Romance in Disney World
Romance probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a Disney Vacation but many couples - including my fiance and I - would disagree. According to the Knot, the nation’s largest and most trusted source for wedding news and inspiration, 20% of US couples who honeymoon domestically go to one of the Disney Theme Parks. Whether it's Valentine's Day, your honeymoon, or just an ordinary day there are plenty of romantic things to do in Walt Disney World.
While Valentine's Day doesn't get the epic treatment that many other WDW Holidays enjoy there are a few little things that Disney does to make the day special including seasonal baked goods and special meets. Although it is not usually announced ahead of time, on Valentine’s Day when you line up to meet a princess you will get the added bonus of meeting her prince as well. Ask a cast member for more details including locations and times.
Where you start and end your day sets the tone for your whole vacation. When my fiance and I go, we like to stay at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. It has all the added charm of a Disney resort and theming and the sophistication of a business resort without the Deluxe prices. The convention center typically fills this hotel with business travelers so you won't find as many young families around, but it is still a Disney resort and great for kids of all ages. Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is also a great option. If it fits into your budget Disney’s Grand Floridian exudes elegance and romance.
While many of our Disney vacations are fun filled and action packed when we go as a couple we always try to slow down. We are fortunate enough to be passholders and go often so we don't have to do everything every time. To us there is nothing better than sitting on a bench with our favorite frozen treats (Mickey Ears for him, Dole Whip for me) people watching and enjoying each other's company. Take some time to enjoy the little shows and great streetmosphere Disney has to offer.
Try Something New
We use these “couple vacations” to spend time doing things we would normally pass by. If you are usually the one planning the vacation, add something your partner would enjoy into the itinerary. Fishing in the Seven Seas Lagoon or Watching the Game in the ESPN Zone may not be something you are dying to do but the thought you put into it will make it extremely romantic in your partner’s eyes. There is something for absolutely everyone on Disney property,talk to your travel agent about finding the perfect activity for your loved one. During many of our visits we institute a "must try something new each day" rule. We have done this for half a dozen trips already and are nowhere near running out of things. It also helps that Disney is constantly adding new things.
Consider a Dining Plan
The value of the Disney Dining Plan is often the subject of much debate. It definitely depends on your family if it will work for you. The dining plan does save you money if you plan on eating in the higher end or signature dining locations. For couples, I highly suggest looking into the dining plan and using your table service credits to plan incredible and memorable dinners.
Mix one or two of Disney's signature dining experiences (2 credits) into your itinerary. Narcoossees and the California Grill offer unparalleled views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in addition to the fine cuisine. If you want the meal of a lifetime, Victoria and Albert's has earned the AAA 5-star rating 13 years in a row and is the only adult's-only location on property.
You can have a great dining experience without the high price tag as well. My fiance and I really enjoy the fine French cuisine at Chef's de France and the fireworks view at Rose & Crown which are both located in EPCOT. I think there is nothing more romantic than dining in Beast's ballroom at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. I highly suggest trying their exclusive wine, L'ombre de le Bete (Shadow of the Beast).
Our absolute favorite for a romantic meal is the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios. The replica of the Hollywood Hot Spot offers a uniquely elegant menu with many signature items, wonderful cocktails, and an exclusive wine list. The Cobb Salad is not to be missed. When we are on a budget we like to share an appetizer and each get a cobb salad --- I promise you will not be disappointed. If you have a hard time getting reservations they also offer an outdoor lounge that serves up their famous drinks as well as a few of their signature dishes.
Sunset and Cocktails
The Polynesian Village Resort's new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto offers a unique bar experience inspired by Trader Sam the “head” salesman from the Jungle Cruise. The indoor space is incredibly small and difficult to get into but with the trouble! The special effects are a novelty that you won't find anywhere else. The Tiki Terrace, an outdoor patio, is also an incredible experience. Offering the same unique cocktail and small bites menu as inside, the terrace enjoys views of the pool, and beach. It is a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. On cooler nights they also offer outdoor fireplaces that you could cozy around while enjoying live music.
Spurge on Exclusive Fireworks Viewing
While I am not usually a fan of fireworks, the incredible nighttime spectaculars at the Disney parks are definitley magical experiences. Sharing a romantic moment with your loved one amidst the beautiful bursts is incredibly special. However, the stress of getting a good spot and dealing with the crowds can easily overshadow that. For a truly romantic night, splurge on one of Disney's exclusive ways to view the Fireworks.
