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Top Disney Activities for Adults - Walt Disney World for the Kid at Heart

Updated on March 4, 2016
Catherine Stolfi profile image

Catherine is an independent research consultant at NASA Langley with degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Science (M.S.).

Hollywood Studios at Disney World
Hollywood Studios at Disney World

Walt Disney World is famously known for being the happiest place on Earth. It is, unfortunately, second famously known for being primarily a kid’s theme park, which just isn’t the case. There are many things to do at Disney that are Adult oriented, but also for that kid at heart.

I have been going to Disney periodically since I was 2 years old, so yes, I am a Disney Fan. I hope to convince you that Disney can still be enjoyable even after those adolescent years, especially for those that have never been there before.

Disney World is the most famous theme park in the world for a reason. It is one of the only theme parks that puts so much thought into every little detail of every park, attraction and ride. A talking water fountain around the side of the ‘Honey I Shrunk the Audience’ building in Epcot, the Mickey Mouse head shaped tiling at the entrance to Magic kingdom and the over 320 animals carved into the Tree of Life located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to name a few. These small things can’t possibly be noticed by children but greatly appreciated by adults, and many Disney enthusiasts, such as myself.

Disney may not be known for it, but they have a great choice of adult nightlife, rides, venues and restaurants that are created for adult amusement.

To start with, the adult oriented rides would make small children run and cry to their mommies. There is The Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios Park, which is more than just a free-fall; it actually pulls the elevator down faster than the speed of gravity. Also, to make it more scary and unpredictable, they have a computer system that randomly chooses the pattern with which it pushes and pulls you up and down the 13-story tower so no ride is ever the same. There is also the Aerosmith Rock and Rollercoaster right next store, an upside down, indoor, rollercoaster that has a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds. Move onto The Magic Kingdom Park and go on Splash Mountain, not your mother’s log flume ride. It’s a ride based off of Walt Disney's 1946 classic "Song of the South,” ending in a 40 mph, 5-story drop into a briar patch. After that, you can run over to the classic Space Mountain, an indoor rollercoaster ride, which has added the glow of “stars” to the entire track and bars, literally making it feel like you’re soaring through space, and maybe going to run into a few stars at times as well. In Epcot there is Mission: Space a simulation ride that is quite intense as it is meant to replicate the feel of an actual shuttle launch into space. Test Track is also a thrill attraction at Epcot that takes guests through the creative process of the design and testing of a vehicle’s performance. You are a passenger aboard a car that tests breaks and climate change, ending with a ride around a high-speed curve topping 65 mph.

Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror

The rides of Animal Kingdom are adult oriented as well. Dinosaur, or as it’s been recently renamed to, Countdown to Extinction, is an intense thrill ride back to the past when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. You are speeding past dinosaurs that get shockingly close, and you’re racing against the clock to get back in time before the meteor crashes, on this intensely bumpy and frightening ride. Lastly, the newest added attraction to Disney at the Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest. It is a rollercoaster that travels not only forward but backwards at times as well. You are traveling on a train through the Himalayan Mountains, climbing 120 feet and falling down an 80-foot drop, only to come face to face with the legendary Yeti that resides there.

And when the fireworks are over and the major parks have closed, ranging from 5 to 9 pm depending on the time of the year and day of the week, you can shop till you drop at the Downtown Disney Marketplace. The shops in the downtown Disney marketplace stay open until typically 11 pm but the public areas are open until 1 am. The stores here include the World of Disney, the largest Disney merchandise store in the world at a whopping 50,000 square feet. Other favorites include The Art of Disney, the Lego Store and Mickey’s Pantry, a store featuring Mickey-themed culinary items.

There are also great restaurants at every turn. The restaurants at the theme parks are known for their great food, but also more for their touch of Disney ambiance. Some of my favorites include, Cantina de San Angel, in Mexico, as part of the World Showcases in Epcot. You step into Mexico’s night time flea market and shop, or go on the slow river ride where you can learn of Mexico’s rich history, before you sit down to eat an authentic Mexican meal whilst the sound of an active Volcano about to explode right over your shoulder. You can go back in time at the Sci-fi Dine in Theater and you sit in your replica corvette where all the cars face the drive-in movie screen to watch classic 50’s movie clips and commercials. The menu includes American classics like hamburgers and shakes. Lastly, the best buffet in all of Disney, Boma-Flavors of Africa, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. The walk-up cooking stations allow for your meal to be freshly prepared, including authentic African cuisine, but don’t worry, there will be some things you’ll recognize as well.

The latest lure for adults, the recent Disney acquisition of the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. It's Star Wars mania at Disney World right now since the release of JJ Abram's Star Wars film. Head to Disney to get your Disney gear, battle Darth Vader on the now popular Jedi weekends at Hollywood Studios and ride the exciting Star Tours ride to get your inner jedi on.

If none of these things can persuade you, maybe the big cheese himself can lure you in, a.k.a. Mickey Mouse. Many adults go to Disney to find their inner kid, and they treat a trip to Disney like going back to the times of their carefree youth. So, if you do go, remember there’s nothing wrong with riding Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland, flying on the classic Dumbo Ride or spending time with Alice at her Mad Tea Party spinning cups.

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    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great article, I like that you gave tips on Disney from the adult perspective. I just went this past year and as always had a great time. I agree with you that there are so many details that would be missed from a child's view. It does seem like the food is really geared towards the adults at the park and the nightlife at Downtown Disney as well.


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