LET ROMANCE, SPA-AHHS AND FANCY FOOD MAKE YOUR DAYS MAGICAL AT THIS HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
SHE SAID: “Let’s take a quick vacation to Disney.”
He said: “The kids are grown / at college / can stay with the nanny.”
She said: “Perfect. I’m tired of doing what they want. Let’s go have some grown-up fun.”
And just like that, a vacation is born. One that involves adults driving to Walt Disney World near Orlando without the kids. Why? Because you can. It’s time you visited those special spots you’ve heard about or missed before.
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken the seven-hour trip down I-75, read on for updates on what adults-with-no-children can do just for themselves at the happiest place on Earth.
Let’s say you plan to leave the real world for four days. First decision? Where to stay. To go romantic, try the over-the-water Bungalows at the Polynesian Village. Some are available now, and when the project is complete, there will be a total of 20. You’ll feel as if you’ve landed in Bora Bora without the 14-hour flight. Check in, grab a mai tai and enjoy your own private plunge pool as your worries float away.
Stay with the South Pacific theme and reserve two seats at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha show, held nightly at the luau cove found beachside by the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is the real deal, a complete luau with tiki torches, hula and fire dancers, and a tropical buffet ($64-$76 plus tax and tip).
Afterward, link hands for a walk on the waterfront. Stop at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, just outside the Great Ceremonial House at the Poly Village, and order the Krakatoa Punch, then watch in shock and awe as the skies darken, volcanoes erupt and shrunken heads chant.
Take the complimentary Walt Disney World bus to the Boardwalk area and rent a fringe-topped surrey bike to explore woodsy pathways.
Hungry? Choose from any number of waterfront eateries. You can opt for fine dining at the Flying Fish Café (try the yellowfin tuna tartare) or grab a quick corn dog from the dockside To-Go Cart, right next to the (who can resist?) Boardwalk Funnel Cake cart.
Looking for more action? Test yourself at Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course, with its sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens.
For dinner try Jiko — The Cooking Place, an award-winning, African-inspired restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel. You can watch chefs prepare your African-inspired food in the open-show kitchen. Time it so you can catch the Starlight Safari. You’ll don night-vision goggles for a 60-minute open-sided safari ride across the resort’s savanna to see how giraffes, zebras, hyenas and elephants behave when the sun goes down.
Epcot, perhaps. Bypass the rides and globetrot through the travelogues at the World Showcase, one of Epcot’s two main areas, and see a rotating array of live entertainment — perhaps a Moroccan snake charmer or a China dragon dance. Take in one or more of the Circle-Vision 360 films — Reflections of China, O Canada! or the breathtaking Impressions de France.
The latter will have you thinking of the French countryside and set the mood for a piéce de resistance dinner at Monsieur Paul. Sit in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (replica, shhh … ) and enjoy, with a champagne toast, your second-story view of the World Showcase Lagoon. Chef Nicholas Lemoyne, who trained in Lyon, will make you classique cassoulette d’escargole, ballotine de poulet or a decadent dessert. You’ll love it all.
With the proper timing, you can take a short walk to Italy for gelato, then watch lasers, lights, fireworks and fountains explode over the World Showcase Lagoon as part of the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show.
Top your weekend getaway with a spa day.
With the Polynesian Village as your home base, the neighboring Grand Floridian is closest. Give yourself over to Senses, a Victorian retreat reminiscent of a serene Florida garden at the turn of the 20th century. Visit the fitness center, if you must, or head directly for a therapeutic massage. Another choice: the double mask intensely hydrating age-defying lavender facial.
Finally, put on your finest for a night out at the all-new Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex, where you’ll start with wine and appetizers aboard Venezia, an intimate Italian-style water taxi that cruises for 30 or 60 minutes through the waters of Lake Buena Vista.
Once you’re back on land, head for the hidden VIP entrance (Level 2) of Morimoto Asia, a one-of-a-kind dining experience from “Iron Chef” master Masaharu Morimoto. The Forbidden Lounge seats 14 at its sushi bar. Another option is the five-course Chef’s Choice Omakase specialty menu, which changes daily because that’s what Iron Chefs can do.
You’re feeling very grown up now, aren’t you?