As many of us Disney-loving adults know, Walt Disney World is not just for kids and families! It’s also an amazing vacation destination for adults-only trips, especially those who are looking for a romantic and fun getaway as a couple. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love will surely be in the air! So if you’re planning a date night with your honey in Disney World, here are some excellent ideas for ways to spend quality time as a couple – without kids. These ideas will be great not only for celebrating the Valentine’s holiday, but also for enjoying the perfect honeymoon or anniversary together.
If you are in fact traveling with your children, you can still take part in these opportunities by taking advantage of WDW’s Children’s Activity Centers! There are 5 locations: Lilo’s Playhouse at the Polynesian Village Resort, the Cub’s Den at Wilderness Lodge, Simba’s Cubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Sandcastle Club at the Beach Club Resort, and Camp Dolphin at the WDW Dolphin Hotel. These are safe, supervised places designed for kids ages 3 to 12 to partake in fun entertainment and educational activities, including surprise visits from Disney characters! They open at 4:30pm and stay open late, serving dinner to the kids at approximately 6pm and snacks at 10pm. As no outside food is allowed, this is included with the cost of the service, which is a flat rate of $55 per child for the entire duration of the evening. Not a bad price at all if you ask me, considering most babysitters charge $10+ an hour! Children must be fully potty-trained, and advance reservations are recommended. But, they can also accommodate walk-ins if availability allows – with the exception of Camp Dolphin, the only one where reservations are required. So once you have dropped off your little ones, the two of you are free to go and enjoy your romantic night out!
# 1. Splurge on a Romantic Dinner at a ‘Signature’ Fine Dining Restaurant – One of the best, most obvious ways to celebrate romance is definitely with a superb meal and outstanding service at an excellent restaurant, and Disney World has some of the finest dining and atmosphere both in and outside the parks. You will surely want to schedule this reservation as far in advance as possible, as many of these locations book up quickly. Also, please be aware that some of these have dress codes to adhere to, particularly those located at deluxe resorts, and they each require 2 credits per person on the Disney Dining Plan. Here is a list of the best places to indulge:
- Victoria & Albert’s (Disney Dining Plan not accepted), Citricos, and Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort
- The Boathouse, Fulton’s Crab House, and Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)
- California Grill at the Contemporary Resort
- Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk
- Le Cellier (Canada) and Monsieur Paul (France) at Epcot
- Shula’s Steak House at the Dolphin Hotel (Disney Dining Plan not accepted)
- Jiko – The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge
There’s a little something special about each of these choices, and all have their own unique theme. Victoria & Albert’s has the most awards and accolades of this list, and is also the most elegant & expensive. Although I have never eaten there, I have heard it is well worth the price and I don’t doubt it! It’s on my bucket list for someday. Narcoossee’s waterfront location on the Seven Seas Lagoon offers panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant. The Boathouse, also known for it’s waterfront location, offers super romantic boat rides in their incredible vintage Amphicars. And the California Grill, atop the Contemporary on the 15th floor, is another spot perfect for Wishes fireworks viewing. They dim the lights and pipe in the music so that you get the full experience. But if your dinner doesn’t coincide with the timing of Wishes, no worries. You are invited to watch from the restaurant’s lounge or outdoor observation deck. One other place I feel worth mentioning is not labeled in the fine dining category, and only requires 1 dining plan credit, but it is highly sought after and has a beautiful and enchanting atmosphere. I’m talking about Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, themed to the classic tale of Beauty & the Beast. If you are lucky enough to get in for dinner there, it’s very much worth a visit!
