How Adult-Friendly Attractions Are Taking Amusement Parks to New Heights

At theme parks from coast to coast, the newest hotels, rides, and attractions are surprisingly adult-friendly. This year, it might just be the parents dragging the kids around for once.

Photo: Chip Litherland

Everything is Awesome

The Legoland in Winter Haven, Florida, is huge with the preteen set, and now Master Builders can spend the night in the park’s pièce de résistance: the Legoland Hotel (doubles from $218). As at its Carlsbad, California, counterpart, all 132 rooms are themed (pirates! adventure!), but some of the most coveted will be the Friends suites, modeled after the Lego sets that feature five female BFFs.

Luaus and Leis

Walt Disney World’s 44-year-old Polyneisan Village Resort (doubles from $483) has returned to its former glory, with a top-to-toe renovation of the lobby and 484 earth-toned rooms, as well as the addition of the tiki-themed Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. For a taste of Bora-Bora (by way of Orlando), stay in one of the 20 new overwater bungalows: the decks are positioned for views of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. To book, call 407-934-7639.

Hello, Dolly

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Dollywood—one of Tennessee’s most visited attractions—is encouraging families to settle into the Great Smoky Mountains and stay awhile. Ms. Parton cuts the ribbon this month on her 307-room DreamMore Resort (doubles from $179), where guests can gather by fire pits and try Southern cooking at the Song & Hearth restaurant.


Homer’s favorite hangouts are now found in a replica of downtown Springfield at Universal Studios Hollywood (day passes from $95). This microcosm of Anytown America (yes, there’s a Krusty Burger and a Lard Lad Donuts) gives little Bart and Lisa fans reasons to stick around after the ride comes to a stop; grown-ups can grab cold ones at Moe’s Tavern.

Going Batty

Save lunch for after “Batman: The Ride,” at San Antonio’s Six Flags Fiesta Texas (day passes from $48). The 4-D coaster sends adrenaline junkies spinning down a magnetic track and drops into two vertical free falls. Because the line will undoubtedly be long, the ride designers gave much thought to the waiting area, which is kitted out with a full-size Batmobile, a Bat Signal, and other special effects.

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