Remember a couple of weeks ago when I hopped a plane from the Sooner State for a week of kid-free fun at the Most Magical Place on Earth? Well, it turned out to be a pretty intense, tiring and hot week of hiking around the Most Humid Place on Earth, fitting in site inspections, tours and seminars while wearing “resort casual” attire. I totally missed my tennis shoes. However, the evenings were mostly ours, and I selflessly dedicated my time to trying a few fun things you can experience at the East Coast Disney Parks when you’re leaving the kids at home, brought along a babysitter, or just decided not to have any at all.
Walt Disney World offers several spa experiences for guests of all ages, but these relaxing venues tend to provide a respite from the toddler-packed parks. With the newest offering, Senses at the Grand Floridian, Disney seems to have upped their game in the relaxation department. The brand new facility offers a wide array of services along with fantastic Disney service in a practically perfect atmosphere.
Get Park Wise: Schedule a service for the middle of your vacation to make the most of it. A couples massage after a few days in the parks will be heavenly and may leave you a little more relaxed for the second half of the trip.
The Walt Disney World Dolphin also offers up a perfect spot for a mid-trip pedicure at the Mandara Spa. This Balinese oasis is a full service spa and salon. If you’re staying at the Swan or Dolphin, check your room literature for specials, and other guests can check the official site for promotions, as well. I’m not sure if the spa was slow that day, or if they just do a really great job at giving you the illusion that you’re the center of the world, but I was feeling totally catered to while waiting for my services. In fact, a gentleman even directed me to a second waiting room to get more pictures when he saw I had my iPhone out and was snapping away. Yeah, I know. I can’t completely relax when I know there are articles to be written and pictures to be posted. It’s a sickness.
Drink Around the World
This one’s a classic, and I would be remiss not to include it. There are even Epcot shirts featuring an adult beverage from each country in the World Showcase. With eleven different pavilions, there’s sure to be something for every palate. The stakes are raised when the International Food and Wine Festival rolls around in the fall, with a plethora of international libations just begging to be sampled. I definitely suggest tackling this one with a friend or two to avoid getting tossed out the International Gateway, especially if your day starts at La Cava del Tequila. Eleven (or more!) drinks in the Florida sun in a limited amount of time does not a smart decision make.
Get Park Wise: Make sure you take Disney transportation if this challenge is on your itinerary. Being fall-down drunk in a park is lame, but driving afterward is just stupid!! If you did drive, please make use of Disney transportation or taxi service after you’ve made your rounds.
If you’re not quite ready to tackle the Word Showcase, consider drinking around the monorail with a stop at each of the hotel lounges on the resort line. If you’re lucky, you can even sip some wine with dinner at Be Our Guest and make it a complete monorail crawl. For extra credit, you can hit Wilderness Lodge, too. Or maybe hit the Epcot area resorts for a nightcap times five.
While you’re throwin’ ‘em back around Crescent Lake, you’ll no doubt make your way to the Boardwalk. With the ESPN Club, Atlantic Dance Hall and a margarita lover’s dream at Boardwalk Joe’s, this is a great spot for the big kids to kick back. The crown jewel of the Boardwalk, though, is the high-energy dueling piano bar, Jellyrolls. Boasting some of the most talented performers on property, the bar features four piano players each night cranking out classics, top 40 hits, tv theme songs and, of course, a little Disney here and there (Carousel of Progress fans won’t be disappointed). The entire show is totally audience-driven with the guys taking requests in the form of song titles scrawled on bar napkins and wrapped in dollar bills (or higher denominations if you want your song played sooner). With patrons ranging from convention attendees to parents on their Disney date night to locals to cast members, each night is different.
Get Park Wise: Have fun on purpose! A couple of the piano players tossed out this gem when we were chatting about the bar. If you come in ready to have fun and get a little goofy, you’re sure to have a great night!
Although you’re at a 21+ bar, the Disney aura is still in the air. As a couple of girls, we felt completely safe both in and around the bar. In fact, it really has the feel of a neighborhood joint (except with a $12 cover charge) where everyone is glad to see you. The drinks may also run a little more than your corner bar, but they’re pretty much on par with other on-property options in terms of price. And for my frugalistas, you’re totally welcome to sit there and drink water and eat free popcorn. Of course, only tell them I sent you if you’re building a decent tab…not if you’re just eating free popcorn.
What’s your go-to when you’re fleeing the kiddos at Disney World?