# 2. Take In a Dinner Show – This fantastic combination allows you to enjoy 2 magical experiences in 1! Enjoy both a great all-you-can-eat dinner feast and the quality entertainment that Disney is known for simultaneously. The Disney dinner shows are lots of fun and an excellent value in my opinion, since they include unlimited food, alcoholic beverages, and a live theatrical show for one set price per person (approx. $65-75). You pre-pay when you book your reservation (cost is 2 credits if using the Disney Dining Plan) and the price includes the tax and gratuity. There are actually 3 to choose from, but the best one for an adult couple on a date would have to be the Spirit of Aloha luau at the Polynesian Village Resort. The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at the Fort Wilderness Resort is also a favorite, and could be good if you’re in the mood for some old-fashioned cornball humor, but I think it’s best enjoyed with the whole family or a group of friends. Maybe a double date? The 3rd one is the Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (also at Fort Wilderness), but I’d reserve that one for a night with the kids because it’s perfect for them to enjoy, since it’s very casual and it’s the only one that involves Disney character interaction.
# 3. Travel the World in Only One Day at Epcot’s World Showcase – Epcot is the perfect place to spend a sophisticated, relaxing day or evening with your love – strolling leisurely around the beautiful World Showcase lagoon and visiting each of the 11 different nation’s pavilions for good food, drinks, shopping, and entertainment. Best of all, you’ll be exploring and tasting your way through all of the different cultures for an unparalleled sample of a trip around the globe. There are so many bars to visit scattered all through the Showcase, but be sure to stop at my personal favorite, the sake bar hidden in the back of the fabulous Japan gift shop. Of the 4 Disney World theme parks, Epcot is definitely the most enticing for adults, and has the largest, widest variety of restaurants on Disney property. FYI, the best time of year to visit is during the International Food & Wine Festival in the fall, hands down! During special events that run throughout most of the year, including the Food & Wine Fest, the springtime Flower & Garden Festival, and also the summertime, you can catch a free concert given by various popular recording artists at the America Gardens Theater – a very fun way to enjoy an adult’s night out! Another wonderful way to experience a little extra romance in the World Showcase is to buy tickets to the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party ($49 per person includes tax and gratuity), which provides superior viewing of the IllumiNations nighttime fireworks show in a VIP, reserved location and access to an assortment of desserts and beverages, including sparkling wines.
#4. Embark on a Fireworks Cruise Voyage – Since we’re already speaking of VIP fireworks viewing and dessert parties, I’d like to tell you about a similar offering – the new Ferrytale Wishes Fireworks Dessert Cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon, aboard one of the Magic Kingdom ferryboats. For $99 per person (tax & gratuity included), once on board you will get to delight in a variety of treats & specialty desserts inspired by the Magic Kingdom & it’s surrounding resorts, as well as several beverages (with or without alcohol), including a signature punch, before the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular begins. From the water, you will witness a gorgeous and one-of-a-kind view of Cinderella Castle and world-famous fireworks show above. It even includes a few take-away gifts to remember your special night- a souvenir plate and glow glass. If you’re looking to upgrade to something more private, you also can book your very own ultra-romantic luxury outing on a deluxe pontoon boat to view the fireworks at either Magic Kingdom (departing from one of the 3 resorts on the Seven Seas) or Epcot (departing from the Yacht Club). It includes a Captain to accompany you and serve assorted snacks and soft drinks, but for an additional cost you can also order from Private Dining by calling the resort your cruise will launch from to create your own custom menu. Choose between appetizers, personalized cakes, dessert platters, champagne & strawberries, or a full meal, and you can even get professional Butler service! Ooh la la! Sounds like the perfect way to propose to me……….*A TIP: If you are planning a special night on a budget, a super inexpensive, alternative way to enjoy both dessert & a good view of the Wishes fireworks is to visit the Polynesian Resort and get either a gourmet cupcake from Captain Cook’s or a Dole Whip from the Pineapple Lanai, then lounge in a hammock on the resort’s beach while you enjoy your treat and watch the night sky light up and explode with dazzling color. And don’t forget to stop by Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto for a drink or a quick bite to eat!*
#5. Explore All That Disney’s Boardwalk Area Has to Offer – The Boardwalk is a really, really awesome place to hang out for a fun, relaxed night with your date. There’s so much to see and do in this unique, turn-of-the-century themed area inspired by Coney Island and Atlantic City! You can:
- have dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe or dine Italian at the new Trattoria al Forno
- sip on margaritas from Boardwalk Joe’s
- visit the Boardwalk Bakery for decadent sweets such as salted caramel ganache, cheesecake brownies, cannolis, and peanut butter, banana, & candied bacon pie
- grab a funnel cake
- play some midway carnival games
- watch the Epcot fireworks
- watch talented street performers perform various acts
- visit the shops
- rent a 2-or 4- person Surrey bike
- catch the Movie Under the Stars on the lawn
- dance the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall
- and last but not least, my personal favorite activity – Jellyrolls!
