With the romance of Valentines still fresh in our minds, it made me think about all the wonderful dates I’ve had with my husband throughout the years at the Disneyland Resort. Disneyland in and of itself is a romantic place, whether you’re on your first date or fiftieth, but there are places you can go and some small touches that can be added to your visit to make it a date night you will definitely always remember together. I want to share with all of our readers some of my favorite date night plans at Disney!
Of course, the most popular date night days are Friday’s and Saturdays, and parking on those days can sometimes lead to some stress at the start of your evening. If you’re going to be parking in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, I recommend using the “Flyover Trick” for parking. The Flyover Trick to park is basically a way to take an alternate ramp into this structure as opposed to the most common Ball/Harbor ramp, which is often blocked off by the Anaheim PD for traffic control. This ramp is almost always open, avoiding the headache of trying to park in Mickey and Friends only to be re-directed to Toy Story or Pumba lots. To use this trick, follow these directions:
- From the 5 northbound: Exit Lincoln and make a left, then another left on Manchester. Stay towards your left and in about a mile or so there will be the ramp into Mickey and Friends.
- From the 5 southbound: Exit Disneyland Dr and you get put onto the ramp almost instantly
Now that we’ve gotten the business of parking out of the way, now time for my favorite Disneyland date night special touches!
For a romantic night in the frontier, I recommend going to the Mark Twain–many of you know it is not running at the moment as construction of Star Wars Land is underway, but in my opinion this makes the Mark Twain even more romantic as you can take all the time you like to explore all the views and details of the boat, without having to get off between rides! It’s especially great around 4-5pm, as some of the night lights start to trickle on around the Rivers of America, topped with cotton candy sunset skies and beautiful views of New Orleans Square and the peak of Big Thunder Mountain! After you’ve finished exploring and maybe stealing a kiss or two on this romantic riverboat, you can head over for a sunset or night-time dinner at Rancho Del Zocalo. This is a great touch since the lanterns that surround the eating area of this restaurant are gorgeous at night, yet is an affordable quick service restaurant! For dessert pop on over to the churro cart that’s between the Mark Twain and Rancho Del Zocalo and split this classic Disney dessert with your significant other! To top off the night make sure to grab a souvenir at the Frontier Trading Post (near the entrance of Frontierland) to get coordinating leather name bracelets with each other’s names on it or with the date of your anniversary! These come in a wide variety of wrist sizes, colors, and most are around $12 (plus a discount if you have an annual pass).
For a truly classical Disney date, making me feel like I’ve gone back in time to the “Date Nites at Disney” from the 1950’s, I like to do a combination of activities from Main Street and Fantasyland. Often times on the weekends during peak seasons once it is nightfall the Royal Theatre in Fantasy Faire will have live swing bands and people are encouraged to dance! To kick back a little and rest pop on over to the Storybook Canal boats, an incredibly romantic place day or night. Don’t be fooled by the small boats thinking this is just for kids, the landscaping, storytelling by cast members, and the twinkle lights are wonderful for all ages! Afterward, head back down Main Street U.S.A. and get a delicious ice cream with waffle cone at Gibson Girl ice cream parlor then grab a spot on Main Street for the dazzling Paint the Night parade (most nights currently at 8pm Mon-Thu, 8pm & 10pm Fri-Sun) while you enjoy your treats. Once the parade is over, stay right where you are so you can see the fireworks show–most nights currently at 8:40pm, so almost always starts immediately after the parade has finished. But don’t leave the park quite yet! Many people leave immediately after the fireworks, making the tram and parking structure very congested, so to buy some time to let the crowds dissipate a bit, I recommend popping over to the Main Street Cinema for some relaxed time avoiding the crowds and enjoying classic Mickey cartoons.
Perhaps you’ve decided to do a Disney California Adventure date, also a very romantic place, especially at night!
One date night itinerary I quite enjoy doing since both my husband and I love art is to go to the Animation building in the Hollywood area. The lobby is incredibly romantic, projecting beautiful sketches of Disney characters, scenes from your favorite Disney animated films, along with the amazing scores and songs that accompany them. I highly recommend sitting through at least one entire loop of the videos, then head over into the Animation Academy to draw some characters with each other. You can at the end give your drawings to one another, a cute (and free) souvenir from your date. At night-time head on over to the Mad Tea Party for some dancing, delicious drinks, and a wonderful live band (NOTE: It was just announced yesterday that they will have their final performance on March 30th, but there could be another live band/dance party show following its closing!).
An alternative California Adventure romantic night would be to walk around all of Paradise Pier, gorgeously lit up in Edison lights, and take the time to go on Toy Story Midway Mania for some friendly competition, as well as the Midway games to possibly win some stuffed animals! At the end of your Pier walk, go to the Wine Trattoria Tasting Terrace for some wines or beers (they have some small snacks such as cheese plates and soft pretzels too), and plan to settle down for a while and sip your drinks at a table along the rim of the Terrace. From there, not only can you enjoy the lights from Paradise Pier but also Carsland, but if you hang out there long enough you can have a great view of World of Color (currently most nights at 9pm Mon-Thur, 9:45pm Fri-Sun). Or if you don’t want to settle down and want to keep exploring the park, walking through Carsland is wonderful as there are many details to take in, as well as delicious treats at the Cozy Cones! I do recommend stopping for a bit though at the outdoor eating area of Flo’s at night or sunset and watch some of the cars race by from Radiator Springs, it is absolutely breathtaking imagineering!
If you want that feel of a Disney date night but perhaps don’t have a ticket or annual pass for the day you want to go, you can do a date night at Downtown Disney or the Disneyland Resort hotels!
For Downtown Disney, I love doing a Parisian-style date night by taking my time browsing and enjoying the art at the Wonderground Gallery. Next, I like to go to the Downtown Disney Starbucks and enjoy coffee and some pastries at their outdoor eating area, beautifully lit at night and most of the time not too crowded. And keep your eyes out for later in the year when this Starbucks location is planning on offering Starbucks evenings!
The Disneyland Hotel is another very romantic place, especially at night. I love to grab a cocktail from their featured cocktail menu at either Trader Sam’s or the Steakhouse 55 Lounge, and afterward watch some classic Mickey cartoons in the hotel lobby of the Fantasyland Tower and then walk around exploring the details and displays in each of the hotel’s towers.