Date Time at the Disneyland Resortby Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
Ahhh February—the month of romance. You could opt for the typical flowers and chocolate, or even a nice dinner and movie, but why settle for the ordinary? Grab your significant other, put on your best mouse ears, and make a date at the Disneyland Resort.
The Romance of Disneyland
Disneyland has set the romantic stage for couples everywhere since first opening in 1955. From first dates to engagements to the full-blown Disneyland wedding complete with Cinderella's pumpkin coach, Disneyland captures love at its finest. Grab your partner's hand for a romantic journey through Disneyland.
Meeting Your True Love
Start your date out with meeting the Disney icons of love—the princesses and princes of Walt's kingdom. Fantasyland is usually the hub to locate a royal pair—Belle and her Beast, or Snow White and her Prince—just be sure to check the current day's character schedule. If Mickey and Minnie are your favorite couple, you'll usually find them in Toontown or on Main Street. Cast members are always available to capture your special moment with the cutest couple on your list.
Another great romantic activity is to enjoy the entertainment scattered throughout the park. Sing along with Main Street's Dapper Dans or revel with The Bootstrappers as they amuse the crowds with their pirate devilry in New Orlean's Square. When the California sun sets, secure your seats close together to welcome home the Main Street Electrical Parade. That little bit of nostalgia will put you in the mood for romance.
Food for Thought
Right along with the entertainment is sharing fun and portable foods. Couples can savor sizzling skewers from Bengal Barbecue, munch on crunchy popcorn, or even dive into a delicious Dole Whip concoction complete with two spoons. If your date warrants a more romantic setting, call in advance for a riverside seat at Blue Bayou Cafe. Watching the Pirates of the Caribbean's boats float past is almost as good as the signature Monte Cristo sandwich.
That Disney Detail
Disneyland is all about the show element, and romance is alive and well. Walt chose a classic fairy tale as his first full-length animated feature—Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The true love factor is immersed in Disneyland, making it a perfect date location. Couples can delve into this Disney fairy tale world on a trip through Storybook Land Canal Boats or leisurely stroll together to Snow White's Wishing Well to make their true love wishes.
One of my favorite Disneyland romance spots is Sleeping Beauty's Castle Walkthrough. Hand-in-hand (and in-the-dark bonus) couples can experience Prince Phillip's devotion to his beloved Princess Aurora as he battles the terrifyingly wicked fairy Maleficent. True love conquers all.
Disney California Adventure
What Disneyland offers in romance, Disney California Adventure counters with excitement. A dazzling nighttime show, sophisticated restaurants with spirits, and plenty of laugh-inspiring attractions for two are guaranteed a date to remember.
Like Disneyland, Disney California Adventure (DCA) has an abundance of entertainment to relish. If you're at DCA for the day, there are several fun, toe-tapping shows to enjoy, including Red Car Trolley News Boys, and Five and Dime—both performing on Buena Vista Street.
However, the E-ticket show at DCA is by far World of Color. Get your Fastpass as soon as you can (located at Grizzly River Run entrance) and plan your adventure around this nighttime spectacular. You and your partner won't be disappointed.
Food for Thought
I always consider Disney California Adventure the "adult" Disneyland due to availability of beer, wine, and cocktails—a perfect Disney adult date playground. If beer is your go-to, Paradise Pier's Bayside Brews offers six different brews on tap for you and your date. And, don't forget the Mickey Mouse pretzel to share.
If wine is more to your liking, Wine Country Trattoria in Pacific Wharf boasts 25 different wines by the glass. Adjacent to Trattoria is Sonoma Terrace, which sells tasty cured meats and cheese boards. Paired with a glass of wine or your favorite brew, the two of you can relish every tasty bite while enjoying the view on the open terrace.
Beverages are not the only menu items. Many restaurants in DCA offer delicious fare such as the tri-tip sliders or lobster nachos at Cove Bar, the delectable pasta offerings or braised lamb at Wine Country Trattoria, and pretty much everything at Carthay Circle Restaurant. Chef Andrew Sutton (also of Napa Rose), offers a Southern Californian flare using local ingredients for guests to savor. Start with fire-cracker duck wings, followed with an entree of beef and truffle ravioli, and finish your meal off with a delectable dessert of a warm dulce de leche marshmallow turnover. Advance reservations are highly recommended for this location—be sure to request one of the individual rooms for that special night out.
Attracted to Attractions
Since Disney California Adventure was initially designed with nods to California's past, including the old boardwalk amusement parks, the attractions are perfect for date time at Disney. Whether it's screaming together on California Screamin' roller coaster or spinning dizzily aboard the Golden Zephyr, you'll enjoy every minute of it.
Don't forget Mickey's Fun Wheel—it's not a date until you take a ride on the ferris wheel. For the braver couple, go for the swinging gondolas—you'll be holding each other by the end of the ride.
So, the romance of Disneyland or the amusement and excitement of Disney California Adventure? Both are perfect date destinations for couples of all ages—whether it's for a first date or a 25th anniversary celebration. Any date can be special but why not elevate it to make it magical and date to remember at the Disneyland Resort?
"Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day." Winnie-the-Pooh.