To elaborate more on my #1 recommended nightlife adventure for adults at Walt Disney World, Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar on the Boardwalk where you can drink and be merry while listening and singing along to classic tunes. Oftentimes, they get requests to play favorite Disney songs, which I always enjoy hearing very much. It’s always a blast, and is definitely a much more casual way to spend alone time as a couple, if you prefer to opt out of the mushy, conventional romantic stuff. Also, I’d like to note that the nearby Swan Hotel has a Japanese restaurant called Kimonos that serves some of the best sushi in town and features nightly karaoke in the lounge. It’s just a short little walk over the bridge from the Boardwalk.
#6. Visit Disney Springs for All Kinds of Entertainment – The area formerly known as Downtown Disney used to be a hot spot for adult nightlife thanks to it’s Pleasure Island nightclubs, but that era is now long gone and it’s entering a new Renaissance with the recent transformation into Disney Springs. It’s got tons of new restaurants, shops, and venues to explore and you’ve just got to make some time for it on your WDW vacation. It is having a true re-birth as an adult’s playground, but in a much more modern, classy and sophisticated way. I recommend you try out a date night with one of the following:
- tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba show
- a concert at the House of Blues
- bowling fun at Splitsville
- an exhilarating ride on the hot air balloon Characters in Flight, best timed during a fireworks show at one of the parks
- a Fork & Screen showing at the AMC movie theater – with a surprisingly excellent full menu & bar, table service, and pre-assigned seats
- dinner, of course! Earlier I mentioned the Boathouse, Morimoto Asia, Fulton’s Crab House, and there’s also Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Wolfgang Puck, Paradiso 37, and Raglan Road (a very popular Irish restaurant with live entertainment)
- have an outdoor picnic in the courtyard with food from the new, themed food trucks (there’s one for each of the 4 theme parks) – Superstar Catering, Namaste Cafe, Fantasy Fare, and World Showcase of Flavors
#7. Stay at a Deluxe (or Moderate) Disney Resort – One of the best ways to experience all these activities I’m discussing is to stay close by at a beautiful, specially themed Disney resort that will feel as cozy as home and fully immerse you in the middle of the magic. For a grownup’s getaway, I’d advise against staying at one of the value resorts, which are geared towards children and families. You will have a much quieter, refined and peaceful stay at a deluxe or moderate resort, depending on which fits in better with your budget. As an agent with World of Magic Travel, I would love to help you choose the resort that’s right for you, and I have personal experience staying at all of them. The top choices I recommend for adults are the Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Wilderness Lodge, the Yacht & Beach Club, and the Boardwalk for the deluxe category and either the Port Orleans or Coronado Springs for the moderate category. Staying at one of the Epcot area resorts – Boardwalk, Yacht, & Beach – will be ideal for enjoying the aforementioned World Showcase (#3) and Boardwalk entertainment (#5), since it’s just a short stroll or boat ride over to the back entrance into Epcot – known as the International Gateway. It’s also a great location for visiting the Swan and Dolphin hotels and Hollywood Studios park, since there’s boat service and a sidewalk to take you all the way there if you prefer walking (20 min or less). Bay Lake Tower is adjacent to the Magic Kingdom, which is a super short walk away, and many rooms offer amazing views of the theme park. Plus, it’s ultra modern contemporary decor appeals to most adults, but it’s quieter than the bustling Contemporary Resort next door, and you can still easily access the monorail for service to Epcot. The Grand Floridian has no compare for the ultimate in ambiance and luxury, and it’s home to a tranquil spa (#8) and the finest restaurants (#1). Just sit in the main lobby and listen to the piano playing, or go for afternoon tea, if you want to soak up the atmosphere – which is romantic Victorian elegance at it’s best. Staying at Port Orleans will grant you access to the boat service to Disney Springs (#6) and they also offer horse-drawn carriage rides there around the grounds and along the river. All of these resorts offer great lounges to relax in & grab a drink, with some offering fun live music like the Port Orleans – which has the wacky YeHaa Bob Jackson performing on piano in the River Roost Lounge (at Riverside) and the Scat Cat’s Club jazz lounge (at French Quarter), which feels just like you’re in New Orleans. My favorite way to spend the day though, is to rest and swim at the resort’s pool. The Yacht & Beach Club has the best one on property! For an adults only weekend, especially during a hot and crowded time, it’s so nice to stay out of the theme parks and be cool in the refreshing aquatic paradise.
