People are often surprised to learn that Leap and I occasionally enjoy a date night at the theme parks. Yes, without the tadpoles. They are further surprised to learn that we find romantic things to do at the theme parks, especially Disneyland. The resort, like its counterpart in Orlando, has plenty of fun date options and opportunities for romance. In fact, Leap and I recently had a kid-free romantic stay at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and a night out at Sweethearts' Nite, a Disneyland After Dark event. It might have been one of our most romantic trips yet!
In February, the Valentine's Day celebration and the Disneyland After Dark Sweethearts' Nite always help us bring back that lovin' feeling. Sweethearts' Nite came back with even more dates for 2022! But any date at Disneyland also sparks joy in our hearts. We thought we would share some ideas about romantic things to do at Disneyland for Valentine's Day, or any day of the year. Take note so that you can plan a special date night for you and your sweetheart at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Romantic Things to Do at Disneyland
You can always kindle that spark at Disneyland Resort, whether it is Valentine's Day or any day of the year, with sweet treats and couples merchandise — and simply playing together.
Eat Sweet Treats Around Valentine's Day
We start with our favorite Valentine's treats the whole family can enjoy from Marceline's Confectionery, Trolley Treats, Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff, Candy Palace and Pooh Corner. Surprise your honey with a "Bee Mine" apple and Krispies treat with a little candy bee. Toadally cute! Of course, there are a number of other romantic treats too, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, marshmallow wands and cake pops. Tuxedo strawberries are usually available Feb. 12, 13 and 14. It's all so tasty! Leap knows a Disneyland caramel apple is the way to my heart any day of the year!
Many of the theme park restaurants and food stands offer special menu items and heart-shaped desserts (beignets and cookies — yum!) around Valentine's Day.
Tropical Hideaway has a Valentine's Swirl with cherry and watermelon Dole Whip, Valentine's sprinkles and butterfly gummies. Also, be on the lookout for sour cherry pretzels and churros (in Tomorrowland) and strawberry churros (in Critter Country). There are so many more sweet treats!
The lobby of the Grand California Hotel & Spa has a cart with Valentine's and Lunar New Year treats through Feb. 14, 2022. Around Downtown Disney, you can find other tasty treats for your sweetie. The California Churro cart offers a Valentine's Churro. Kayla's Cakes has heart-shaped macarons. You and your love can cozy up to share a shake at Black Tap — may we recommend the Red Velvet Cake Shake?
Buy Valentine's Gifts for Each Other
We have spotted matching couples shirts and other Valentine's merch each year. Whether your partner is your Mickey or Minnie, or your Foolish Mortal, there's something for all kinds of romantic Disney fans. You can also get a new Valentine's ear headband. The 2022 ears are pink with white hearts, and the bow is pink. <3 (Sadly, it was sold out each time we visited. You need to hop on those ears early in the day.) The Disney Dress Shop in Downtown Disney has a Valentine's shirt and some Dooney and Bourke bags if you are looking for a gift (hint, hint). The shops on Main Street, U.S.A. also have Valentine's Day items. The water bottle says, "You had me at Disneyland." So true!
You can usually find Valentine's pink and red balloons bobbing about the parks. You'll see couples, friends and family members in their Valentine's ears, Disney shirts or even just wearing red and pink in the parks.
Hire a Babysitter
OK, hiring a sitter isn't all that romantic, but you'll need to do this if you want to escape the little ones for a few hours. Depending on the age of your children, you can find a babysitting option that will meet their needs. If you are staying on-site, you can talk to the front desk about hiring a sitter (may be temporarily unavailable at hotels).
Another option is to travel with a group of family or friends and either enlist the help of Grandma to babysit or take turns watching the group of kids so that each couple can have one night off. Once you know the tadpoles are happy and entertained, you can relax and enjoy your night out.
Go to the Spa
Leap and I recently treated ourselves to spa treatments at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Best. Gift. Ever. In fact, there's a special Rosé and Roses foot treatment available through Feb. 15, 2022!
