In July of 2017 my husband and I decided to return to Walt Disney World for an adults only magical vacation. This trip was planned very last minute, only one week in advance. I was beginning a new job and my husband had a one-week break between college semesters. I’m not one to waste an opportunity to travel, so we turned to Disney for a week of fun. We chose Disney because of the positive experience we had on a family trip in 2016, and because Disney makes it so easy to plan a vacation, even at the last minute.
We once again used a travel agent to plan this trip. I had done most of my research online and had narrowed down the hotel and package details we wanted, but our travel agent was still able to get us a better deal than I had worked out online. I consider myself relatively Disney savvy at this point, but she still manages to find deals that I just can’t on my own.
Some may wonder whether Disney is really a good vacation choice for adults traveling without children, but we loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with my family and my nephews, but exploring Disney without children is just as enjoyable! We set our own hours, could go on rides without worrying about the height restrictions, and spent leisurely meals eating at the upscale restaurants that just wouldn’t be practical with small children.
On that note, I will say that we chose to add the deluxe dining plan to our package. This dining plan allows for three quick-service or table-service meals a day. Our plan was to use two-credits at a fine dining establishment and the other one-credit for a late breakfast or early lunch. We also had plenty of snack credits to make sure we never went hungry. For the two of us, the deluxe dining plan was a great choice!
Below is our itinerary along with some tips I learned from this Disney vacation…
• Flight lands in Orlando, and take Disney transportation to Port Orleans Riverside – We chose to stay at Port Orleans Riverside mostly because of the price. Port Orleans Riverside is a moderate resort, so it’s in the middle price-wise. As a family we usually stay at the deluxe resorts, but since it was just the two of us, we decided to try a new category of accommodation. While it was certainly not as luxurious as the deluxe accommodations, we were happy with our room and the amenities of the resort.
I will add that because we booked this trip so late, we did not have time to have our magic bands or Magic Express luggage tags shipped to our house. We were able to customize our bands (you can choose from a variety of colors, but if you don’t have time, or forget to customize your bands then you will just receive grey ones) and picked them up at the hotel when we arrived. However, we did have to pick-up our luggage at MCO and bring them with us on the Magic Express. This would have been fine, had our bags arrived in a timely manner, but the airline took over an hour to get us our bags. Needless to say this wasn’t the best start to our trip, but once we got on the Magical Express we were able to relax because we knew we’d be dealing with Disney level service moving forward. I love that Disney allows you to Check-in online and will text you your room number when it’s ready. This allows you to completely skip the front-desk and get right to the Disney fun! • Quick-Service Meal at Riverside Mill Food Court. We chose to have a light lunch here and then spent the afternoon exploring the resort and settling into our room. Riverside Mill was the quick-service option at our resort and served traditional American food like pizza, pasta and sandwiches. While it is nothing special, the portions are large and easy for fast-food. It also worked well given our goal of eating a large one-credit late-morning meal and saving our other dining credits for dinner at the signature restaurants.
• Dinner at Citricos. This was our first signature restaurant and it was located in the Grand Floridian. The menu has Mediterranean and American influences. The restaurant had a nice view of the lagoon and we had a really fantastic waitress. The food was good, but the best signature dining was definitely later in our trip…
• Evening and fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Since it was July 3rd there was a special Independence Day fireworks display and the park was open until 1:00 am. This meant we could spend the entire night at Magic Kingdom and enjoy some Independence Day fireworks. We had hoped the crowds would thin out after the fireworks, but there were still many people in the park late into the night. We were able to use our three fastpass reservations for Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain, while also finding plenty of stand-by rides to enjoy.
• Leisure morning and afternoon at hotel and lunch at Riverside Mill Food Court.
• Evening at Animal Kingdom. Since we had a late night at Magic Kingdom we chose to have a leisurely morning that included some time at the pool. Once in Animal Kingdom we used our fastpass reservations for Expedition Everest, Avatar Flight of Passage and Rivers of Light. Avatar Flight of Passage is definitely one of the best Disney rides I have ever experienced. The stand-by line can reach wait times of over 3-hours, so secure a fastpass if you can. Rivers of Light is the new evening show at Animal Kingdom and it does not disappoint. Animal Kingdom was open until 1:00 am so we had plenty of time to experience many attractions, even though we didn’t enter the park until late in the day.
