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Stuff To Do In Disney For Adults -- Disney Attractions for Adults

Updated on July 13, 2011

What To Do Is Disney World For Adults

After all the traveling I've done, I'll admit, I can sometimes be a bit jaded. So when my friends invited me to join them on a Disney vacation, I expected a fun weekend, not a life-changing experience. After all, I'd been to three of the four Disneys (I'm still missing France), totalling about a dozen visits. I've also visited five continents (I'm missing South America and Antarctica), most of the states and have seen all of the places featured in Epcot's world showcase for real except Morocco (though I have been to the Middle East). That said, I was skeptical that Disney could surprise me.

The last laugh was on me, though. Disney somehow managed to take this world-weary traveler and show her that the location you're in only counts for about half of the experience.

Three Guys And A Grandpa

What was to be a relaxing vacation didn't get off to a great start. My husband was unable to join me, due to work-related reasons, and my 9 p.m. plane was delayed for over three hours. That said, II didn't arrive at our hotel, the lovely Disney All-Star Music Resort, until 4 a.m. the next morning. I was also the only woman (my partners in crime included friends Scott, Chris and Brian and Scott's grandfather, Gene), so I also had some fears that I'd be left out.

Happily, the guys treated me like a sister and made me feel loved from the start. Scott got out of bed at 4 a.m. to help me bring my luggage to the room. Brian took my hand during one of the scarier rides, MGM's Tower of Terror. Chris kept me laughing, even while we were waiting on long lines in the heat. And Gene proved to be great company when I chose to skip some of the more intense attractions.

What made going with these friends interesting — aside from the fact that they're just great guys — is how different our travel experiences were, and how they colored our perceptions of the park. Scott and I have both been to Disney numerous times, but Gene and Brian hadn't been there for years, and this was Chris's first visit. Actually, this was only Chris's second trip on a plane! Going with him then was almost like going with a child who's impressed with everything. Seeing his excitement upon viewing the famous castle for the first time or running into Mickey Mouse reminded me of how awed I was during my first visit many, many years ago.

During our stay, we went to all of the main parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot (both Future World and the World Showcase), MGM Studios and the Animal Kingdom. Though I have my favorites in each place (Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom; Star Wars in MGM; the Figment ride in Epcot), I was amazed by how many rides I still hadn't been on. My husband and I were last there not that long ago — in 2001 — yet they'd already added or changed many attractions. Epcot now has this incredible IMAX-type attraction called Soarin', where you sit in what resembles a ski lift and "fly" over California landscapes. The Magic Kingdom has a 3D music-inspired show called Philharmagic, where you're "pulled" into Disney music videos (as a flutist, I loved that all of the chaos is created by a rogue flute player in the orchestra!).

I'd never been to the Animal Kingdom before, but was blown away by how beautiful it is. It's designed to resemble Asia and Africa, and Disney really does a great job of getting in every last detail. Plus, the rides there— like the safari trek or river rapids — are amazing. Still, as Brian said, it didn't even matter if any of these parks had rides. Just walking around and admiring the views and people was enjoyable.

I was inspired by the company I was keeping, as well. When Scott informed me that his 89-year-old grandfather was joining us, I expected Gene to use a wheelchair, especially in the intense heat. Yet this man — who once broke his back! — kept up without any problems and went on almost every ride. We all complained about the temperature or about our feet hurting us (you do walk A LOT in the parks), but Gene didn't grouse at all. He also had interesting views of some rides; for instance, he actually saw the Carousel of Progress when it was featured in the 1964 World's Fair, and was thrilled to go on Mission Space in Epcot since he vividly recalled watching the astronauts land on the moon.

Chris, on the other hand, was definitely the "little brother" of the group. We were constantly teasing him about having lived in a bubble; Scott and Brian even had him convinced at one point that all of Epcot was stuffed into the giant ball that looms over the park's entrance. But Chris took it in stride and even came up with his own creative solutions for how we could make waiting on lines less painful ("Someone should be here to fan everyone." "Why can't someone carry me the way that woman's carrying her baby?" "They should have moving seats on the lines so you can just sit and ride to the actual ride."). But he was a real trooper who went on every single ride, despite having a fear of roller coasters. By the end of the trip, he'd become something of a thrill seeker — and also decided that it was about time he got his passport.

I'm definitely not a thrill seeker and avoid roller coasters like the plague. Still, the guys encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone while I was with them and let myself go. No, I didn't go on Space Mountain, but I did try many of the rides I used to skip like the Tower of Terror and Splash Mountain. And you know what? They were fun! Not nearly as scary as I feared, and it was great to be doing so many new things.

I also enjoyed being on hand to see Scott bond with his grandfather. While we were in "Germany" in Epcot's World Showcase, Gene regaled us with stories about growing up in a German household and fighting over there in WWII. He and Scott then had a beer together and he taught his grandson a German drinking song. It may have not been real Germany, but the experience has made Scott want to go to the actual country with his grandfather so he can explore his roots. Again, I realized how this vacation was turning out to be about much more than merely visiting a theme park.

Worlds Of Disney

Which Disney World park is your favorite?

See results

Is Disney Really The Happiest Place On Earth?

I'm not sure when I'll be back at Disney, but if history is any indication, I definitely will return. Only the next time I visit, I'll know that going there isn't only about going on roller coasters or getting Mickey's autograph. I've learned over the years that one of the joys of traveling involves getting to know more about the world around you and the people you share it with. It turns out that taking a family vacation can be just as moving as visiting a far-off continent.

Disney's Best Rides And Attractions

Here are our picks for the 10 best things to see and do. Obviously, opinions may vary!

10. Splash Mountain, Magic Kingdom: The ultimate flume ride. Not only do you plunge down a 60-foot drop, but there are several other plunges, as well as an enjoyable show inside the ride.

9. Pirates Of The Caribbean, MK: A classic ride that never fails to make you smile.

8. Star Wars, MGM: Head into a stimulator to embark on a thrilling ride in space.

7. The Great Movie Ride, MGM: This ride takes you right into several famous movies, including the Wizard of Oz and Alien. It's relaxing and so much fun.

6. Illuminations, Epcot World Showcase: Almost every night at 9 p.m, Epcot puts on this impressive show involving lights, fireworks and waterworks.

5. Soarin', Epcot: see above description in the travelogue.

4. The safari trek, Animal Kingdom: Feels like a real safari. We saw so many animals, including lions, tigers and ... elephants — oh my!

3. Philharmagic, MK: See above description in the travelogue.

2. Finding Nemo, the musical, AK: With incredible sets, puppetry, acting and singing, this production rivaled any Broadway show.

1. Small World, MK: I'm very biased, but I love the little singing dolls from every country. I could ride this one over and over again. The guys, however, were ready to kill me for making them go on it. So in their honor, I'm also making Space Mountain tied for No. 1


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    • NaomiR profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the tip - I hadn't realized that MGM's name was changed!

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I absolutely forgot about "Soarin'" when writing about all four of Walt Disney World's Parks. I can't believe I did. I enjoyed reading your hub on Walt Disney World--Epcot was my favorite because of two things: World Showcase and the nightly fireworks.

      If you don't mind me saying so, MGM is now called Hollywood Studios as of January of 2008 :D

      Thanks for sharing, Naomi.


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