower
. Sorry, but it’s almost inevitable. It’s hard to predict what it is that will eventually send you over the edge. It could be the fact you’ve not eaten for a while and the queue for food is just way too long, or you end up on a ride that is just a little rougher than you’d expected, or perhaps nobody wants to go on the one thing that you’d like to do… Whatever it is, prepare to embarrass yourself. If my Cousin Sam is reading this, sorry, I’m writing about you.
Excitement Level: Over Stimulated.
PREPARE TO SPLIT THE PARTY.
Planning to around the parks as a group of more than 4 people? Don’t. We tried to visit as a group of 8 and after just 1 day we realised it wasn’t going to work.
Whether it’s waiting for that 1 person to queue up and buy a snack, or it’s the choice between catching a show and getting on a ride, there will be multiple differences in opinion. For the sake of our friendships, we agreed to meet back together at certain times, perhaps for the evening fireworks or for lunch, and kept in touch via WhatsApp on the park’s free WiFi. I’d also recommend picking a landmark near the entrance to regroup at the end of the day. Splitting off into 2 groups of 4 worked well,
and splitting those 4 into couples for a duration worked a treat too. Inevitably you’ll all bump into each other around the parks anyway, so don’t feel bad about splitting the party!
Excitement Level: Frustrated.
QUEUING CAN BE FUN!
Never thought I’d say that. As a child, you may remember impatiently jumping up and down on the spot and wondering why you aren’t on the ride RIGHT NOW
. As a grown-up, you don’t necessarily have more patience, but you can find better ways to spend your time in the queue.
A few examples of this are hidden mickey hunting, trying to process the fact that you’re in freaking DISNEY WORLD, playing Pokemon Go (which I highly recommend) and using the MyDisney App to book your FastPass on the next ride. While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that Disney’s queue times are generally inflated so that you feel better about queuing once you get to the front. Always remember, 5 minute wait = walk on.
Excitement Level: I’m so happy I could die!?
DISNEY PHOTOPASS IS THE BEST THING EVER.
If you’re savvy enough to purchase a ticket that includes a Memory Maker/Disney PhotoPass then you’re in for a treat. All ride and character photos are included for free. As the sensible grown-up that you are, you’ll soon realise that you can throw ridiculous poses on all the rides,
and the challenge begins to see who can pull the most absurd face as you race to the photo booth once the ride comes to a full and complete stop.
Excitement Level: I’m done. I’m just done. This was the best day ever and nothing can ever top this.
SUMMARY: EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE AN ADULT, YOU WILL STILL CREATE MEMORIES THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME.
Yes, it can be stressful at times… But. You’re at Walt. Disney. Freaking. World. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5, 35 or 55, I can categorically say it is and always will be The Happiest Place on Earth. Visiting the parks is just as awesome for grown-ups. Do it.
Thank you for reading this blog post. You can find me on Twitter as @cptnmingo and I’d love to hear your Disney experiences, either tweet me or let me know in the comments section below. You can also find my weekly vlogs on Youtube right here. See you soon!