In 51 days my two sisters, Mom and I will be hitting the road to Walt Disney World. I am so excited! That’s right, 4 grown women headed off, sans kids, to spend 7 days at the happiest place on earth. The tickets are bought, the resort is paid for. We’re ready to go!
I’ll admit, I never was much for theme parks. Sure, it’s something to do with your friends or family during the summer. A nice change of pace. I can see the appeal, but honestly, I could take them or leave them. Growing up, going to Disney wasn’t even a possibility. And I never felt like I was missing anything.
The first time I went to Disney was in my mid-twenties. It was our first all adult, all female get-away. I was mistaken in my post in June about deciding to take the trip; We’ve only been to Walt Disney World 3 times as a group. On another trip we went to the Disney Resort at Hilton Head. Four girl trips total before we decided to call it quits. Our last trip together was almost two years ago.
The first few years we went were fun and exciting, but by the last year, we were starting to feel the strain. I love my family, and am very close with most of them. But, 5-6 grown women spending 10 days on vacation together every year can start to cause some issues. We all wanted to do different things, but some people wanted the entire group to stay together the whole time, and would get their feelings hurt if they missed out on something. We had different expectations of what we wanted in a vacation. We had different ideas of when and how we should eat. And, under it all, there were tones of inequality; It wasn’t everyone’s vacation, as some of us were just invited guests. After a couple of years the newness had worn off; It just wasn’t the relaxing vacation most of us were hoping for.
Of course, none of that was Disney’s fault. Well, other than being very expensive. Which gets back to the main question: Why are 4 adult women planning a trip to a children’s theme park?
Because Disney isn’t just for kids!
I’m sure Disney spends more money than I’ll ever see in my lifetime marketing their theme parks to families. But they do a terrible job marketing themselves to adults. And the reality is, a Disney vacation can be a wonderful trip for adults! Especially if you’re staying on property. Full Disclosure: I’m Irish-Catholic. We drink. A LOT. And Disney is a great place for drinking. Aside from the Magic Kingdom, which only serves beer and wine at Be Our Guest (and good luck getting a reservation there!). Honestly, Epcot is the best place for drinking. You can drink around the world! Beer, wine, liquors from across the globe. And there’s a bus that will take you safely back to your resort. And security out the wazoo, to help ensure that you stay safe. Not that I’m encouraging over-consumption. But, if you want to relax and have a good time, Disney is a great place to go.
We’ve always planned our trips around one of Disney’s concert series at Epcot. They don’t have live music all year round, but there are various times throughout the year when bands will be playing at the little outdoor amphitheater in Epcot. The first year we went, my Aunt planned the trip around the concerts in May (maybe Flower Power?) so we could see her favorite band as a teenager, The Grass Roots. She was so excited about seeing them in concert. We made sure to arrive early for the first concert of the night (they usually have a band do 3 short sets a night, usually for 2 nights in a row). We had our drinks in hand and were all geared up for a great show. We may have perhaps been a little tipsy. I will never forget the look on her face when the lead singer started across the stage, slowly, with his walker.
It seriously looked like they’d dug this guy up to play a concert! But the great thing about older rock and roll bands? They usually sound the same as they did back in the day. It was an awesome concert! It became our running joke that Disney is where old bands go to die. From there on out, we’ve always planned our trips around there being live music at Epcot. And we’ve seen lots of great concerts: The Grass Roots. The Pointer Sisters. Hanson? Alright, not all the bands are all that old. This trip we’ll have the chance to see Jo De Messina, The Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield, and Christopher Cross. All included in our tickets to Epcot. No parking, no fighting traffic, no waiting in line. The concerts are short enough that you’re pretty much just hearing their biggest hits.
We’re also looking forward to the food. Yep, Disney does actually have great food! You just have to know where to look. Hint: It’s not usually at the parks. Some of Disney’s best restaurants (some of which are known to be the best restaurants in Florida!) are actually at the Resorts. Plus, there’s Downtown Disney, which has some awesome places to eat. And the Boardwalk. Bonus: You don’t need a park pass to eat at any of those places! Epcot is also a great place to try a variety of foods from all around the world.
I’ll be honest, I love food. A big part of vacation for me has always been food; I love trying new and different things. This year we’ve planned our trip around the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. We’ve been to this once before, and it was awesome! Epcot always has the World Showcase, which features a variety of restaurants and shops from around the world. But every Fall they add something more; Dozens of food carts setup throughout Epcot’s World Showcase, featuring food and drinks from all around the world. Each cart offers 2-4 food items from a specific country, and most offer an alcoholic beverage common to their area. Appetizers, desserts, sides, entrees. Beers, wines, liquors and mixed drinks. You can sample it all as you meander “around the world”. Most items cost $3-5, and are small enough to be considered “samples”, but not so small that they can’t be split. Last time we ate our way around Epcot over several days, splitting most samples 4 ways. It’s a great way to try lots of things, without completely breaking the bank!
This will be the first vacation we’ve ever taken with just the four of us as adults. Although, I have taken a variety of trips with one or both of my sisters. We’ve discussed this trip thoroughly, and are all on the same page on what we want out of this trip. While we plan on relaxing some, and all agree that we don’t want to be rushing around all week, we all want to stay active and see as much as possible while we’re there. We’re all okay with splitting up if everyone in the group doesn’t want to do the same thing (my sisters and I have frequently done this on trips, so I know it won’t be a problem with us). We plan to eat all of our meals, aside from breakfast and snacks, outside the room. Hey, I never said this was going to be a frugal trip!
So, we’ll eat, drink and be merry! All while taking in beautiful scenery and lush landscapes. We’ll probably relax by the pool a bit, or maybe hit the hot tubs at night. We’ll enjoy the wonderful service that Disney Resorts are known for. We’ll get to experience all the attractions and rides that Walt Disney World is known for. But, most importantly, I’ll get a chance to spend some much-needed time making memories with my Mom and sisters.
And that’s my idea of the perfect vacation!
– Cindy W.