Visiting Disney World as a Childless Millennial

celebrating this life

This isn't a Disney World blog post to tell you what to see and do. This is a Disney World blog post telling you that yes, you, the childless millennial can, no should, go to Disney World because the most magical place on Earth is magical for anyone and everyone! Even those without children!


It's no secret that I am a big Disney fan. As a youngster growing up, I had always assumed I would go work for Disney drawing cartoons (damn you computer animation!) Disney, Walt that is, has always been someone I admired both for his sheer determination and creativity. I've seen every Disney movie, and will continue to do so, and I have been lucky enough to visit both Disneyland and Disney World.

In my office I'm known as the person to ask about planning a Disney trip. It's a little like The Godfather. A mutual friend will set up a meeting in our cafeteria over lunch. I ask a few questions like how many people will be travelling and their ages, who their favourite Disney characters are, and what kind of theme park traveller they are (do they like rides, shows, character meets, people watching, or just there for the food). Then they ask a few questions about the park(s) and that's when I give them as many answers as possible and give them my recommendations.

Over the last year these Disney vacation conversations have started to change. Instead of mothers, fathers and grandparents coming to visit me to ask for advice on planning a vacation, I am meeting with men and women, childless working millennials who are looking to plan a trip. I know this may come as a shock since everything in the media is all about those "damn millennials" and how they don't have jobs. I'm here to say that just isn't true. The millennial years start in early 1980 meaning that half of all millennials are in their thirties and have been out in the workforce for some time. I myself am a millennial and I'm almost a childless one at that! With a kid in college and another on the way, I'm almost an empty nester.

Many of my millennial peers at work do not have children, yet they still want to visit the happiest place on Earth. The very first question I have been receiving from them is, is it appropriate to visit Disney when you don't have any children. I totally understand the question. Every promo and ad shows happy smiling families and it's easy to think that you will stand out as the questionable person at a theme park. I tell them, and I am telling you, that could not be further from the truth.

The great thing about Disney is that they are open to anyone and everyone, so they've done their work to make sure all walks of life can enjoy their stay.

It's well known that planning a Disney vacation can be a lot of work. For my last trip, AMH and I took both our boys for a week long stay at Disney World. It took me six months to read everything on Disney's website, read the Disney Blog daily, read two books written by park visiting experts and watch a 4 part series on visiting the parks. Now, I don't think you really need that level of detail when it comes to planning a Disney vacation but I will say that we had an incredible time, we all got to see and do everything on our 'must see' list, and it will forever be one of our family's greatest vacations.

I've also spoken with people who just winged it and had a fabulous time too! Planning a Disney vacation feeds the needs of planners (like me) and free spirited vacationers alike. Once I convince you that you need to go, I do recommend reading these sites: Disney Tourist Blog (my fave resource!), The Disney Blog and the Disney World website itself. They will help you plan your vacation as much as you would like them to and they will also get your excited for the trip!

So should you, a childless millennial go to Disney World on your next vacation?

Did you grow up with Disney? Do you like Disney characters? Do you like having fun on vacation? I can hear you shouting "yes!" so there's your answer. You need to go to Disney World on your next vacation and I'm going to show you exactly how you can enjoy a childless trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Food


You might not have seen that one coming but when I think back on my last few Disney visits, food instantly comes to mind!

disney world
I know I had a good point in this dinner conversation...
just can't remember what it was now 😄

If you love the idea of getting dressed up and enjoying a fabulously prepared meal served by candlelight, you can get that at Disney World! Each resort hotel has it's own set of restaurants and if fine dining is something you are looking for, the deluxe resort hotels is where you will want to start. Pictured above we had a fabulous three course steak dinner complete with a lovely bottle of California red wine for the table at The Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Disney's Yacht Club Resort. It was my favourite meal of the entire trip.

It's also a good opportunity to check out the other hotel propertys. A stay at The Yacht Club was out of our price range on this trip but I don't feel like I missed out on anything because we had a fabulous meal and walked around the resort a little bit while waiting for our ride back to our resort.

magic kingdom

Now if your idea of a vacation doesn't include bringing your blazer and pearls to adhere to a dress code, you're in luck! You can also visit themed restaurants that serve fun and quirky items like my Lady & The Tramp dessert from Tony's Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Sit down meals served in a totally themed restaurant can be found in every park. They make great places for filling lunches and dinners to rest your feet after spending the entire day walking. 

