This article is the first in a series of posts about enjoying Walt Disney World without kids. Disney offers so much outstanding entertainment, incredible food, and places to relax that there is a lot to talk about. This post will focus specifically on music and live performance entertainment on property, everything from short 15 minute shows you can catch in the parks to longer theatrical productions in unique venues.
Dinner and a Show
On the top of my entertainment list is La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. With live music, amazing acrobatics, and extraordinary performances delivered in the signature storytelling of Cirque de Soleil, it will surely take you on a journey you won’t soon forget. This show was created specifically for the venue in Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) West Side so you won’t see it anywhere else - not even Vegas! And with so many wonderful restaurants in Disney Springs, dinner and a show is the perfect way to spend an evening. Two restaurants in Disney Springs to pair with such a great show are Fultons Crab House and The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck® Grand Cafe. These two restaurants offer an elegant and generally quieter dinner than other restaurants in the area.
For those of you who are looking for a little more down home entertainment, try the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This is a 2 hour vaudeville-style dinner show complete with singing, dancing, and comedy. The menu is a all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ complete with strawberry shortcake dessert. Oh, and draft beer, wine and sangria are included for guest 21 years of age and up. Isn’t it nice to know that you can take a bus back to your resort? While a family oriented performance, at the 8:30pm show you will usually see fewer little ones, and more grown-up kids like yourself.
On the other side of the Seven Seas Lagoon you will find Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Drawing on the spirit of a traditional Polynesian luau, you will be entertained by drummers, hawaiian dancers and fire-knife performers. As with the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is a all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner filled with authentic Hawaiian dishes. They also have unlimited beer and wine.
Sweet Melodies and Impressive Harmonies
I sent a dear friend of mine on a trip to Walt Disney World for her 70th birthday, she had never been. One of the things she talked about enjoying the most was all the music everywhere. So allow me to take you on a musical tour of Walt Disney World.
There are two charming acts both near the front of the park. The first being The Dapper Dans. A barbershop quartet with impeccable harmonies, they sing tunes of Americana that transport you to another time. And they tap dance too! They are found on Main Street USA at various time throughout the day. The other performer to see is the Casey’s Corner Pianist. Located outside of Casey’s Corner, you can grab a hot dog and sit and enjoy ragtime, jazz, and some Disney classics too!
At Epcot, the Voices of Liberty are not to be missed. This talented a capella group shares early American choral music in the rotunda of The American Adventure pavilion. They bring the songs of early America to life and are a delight for even the trained ear. Their show is just 15 minutes and can be seen at times throughout the day.
Just down the way from the Voices of Liberty is Matsuriza, a Taiko drum troupe. Here you can feel the music of Japan. The variety of sounds and rhythms is mesmerizing but that is just the start. It is an athletic performance with a little humor sometimes added. You can catch them at a variety of times throughout the day. And don’t forget to check out the Mitsukoshi department store before or after the show, there are a host of fun and unique items for sale.
And my last recommendation at Epcot is to stop in to the Rose & Crown Pub, where you can grab a pint while the British Ambassador of Good Time plays tunes to sing along with. What could be more fun than that?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In Africa, the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe make you feel like you have step onto a different continent. Like most of the performers outside of the stage shows, it is a short 15 minute show so you can enjoy the beat as you are headed to the Kilimanjaro Safaris or move your feet with them for the entire show.
I also like to mention the theater shows Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo-The Musical. The Festival of the Lion King is a packed with all your favorite songs from The Lion King and high flying acrobatics, live vocal performances, and lots of lively dance. On the other side of the park is Finding Nemo-The Musical. This is a longer show (40 minutes) but an absolute do not miss! Similar to the Lion King on Broadway, the characters are brought to life as large, imaginative puppets, animated by live performers. The original music created for this show and the creativity in how they brought this story to the stage is classic Disney and a brings a familiar story to life in a whole new way!
Enjoying the Music at the Resorts and Downtown Disney
The resorts offer a great variety of themed musical entertainment. One of my favorite places to sit, and relax is at Disney’s Grand Floridian. There you get a two for one - the Grand Floridian Lobby Pianist plays on the main floor followed right after by the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra, chiming in with ragtime, Dixieland, and traditional jazz. Also, there is a great lounge just behind the bandstand on the mezzanine level named Mizner’s Lounge, where you can grab a Manhattan and enjoy the grand Victorian elegance of this stunning hotel.
Another great place to grab a drink and listen is at Jellyrolls at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. A dueling piano bar, you can sing-along and request your favorites. There are a few great restaurants on the boardwalk if you want to grab dinner before you head to Jellyrolls. Flying Fish Cafe will not disappoint! And if you are up for a little stroll, you can walk around the loop by water and check out the Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club.
Finally we return to Downtown Disney where besides being the home of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, you have Paradiso 37, House of Blues and Raglan Road. All these restaurants have live music and entertainment. The House of Blues has a separate venue for it’s entertainment whereas Raglan Road you can dine and see the Irish dancers along with the house band.
In part two of Walt Disney World Sans Kids we will take a look at some of the unique food and incredible dining experiences available on property.