Walt Disney World for GrownUPs

[trip style = food + wine + spa]

Right now I'm at Walt Disney World for the second time in six months. The irony is, I don't have kids {though I still sing songs from The Little Mermaid in the car, if that counts}?!?

Known to most kiddies as The Happiest Place on Earth, when I was at WDW in October for one of North America's top 15 Food and Wine Festivals, I discovered there's not only a place for adults, there's a secret stash of sips, spas and spectacles for those pining after youth {and its glow}.

Taken by Disney's sophisticated side, I returned home after my first trip and told everyone this: Whether you go as a multi-gen family, a group of friends or with your young kids, there's a ton of fairytale ways to indulge in Walt's lesser-known burrows starting with a glass of sauvignon blanc and ending with a steam bath.    

Here's a peek into Walt's grownUP world, cheers.

Spa
First things first, adult Disney has several spas, sans a Mickey silhouette in sight. There are two full-service spas at WDW; the first I recommend is Senses - a Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, an oasis of calm layered in earthy tones and textures. Contemplating the spa pre-visit, I half expected to be met by a Mouseketeer masseur for my massage. My assumption was totally off. In reality, my attendant was as calm as the cucumbers covering my eyes, and his movements akin to lapping waves. Arrive early or stay late to extend the treatment in a heated chaise, whirlpool or steam room. A similar concept and design sensibility abounds at Senses - A Disney Spa at the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, though here, there's an added glitz in the form of Murano glass chandeliers and silver-toned mirrors. I visited this spa yesterday with my mom for a mani-pedi, and we were luxuriating a total of four hours between our detail-oriented and indulgent nail work, and the steam-whirlpool-lounge relaxation area.

 Lounging atop a heated chaise at Senses - A Disney Spa

Lounging atop a heated chaise at Senses - A Disney Spa

Haute Dining
While I'm a huge fan of DOLE Whip, and Mr. Trip Styler can't get enough of Disney corn dogs, neither we nor our waistlines can survive on these park staples alone. Enter a world of upscale dining tucked behind the parks' buffets and concessions. My premier pick is Monsieur Paul in France at Epcot. Entering near the foot of the Eiffel Tower coupled with views over the Seine only adds to the haute couture and cuisine. My other top picks include: La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico, Spice Road Table in Morocco and the Rose & Crown Pub in England.

 Dining at Monsieur Paul

Dining at Monsieur Paul

Imbibing
As a Disneyland gala mostly dry park—drinking at Walt Disney World was an EPCOT-sized revelation. I could NOT believe you could drink at Disney, to the point where I asked several insiders the question 20 different ways to make sure I understood Walt's alcohol policy correctly. Case in point, the first thing I did when I arrived in October is wander out from my hotel to Disney's BoardWalk and order a cold brew at 11pm. When the park opened the next day, I hightailed it over to Epcot's World Showcase and sipped a flute of Champagne from the France Pavilion {a mini version of the City of Lights}, followed by a shot of tequila in Mexico, and so on. 

Trip Styler Tip: Epcot has 11 mini countries from Canada to Morocco in the World Showcase, each offering their own local bevs and bites. These mini cities are my Disney happy place {and a way to teleport yourself around the world in minutes}

 Sipping Champagne in France

Sipping Champagne in France

Spectacles 
Fireworks, usually reserved for special occasions, come standard at WDW. Every night the sky erupts in bright bursts with shows taking place at both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. There's even a Disney outpost of Cirque du Soleil {La Nouba} if you'd prefer to pair the circus with your Cinderella experience.

 Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show at Epcot

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show at Epcot

Festivals 
Throughout the year WDW hosts a bevy of adult-oriented events ranging from world-class food and wine events to an annual marathon every January {WDW is the size of San Francisco}. I'm with Mickey and my mom right now for one of the parks' largest undertakings, the 21st annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival {Mar 5 - May 18, 2014}. To give you an idea of the scale, this event boasts 30 million blooms and carries a staff of 24,000 who work year-round to grow, trim and prepare the florals and finger-sized, garden-fresh fare, some of which is grown in Epcot's greenhouses. 

 21st annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

21st annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Quiet Pools
Some WDW resorts such as the Beach Club and the Yacht Club have quiet pools, meaning you can break in bliss. 

[photos by @tripstyler taken as a guest of Walter E. Disney]