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. For 2019, Mickey and Minnie — sweethearts for 90 years! — are celebrating Valentine’s Day with an entire month devoted to love. Valentine’s Month runs from Jan. 22 to Feb. 18, 2019. With the Valentine’s Day celebration approaching, we thought we would share some ideas about romantic things to do for Valentine's Month or any day of the year at Disneyland, so take note as you plan a special date night during your next trip!
Romantic Things to Do at Disneyland
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. Another option 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 each couple can have one night off. Once you know the tadpoles are happy and entertained, you can relax and enjoy your night out.
Fine Dining and More
There are many very nice restaurants to choose from in the parks or hotels. In Disneyland itself, the most romantic restaurant is Blue Bayou, located on the water in Pirates of the Caribbean, but you don’t have to spend so much money to be romantic. Rancho del Zocalo has a room that is lit by star lanterns and has 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.
Our favorite table service restaurants are over in Disney's California Adventure and even in the 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 in to the lounge for some drinks and tasty bits.
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 Disneyland fireworks. Then, try to snag your reservation for before that time. If you can pull this off, you will sweep your partner right off his or her feet. If the shooting stars do not align for this, a nice 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. They have limited advance reservations, but you can be seated without a reservation. We prefer the bottom level, especially if you are a Pixar fan (and who isn’t?) The exterior seating has fire tables and views of the water. You can’t go wrong.
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 and lounge are very nice places for a romantic dinner with delicious food.
Over at the Disneyland Hotel, Steakhouse 55 is also just right for a date night. Be aware that it is not within everyone’s budget, so we recommend curling up together on a chaise in the lounge and having some drinks and appetizers. They have an Afternoon Tea, and if Leap needs some hints at what would pull my heartstrings, he would make a reservation and take me there. Trader Sam’s has an outdoor fireplace lounge area that is also 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.
Go Wine Tasting
You don’t need a trip to California's Napa Valley to go wine tasting. The Alfresco Tasting Terrace offers wine by the bottle or the glass, fun cocktails and Tuscany-inspired small bites and appetizers. The second-story outdoor patio offers fantastic evening views of the Radiator Springs backdrop. In springtime, the Food & Wine Festival offers plenty of opportunities to taste wines at restaurants or festival marketplaces and even attend seminars and meal pairings for a special experience with your loved one.
Send Sweet Surprises
Remember the days when your partner would surprise you with flowers just because? Send some flowers or another treat he or she 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 a lot of money. You can also hop into the candy shops for chocolate covered strawberries, rose cake pops and other romantic treats for sweet in-park surprises you picked out yourself.
Do a Ride 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 he or she sees 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. Watch our YouTube ride videos to help you prepare.
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.
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. 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 are not going to really get a 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. At different times of the year, there are dance parties in either park. There is always plenty of live music to listen to as you stroll through Downtown Disney, and some of the hotels also have music.
Eat Romantic Treats
Share a delectable dessert like some chocolate-covered strawberries or even an ice cream. If you would like to share ice cream at Gibson Girl on Main Street, you can be romantic and save money. I know Leap jumps at those opportunities! Here’s how: one scoop of ice cream is $5.79, but two scoops of ice cream are $6.49. That’s double the ice cream for just $.70 more! You can even get different flavors for those scoops, and ask for another cup and spoon if you don’t want to take turns. The parks also sell some Valentine’s homemade treats such as heart cookies, caramel apples (which Leap knows is the key to my heart) 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. It does not have to be fancy to be romantic. Once the lights turn on at dusk, either park feels more romantic, but Disneyland Park is especially romantic during Valentine’s Month 2019. We feel that all 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 Valentine’s Day or During Valentine’s Month
On Valentine’s Day, your favorite Disney character couples might join together to greet guests and royal subjects. Usually they are off ruling their kingdoms, but the princes join their princesses for the day. You’ll see romantic balloons and special treats in the parks, and many couples in their matching Disney shirts, ears or other accessories.
Since our schedules don’t always work out to visit Disneyland on Feb. 14, Disneyland is giving everyone a whole month of love in 2019. This year during Valentine’s Month, you will also be greeted with a festive Mickey floral portrait as soon as you enter Disneyland Park (a perfect spot to get that cute couple PhotoPass photo). Fall in love with the Valentine’s photo op display in Town Square, festive buntings on buildings and various projections in the evenings on Main Street U.S.A. and “it’s a small world.” You and your “hunny” can share special Minnie-inspired treats, food and beverages. After all, Valentine’s Month is also part of Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration. Pick up a Food Guide from an information kiosk in the park to find all of the Valentine’s treats, like heart-shaped desserts and Minnie-inspired dishes at some of the restaurants.
Don’t forget that tadpoles love Valentine’s Day, too, so here’s one for the whole family: go on a Minnie’s Valentine Surprise Scavenger Hunt. Minnie has hidden valentines around the park for Mickey. You can purchase a map and stickers and search for valentines to get a prize. Love is in the air, and we can’t wait to see what else this year brings!
Just being at Disneyland makes you feel young and playful. We prefer having Park Hopper tickets because we literally hop back and forth 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. It can rekindle your closeness and help you focus on just your partner so 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 comments below! And don't froget, nothing says romance like a trip to Disneyland. Surprise your sweetie with discount Disneyland tickets from your favorite frogs.