The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups


Not everyone visiting Mickey has children in tow! Disney also markets directly to an adult audience—in fact, Disney World is the nation's #1 honeymoon destination. This handy new pocket-sized guide pulls together all the attractions, shows, and resorts that have the most appeal to the over-21 crowd, and also includes info on golf and tennis,...
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Not everyone visiting Mickey has children in tow! Disney also markets directly to an adult audience—in fact, Disney World is the nation's #1 honeymoon destination. This handy new pocket-sized guide pulls together all the attractions, shows, and resorts that have the most appeal to the over-21 crowd, and also includes info on golf and tennis, nightlife, and sophisticated dining choices.

The Top 5 Ways The Unofficial Guide® to Walt Disney World® for Grown-Ups Can Help You Have the Perfect Trip:

1. Practical tips on how to plan knockout weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries in Disney World®
2. Complete information on when to go, and how to beat the crowds
3. Insider advice on Disney's exciting nightlife: Where to pop the question,dance all night, and find the best microbrews.
4. The lowdown on the best shops and souvenirs to take home, so you can spend more time having fun
5. The straight story on Disney's golf and tennis facilities—where to climb a rock wall and ride a water slide at 60 mph, too.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The series aims to help people outsmart queues, advises which rides to avoid, where to shop and dine" (Essex Style & Norfolk Journal, January 2008)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764537271
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/12/2003
  • Series: Unofficial Guides Series , #7
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve Zibart, author of several books including The Unofficial Guide to New Orleans, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World for Grown-ups, and The Ethnic Food Lover’s Companion, is a feature writer and restaurant critic for the “Weekend” section of the Washington Post; she drew on her intimate knowledge of D.C.’s diverse after-hours scene and the area’s vast array of dining spots when writing our entertainment and restaurant sections. Eve also scoped out where to find the best deals for our chapter on shopping.
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Read an Excerpt

Pros and Caveats

There are some obvious benefits to visiting Walt Disney World without children, starting with the freedom to set your own schedule. (Or not to; improvisation and impulse are pleasures in themselves, especially if you ordinarily live out of an appointment book.) You can go regardless of the school calendar, which immediately suggests you may be able to go cheaper (because big family times are peak rate seasons) and among fewer fellow travelers. You can eat when you want and what you want, without having to make sure there's a hot dog on the menu. You can get up early and take advantage of the park's more quiet hours without having to make sure everybody is dressed and together; conversely, you can stay out as late as you like. You don't have to worry about your party becoming separated, memorizing where to go to be found if they're lost, or losing track of time. You don't need to compromise on the schedule-to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant in return for touring the greenhouses. You don't have to wonder whether a ride is too scary or too childish for your kid, or whether he or she's ready for the straightforward but respectful sex education of The Making of Me.

You can indulge in unabashed nostalgia if you like, riding through The Haunted Mansion again or walking through the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse one more time; or head straight to the newest, most realistic rides and sign up for a Disney Institute lecture. You can stand through the 360-degree films in the World Showcase, sit down at the outdoor theaters for the shows, and stop to enjoy the sidewalk performances by the musicians and jugglers.

You can take a personal time-out for a massage, learn (at last) the Lindy, or buy a glass of champagne and stop and smell the roses at Epcot. You can strike up a conversation with one of the international cast members-many of them students, but numerous adults as well-who staff the various pavilions representing their homelands. And since so many of the cast members and greeters are middle-aged or older these days, you can safely ask them about the comfort of a particular attraction. You can interact with the characters as freely as the children (you'd be amazed at how many seniors want to have their photographs taken with Mickey or Mulan or Quasimodo) or stick to the sidelines.

You may even find that you get a whole different set of jokes than children would: For example, the music in DinoLand USA, where the central attractions are casts of dinosaur skeletons and the Dinosaur ride, includes such pun-ishing titles as "I Fall to Pieces," "Bad to the Bone," and "It's the End of the World As We Know It." The mock-theatrical posters in the waiting room of It's Tough to Be a Bug feature "Web Side Story," "Barefoot in the Bark," "Beauty and the Bees," "The Grass Menagerie," and "A Cockroach Line." ("Crickets agree-It's a hit!") Restaurants are called things like Copa Banana and Juan and Only's; a street in Port Orleans is called Rue d'Baga. Walt Disney and his Imagineers shared a prankish, playful humor, which led them to plant visual puns, jokes, and puzzles all over the theme parks as well, such as the fat lady phantom who sings at the very end of The Haunted Mansion ride."It's not over till..." It's sort of the Bullwinkle mentality; you don't have to know why "Boris Badenov" is funny, but it helps. (Especially when you see the tombstone for Paul "Boris" Badenov, one of the voice-over artists who worked for the studio.)