You no longer have to be a hotel guest to use the spa there. You know how there's an entrance to the hotel from Disney California Adventure park? The spa is located just inside of that entrance. So, even if you're just visiting the theme park that day, you can easily hop over to the spa and get a foot massage midday. It's one of the most affordable treatments there. Your flippers — and your partner — will be thanking you. This massage (or other treatments) makes a great romantic surprise. Plus, it's easier to be romantic when you're relaxed and feeling good. And you'll be able to extend your time in the parks with blissfully hoppy feet!
Romantic Disneyland Restaurants, Bars and More
There are many very nice romantic Disneyland restaurants to choose from in the parks or hotels. In Disneyland Park, the most romantic restaurant is Blue Bayou, located on the water in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It's always evening inside no matter when you eat! It now serves wine, beer and themed cocktails. Reservations open 60 days in advance at 3 a.m. (sometimes 6 a.m.), but if you don't get one, try joining the walk-up List in the Disneyland app. But you don’t have to spend a ton of green to be romantic! Rancho del Zocalo hosts a room alight with star lanterns, and you'll find a nice, romantic atmosphere in the evening. At Carnation Café, you can sit in the gazebo while you enjoy the sights and sounds of Main Street.
Add a special viewing area for a nighttime entertainment surprise once additional nighttime entertainment returns (in spring 2022). You can purchase a Fantasmic! dining package at River Belle Terrace and upgrade to watch the show from your table. Hop over to our post on Disneyland Fantasmic! tips for the details. Watch the fireworks from an elevated private area at the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience (once it returns). You can make advance reservations for the balcony lounge at the Tomorrowland Expo Center. It's open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly and includes boxed treats with fruits, cheese and sweets, along with hot or cold nonalcoholic beverages. If fireworks are shown that night, you'll be in for a sweet view of the show.
Our favorite table-service restaurants are over in Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland Resort hotels. Carthay Circle in California Adventure is our favorite for ambiance, service and quality of food — whether we want to make reservations in the dining room or just pop into the lounge for some drinks and tasty bites.
The view of the Disneyland fireworks from the terrace is fantastic, so if you can time it right, you could enjoy this treat. First, decide which night you want to visit and check out the showtimes for fireworks. Then, try to snag a reservation before that time. If you can pull this off, you will sweep your partner right off their feet! If the shooting stars do not align for this, a private booth is also very romantic.
The Lamplight Lounge is a California gastropub with tasty food, fun fizzy adult drinks, Pixar artwork and memorabilia, and a cool vibe. The bottom level is the full restaurant and takes reservations. It's especially great if you're a Pixar fan (and who isn’t?). The exterior seating has open-air tables with fire pits and views of the water. The upstairs room has walk-up availability only and a slightly different menu. You can’t go wrong at either, especially around sunset.
Once World of Color returns (in spring 2022) to Disney California Adventure, surprise your loved one with a World of Color Dessert Party. You can sit and snack on desserts and enjoy a beverage as you watch beautiful fountains of water come to life with music and animation.
You don’t even have to enter the parks to have a romantic evening. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel has a romantic, yet casual, lobby. Even if you are not staying there, you can hang out near the fireplace, sip drinks from the bar and listen to piano music. Leap and I have even brought a deck of cards to play together while we relaxed. The Napa Rose restaurant is a very nice place for a romantic dinner with delicious food.
Over at the Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam’s has an outdoor fireplace lounge area that is a nice place to get cozy while you listen to some live music and enjoy some tropical drinks that make you feel as if you’ve gone on a Jungle Cruise. Inside the Tiki Bar, you can get swept away to a tropical paradise (with a tropical storm for effect should somebody order the right drink). Hop over to our post on Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar for all of the fun details. Is the wait too long? Can't get in? You can order the same food from Tangaroa Terrace next door, complete with tiki torches in your dining area. The outside bar is easier to access for your island feels.
Take Pictures Together
If you have Disney Genie+, it includes unlimited downloads of PhotoPass photos. You can take sweet professional pics together at iconic spots around the park. Grab a free Happily Ever After button and use it as a photo prop!
