This is the third in a series of articles to help you plan the perfect date night in and out of the parks. We’ll continue to explore how to have a date night at Magic Kingdom area resorts, Epcot area resorts, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
My favorite time of day at the Magic Kingdom is night. It is a charming setting for an evening date night despite the fact that it’s often filled with children. If you’re a guest at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts participating in evening extra magic hours, plan your date night around an evening where the Magic Kingdom is open for this exclusive perk. These extra hours, typically have lower crowd levels and you can experience many attractions with shorter wait times. Strolling down Main Street hand in hand with your partner once the park has closed is an enchanting experience.
Start your date night with an arrival time of around 5pm.
I like to make sure we get our Fastpasses in prior to the evening entertainment, so start those around 5pm too. The Magic Kingdom has a lot of great attractions, but for date night, we’re going to focus on rides where you can snuggle up close to your significant other. I recommend Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan’s Flight. Experiencing those attractions in that order will alleviate crisscrossing the park and will give you plenty of daylight to dry off from Splash Mountain.
Take your time getting from place to place, really soak up the atmosphere of the park. If you find yourself with extra time, take the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island. It’s a fun place to explore, especially if you haven’t been there for awhile! There will be time for more rides later, but save those for the Extra Magic Hours.
Schedule dinner for around 7pm. This gives time for families with tiny children to have vacated restaurants and will also give you plenty of time to get a good spot for Happily Ever After. The obvious choice for a romantic dinner is Be Our Guest Restaurant. This is a great experience, especially if you’re seated in the West Wing. However, reservations can be difficult to obtain. If you can’t score a reservation at Be Our Guest, don’t fret, there are other locations where you can have a nice meal.
If your palate is on the adventurous side, head to Jungle Skipper Co in Adventureland. This meal is an exciting experience, and definitely has the most exotic menu in the Magic Kingdom.
After dinner, head towards the hub to find your spot for Happily Ever After. This new fireworks spectacular incorporates castle projections along with the show. I like to find a spot that is along a railing, it’s nice to have something to lean against and makes me feel a little less claustrophobic when the show is over. Once you’ve snagged the perfect spot, send one person to The Plaza Ice Cream parlor for a fireworks dessert snack, you can’t go wrong with sharing a traditional ice cream float or hot fudge sundae while watching the fireworks.
After the fireworks have finished, you can stick around for Once Upon a Time, the castle projection show or head off to take in some rides. Personally, I like to head to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover. This relaxing ride takes you in and out of Tomorrowland attractions, but also gives you glimpses of the show as you ride along.
Once the Extra Magic Hours start, hit up some of the classic attractions – my husband and I like to have a little competition to begin our Extra Magic adventures. We start at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and whoever has the best score, gets to select the next attraction. We typically take in Buzz, Space (if the wait isn’t too bad – we don’t like to wait in line), Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Prince Charming Regal Carousel, It’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion (you HAVE to try it at night – creepy), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Pirates of the Caribbean. On several occasions, we’ve hit Pirates near the very end of Extra Magic Hours and have been the only people in our boat! Talk about romantic!
Take your time heading out of the park, stop and get some pictures from the Photopass Photographers on your way out to commemorate the occasion. Even if you don’t have Memory Maker (the photo package) they’ll use your own phone or camera to take your picture. Cinderella’s Castle at night is the perfect backdrop!
[Image: Jerrod Maruyama]