One of the joys of Disney Vacation Club membership is that you get to spend more time at the resorts than anyone else. Your ownership interest comes with the privilege of returning to Disney a lot at a much more affordable price, basically the cost of your maintenance fees after you’ve paid off the initial purchase. And that means you get to enjoy Disney in a way that few do.
What’s the best way to relish your extra time? Spend it with someone you love. Folks may think of Disney vacations as a place for families to go to spend time together. Still, parents could always use a little Me Time to enjoy each other’s company. And travelers who visit Disney without kids will find plenty of passionate distractions. Here are nine of the most romantic things you can do during a Disney trip.
Hotel Room Gifts
You can set the mood for the trip before you’ve even unpacked your luggage. All you need’s a little bit of planning. Disney offers In-Room Celebrations for everything from birthdays to anniversaries to recognition of your DVC membership. Just from that list, you can see that some options are more romantic than others….unless your significant other looooooves DVC.
"A Wish Come True" package
The two In-Room Celebrations that ooze passion are $375 and $275, respectively, so neither one is cheap. The $275 version is "From Mickey and Minnie with Love." It includes staples of a Nicholas Sparks film, such as scented candles lighting the path to a bed filled with rose petals. Chocolate and a bouquet of flowers also come with the package, as does a personalized picture and some bath towels. The $375 version, "A Wish Come True", is a two-day celebration of your devotion. It includes a Swarovski crystal and silver-plated bracelet, which strikes me as a much better value, presuming you didn’t experience sticker shock earlier. Disney’s hotel room gifts are wonderful. They are NOT cheap.
By the way, should you like the idea of a gift but not want to give it at the room, some other options exist. The most dramatic of them would involve a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table, a romantic outing in and of itself. When you eat there, you have the option to call ahead and request the glass slipper dessert, which will come in either white or dark chocolate. Presuming you call ahead, Disney’s clever chefs will even engrave the chocolate, making it the most memorable 12,000 calorie dessert that you’ll ever eat.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of DisneyBounding, please read this article I wrote a couple of years ago. You may associate the practice with cosplay, but that’s not quite accurate. DisneyBound can be much more subtle. It’s as simple as wearing the same colors as the Disney character you love. With a bit of planning, you can DisneyBound in a way that virtually no one will notice if that’s your preference. Alternately, you can throw on some threads that cause other park guests to do a double take.
The choice is yours. Well, I should say that the choice is both of yours. Nothing I discuss here will make for a more memorable day at a Disney theme park than a couples version of DisneyBounding. To plan this date, simply have a conversation with your date about favorite Disney characters. Then, pick the two that you feel will match your personalities best. Note that you don’t have to choose Mickey and Minnie or Donald and Daisy. You can be more creative than that. The characters don’t even have to exist in the same Disney realm. If you’re into "Guardians of the Galaxy" and your date’s a fan of Pixar, that’s totally fine. What’s important is that you’re doing something together, and you both know it. That’s all you need for the entire day to feel a bit romantic. You’re doing something as a couple! Of course, this strategy can also lead to…
Make Some Memorable Pictures
A Disney annual pass now includes free PhotoPass services. You might as well take advantage of them. Pull up your My Disney Experience app. You might not have realized it, but one of the features is a display of the current locations of Disney photographers.
Pick a day when you and your partner are dressed to the nines. Now, come to an agreement that any time you have the option of getting your picture taken by a Disney professional, you’re going to do it. Whether you’re in DisneyBound gear or not, this suggestion is still a sound one. You’ll wind up with an unforgettable day of images that you can turn into a collage for your wall or a huge update for a real or digital scrapbook.
A romantic evening in Paris? Almost!
Note that this idea also works if you’re not using Disney’s photographers. You’ll just have to plan a bit more and also rely on the kindness of strangers for instances where both of you want to be in the picture. This concept also applies to ride photographs…but don’t do the obvious thing at Splash Mountain. There’s nothing romantic about getting banned from a Disney theme park.
Walk the DVC Resorts
Before my wife and I joined DVC, my brother stressed to us that one of the most enjoyable aspects of membership was simply walking the resorts. I thought he sounded like a lunatic when he’d say this, but I was wrong. I totally get it now. What he was actually suggesting is that each of Disney’s participating DVC resorts is a cathedral filled with unforgettable architecture and amenities.
When you’re looking for an offbeat date suggestion, one of the greatest things you can do is bounce around DVC properties. You’ll have your pick of wonderful restaurants and bars, and the amenities are all world-class. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about pool hopping, which isn’t available at each resort. Instead, I mean a simple visit. You’ll feel like two people off doing their own thing against a sea of strangers all performing rote Disney vacation behaviors. You’re the rebels spending the day however you want!
Think about your date in these terms. Simply by using Disney transportation, you can take your date to the zoo at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you’ll both interact with adorable animals. Then, you can head to Disney’s Beach Club Villas to enjoy a classic 1950s treat at the malt shop aka Beaches & Cream. From there, you can travel even farther back in time by heading across Crescent Lake to the BoardWalk, where you can shop like you’re a time traveler visiting the 1920s.
While you’re acting like a dating anachronism, you can continue to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the place where you’ll feel like a vacation blue blood. After a couple of hours of the patrician lifestyle, you can head back to the future by visiting Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the place where monorails drive by every few minutes. And since you’re there, you might as well ride one ever to the place where I’d suggest that you end the evening, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. If you time it right, you can segue right into my next suggestion…
Moonlit Dinner for Two with Fireworks
Several Disney restaurants come with an added bonus we all know and love. They provide a breathtaking view of the various fireworks shows at the Disney theme parks. My personal favorite is Rose & Crown Dining Room, where my family likes to sit outside and eat slowly as we anticipate the nightly Illuminations exhibition. This option isn’t reserved for the parks, though.