• Dinner at Tiffins. In between our fastpasses we made a dinner reservation at Tiffins, another signature restaurant (two dining credits per person). The restaurant features international food from places like Africa, Asia and Latin America. It turned out to be one of our favorite meals of the trip because of all the unique flavor combinations. We also chose to pair a wine flight with our food, which really enhanced the whole dining experience.
• Leisure morning and afternoon at hotel and lunch at Riverside Mill Food Court.
• Hollywood Studios. We chose to arrive at Hollywood Studios a little earlier than the previous two days because it was only open until 9:00 pm. It was definitely the hottest day of our trip, which made us appreciate the late closing times of the previous nights. We had fastpasses for The Music of Pixar Live, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours. The Music of Pixar Live is a beautiful tribute to the music of the Pixar films we all love so much. Toy Story Mania is another must-do, especially if you and your partner want to insert a little bit of friendly competition into your vacation (husband took this round, but I’m looking forward to the rematch). We were also able to get a late fastpass for Rockin’ Roller Coaster at the end of the night; this is our favorite roller coaster in all of Disney.
• Dinner at Sci-Fi Drive-In Theatre Restaurant. We chose to eat dinner here to keep things a little more casual, and have a break from the signature dining. While the drive-in atmosphere was cool, the food wasn’t all that impressive. The cookies n’ cream milkshake was delicious though! Maybe we had just been spoiled at all of the signature restaurants…
• Leisure morning at hotel.
• Lunch at Spice Road Table. We went to Epcot around lunch-time because the park only stayed open until 9:00 pm again. Epcot is my favorite park, so I wanted to make sure we had enough time here to enjoy everything. We first had lunch at Spice Road Table, one of our personal favorite restaurants. It has delicious Mediterranean and Moroccan inspired food, as well as beautiful views of the water and the World Showcase.
• Epcot. We had fastpass reservations for Spaceship Earth, Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival and Soarin. This was actually our first time on Soarin and we would highly recommend it, especially if you love to travel as I do. I enjoyed soaring high over all of the world landmarks, some of which I had been lucky enough to already see in person. We also were able to secure a day-of fastpass for Test Track. Even though you are only able to book three fastpasses in advance, with a little persistence on your mobile device you can usually score additional fastpasses, even for the most popular rides.
• Dinner at Monsieur Paul. The highlight of the culinary portion of our trip was Monsieur Paul, a French restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase. Everything we ate here was spectacular and the service was top-notch. It was definitely worth the two dining credits per person we used. I think La Vacherin Classique is my favorite dessert of all time!
• Disney Springs. Since we had an evening flight home, but no passes to the parks, we chose to enjoy the day at Disney Springs. From Port Orleans Riverside you can take a boat directly to Disney Springs, which is very convenient and a fun way to get around the property. Disney Springs has an assortment of restaurants and shops, and you can easily spend an entire day here. It was also a great opportunity to find last minute souvenirs!
• Lunch at Bongos. We used our last dining credits at Bongos, a Cuban inspired restaurant. The food here was decent, but there are so many dining options at Disney Springs, so I think next time we will be trying someplace else. I’m still trying to find my favorite restaurant at Disney Springs.
• Flight home. We were once again picked up by the Magic Express and transported back to the airport for our fight home.
Overall our trip had the perfect combination of excitement and relaxation. I love rides, the faster and crazier the better, so amusement parks are always a hit with me. But by choosing Disney we also had fantastic dining experiences, were able to swim in serene pools (find the smaller pools away from the main, kid-focused pool) and enjoyed impeccable service. Yes, there were a lot of families and small children and it was hot, but we developed an itinerary that accommodated our interests and concentrated on spending time together. If you enjoy Disney, then I would recommend an adults only trip any day. Although next time I think we will avoid the craziness of Disney in the summer!