While many people think Walt Disney World is a destination for families and children, I am here to tell you that there is a lot of romance in the Disney Parks and Resorts. Just look at the popularity of Disney Fairytale Weddings, the number of proposals at Disney Parks on Instagram, and all the honeymooners starting their Happily Ever Afters at Walt Disney World. Even if you are there on a family vacation you have some options to get away for an adult date night by utilizing the Kids Clubs found at some resorts (closing July 2018) or in-room babysitting. Here are 10 Ideas for an Epic Date Night at Walt Disney World:
10. An Animal Kingdom Night
Animal Kingdom is a truly beautiful park with all the natural surroundings, hidden trails, and water features. At night it takes on a different character with beautiful and dramatic lighting, and with Pandora’s bioluminescence it is even more amazing. Plan a night to take advantage of all of the romantic aspects of the park. Start of with a dinner, I recommend Tiffins or its Nomad Lounge. Fabulous food with fantastic service. It is a true fine dining experience. Make it a Rivers of Light Dining Package with a meal in the restaurant and you have reserved seating for the show. Catch one of the Rivers of Light shows, truly a beautiful performance and romantic because it is so pretty & moving. After the show stroll around the park at night and be sure to stop by Pandora to take in its glowing beauty.
9. After Hours or A Party
Think about a late night date and purchase entry into one of the After Hours nights at Magic Kingdom or one of the special seasonal parties. After Hours puts you in the park with a limited number of guests so if you are both ride fans this is a great time to take advantage of low wait times. And the Magic Kingdom is so beautiful and romantic all lit up at night, it is the perfect time to just enjoy it with your significant other. If you are lucky enough to be in the parks during party season I recommend a date night at either Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. Both events have special entertainment, fireworks and parades along with exclusive characters and lots of fun for a date night in the Magic Kingdom.
8. Eat Around the World +
It is always fun to experience the culinary offerings at the World Showcase. For your date night instead of making a dining reservation at a restaurant try stopping at multiple pavilions and sharing plates of food so you can sample dishes from around the world. This works even better if you visit Epcot during one of their annual festivals (which is pretty much every month except the summer). The festivals have additional food and beverage booths set up serving small plates of special foods. And during the festivals you can cap off your date night with a concert in the America’s Garden Theater. A great way to spend a night in Epcot—and probably one you wouldn’t be able to do as easily with kids in tow.
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7. Disney Springs
I love Disney Springs and all the amazing additions to that keep coming to this shopping & dining destination. You have so many choices of great restaurants that it is someplace I often lament I wish I could go for a date night when I’m back at home . . . “Can’t we just go to Disney Springs and eat at [fill in the blank]” My top three (currently) are Homecomin’, Boathouse and Morimoto Asia for table service restaurants. And after your meal add some fun and friendly competition to your night with a game or two at Splitsville. Everyone loves to bowl and Splitsville offers food and drink so you can enjoy dessert and drinks while you bowl.
6. California Grill
I think my #1 date destination for a restaurant right now is the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. I like to make a reservation that will have me seated for dinner in time for sunset. Taking in the glorious, vibrant Florida sunset from high above the Contemporary is magical in itself. The menu at the California Grill changes seasonally featuring fresh foods and creative dishes. The service is impeccable, the food delicious, and it makes for a wonderful relaxing meal with your date. And, regardless of what time you make your reservation you can come back in time for fireworks to watch from the observation decks. The California Grill has a dress code so that also helps to make it feel like a special date night.
5. Epcot + Illuminations
We’ve already talked about all the wonderful food that Epcot offers, definitely my favorite park to dine. An epic date night would be having a fantastic dinner at one of your favorite types of cuisine. I love just about every World Showcase restaurant, but I think my top picks for a date night would be Le Cellier, Les Chefs de France, Tutto Italia, or Monsieur Paul. Make your dinner reservation a little on the early side and then schedule a Illuminations Dessert Party. The Dessert Party will take care of your drinks and dessert (so you want to have some time in between). You’ll also have reserved viewing area for the fireworks.
4. In Room Dining
While the value and moderate resorts do offer a pizza delivery option for in-room dining, you could always pick up food at the Food Court and bring it back to your room to eat. This really works best at the Deluxe Resorts where a full menu of in room dining is offered. Many of the resorts have dishes from their signature restaurants on the menu, so you can enjoy them in a more private setting and without needing an advanced dining reservation. My favorite option for this? The Polynesian offers the ‘Ohana feast on the in room dining menu . . . yum!!! Then after dinner you can go down to the pool area and relax in the hot tub, or watch the fireworks from your resort if they are visible, or just have some “alone time.”
3. Monorail Crawl
Disney caught on to the idea of visiting all the monorail resorts for dining and is now offering this experience as something you can reserve and go with a group from resort to resort for a progressive style dinner. While this may be a fun option, it may not be ideal for a date night if you really want some one on one time with your companion as it tends to be a pretty social experience with the whole group together. There is no reason why you can’t do this on your own though. You could even throw in Wilderness Lodge (which I think is a very romantic resort). Arrive at Wilderness Lodge for cocktails at Territory Lounge or out by the water at Geyser Falls. Then take the boat ride over to the Contemporary for appetizers—you could try one of the lounges so you don’t need a reservation. Take the monorail to Grand Floridian for dinner (I love Citricos and Narcoossee’s), and then monorail back to the Polynesian for dessert (you have some options, but the Pineapple Promenade for a Dole Whip is classic Disney). There are lots of other combinations you could do as well—maybe Trader Sam’s for cocktails, California Grill for dinner . . . so many fun ways to put it together, the planning would be half the experience!
2. Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table
The ultimate in foodie experiences at Walt Disney World. Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian is renowned for its creative menu, fresh ingredients, delicious food and highest level of service. And the Chef’s Table is the ultimate experience there with a personalized culinary adventure. You definitely need to plan ahead for this date night as reservations are very hard to get, and with the price tag you need to plan ahead financially too. But, this will be an unforgettable night of foodie indulgence!
1. Fireworks Cruise
I think the fireworks at Walt Disney World are just one of the most romantic things ever. A wonderful way to experience them without the crowds of the theme parks is to reserve a private fireworks cruise. You have options at both Epcot and Magic Kingdom. You will be picked up at one of the resort marinas, your captain will take you on a little cruise around the area, and then park you in a prime spot to view the fireworks show. You can order food and beverage to have on your boat as well. I prefer the Illuminations cruise slightly to the Happily Ever After version at Magic Kingdom for two reasons. With the projections on the Castle you miss part of the show by being further away on the boat, and the Illuminations cruise parks you right at the fireworks on World Showcase Lagoon so you are almost in the show. I think my perfect date night would be a delicious meal at one of the resort restaurants around the marina where you will be picked up (maybe Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club) followed by a romantic private cruise.
What would make an epic date night for you at Walt Disney World?