There is another option too, quick serve food options like hot dogs, turkey legs, fresh fruit and other snacks served at stalls throughout the park. The first time I visited as an adult I only had one day in Magic Kingdom and I wanted to see as much as I could. I took advantage of these carts to keep me full throughout the day and I didn't lose any site-seeing time waiting for a table (the best advice I can give you about eating at a restaurant in Disney World is to make reservations beforehand. Even months in advance. You cannot believe how quickly reservations fill up!)

And there's no need to worry about not being able to get your hands on an alcoholic beverage. Many restaurants serve alcohol, including sit down restaurants in Magic Kingdom

Hotels


When it comes to accommodations, you've got a number of options. You can rent a house/condo off resort (once I rented a house a short 5 minute drive to Magic Kingdom and it was amazing!), you can stay at a good neighbour hotel property or you can stay right on the resort, which is what I recommend. What you need to know about staying on resort is there are a few levels of hotels, starting from camp grounds all the way up to luxury accommodations. If you don't mind sharing the hotel with a lot of children, then the value resorts will be just fine for you. These are the themed resorts that have Disney icons in every corner of the property.

disney world

If you'd like something with a bit of a slower and quieter pace, I recommend looking at moderate resorts and working your way up as budget allows.  On my last trip we were looking for a resort that we could relax at after busy days in the park. We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside (you can read my blog post about our stay here)

My recommendation is to stay at the park because this means you are close to the action and thanks to the easy to use free public transit you can get to any park, resort hotel and restaurant in a jiffy. 
There is a wide range of options and it really depends on the type of stay you're looking for, the time of year you plan on visiting and your budget. 

Theme Parks


magic kingdom

There are four parks - Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. MK is the first park that everyone thinks of. It has Cinderella's Castle and all the best examples of that magical "Disney" experience. It's also the park that houses the most children. There's nothing wrong with that but it's best to prepare (just a note that once night falls MK takes on a more mature feel and you'll find more teens and adults running around)

The other three parks are a great mix of age groups. My personal opinion is Epcot is an adult's playground. More thrill rides and fantastic restaurants to try out.

Visiting Disney World as a Childless Millennial

Epcot also allows you to travel around the globe and see famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. They make for great photo ops! You can have breakfast in Canada, lunch in France, and dinner in Mexico. 

Speaking of photo ops I'm going to give a plug here for the Memory Maker service. The idea is you don't need to bring your camera or cell phone to get photos. You let the onsite staff take care of everything! Anytime you see a PhotoPass cast member (that's what Disney calls all their staff) you ask them to take your photo and they either scan your resort bracelet or give you a card. Once your vacation is done, you log in and download all your photos! 

You even get all those fun and hilarious ride photos included! The cast members are great too. They have the best quality camera so you know your photos will look nice, but they will also pose you and some very sneaky ones will digitally add a character doing something funny. We have one photo where Stitch is coming out of the sidewalk! I purchased this option and I really liked not having to worry about taking any photos and once I got home I had this great photo album made for me so I could relive the vacation all over again! 
*Not sponsored in anyway, just my opinion

Animal Kingdom is for everyone, I mean who doesn't love animals! Hollywood Studios, again just my personal opinion, is better for teens and adults. Fast roller coasters you'll want to ride again and again but be forewarned that you won't find as many restaurants here as the other resorts.

Off Resort


Think the theme parks and resorts are all there is to Disney? Think again! There are a number of slightly off resort destinations such as the two (yes, two!) water parks, DisneySprings & Disney's Boardwalk a themed shopping, dining and entertainment district (free to visit) and the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.

So to recap you've got great hotels, a wide range of dining options, thrill rides and entertainment, excellent scenery and character interactions that will make you feel like a kid again. And no children needed. What are you waiting for! Get booking your Disney World vacation already and I just might see you there!

You can read my other Disney blog posts: First Visit To Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EpcotAnimal Kingdom