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How to Enjoy a Date Night at Walt Disney World's Epcot

November 3, 2015, 11:17 AM · It goes without saying that Walt Disney World is a magical place for children, but it's not just for kids. There are many opportunities for you and your significant other to have a great adult experience as well. So if you have little ones, leave them with a grandparent, babysitter, or any trustworthy-looking five-foot-tall duck in a sailor suit, and get ready to enjoy a date night at Walt Disney World. I am, of course, just kidding. That duck tends not to wear pants, go with the girl mouse in the polka-dot dress instead.

My wife and I love doing Disney Date Nights, but if we tried to go on a Disney trip without our kids, there would be a revolt in our house roughly the equivalent to the Boston Tea Party, only instead of tea, there'd be Capri-Suns and other assorted juice boxes poured out into bathtubs, sinks, and toilets.

So since we are forced to bring our children, we will also sometimes drag along my mom, who offers babysitting service in exchange for a souvenir Mickey Mouse T-shirt. This may sound like a good deal until you realize that while in normal non-magical places you can still purchase a T-shirt for roughly $10 American or so, Disney T's are apparently hand-sewn by fairies with gilded gossamer silk threads spun by Emperor Gypsy Moths, as one shirt costs more than an entire tank full of gasoline.

But I digress. Once we have paid off the Grandmafia with some mouse-ka-clothing, we are free to spend our night enjoying Disney World the way Walt intended... without annoying children. Just kidding, our children aren't annoying. It's only all the other ones who are. Especially those little darlings running around the dinner tables at an expensive Disney meal (sorry, that's kind of redundant, isn't it?) while screaming at a volume louder than the roar of the Test Track vehicles taking that big curve.

One of our favorite locations for enjoying a lovely Disney Date Night is Epcot. Now I realize in a previous article I may have pointed out how annoying it is to take a stroll around World Showcase with your kids when there is a plethora of obnoxiously drunk folks walking around with plastic cups of beer and wine in hand. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the silver lining on that particular cloud is that when you are one of those obnoxiously drunk folks without tag-along kids... it's no longer annoying!

So grab a fake glass cup of your favorite adult beverage, sit back, and enjoy as this article covers how to have an awesome date night at Epcot.


Food and Wine (and Beer, and Cider, and Liquor!)

Now, when Walt designed the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, he sure must have been hungry, because Epcot has more restaurants than even gift shops. It also has more rides the Disney Hollywood Studios... but then again so does your average middle-school carnival. (Sorry, Robert pays me by the joke.)

Statler and Waldorf
"In that case, you must owe Robert a refund!" (Cue Statler and Waldorf laughter) Photo courtesy Disney

And yes, I know that Walt's dream for Epcot was far different than what it ultimately became. But when Walt dedicated Disneyland, he did so to the ideals and dreams that created America... yet today visiting Disney is just a dream for many Americans, since a Premier Platinum Diamond Horseshoe Annual Pass now costs almost as much as Walt actually spent to build the park in the first place.

Regardless of what it was supposed to become, what isn't debatable is that Epcot's World Showcase is a wonderful place to eat, drink, and be merry. There are approximately 30 different eateries in the World Showcase Promenade ranging from elegant indoor table service to outdoor cafes, boulangeries to simple window counters, all offering cuisines and treats from around the world to tempt you and your loved one.

World Showcase has something for every palette and appetite. Leaving here hungry is not an option. Obviously being so full you have to unbutton your pants (or, uh, so I've been told, and definitely never while humming the James Bond 007 theme) is easier to do during the Food and Wine Festival, but recreational overeating is something you can enjoy at Epcot any time of year.

The beauty of all these choices is you can tailor your night however you want. All the options are right there at your fingertips to create a truly memorable evening for you and your date:

1. Elegant: Make reservations for a lengthy, multi-course dinner at one of Epcot's premier dining establishments. Some great ones include: Monsieur Paul in France, San Angel Inn in Mexico, Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada, and Tutto Italia Ristorante in Italy.

2. Casual: For lighter tapas-style snacks and drinks, you can hit one or two (or more) of these as you stroll the Showcase: Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Italy, La Cava del Tequila in Mexico, Crepes des Chefs de France in (wait for it) France, Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Arendelle I mean Norway (drum roll… rim shot), Spice Road Table in Morocco, Joy of Tea in China, and Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, also in France.

3. Social: If you'd rather mix it up, you can also enjoy the social atmosphere of Epcot's more communal bars and eateries. From non-stop parties and sing-a-longs, the revelry comes free of charge (a phrase rarely heard at a theme park) at these exciting locations: Biergarten in Germany, Rose and Crown Pub in England, and Teppan Edo in Japan.

Keep in mind that the above list of options really just scratches the surface. There are literally hundreds of different ways to design the victuals and potent potables portion of your date night. And if you take too much liberty with your libations, rest assured there are plenty of carts and stands around the World serving coffee, espresso, and cappuccino!

Your World Tour

Take your time and explore the countries. Each pavilion is an amazing work of art, with cool nooks and crannies to discover. From the architecture of the buildings to the very materials in the street, the World Showcase pavilions strive to recreate the experience of being in the respective country they represent, down to the smallest detail.

I know that I am guilty of not doing this most times we visit with the kids, because, let's face it, when touring a Disney theme park, most children want to ride rides, meet characters, buy toys and souvenirs, and eat cool snacks they can't have back at home. They usually couldn't care less about stopping at the countries, because it reminds them of social studies at school. And that's completely understandable.

