If the kids aren’t kids anymore and you’re wondering what the Mouse still has to offer, Adventures by Disney’s new Walt Disney World itinerary may be just the thing.
Adventures by Disney, the guided tour arm of the Disney company,
offers luxury group trips geared for adults to destinations on six continents, combining extraordinary service with all-inclusive itineraries.Disney company
But surprisingly, its lineup has never included Walt Disney World – until now. Starting next month, groups – including some that are adults-only – can savor VIP experiences there that aren’t available to typical park guests. We recently sampled an Adventures by Disney Walt Disney World vacation, and here's a taste of what we got.
Gourmet dining in unique locations
The tour begins with a four-course, gourmet dinner inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s working kitchen, where chefs display their talents at rolling sushi and preparing pasta, entrée and dessert while the head chef explains each dish and wine pairing. After the two-hour event, the culinary team presents you with a signed cookbook.
We also had a private lunch inside Epcot’s Living Seas VIP lounge, beside the massive aquarium. We were pulled away from the heat and the tourist crush to snack on lobster mac & cheese, mahimahi and more as we watched the sea turtles, rays and fish swimming on the other side of the windows.
The takeaway: Adventures by Disney delivered on its promise of “world-class” dining opportunities without having to make reservations six months ahead of time. Other advertised meals include private lunch at the Skipper Canteen (Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant), dinner inside Rafiki’s Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a farewell banquet in Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion. The food was exquisite, perfect for adults looking to escape chicken nuggets, churros, hot dogs and other typical theme park fare.
Exclusive attraction time at all four theme parks
Adults without kids still want to visit Walt Disney World’s theme parks. Adventures by Disney treats you not only to dedicated time (with little to no waiting) on the most popular rides, but to exclusive access to the Imagineers who designed the attractions, too. After lunch at Epcot’s Living Seas, we were escorted to the top of the tank to visit the sea creatures and their caretakers.
Another highlight was a private morning safari through Disney’s Animal Kingdom savanna before the park opened. A member of Disney’s education team regaled us with animal facts as we spotted rhinos, cheetahs, hippos and the elusive male African lion, which displayed a royal pose. It’s perfect for those whose knees no longer fit inside a flying elephant or who get queasy in a spinning teacup.
The takeaway: The itinerary also includes an Imagineer-led Magic Kingdom walking tour, an in-depth visit to the Hollywood Tower Hotel (including the Tower of Terror ride), a behind-the-scenes visit to Epcot’s American Adventure and reserved spots for afternoon parades and nightly fireworks spectaculars. These tours are not designed for little kids and are best for guests seeking detailed history and inside information. Disneyphile adults will soak up the details shared along the way.
Best of Central Florida
We also got a glimpse of what Central Florida was like before Mickey brought throngs of tourists to the area. By kayak, airboat, swamp buggy, horse and/or zip line, you’ll see the natural side of Florida. The airboat’s motor, wind and speed were thrilling, and so was seeing gators sunning on marshy banks in the wild. The group also visits Kennedy Space Center (an hour away) for a private tour, culminating with a catered lunch overlooking the launch pad while an astronaut shares stories of space adventures.
The takeaway: Anyone can visit the Forever Florida Wildlife Conservation Area and the Kennedy Space Center, but Adventures by Disney handles all the planning to make everything seamless.
Adventures by Disney’s Walt Disney World vacation is perfect for adults who appreciate Disney but also enjoy attractions outside the theme parks and are looking for a luxurious, pampered retreat. These aren’t budget vacations – they start at $4,939/adult and $4,699/child (under 12) – but the weeklong, all-inclusive trip incorporates incredible service, individual attention and luxury VIP experiences.
And, as we mentioned earlier, some of the trips are adult-exclusive, which provides for a more mature, sophisticated experience. If you’re looking for an adult-oriented experience, have the means to splurge and want to leave the details and planning to someone else, Adventures by Disney’s Walt Disney World vacation may be ideal.
Dave Parfitt is a Rochester, N.Y.-based travel writer. He is the founder of Adventures by Daddy, a digital database offering family-friendly travel advice from a father’s point of view.