Walt Disney World remains a top destination for families, but when you’re traveling with your kids it also can be fun to get away for a Disney date night. In today’s episode, we take a look at our favorite things to do on dates with our spouses at Disney World. Also, we take a look at options for childcare when you just need to get away!
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While Disney World is a vacation made for families, parents sometimes enjoy having a night out without the kiddos. Enter Disney date night! Here are our best tips for having a night out with just the grown-ups on your next Disney World vacation.
Childcare Options at Walt Disney World
Unless you are going on an adults-only vacation, a necessary pre-requisite to your Disney date night is finding childcare for your kids for the evening. No matter what age kids you have, there are several choices that may work for your family.
If you are lucky enough to take multi-generational vacations, you might already have some built in babysitting thanks to grandparents or other relatives. Joe and Leslie have both taken their parents along on Disney World vacations and been able to rely on grandparent babysitting on occasion. So invite grandma and grandpa along the next time you go to Disney!
Pixar Play Zone Childcare
For a more traditional kids club experience, the fairly new Pixar Play Zone in Disney’s Contemporary Resort is an excellent choice. Similar to the kids clubs on the Disney Cruise Line ships or at Disney’s Aulani, kids can be dropped off for dinner, character visits, video games, and more. Note that there used to be childcare centers at a few deluxe Disney World resorts (Lilo’s at the Polynesian, Sandcastle Club at Yacht & Beach, and Simba’s at Animal Kingdom Lodge), but those have closed as of summer 2018.
Kids have to be ages 4-12 for Pixar Play Zone. The evening session runs from 6-10:30pm with registration starting as early as 5pm. Cost is $65 per child for the entire evening. It’s advisable to make an advance reservation through the Disney dining and activities hotline if at all possible.
If your kids are too young for Pixar Play Zone or the group setting isn’t a good fit, there’s always in-room babysitting. Disney recommends an independent service Kid’s Nite Out for kids ages 6 months to age 12. Rates are fairly comparable to what you’d expect to pay for an adult sitter in most big cities. If you only need childcare for a few hours, it actually can be cheaper to go with in-room babysitting (vs. Pixar Play Zone) if you have more than one child.
Disney Date Night Option #1: Fine Dining
So now that you have found someone to care for your kids, what should you do? The classic Disney date night for parents is enjoying some of the finer Disney dining experiences. With Pixar Play Zone located in the Contemporary, the obvious dinner choice is California Grill, although any of the restaurants on the monorail loop make for easy logistics too. At the Grand Floridian, Narcoosee’s, Citricos, and the very hard to get choice of Victoria and Albert’s would certainly fit the bill for a romantic dinner.
Other restaurants worth experiencing as adults-only: the Boathouse at Disney Springs, Le Cellier or La Cava Tequila in Epcot, and Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Remember that your Disney dining experience doesn’t have to be fancy or very expensive. If your kids are picky eaters, take the time to go to a restaurant that simply doesn’t suit their tastes but that has always interested you. Many of the cuisines offered around World Showcase might fit this description, such as Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco.
Disney Date Night Option #2: Thrill Rides
If you and your spouse aren’t big foodies, then another idea for a fun Disney date night is to hit the parks and ride until you drop. Parents of little ones often don’t get to ride the thrill rides together, instead opting for Rider Switch and Single Rider to squeeze in a few of the scarier attractions. This is your chance! Make the most of Memory Maker’s on-ride photos too if you have purchased it for your vacation.
Remember, if your kids tapped into a park earlier in the day, bring an extra copy of their Magic Bands with you. You can use their bands to book Fastpasses for yourself, allowing parents to double dip for the evening (assuming you have at least two kids).
So what’s the best park for this date night strategy? If your focus is only on rides, then Magic Kingdom should probably be your choice. But if you plan to combine a dining experience with thrill rides, then Epcot has the best of both worlds.
Disney Date Night Option #3: Disney Bars and Nightlife
For parents who like a little nightlife (and have more energy than Joe and Leslie), the Disney bar scene is pretty robust too. Bonus that Disney has a ton of nightlife that doesn’t require a park ticket. This date night option works well on non-park days.
The obvious spot to visit is Disney Springs. Bars and restaurants like Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Morimoto’s, and Ragland Road have pretty happening scenes and unique cocktails. Or head over to Crescent Lake and Disney’s Boardwalk where you can have a drink and listen to music at Jellyrolls or just take a stroll through Yacht & Beach Club. Finally, there’s always drinking around the monorail. Trader Sam’s in the Polynesian is one of Disney’s finest drinking establishments.
Whatever you do, we of course recommend Uber or Lyft (unless you are on the monorail in which case the transportation is easy). It guarantees you a sober ride and is also a very inexpensive transportation option that saves you time. Every second counts on your Disney date night!
If you’re lucky enough to get a few hours away from the kids at Walt Disney World, you can have a blast on an adults only Disney date night. On today’s episode we take a look at our favorite things to do with our spouses when we have childcare and also share some tips about where to find childcare on Disney property. If you have ideas, we’d love for you to connect with us and share them by e-mailing us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com.
If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, PlayerFM, iHeartRadio, or Google Play (please leave a positive review if you’re enjoying the show), liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!
Connect with Leslie @TripswithTykes on social media and Joe @asthejoeflies.
1:35 – Babysitting and childcare options at Walt Disney World
4:53 – Date 1: Dining
8:50 – Date 2: Theme parks
12:07 – Date 3: Disney nightlife
16:00 – Disney Dos and Don’ts