I have three kids, so this post is not anti-kid – but it is. In short: Adults traveling without children should visit Orlando (duh) when children aren’t here. The absolute best times: End of May/beginning of June and early September when parents hate to pull their kids out of school because the year just started or is about to end. Second-best time (or best if you fear hurricanes and hate hot weather): Early January at least a few days after New Years.
Other off-season considerations
- Avoid busy times. The flip side of when to visit is when not to visit: Never go during the summer, over the Christmas holidays, the two weeks surrounding Easter, or the weekend of President’s Day.
- See the parks the way God intended. In the busy season, employees focus on crowd control. In the slow season, they focus on you. Special effects work too. Swimming pools that look like a mountain lake actually look like a mountain lake. In the busy season, they look like an ant farm flooded with water.
- Stuff is cheaper. Resorts have seasonal pricing. You pay top dollar over Christmas and almost-top-dollar in the summer.
Adult tips when in Orlando
• Break up your theme park days or make them short. Orlando theme parks are grueling for the young and a challenge for older adults. A hike around Universal’s two theme parks falls just shy of five miles. Go for only part of a day or plan a long, leisurely activity while in the parks. Those who need to see as much as they can – you know who you are – will listen to none of this and good for you. But those who want to really enjoy themselves should plan an exotic lunch or dinner to break up the day. And request a quiet table in the corner. And order a glass of wine in any park but the dry Magic Kingdom.
• Wear good shoes. Buy a pair of sneakers with support and break them in at home. It doesn’t matter what they look like; it doesn’t matter what you look like. Do it.
• Look at the parks with new eyes. Disney and Universal commercials appeal to the masses. From ads and stories, they appear to be made for families with kids younger than 16. In Animal Kingdom, ask attendants about mating habits, sleep patterns or social structures. (It’s like Animal Planet.) At Epcot’s World Showcase, talk to employees on work exchange programs from foreign countries. (It’s like the Travel Channel.) Take the tour in “The Land.” (Home and Garden Channel.) In Universal Studios, consider it one big cocktail lounge (if not driving) and explore at night after your third beer. (Note: Theme park hours are shorter in the off-season, however.)
• Focus on non-park action. Orlando has a lot to do – explore other areas of FAQOrlando.com – but also consider a tour of the Disney property. Have a drink at each hotel or just hop from monorail to boat to bus and check out each resort. In the high-scale ones, Disney has art and architecture either imported from a foreign country or, in some cases, created by bringing artisans over.
• Request special meals. Most park restaurant chefs have a list of all ingredients for people with preferences, and almost all take requests.
• Use handicapped services if needed. Most adults traveling alone aren’t feeble, but some adults who don’t need, say, a wheelchair in Peoria may need one in Orlando. All parks rent wheelchairs, offer in-ride services for the hard of hearing and aid to the blind. Most handicaps can be accommodated.