Disney is the supposed to be the happiest place on earth, right? But after a day of tantrums, blow-outs and over-excited kids, a babysitter is sometimes the only way to bring the magic back to Orlando for adults. Here are five great reasons to hire help (most Disney hotels have babysitting services) so you can explore Orlando sans kids.
1. To drink the Peacock Egg
The Peacock Egg: a massive piece of ice in the shape of a peacock egg filled with handmade lemonade, lavender tea, gin and blue curacao. Sip this slowly in the Waldorf Astoria’s Peacock Alley, which is a seductive space with low-lighting, a dark bar and plenty of small bites (pro tip: you won’t see any kids here). On most Friday and Saturday nights, this bar transforms itself into Bar du Chocolat, and they offer dozens of handmade chocolates. You haven’t really lived until you’ve tried chocolate upon chocolate without sharing with your child.
2. To (almost) skip the line at Star Wars in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
On a good day (non-school holiday weekday), first thing in the morning, the line for Millennium Falcon starts at about 50 minutes. Yes, the ride is fabulous—even if you’re not a Warsie. But come without a child, and you can stand on the single rider line (yes, you can technically do this with your child, but you may get split up and this will inevitably end up with a tantrum). On a recent visit, I waited in the single rider line for no minutes. Literally, I walked up the steps and hopped onto the ride.
3. Bar hopping at Disney Springs
13 ways to save money at Disney First stop: Wine Bar George, where you can sip your vino by the ounce. And this is wine you’ll actually want to savor without a toddler pulling at you. Wine Bar George is the only wine bar in Florida that’s led by a master sommelier. Once you’ve had a few ounces, head to Frontera Cocina, where the food is good but the drinks are better. They’re known for their margaritas, and if you’re feeling super adventurous, you should try the Viuda Negra, which is a margarita made with Casa Dragones blanco tequila, jalapeno, lime, blackberries and… a real black ant salt rim. Stumble a few doors down to Morimoto Asia, and grab a lychee martini, which tastes like juice but is ⅔ alcohol. It’s a sweet nightcap.
4. Spend an evening at a speakeasy
You may not know that Orlando has some of the best speakeasies—probably because after a day at the park, they realized that this is exactly what adults need. If you’re looking for one close to the parks, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar & Restaurant is in Disney Springs and has rich Italian food and prohibition-era cocktails. Or uber 15 minutes from the big resorts to Pharmacy, where you’ll be treated to gastropub food and high-end cocktails. Travel around 30 minutes to Winter Park (see below for more on Winter Park) and go to the back of A Comic Shop where you’ll find The Geek Easy. They specialize in craft beer and their trivia nights are so.much.fun.
5. Wander around Winter Park
This area is a local favorite, and for good reason. The upscale community has adorable coffee shops, boutiques, tiny museums and local eateries. Go here and pretend you’re on a first date: they offer an adorable Scenic Boat Tour ($13 US per person) that’s will take you along the Winter Park chain of Lakes to see pretty houses and weeping willows. The whole area has a Great Gatsby feel, where the homes are pristine and the people are beautiful.