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Weekly Top 10: Dating at Disney World

May 4, 2015, 9:34 AM · Maybe not me so much, but good ol' Walt's charm is what hooked Annie in to me. I'm kidding of course, because it was totally all me, but our second date was at Disney and we've been having dates there ever since! Disney gives daters the ability to follow a schedule or be spontaneous. From fine dining and fireworks to hot dogs and shooting arcades, we like to find areas where we relax and be ourselves while get to know each other more. Because isn't that what dating is often about? The Walt Disney World Resort offers great places to have that type of date. Here are the top 10:

Raglan Road

10. Downtown Disney - A great place for you and your significant other or in a group setting. You can do classic dinner at any of their many restaurants and a movie at the AMC 24 or you can do it all at the AMC at Fork and Screen Dine-In Theatres. Try a little bowling at Splitsville Lanes and share a sundae at Ghirardelli. One of our favorite places to be is at Raglan Road's outside bar. You don't have to have a reservation to sit at the bar and they still offer the same menus from Raglan Road. The newly opened Boathouse should be a great, but pricey, place for dinner and drinks along with boating around in their "Amphicars." Did I mention a Food Truck Park? Tip: If you're staying at Port Orleans, take the riverboat at night.

Giraffe

9. Animal Kingdom - Animal Kingdom is one of the most relaxing places on here. Between walking at your own pace on their Exploration Trails going through the animals' territory to their 20-minute safari, Animal Kingdom offers an immersive experience that is mostly shaded and cool. Try going to the Harambe Marketplace (opening May 22nd) for some quick service and bring it over to the Dawa bar nearby. Grab a Safari Amber and listen to the Burudika Band nearby.

Toy Story Midway Mania

8. Hollywood Studios - Hollywood Studios brings that Golden Era of Cinema alive. The Hollywood Brown Derby does a great job of that with celebrity caricatures on their walls, but check out the Derby Lounge beside it. Take a table and grab a drink flight along with some delicious food. Check out the Tune in Lounge for great drinks and friendly service. A favorite among many is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. Sit and order food in little cars as you watch clips of old Sci-Fi movies. I wish they would have full movies playing, but I guess you won't get me out of there for hours. Make reservations weeks in advance, unless you want to wait a while or sit in the back at a Flying Saucer-like table. Another reservation you want to make is getting a Fastpass+ for Toy Story, a great couples game.

Shootin' Arcade

7. Magic Kingdom - Where it all started for Disney in Orlando. This is Disney we've all come to appreciate and there's a bunch of fun to be had at it with your date. Try a little shooting at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade then grab food at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin is another great couple's ride and make sure you find out how to get the maximum amount of points for a little friendly competition. Have a delicious hot dog at Casey's Corner and try to grab a seat early to watch the nighttime fireworks. More of Magic Kingdom to come!

Territory Lounge

6. Wilderness Lodge - Disney simply knows how to theme a hotel and there are so many I can talk about, but there's nothing like The Wilderness Lodge here in Florida. When you step inside, you step into a place that was inspired by the Old Faithful Inn at Yellow National Park in Wyoming. Relax by the big fireplace on the ground floor or try a more secluded fireplace area located on each of their floors. Another cozy place is the Territory Lounge where you can grab drinks and delicious snacks as you gaze upon all the Pacific Northwest wall art. If you want to go all out, try one of their specialty cruises that has you viewing the Magic Kingdom Fireworks.

California Grill
Photo courtesy Disney

5. California Grill - Speaking of fireworks, what's better than some delicious food and fireworks? Located at the 15th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, dine on California-inspired food that includes sushi, prawns with a chili-lime sauce, and Shellfish Mole! Try to get reservation that corresponds with the Magic Kingdom fireworks and watch the fireworks as you eat. If you can't make a reservation during the fireworks, try making one earlier then come back later and show the check-in desk person your receipt so you can view the show at the lounge or the outside observation deck.

Epcot Gardens

4. Epcot Festivals - This IS the stroll in the park. Garden Festival in the Spring and Food and Wine Festival in the Fall will have the two of you visiting dozens of region themed food booths for appetizer sized dishes and beverages. Grab passport booklets and get it stamped at each place for added fun and memory reminders. Food and Wine can be very busy during the weekends, so try taking a day off during the week. Sign up for a wine tasting session or a cooking demonstration with a celebrity chef. Tip: If one of you has a Chase credit card, go to the Chase lounge in the American Adventure pavilion for free soda, water, and A/C. The Garden Festival is our favorite time because the weather is usually great when it starts in March and it's usually not as crowded as Food and Wine. Not as many food booths, but Garden Festival's flowers and plants make it a truly memorable date. Each festival weekend has a band playing so be sure to check out the schedules.

Be Our Guest

3. Be Our Guest - Whether you or your date is a Beauty and the Beast fan or not, Be Our Guest is simply magical. How magical you say? Well if you order lunch, you can sit anywhere and they will find you (based on your magic bands). We were worried they wouldn't find us because we meandered through all three of their truly amazing rooms to finally be seated in the Library, but they found us. The three rooms, the Grand Ballroom, West Wing, and the Library are all great places to dine, but for dinner the Ballroom is the best. You feel like you stepped into a royal palace just waiting to get up and do some sort of strange synchronized royal dance. Or maybe just watch one. Anyway, do "try the grey stuff" because it is pretty good. Reservations are a must and it will need to be planned months in advance.