Go Wine or Beer Tasting
You don’t need a trip to California's Napa Valley to go wine tasting. You can enjoy a nice glass and an Italian meal at Wine Country Trattoria. Not hungry? You can taste wine from California and around the world at Mendocino Terrace. The upstairs Magic Key Terrace is reserved for Magic Key holders and their guests. It serves wine, fun cocktails and Tuscany-inspired small bites and appetizers, such as a charcuterie tray. Sonoma Terrace offers draft beers, craft beers, hard cider and wine selections at its shady patio.
During festivals, such as the Food & Wine Festival, Festival of Holidays and Lunar New Year, you can enjoy themed beverages served from festival booths. The Food & Wine Festival in particular offers plenty of opportunities to taste wines at restaurants or festival marketplaces, and even attend seminars and meal pairings for an extra-special experience with your loved one.
Wear Matching Shirts or DisneyBound Together
If you're both Disney fans, you'll be the cutest couple in the park if you wear matching shirts. We see many couples in their matching Minnie and Mickey shirts or channeling their favorite Disney couples through their wardrobe. While adults cannot dress in costume, they can use their street clothes to wear the color scheme, style and pattern of a character. We see a lot of couples dressing up together on Dapper Day!
Send Sweet Surprises
Remember the days when your partner would surprise you with flowers just because? Send some flowers or another treat that they would enjoy to your hotel room. You can order romantic packages sent to your room (if you stay on-site) that include rose petals, candles and chocolate-covered strawberries, but if you plan ahead and pack some items from home, you can probably manage this yourself and save some extra money (and you know how we frogs love saving some green!). There is a Valentine's basket available Feb. 11 to 15, 2022. You can also hop into the candy shops for chocolate-covered strawberries, cake pops, Krispies treats and other romantic treats for sweet in-park surprises you picked out yourself.
Leap knows the secret to unlocking my heart is churro toffee or a Disneyland caramel apple. Luckily, these favorite Disneyland snacks are available both inside and outside the parks (at Marceline's Confectionery in Downtown Disney) every day of the year! So, even if you can't make it into the park, you can still acquire some sweet surprises for your sweetie!
Plan a Romantic Surprise
Being romantic does not have to cost you a pretty penny. If you are stealthy, you just might be able to pull off a ride surprise. Once, when we got off of Space Mountain and were looking at the monitors for our photo, we saw that the train in front of us was part of a marriage proposal. He held up a sign that said, “Will You Marry Me?” just as the camera flashed. The other friends or family in the car were in on the surprise as they wore matching “Awwww!” facial expressions. And once she saw the photo, he got down on one knee, pulled out a ring and popped the question.
You might be able to pull something off that your partner will not discover until they see the ride photo. Maybe a valentine heart that says “Kiss Me” or “Be Mine” will do. Just be sure to hide it until you get on the ride and then have it ready to go. Aim for a front seat, and watch our YouTube ride videos to prepare!
Disneyland is a popular spot to pop the question, and there are so many ways to do it. Several years ago, we saw another adorable (and matching!) couple get engaged when they met Mickey Mouse at his house in Toontown! We've also hoppened upon several engagements in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Millennium Falcon. This just goes to show that what's romantic to one couple can be very different for another couple, and Disneyland seems to have something special for every couple.
There are other ways to make a romantic gesture. Make a wish at the wishing well at Snow White’s Grotto, get your picture taken together inside a teacup or snuggle up during the nighttime shows, such as World of Color (returning spring 2022).
Hold hands as you walk around the park or cozy up on the scary or dark rides. You may be tempted to steal a kiss on the dark rides, but remember, there is no place hidden from cameras — even in the dark rides they can see everything that goes on — so keep it sweet. The Little Mermaid in California Adventure is sure to make him want to “Kiss the Girl.” The Pixar Pal-a-Round offers nice sunset views of the area and may offer you some alone time if you get your own gondola (but make sure you don't suffer from motion sickness first). One of the best rides for couples is Astro Orbitor in Tomorrowland. You sit nestled one in front of the other and can snuggle the whole ride. Plus, you can soar up high to get a great view of the park!
