February the 14th can be considered the ultimate date night. Sharing a romantic rendezvous with that special someone at a theme park can be an extra special experience. Just visiting these perfectly planned amazing amusement areas allows for magical memories.
Dinner dates at one of several select restaurants within the parks offer a unique and wonderful setting and the perfect foundation for a Valentine’s Day escape. Listed below are 13 suggestions for setting up a magical date at the Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort.
With three theme parks and host of hotels, Universal Orlando Resort can be the perfect Valentine’s Day experience. Diverse, delicious dining diversions deliver delightful date destinations, while immersive theme park settings offer exciting escapes.
1. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen
Chocolate is an established part of Valentine’s Day and Toothsome has the perfect pairing of delicious dining and chocolate desserts. Steampunk is the style at this fun factory, so why not dress up in Victorian inspired attire for your adventure?
2. Emeril’s Orlando
Notes of New Orleans can be found in the Creole-inspired gourmet menu of Emeril’s Orlando. Located within City Walk, the restaurant is one of two fine dining destinations in Orlando. Dining at one of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s signature restaurants is always a treat.
3. Mama Della’s
Located in the Italian themed Portofino Bay Hotel, Mama Della’s casual setting is complemented by authentic Italian cuisine, including house specialty Sicilian lasagna. Coffee and cannoli savored for dessert round out the experience. Strolling musicians add to the enchanting experience.
4. Harbor Nights Romantico (Friday February 16th ONLY)
Located at Lowe’s Portofino Bay Hotel, this special event is a rare treat as it only happens four times a year! For 2018, these include Harbor Nights Romantico (February 16), Harbor Nights Prima Vera (April 20), Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita (October 12), and Holiday Harbor Nights (November 23).
“Spend an evening beside the picturesque harbor sipping select wines and trying unlimited gourmet food samples from the hotel’s restaurants. Live music and traditional opera performance complete the elegant ambiance. It’s truly la dolce vita—the sweet life—at its finest.” –Universal Orlando Website
5. Wizarding Wanderings
The magical realm created by J.K. Rowling spans both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks. Cast a Valentine’s spell this February and make the most of all that this magical realm has to offer. Start off with a tour of Hogwarts (in Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure) and then enjoy sweet snack from Honeydukes. Get cozy on the Hogwarts Express as it whisks you both away to Diagon Alley (Universal Studios theme park). Share a meal at the Leaky Cauldron after shopping and taking in the enchanting entertainment.
6. Dinner, Dancing and a Movie
City Walk at Universal Orlando Resort has everything needed for a special night, all in one place. Restaurants like Vivo and Antojitos offer a moderately priced sumptuous meal. After dinner, enjoy a movie at Universal Cineplex, just a few steps away and cap off with a night of dancing at any or all of City Walk’s nightclubs.
Dating at Disney
For magical moments within the Walt Disney World Resort, we reached out to Victoria Phillips, owner of White Glove Orlando Tours for a few pixie dust inspired ideas. Her experience as private tour guide lent itself to these recommendations for romantic dining. She served up seven superb suggestions:
7. Boma – Flavors of Africa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Intimate lighting and phenomenal food found favor. “The food is inspired by African dishes that pair foods and flavors that we wouldn’t normally connect here, we always love everything.”
8. Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
“Its aesthetic is beautiful and your eyes will roam throughout dinner. I highly recommend requesting a table by the large windows bordering the “savanna” so you can enjoy a romantic dinner while watching the animals graze outside. They are famous for their Indian-style Bread Service with all Nine Accompaniments: Bread – Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha, or Paneer Paratha. Accompaniments – Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, or Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.”
9. ‘Ohana (Polynesian Village Resort)
” . . . the food just keeps coming, and their dessert is my favorite in all of Disney and I don’t grant that title lightly. Then after dinner, head outside to sit in the wooden swings along the lagoon to watch Happily Ever After. They play the soundtrack at the Polynesian so you can enjoy it there as well.”
10. Chefs de France (Epcot)
“Just looking at the restaurant from outside would already be extremely impressive to your date. I liked being seated near the windows so I could enjoy people watching along with the inner decor. The fruit and cheese platter is a great appetizer and encouraging sharing and tasting with one another. Also, the meals are served with French bread which is always a win in my book.”
11. Mama Melrose –Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“One less expensive option (with perhaps more availability for reservations) is Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios. The setting has warm strands of lights all across the ceiling accompanied by plants and other eclectic pieces. It’s a more intimate place to eat as far as Disney goes. They could also choose to upgrade to the Fantastic Dining Package which includes a three-course meal for each person and VIP seating at Fantasmic.”
Victoria also offered a pair of perfect possibilities for those wanting something a bit more active.
12. Scavenger Hunt
“A Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt that ends at the restaurant would be very interesting and romantic. Perhaps with each new clue, there is also a memory shared by the couple or a reason why you love that person. Then the scavenger hunt ends at a restaurant where they can share a romantic dinner. Because of the time it would take to scatter clues, and the probability that they would be cleaned up by showkeeping or moved by a guest, the person hosting the hunt could carry the handmade notes in a bag and distribute them appropriately as they go.”
13. Highway in the Sky Dine-around
“Dining in each of the monorail resorts for various portions of your meal and retiring afterward to a private patio at the contemporary to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks show.”
These 13 Valentine’s Day diversions are just a handful of the many opportunities offered at Central Florida theme parks. A bit of planning (reservations are pretty much a requirement) and creativity can lead to a magical romantic memory.