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When I first set up a Walt Disney World Trip with my Adult son I was elated. Then I started to worry. Just how were were going to pull this off? A father and adult son Disney World trip sounds easy but we haven’t lived in the same house for years.
The Call To Galaxy’s Edge
I caught the Star Wars craze in 1977 when a bunch of college friends blew off the day to capture the movie in a local theater. Stu inherited my love for the series. We saw each new film as they came out. We gave Stu Star War books at Christmas describing the ships and people of galaxies far, far away. He took those books with him when he moved.
Our love for Disney began with semi-annual family trips in the 1990s. As he grew up, the trips were less frequent. Still, Stu learned to love life inside the Disney bubble.
When Disney added Galaxy’s Edge to Hollywood Studios our two passions were combined. Stu and I started talking about trips. Initially he talked about going with friends and I talked about going with Pat. Pat, however, did not want a go-go ride or die trip and Stu’s friends were slow in getting their plans together.
Suddenly Stu and I were planning a father and adult son Disney World trip together. At 61 and 32 we were going to hang together for four straight days. Just the two of us. We could be Disney’s biggest thrill rides all on our own.
The Perils of Planning a Father- Adult Son Disney World Trip
There are all sorts of difficulties in planning a Father – Adult Son Disney World Trip when the “kid” has been out of the house for a while.
The major issue we encountered was the sleeping arrangements. When he was a kid Stu lived in the bathroom. The bathroom disappearance thing was a source of friction when he lived at home. Plus I snore. A lot.
In addition I am a bit of a Disney World Geek and love planning, Stu has never been a planner. Even though Stu loves Disney World, the planning aspect is painful. I wanted him involved. He wanted it to happen.
These were small things but like all fathers and sons we had a long history.
Also, Pat (Mom) was not coming so we had to be cheap.
Our initial plan was for Pop Century (primarily for the cost and the Skyliner access). Two beds, (one a Murphy bed) and one bathroom. A Disney room sale gave us an opportunity. Pop Century was not available for the sale but All Star Sports was. We exchanged one room and (the Murphy bed) for two at All Stars for a few dollars more.
Setting the Ground Rules and Goals for the Father – Adult Son Disney World Trip
Moms worry. It’s their job. As the trip got closer I got detailed instructions on how to treat our adult son. He got instructions for how to treat an aging father. Me – no bossing, no exasperation, no losing my temper and above all be patient. Him – don’t exhaust me and be patient. Her other requirement; take lots of pictures. We did a trip to Universal when he was 15 and we forgot the pictures. Seventeen years later she hasn’t forgiven us. In addition, Pat put me on a training regimen so that I would be able to keep up with someone half my age.
I did the Advance Dining Reservations and the FastPasses. I kept asking for input and got little in return. When Extra Magic Hours were announced this caused a change in dining well inside the 180 day window. As I worked the reservation system I kept him informed. I found his lack of response alarming. Stu found the texts irritating.
Finally Stu let me know about his priorities. Up first was spending time with me. Then came Galaxy’s Edge, spending as much time as possible in the parks and doing the things Disney added since we were last there. Food was not a priority.
The actual Father – Adult Son Disney World Trip was a Success
I have to admit that we hit just about all of our goals. We landed at noon on Sunday and had lunch at Sanaa. Except for sleeping we stayed at the parks until 2:30 on Thursday. We attended Disney After Hours, Early Morning Magic- Fantasy Land and Extra Magic Hours. Every day but one started at rope drop and each ended at an After Hours event. We did all the attractions in Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora and Toy Story Land (except Alien Swirling Saucers). We rode the Skyliner and had four fireworks dinners. Yup, we did it all.
On Thursday I felt bad when I found myself napping during the Carousel of Progress. But then I noticed Stu was nodding off as well. So much for don’t exhaust Dad.
We encountered problems along the way and worked around them. The extra hour we spent stuck on the resort monorail was my fault. My choice of restaurant at the California Grill made up for it. Stu was late each morning but one, but I never got upset about it. Our biggest dispute was over bathrooms. We argued about using the nearest bathroom behind us or one in the direction we were going. Any problem was really minor as we both wanted to enjoy being together at Disney World.
The Keys to the Trip
The key was trying to put behind the Father-Son dynamic as much as possible and respecting and treating each other as individual adults. In doing so we accepted each other’s faults and could, therefore, celebrate each other. There was a lot of laughter and fun on the trip. I haven’t seen him smile so often and easily since he was a child.
On the Magical Express ride we both decided that this trip was the right length of time. The conclusion was based on the sheer exhaustion factor. Another day at this pace would have killed one of us. We had a blast together, but it was time to end.
When Stu woke up at our home on Friday (around noon), he spent hours talking to his mother before going home. We had joked on the plane that this was the price of the trip. Still, he relished the opportunity and Mom was thrilled.
Pat already suggested a next trip for the two of us. She mentioned San Diego. She doesn’t know but we already decided to hold out for Disneyland.
We have experienced Disney World and Universal Studios in all three phases of life; before kids, with kids and as empty nesters. We look forward to continue to vacation in Disney as we get older with friends and family.