Victoria & Alberts
Photo by Russell Meyer

2. Victoria and Albert's - Speaking of a place that has to be booked months in advance, and I mean months, Victoria and Albert's is regarded as one of the most romantic places in all of Disney. Named for the two lovers Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, anyone will love this prix-fixe menu of this AAA Five Diamond restaurant. There are three rooms: the main dining area which you will dine on seven excellent dishes, the Queen Victoria Room which you will have 10 dishes partly prepared table side, and the Chef's Table in the kitchen. If you don't like a dish before you're served, ask the dish to be replaced with something else on the menu. Have coffee just for the sake of the way they prepare it with a candle. This is a one of a kind experience at Disney that will last around three hours.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

1. Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar - Some may wonder why V&A is not number one, but for those who have spent time at Tutto Gusto will understand. This is a nice little wine cellar tucked in the back of the Italy Pavilion behind Tutto Italia. You don't have to have a reservation and the service is great. Try any of their various wine flights and food platters. However, don't limit yourself to the cheese platter, you can pick a cheese, add some of the best tasting freshly shaved prosciutto, and delicious bruschetta. This dark, cozy, and intimate place will have you and your date coming back every time you visit Epcot.

Now I can't promise anyone the same results as we had, but what I can promise is that you and your date will have a magical time!

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Replies (15)

May 4, 2015 at 11:00 AM · This couldn't have come at a better time because I was planning to take my fiancee to Disney for a date night. This has definitely helped give me some ideas on where to take her. Thanks!
May 4, 2015 at 11:28 AM · Great article! Seems like you all have had a lot of fun at Disney! I have been to a few of these places and you are right, perfect for a fun date!
May 4, 2015 at 11:46 AM · What a great article with awesome tips! If anyone knows how to win over a Disney woman-it's Jeff!
May 4, 2015 at 12:20 PM · Great article! What fun times at Disney!
May 4, 2015 at 2:12 PM · You shouldn't take her there on the first date. Maybe on the second date or later. It depends on whether there are future dates. The relationship could end early and you're stuck with a bill of several hundred dollars.

(Re-reading the article, he already said this.)

May 4, 2015 at 1:33 PM · Edited: misinterpreted Anon's post.
May 4, 2015 at 1:25 PM · As Anon was saying.... ;-)
May 4, 2015 at 1:37 PM · Anyways, great article. Thanks for the tips!
May 4, 2015 at 1:57 PM · Any of the restaurants with a chef's table/counter is an excellent "date spot". Citrico's at the Grand Floridian is on my list to try, but we really enjoyed the Chef's Counter experience at Flying Fish at the Boardwalk Resort, though it might not be a great 1st date spot because it's a bit noisy.

I would add Artist Point to the Wilderness Lodge description as it has a very nice, relatively quiet atmosphere, and excellent menu for a date night.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is also an excellent hotel to enjoy a romantic evening. You can select the more upscale Jiko or the buffet-style Boma for a meal and enjoy roaming the public areas of the resort before or after dinner. In the evenings, the resort has plenty of activities including viewing the animals through night vision goggles or star gazing with amateur telescopes.

The EPCOT Festivals are an amazing source for "date night" material, but require extensive pre-planning for the "event experiences", and can sometimes be even more expensive than the most expensive WDW restaurants. "Eating/drinking around the World" cannot be topped for a date night in terms of cost and variety, though a full trip around the World Showcase may determine your compatibility with your date.

Depending upon your taste and sophistication, an evening at LaCava in EPCOT followed by a viewing of Illuniations can be a very romantic evening that in my book is far superior to the dessert packages Disney peddles.

May 4, 2015 at 3:52 PM · Those are some great comments Russell, we will definitely give those ideas a try! There's just too much to do at Disney.
May 4, 2015 at 5:40 PM · What a great article to stumble upon while scouring for ideas of what to do with my girlfriend next weekend at Disney! We have never been to Orlando and are looking forward to experiencing some of Jeff's reccomendations, especially animal kingdom and California grill
May 5, 2015 at 9:14 AM · In the west coast, Disneyland dates are quite common. It was cheaper in the past to do a day trip to Disneyland. Now that it costs $99 per person, you'll have to think twice about it. Perhaps the compromise is visiting Downtown Disney and enjoying the atmosphere and the various restaurants on property or at the Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian. The street shows are quite popular. If you arrive late enough, you can watch the fireworks at the central plaza near the Disneyland gates.
May 5, 2015 at 12:36 PM · Disney does have a lot of options. Great Article!
May 5, 2015 at 8:11 PM · As a woman, you missed some of my absolute favorites. My top spot for a romantic birthday or anniversary is Port Orleans, beginning with dinner at Boatwrights Dining Hall, followed by a romantic carriage ride, and ending with drinks, beignets and music.

Another favorite of mine is Beaches & Cream with miniature golf (within walking distance), followed by romantic fireworks on the BoardWalk.

Best of all, both of these date locations require no tickets for admission!

May 6, 2015 at 7:03 AM · Amazing Article!! Not only did I take you up on your Epcot advice, but my date absolutely loved it! We got two seats by the fireplace in tutto gusto and couldn't have had a better time. There was a great ambiance and we really felt like we were in Tuscany! We were never rushed and couldn't have asked for a better first date. We had excitement, laughter and our cheesy romantic moments. Forget mission space, it's more like #mission accomplished. Thank you again Jeff for the great article!

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