#8. Pamper Yourselves with Treatments at the Spa – Valentine’s weekend wouldn’t be complete without a romantic couple’s massage at Senses – a Disney Spa, located at both the Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs Resorts. They also offer facials, body wraps, manicures, pedicures, and aromatherapy to help you both unwind in comfort.
#9. Go On a Special Guided Tour in One of the Theme Parks – Did you know that the majority of the tours offered at WDW are exclusively for adults (and sometimes teens, too)? Yup! Several of them even offer you a behind-the-scenes look at the backstage magic of Disney. There are lots of exciting options to choose from, like these:
- Wild Africa Trek in Animal Kingdom – puts you up close & personal with the wildlife, including the rope bridge walk just 10 feet over the crocodile pit!, 3 hours long & approx. $200 per person, includes complimentary photo service and a souvenir
- World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered in Epcot – $109 per person, 5 hours long, includes lunch in Morocco and behind the scenes looks at the 11 countries
- Backstage Magic – 7 hours, $255 per person, a backstage look at each of the 4 theme parks (and more!) for insight into the secrets of daily operation at the WDW resort, includes special gift and lunch at the Whispering Canyon Cafe
- Keys to the Kingdom – 5 hours, $79 per person, an in-depth study of the Magic Kingdom, with a tour of the underground tunnel system that runs beneath – the “Utilidors”!, includes lunch and an exclusive keepsake
- Wilderness Back Trail Adventure – embark on a 2 hour ride through nature around the Fort Wilderness campground, Bay Lake, and Wilderness Lodge on a Segway!
#10. Be Like a Kid Again at the Park – Okay, with all this fancy schmancy talk of “grownup” activities, and almost all of them being outside of the 4 theme parks, what about those of us that are really just kids at heart who love Disney passionately and want to experience it in all it’s glory? Well, I say let loose and go be yourself at your favorite park with your significant other. We work hard and life is too stressful most of the time, so go on and ride the roller coasters, hug the characters, wear the ear hats and have the time of your lives! Be silly together and get your caricature drawn by one of the artists on the sidewalk. Buy the book or download the app & take your time tracking down the numerous Hidden Mickeys. One of the best times to go and enjoy the parks as an adult couple without children is during the Extra Magic Hours, exclusive to Disney resort guests. On select nights, one of the parks will have 2 – 3 designated hours of extra time they will stay open after regular closing, and the crowd is usually very low because the park is mostly emptied out already and it’s past kids’ bedtimes. The best park EMH are Magic Kingdom’s, so try to plan your visit around their schedule, which can change anytime, but currently is scheduled for every Wednesday night this year.
What are some ways you have enjoyed romantic couple time at Walt Disney World? Share with us in the comments section below!
If you’re interested in booking a vacation to Walt Disney World, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As an agent with World of Magic Travel Services – the preferred travel agency of Chip & Co. – I offer complimentary planning services so that all you have to do is show up and enjoy your magical vacation!