by Tiki Diva
Ack! Hypocrisy, you say? No! Never! As much as we long to take the kids to experience the magic of Disney, there’s something special about running off with your sweetie and enjoying a night of romantic adventures… oh the sweet smell of freedom…
Set the Scene
How do you go about planning the perfect Disney date night, you ask? First off, find a place to stow the younguns’. Once upon a time, not so long ago, select deluxe resorts offered kids clubs. Those have just recently been shuttered, however, so we need to get a little more creative. Lucky for you, Disney’s Contemporary Resort now offers a brand new, immersive, Pixar-themed experience just for your children ages 4-12. This childcare center is open from 6-10:30 PM and costs $65 per child. Other options include in-room babysitting or grandparents and other family members, if you have had the foresight to bring them along.
Now that you have the kiddos tucked away, where do you go? Like many things at Walt Disney World, you have tons of options. However, I’ve found that Disney’s Boardwalk offers many adult-oriented options that lend themselves to the perfect date night. Come along and see…
Exploring the Boardwalk
For many couples, the perfect evening out begins with a drink. The Boardwalk area has many bars to visit, from Hurricane Hanna’s at the Beach Club, to Shula’s Lounge at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. You could, of course, turn the evening into a bar hop and try them all. However, my favorite place to start the evening is at the AbracadaBar, conveniently located along the waterfront walkway at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. I personally recommend the Magic Mirror cocktail, but they also offer a decent selection of Florida beers and a wine menu. Pricing is typical for Disney World, with cocktails averaging just over $12 and beers coming in around $9, as of this writing. Make sure you take time to gaze at the unique, magical decorations. They are fun and fanciful, reminding me of a more decadent Victorian Age. Also, take in the dark wook, gilded mirrors, and decadent seating areas. You won’t be disappointed by the decor.
If you can tear yourself away from the bar, stroll the boardwalk and take in the sights. Have a bit of fun in the 1900’s seaside amusement atmosphere, enjoying the street performers and evening entertainment available on many evenings. As you make your way around Crescent Lake, be sure to keep an eye out for the Photo Booth. Much to my surprise, these fun little momentos are included in your Memory Maker Package, so click away! Or, have a little child-like fun playing skeeball and other classic games in the boardwalk arcade.
Like many of the other resorts the Boardwalk area does offer the always-fun Surrey bikes for rental. Take a bike meant for two for a swing or two around the lake– but watch out for those few hills and bridges. Going up is tough, but coming down the other side will be quite a breeze! This activity is quite enjoyable in the evening. For a more perfect experience, time it so that you are finishing up just right to secure a beach swing and enjoy the nightly showing of Illuminations, viewable from over the treetops in nearby Epcot.
A Walk in the Park
At some point in the evening, my husband and I will do one of two things– if we have park hoppers for that day, we will walk over to Epcot and try to get in a late-night ride on Soarin’. This works best if you enter at least 30 minutes prior to park close, of course. Dash through the International Gateway and dodge the crowds gathering around the lake. Stay to the left just past Canada and you’ll find yourself nearing the Land Pavilion. Watch your step– this area tends to be dark during Illuminations. Hop in line while most everyone is outside watching the light show and you will have just a short wait for one of Epcot’s most-highly sought-after attractions. If you’re lucky or you ask just right, you may even be able to get seats in the coveted first row, middle section (no crooked Eiffel towers here, please).
Hit the Clubs
Alternatively, for more adult entertainment, head on down to Jellyrolls, featuring nightly dueling pianos and music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. This bar is for ages 21 and up only, making it the perfect place to spend a kid-free evening. They open at 7 PM each night and there is a small cover charge. You’ll also want to bring cash for making requests, as they are much more likely to be fulfilled with a small tip. Check out the nightly drink specials in the red solo cup, as well! For a more active end to your evening, pop into the Boardwalk’s Atlantic Dance Hall, where you can shake and shimmy to the greatest hits from the 80’s, 90’s, and today.
Regardless of the entertainment choices you make while at Disney’s Boardwalk, take it slow. Connect with your love. Hold hands. Walk, don’t run. Finish each other’s sandwiches. And have a GREAT date night!
Tips before you go:
— Make reservations or arrangements for your children early. 180 days prior to check-in is best.
— Parking is very limited at the Boardwalk. Leave your car at your resort and take a Minnie Van (or Uber). Or, park at Hollywood Studio and walk or take the boat to the Boardwalk area. If you are staying off-property and plan a day at one of the theme parks, you can use the Disney busses to get you from one of the theme parks to the different resorts as well.
— The pools are for resort guests only, but many do have pool-side bars that you may want to visit. Hurricane Hanna’s is a fun one, for example.