However, a Disney Date Night at Epcot is the perfect time to do the exact opposite, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you're truly missing out on when you rush through the countries.

One of the first and best Disney Date Nights I can remember involved my wife and I having a wonderful dinner at Le Cellier, before it became an impossible-to-get reservation, then exploring the countries on a chilly night (for Florida, it was in the 40s) cuddled in our leather jackets and gloves and hats (we're Floridians, and yes there were Canadians in shorts and tank tops drinking cold beer.)

We tried candy bars we had never heard of in the U.K., bought souvenirs we couldn't pronounce in Japan, and sipped Espresso to warm ourselves up on the border of Italy. We took photos (selfies hadn't been invented yet) around the world: beneath secluded Canadian waterfalls, in front of the Eiffel Tower, and sitting astride famous Italian Fountains.

Skip the rides. Avoid the lines. Just enjoy everything there is to experience. See the wonderful shows like Impressions de France or Reflections of China that you may skip during your busy visits because the kids think they're as boring as the Hall of Presidents and besides they want to hurry over to Test Track 2.0 before their Fastpass+ expires. Take in the various street performances and authentic entertainment in each land.

Stroll the promenade and enjoy the amazing scenic views around World Showcase Lagoon. The wonderfully wide walkways make things seem much less congested than the other Walt Disney World parks. Plus World Showcase regularly stays open fairly late, even without Extra Magic Hour Evenings.

That's my idea of a wonderful night out in World Showcase. What do you love to do on your Disney Date in Epcot?

Replies (6)

November 3, 2015 at 2:22 PM · LoL, please keep the jokes in your posts! It lightens the mood and your writing is great! Yes, a few were groan-worthy, but in the same sense that the Muppets have groan-worthy jokes! Gotta love it! I was half expecting a "Wocka wocka" somewhere in this post!

As for the date night, if I lived closer to WDW, I would totally use these tips! The world tour concept is something that I used to do at Disneyland Resort when I had an Annual Pass. There were visits where we rode maybe one or two rides, and spent most of our time looking at architecture, people watching, and just listening to the park in general!

November 3, 2015 at 2:57 PM · Avoiding the lines and the rides means you're in the wrong place. You should visit Disney Springs to save yourself the admission fee. There is plenty of upscale restaurants and lots of entertainment and shops. The big problem with going to Epcot is it's too easy to lose track of time. A date night won't be take a mere 3 hours. You're talking about 5 hours long date. Grandma wouldn't want the kids that long.
November 3, 2015 at 3:52 PM · Another great post, Paul!! Even when the topic doesn't apply to me -- I couldn't get my husband to visit a Disney park for a romantic evening if I held a gun to his head :-) -- I still enjoy your insight and wit. Keep them coming!
November 4, 2015 at 4:59 AM · Nice write-up! I definitely agree with what you said about bringing kids to Epcot. I remember when I was a kid how much it would bug me that World Showcase had a huge lack of rides despite being such a well-themed area. I would always prefer spending most of my time at Epcot in the more attraction-heavy Future World. But as I've gotten older I've definitely started enjoying World Showcase more. Now on 50% of my Epcot visits I will only go on my absolute must-do rides at Future World (Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Mission Space and Soarin) and spend the rest of my time in World Showcase!

Now...um...could you please give some tips on how to get an Epcot date? For me, finding a date has been...well...let's just say it's always been an uphill struggle.

November 4, 2015 at 11:18 AM · There are 2 sides to the date night in EPCOT argument. I agree with Anon that spending an admission for just a few hours in EPCOT is not the best use of money, and if you include the costs of food, drinks, and souvenirs, it could turn into a very expensive date. However, if you've already visited the park earlier in the day and are sending the kids off with Grandma or to a baby sitter, then a more leisurely stroll around the World Showcase for an evening without the kids can be a pretty great night. I would also agree with Anon that you'd probably need closer to 5 hours for the date, especially if you're going to have a sit-down meal and actually walk the entire circuit.

If you haven't visited the parks earlier in the day and don't want to burn an admission for a few hours in the evening, Disney's Boardwalk is a much better destination than Disney Springs if you're looking to avoid the crowds. You can also go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which has 2 sit-down restaurants and plenty to occupy your time to round out the evening with events outside along the savanna and in the lobby.

I do think this piece was missing a crucial part of planning a date night while on a WDW vacation, which is the babysitting part. Sure, if you're traveling with other family or friends that are willing to watch the kids, you're in luck, but if not, there are some options. Last fall before going to our Chef's Table Dinner at Victoria & Albert's, we dropped our son off at the Polynesian Kid's Activity center, which is essentially a day care that has activities, movies, games, and meals for kids while their parents enjoy some time alone. The price was pretty reasonable (less than $50 for almost 4 hours if I remember correctly), and our son seemed to enjoy himself. There's also the option of having in-room child care, which we've also done in the past, that can be arranged through WDW or through other providers, many of which are vetted, screened, and certified.

Since we almost always travel to WDW in the fall, we typically arrange our date night around the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, and have spent evenings at exclusive Festival dinners, Party for the Senses, and Chef's Table meals (V&A's and Flying Fish). I think it's important for parents to get some time away from their kids during vacation, and the Orlando area has so many options, even beyond the plethora of opportunities offered by EPCOT.

November 4, 2015 at 7:18 PM · I disagree with Anon. Most of have an annual pass, so the argument to save an admission fee is irrelevant.

I'd suggest it's just as easy to lose track of time at Disney Springs as it is to lose track of time at Epcot.

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