From our first international flight together to getting engaged at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney World holds some really special memories for us. Of course it’s a great family destination, but people always seem curious about our experience as a couple.
From rides in the parks, to dining at the resorts, it’s all about timing and finding spots that are right for you. Here are some tips to satisfy the kid in you without getting worn out.
Choose A Resort Based on Your Activities
Aside from booking Disney Resorts from the Disney Website or other hotel booking sites, you can also rent points from Disney Vacation Club Members. If you’re not familiar with the DVC membership, check out the different destinations not limited to Orlando. We’ve stayed at the more action packed Disney’s All Star Movies, Pop Century, and Coronado Springs without using DVC points. During this time we mostly visited the parks. I did find the park buses, and pools at All Star and Pop to be very crowded, but Coronado springs has more space for poolside relaxation. Later we stayed at Old Key West and Animal Kingdom Lodge with DVC points which worked out to be a little cheaper than booking those resorts through the traditional routes.
Old Key West is great for its accessibility to Downtown Disney (via a very scenic boat ride) which offers a whole slew of dining and entertainment options. The resort itself has a very laid back vibe, lots of activities, and 4 whole swimming pools. We often found ourselves alone at the smaller pools.
Animal Kingdom offers more activities which are more popular with younger families and less pools than Old Key West. But it also offers amazing dining options, a great spa and lovely wildlife viewing areas, fireside seating, and a nice bar. It’s hard to be unbiased, as this is now my favourite resort, but the next points may help you narrow down your choices a bit.
Booking Your Recreational Activities in Advance
Parasailing is a thing in Disney World. When we did this in 2013, there was actually a Groupon deal available at the time. So instead of the regular $170, this was half off on a weekday. And in Disney World, what is a weekday?! Keep your eyes peeled for similar deals, because one never knows.
Spas! Where there’s tired feet, there are spas. The couples massage at Zahanati in the Animal Kingdom was one of the best in my memory. Soaking in the outdoor hot tub and watching the sun made it a perfect evening. Senses at the Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs offers a few more services but are priced higher than Zahanati. If you plan on having a number of treatments and using more spa facilities, be sure to check those out too.
Dessert & Fireworks at Wishes. Your sweet teeth will rejoice at this dessert buffet that takes place right in front of the Magic Kingdom Castle, offering you one of the best views of the fireworks show.
There are dozens of live shows taking place in the parks, but be sure to look into different resorts for some free entertainment and activities – like campfires! The Grand Floridian offers music at various hours in their lobby or head over to Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk for some nightly tunes.
Finding Your Dining Path
If you choose to go with a dining plan, Disney offers 3 Types: Quick Service (about $46/per person, per day), Regular ($67) and Deluxe Dining ($103.57). Here are some of our favourite quick service restaurants which boast meals priced $14.99 and under:
Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) has the best selection of variety for quick service meals. New restaurants have popped up since we last visited, but here are some of our go-to’s: Bongos Cuban Cafe Express, Wolfgang Puck Express and Earl of Sandwich. The creme brûlée at Wolfgang Puck Express is a must for us during every visit.
Character Dining. I think this is a fun experience for any age because the atmosphere in these places is always so… well, magical. If you have a meal plan with one or more table service options, be sure to save at least one for this. If not, they are about $35-60 per person.
Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. Park admission is necessary because this is still in the magic kingdom. But, Magic Kingdom usually opens at 9am and reservations here begin at 8am. If you want to experience Main Street USA and the castle without the crowds, I highly recommend booking early and gaining early access to the park for a quiet walk. It’s worth the early rise.
- Garden View Tea Room at The Grand Floridian. Who doesn’t like a good tea party? The food here is very delicious, and a perfect option for those who slept in and missed breakfast at the Crystal Palace.
- Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary Resort. AHHH it’s Mickey and the gang! *ahem* I mean, this place offers all the great comfort foods you may be craving at the beginning of your vacation. Or is that just me?
- Ohana at Polynesian resort. Things like coconut bread, dumplings and teriyaki noodles naturally draw me here, but Lilo and Stitch also hang around this joint. And I wonder if Moana soon will.
There’s so much so do, so if you have some more tips, please do share!