But it is only fair to warn you that there are some drawbacks to traveling child-free. You may find the "fairy dust"-the semi-official Disney term for both the theatrical glitter and the sense of wonder it is supposed to engender among visitors-becomes a little cloying from time to time. (Remember how confused the real-life actor Bob Hoskins was when he entered the animated Toon Town in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That was a Walt Disney film, after all; and you have to wonder whether it wasn't inspired by some Imagineer or cast member's having one too many reality shocks.) You may find the constant volume and bombastic hammering of the ever-present background music excessive, if not exhausting. And you may not even recognize some of the featured characters who accost you, unless you still make it to every Disney movie opening.

You're almost certain to find the Disney corporation's relentless self-promotion (every movie a parade, every character a T-shirt) awfully heavy-handed; and you may be seriously concerned by the commercialization of Epcot's "adventures" (Exxon presents the Universe of Energy, IBM presents the future of the Internet, Coca-Cola and American Express bring you The American Adventure, and so on). McDonald's is the sole corporate sponsor of DinoLand USA (and all these corporate entities have hidden VIP lounges above and behind their "pet" attractions).

Similarly, you may have a strong and not entirely pleasant reaction to the my-country-love-it-or-leave-it boosterism of The Hall of Presidents or the American Adventure. Or you may wonder about the animal welfare issues raised by the construction of the Animal Kingdom.

Finally, there is the fact that even if you are without children of your own, you are going to be surrounded by kids, which means that you are still likely to fall victim to a certain number of tantrums, "accidents," arguments, and underfoot hazards, not to mention all the thoughtless or intentionally rude parents trying to scythe you off at the ankles with their strollers. Even when school-age children are in classes, most preschoolers are not, though again, the weekdays are apt to be safer because their parents are presumably working. So there's no way to have a purely "grown-up" Disney World vacation, if that's what you're looking for, and we would be lying to pretend the title of this book amounts to any such guarantee (although we'll try to help you get away from the kiddie crowd as much as possible).

Nevertheless, you can have a very interesting, educational, relaxing, even transporting vacation, and these days, that alone is some sort of magic.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps vii
Introduction 1
Ladies, Gentlemen, Children of All Ages 1
How to Use This Guide 8
How Come "Unofficial"? 8
Part 1 Planning Your Visit 11
When to Go 11
What to Pack 13
Where to Get Information 16
How to Cut Costs 18
Pick Your Park Pass 20
Travelers with Special Needs 24
Calendar of Special Events 27
Part 2 Where to Stay 32
General Tips 33
Should You Buy a Package? 34
Should You Stay Outside Walt Disney World? 35
Resorts in "the World" 37
Part 3 Romance in "the World" 43
Magic Kingdoms: The Most Romantic Hotels in "the World" 44
"That's Amore": The Most Romantic Restaurants 52
"And They Lived Happily Ever After": Weddings and Honeymoons 55
Part 4 The Big Four 61
The Magic Kingdom 62
Epcot 70
Disney-MGM Studios 82
Disney's Animal Kingdom 88
Part 5 Sports and Recreation 98
The Water Parks 98
Golf and Tennis 102
Biking and Running 103
Working Out and Other Exercise 104
Disney's Wide World of Sports 106
Part 6 Nightlife 108
Pleasure Island 109
Disney's West Side 112
The BoardWalk 115
Part 7 Adult Education 118
The Disney Institute 119
"Curiouser and Curiouser": Behind the Scenes 121
Part 8 Drinking and Dining 124
"Pink Elephants on Parade": Bellying up to the Bar(s) 126
"A Spoonful of Sugar": Flavors around "the World" 129
Part 9 "Hidden Mickeys" and Other Grown-Up Games 133
Hidden Mickeys in the Magic Kingdom 135
Hidden Mickeys in Epcot 136
Hidden Mickeys at MGM Studios 137
Hidden Mickeys in the Animal Kingdom 138
More Mickeys and Games 139
Part 10 Shopping in Walt Disney World 142
Downtown Disney 146
Theme Park Shopping 153
The Best Souvenirs in "the World" 161
Index 164
List of Maps
Walt Disney World viii
Downtown Disney x
Pleasure Island xii
BoardWalk xiii
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    A MUST Purchase for Disney World

    Purchased this book 1 month prior to Disney World trip. Book had great suggestions which we utilized. Everything the book recommended was correct. So I highly recommend this book from personal experience at Disney World.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2009

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