One of the most romantic activities for DVC members is to eat at one of the monorail resorts. Whether you prefer ‘Ohana, Kona Café, Narcoosee’s, or California Grill, the underlying premise is the same. You can watch Wishes as you eat or immediately afterward. For DVC members, you can just skip the middleman and simply eat anywhere you want then head up to the Top of the World Lounge when it’s time for the fireworks.
Fireworks from Top of the World Lounge
For the utmost in passion, however, I suggest taking this a step farther. Grab something from your room or the hotel store that will function as a picnic basket. Then, order Disney room service. Head out to one of the artificial beaches at Seven Seas Lagoon and enjoy your dinner underneath the stars. You and your beloved will feel ethereal when Disney lights up the night sky. You’ll almost believe that it’s a special show just for the two of you.
Grab a Blanket and Watch a Disney Movie
Virtually every night, one of the Disney resorts is showing an animated classic from the studio’s venerable catalog. Surprisingly few guests take advantage of this option, though. The last two times I’ve visited Walt Disney World, I’ve seen less than 20 people at shows of "The Lion King", "Inside Out", "The Lady and the Tramp", and "The Jungle Book (2016)."
At the time, "The Jungle Book" had only been out on home video for about two weeks. By all rights, it should have had a huge crowd, but that’s not how the overwhelming majority of people choose to spend their Disney vacations. They want to be at the parks or at restaurants or Disney Springs. For DVC members who visit frequently, this behavior presents a unique opportunity. You and your date can grab a blanket, select the perfect spot to watch the movie, and then relax on the resort grounds for a couple of hours. Watching a Disney movie is one of the most serene things you’ll ever do while you’re on vacation…and you know the film will be great!
Get Drunk…You Know, Romantically…
I’m not a drinker, but I’m also not being tongue-in-cheek here. Bar hopping around the World Showcase has achieved such legendary status by now that it should be a Disney Olympics event, maybe THE ONLY Disney Olympics event.
Before you get started, let’s remember the basics of coupling. Getting drunk during a big date isn’t ideal. It could even cause *ahem* performance issues. What I’m suggesting right now is the usual mating practice of interacting with one another while imbibing libations, thereby negating any potential social stress. The World Showcase is aces for this since there’s a bar about every 20 feet, meaning that you never have to go far to find your next frosty mug.
There are plenty of locations to grab a drink at Walt Disney World
What I especially like about a World Showcase date is that the area is always congested at night. That forces couples to cling together, a subconscious form of bonding process that brings people together both literally and figuratively. It’s a wonderful way to feel like you’ve traveling the world in a single night, too. Plus, Disney transportation means that you don’t have to drive anywhere when you’re ready to move the date back to your hotel. And if you’re in a rush, there’s always Uber.
Take in a Show
Disney offers some truly over-the-top entertainment options. All of them have entertained vacationers for a long time now, which means that they’re proven ways to pass the time. The degree of romance for each one is in the eye of the beholder, so you’ll have to decide which one works best for you and yours.
Here’s what I can say. Outdoors enthusiasts will love the atmosphere at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. While there, you can enjoy what Disney markets as a “hootin’ tootin’ hoedown,” which sounds like something a woman would slap me for saying about her.
Anyway, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is wildly popular with families, although it sometimes feels like the middle child compared to their other two major events. Its closest sibling is Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, also held at the same site. This is the oldest show at Walt Disney World, and the jokes haven’t changed any, which means you’re laughing at the same stuff as your grandparents did in the 1970s. Whether that’s romantic or not, it is pretty cool.
My personal favorite of the bunch takes place each night at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, and my family loves the exhibition so much that we try to go at least once a year. Out of the three official Disney options, it’s my favorite. It also includes a lot of sensual Polynesian dancing featuring beautiful women and shirtless men, all of whom pelvic thrust a lot. If a primal vibe is what you’re seeking for your date, well, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ would be a horrible call.
Finally, a fourth option exists at Disney Springs. La Nouba™ by Cirque du Soleil® is exactly what you’d expect from a Cirque show. It’s got high wire acts, impossible balancing routines, an almost impenetrable story, and the inimitable brand of showmanship that defines the Cirque brand. Also, it’s much cheaper than the average Cirque show, which means it’s about the same price as Disney’s three shows. The only difference is that each of them comes with a meal. If you choose La Nouba™, you’ll have to pay for your own meal at Disney Springs while you’re there.
You can put two and two together on this one. I shouldn’t have to spell out the romantic nature of a couples massage. If I do, you have a lot of work ahead of you between now and your next big romantic date. All kidding aside, several Disney spas have sterling reputations. You may not ever enjoy a more professional massage than you’ll receive at a DVC property. That’s reason enough to book one for you and your beloved.
Disney Vacation Club member David Mumpower first visited Walt Disney World when he was six years old. The little brat promptly threw a tantrum because he couldn't find a comfortable shirt to wear around the park. Fortunately Disney shirts got a lot less itchy over the years. David currently writes for a number of websites including "Theme Park Tourist", "Box Office Prophets" and "How Well Do You Know." He's also the author of the Disney Demystified book series, which you can buy here.