Any of the boat rides, such as Pirates of the Caribbean or Storybook Land Canal Boats, are reminiscent of a gondola ride — except “it’s a small world.” We don’t think there is much that's romantic about that one (although we heard of someone getting engaged there, so what do we know?). We save that one for the kids.
While you aren't going to get a true chance to slow dance, if you and your partner like upbeat music and dancing, then you have a couple of choices. On Saturday nights, you can swing dance at the Royal Theatre in Fantasy Faire in Disneyland (once it returns). At different times of the year, there are dance parties in either park, especially during After Dark parties. There is always plenty of live music to listen to as you stroll through Downtown Disney.
Make it a Date Night at Sweethearts' Nite
Sweethearts' Nite takes place several nights from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. after Disneyland Park closes to the public. Guests can meet rare Disney couples, attend a ball or DJ dance party, or take photos in front of photo-ops themed after romantic scenes from Disney movies. There are special treats and foods not available during the day. There is a special fireworks show set to Disney love songs. Can you feel the love tonight? We certainly did! Hop over to our Disneyland After Dark post to see more photos and learn more.
Be aware if you are planning a visit to the parks in early February that Disneyland closes early at 7 p.m. on party nights. Check the park hours before you make a day visit so your visit doesn't end before you want it to. You can usually purchase the next Sweethearts' Nite in later November or early December. Tickets sell out quickly, so do not delay. You'll need to plan ahead for this one.
Eat Romantic Treats
Share a delectable dessert such as some chocolate-covered strawberries or even a hand-dipped banana or ice cream. If you would like to share ice cream at Gibson Girl on Main Street, you can be romantic any day of the year and save money. I know Leap jumps at those opportunities! Here’s how: One scoop of ice cream is $5.29, but two scoops of ice cream are $5.99. That’s double the ice cream for just $.70 more! You can even get different flavors for those scoops. Ask for another cup and spoon if you don’t want to take turns. The parks also sell some homemade Valentine's Day treats such as heart Rice Krispies treats and more.
You can share a booth and a shake at Flo’s V-8 retro diner while you watch the hills of Radiator Springs and Cars Land light up after dusk. Who says it has to be fancy to be romantic? Once the lights turn on at dusk, either park feels more romantic, but we think it's especially romantic during Valentine’s Day at Disneyland Park. All of the nighttime lights at Holiday Time are also romantic. What can we say? We are suckers for all things Disney and good lighting!
Visit on or Around Valentine’s Day
For the past few years, about a week before Valentine’s Day, you could see a cute Valentine's photo opportunity on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland, and run into surprise sweetheart character couples. On Valentine's Day, you could see additional Valentine's photo frames with PhotoPass photographers.
Now that the Sweethearts' Nite party has more dates, you may see the Valentine decor and Disney couples reserved for that event. Instead, look for a pink floral heart topiary between the Mickey and Minnie topiaries at the Disneyland Hotel from Feb. 11 to 15 for your romantic photo backdrop.
Princesses and their rarely seen princes may join together to greet guests and royal subjects. Usually, they are off ruling their kingdoms, but the princes often join their princesses for Valentine's Day. It might even be a different sweetheart couple who is not a prince or princess! Ask cast members who work with characters where you might find the sweetheart couple of the day because these rare appearances will not appear on the Disneyland app. You’ll see romantic balloons and special treats in the parks, and many couples in their matching Disney shirts, ears or other accessories.
Just being at Disneyland makes you feel young and playful. We prefer having Park Hopper tickets because we enjoy hopping between parks, but you can definitely make a romantic date by staying in just one park or in the hotels. Couples who play together, stay together! Just ask Mickey and Minnie. Making a park date can rekindle your closeness and help you focus on just your partner. That way, you can rejuvenate and jump back into family mode.
We hope you've enjoyed our ideas of romantic things to do at Disneyland. Have a tip you want to share? Leave it in the comments below! And don't froget, nothing says romance like a trip to Disneyland. Surprise your sweetie with discount Disneyland tickets or a hotel stay from your favorite frogs.