Time your reservation right - If you plan on making reservations at California Grill, Narcoossees, or Rose and Crown make them 45 minutes to an hour before the fireworks show. They all offer viewing decks but they also pipe in the music if you prefer to enjoy the show from your table.
Book a Dessert Party- There is great debate if the convenience of the dessert party is worth the cost. For large families these events can get very expensive. Take advantage of the fact that there is only two of you and splurge on one of these. Both the Wishes! and Illuminations Dessert Parties offer incredible views, no crowds and as much dessert as you can eat.
Disney also recently starting offering the Ferrytale Fireworks Dessert Cruise on the iconic ferries that cross the Seven-Seas Lagoon. We love the view of the fireworks from across the lagoon and we plan on trying this on our next visit.
If you really want to splurge, you can also rent a pontoon boat or yacht at select Disney Deluxe resorts. For the cost of the boat rental you will have a driver bring you out to the seven seas lagoon or international gateway for an incredibly intimate experience. For an additional cost, you can also add private dining to your cruise. For more information or pricing contact your AYW travel agent.
Have a Picnic on the Beach- For a budget friendly option, the beaches at both the Grand Floridian and Polynesian offer amazing views of the fireworks. Grab a meal from their Counter Service restaurant or head over after your dining reservation. We like to have dinner at Ohana, grab a dole whip at the Pineapple Lanai and watch the show.
Think Outside of Main Street- You don't have to be in the middle of the crowds to get a great fireworks viewing location. My favorite spot to watch Wishes! is on the path to New Fantasyland towards Be Our Guest restaurant. They shoot the fireworks off behind both Cinderella and Beast's Castles, so if you stand on the path between the castles you are right in the middle of the show.
After a long day walking around the parks there is nothing better than a soothing massage. Or give your feet a break with a pedicure. Most Deluxe Resorts offer treatment rooms. Enjoy a treatment at the Grand Floridian before heading off to dinner and fireworks on the beach, or head over to Saratoga Springs before a shopping spree at Disney Springs. Coronado Springs is the only moderate resort to boast a Health Club- yet another reason it's our favorite!
The romantic comedy staple horse drawn carriage ride can also be found in Walt Disney World. Take a thirty minute jaunt around the Sassagoula River at Port Orleans Riverside or through the forests at Fort Wilderness. They even offer sleigh rides during the month of December.
For a more adventurous journey, Fort Wilderness also offers horseback riding. Ride through through an idyllic woodland teeming with deer, ducks, armadillos, and rabbits.
Explore Disney Springs
The newly reimagined Downtown Disney is a perfect location for a date night, whether it's dinner and a movie at the AMC theatres, bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes, searching for that perfect souvenir in one of the many shops, or splitting a sundae at Ghiradelli. Stop by the new Ganachery for a one of a kind chocolate tasting experience. There is also a mini golf course located across the street at Blizzard Beach.
Every Friday the Boathouse offers a Sweetheart Wine Tasting Cruise about Venezia, a 40 ft Italian Water Taxi. You can unwind with beautiful Italian music as you enjoy award winning wines and delicious hors d'oeuvres.
There have been several new restaurants and bars opened and announced for Disney Springs in the last year, including Morimoto Asia , a pan-asian experience by the Iron Chef. We are especially excited to try Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar (an Indiana Jones themed specialty bar) and Edison ( a turn of the century themed bar with live entertainment.)
Though Pleasure Island, the nightlife district popular in the 90s is now defunct, the Boardwalk (near EPCOT) offers a dueling piano bar "Jellyrolls" and a nightclub as well.
The Old Stand-bys...
Of course there is always "Flowers, Chocolates, Promises you don't intend to keep."
Disney has a whole department dedicated to sending special arrangements and gifts to your Disney resort. Disney Floral and Gifts offers pre imagined packages. But if you want something unique contact the Dream Makers. Imagine your loved one returning to your resort room to candle light, rose petals, and luxurious gifts. These ideas and anything else you may dream can be arranged by contacting the Disney Dream Makers (407) WDW - GIFT.
Looking for a little romance but have the kids? Disney offers in room babysitting services as well as Kid’s Activities Centers in some of the Deluxe hotels. For more information check out the Disney website.
All Dining Reservations can be made through My Disney Experience, or by calling (407)WDW - DINE. All cruises and special excursions can be made by calling (407) WDW PLAY. For more personalized suggestions, to book your trip, or make special arrangements contact your AYW travel agent.