Going on a date to Disneyland can be just like a date from the Bachelor. No really though! Where else can you experience thrilling drops, romantic food, a ride over California's coast, cotton candy, and fireworks at the end of the night? It's one of our most favorite dates when we can sneak away for a few hours without our kiddos.
Today I'm sharing with you our best kept secrets for an adult experience at Disneyland which, if you've been with kids, you know is WAY different than going with tiny humans! In a good way.
Pick a fun place to eat: We usually are limited on time because we're paying a babysitter and want to maximize our time doing the fun stuff at the park, so we like to eat at Cafe Orleans, or Blue Bayou Restaurant is a fun place to eat because you can sit outside and watch the boats float by on Pirates of the Caribbean. Both restaurants take reservations and I highly suggest making them in advance – we've been turned away many times because they were both full for walk ins and reservations!
If you want the ultimate dining experience, Napa Rose (inside the Grand Californian Hotel) and Steakhouse 55 (inside the Disneyland Hotel) are probably the two nicest restaurants, other than Club 33 – an extremely exclusive, member-only club in Disneyland where members who have paid at least $25,000 to join and annual fees of at least $10,000 to continue membership.
HOW do you get into Club 33? You must either be at the park with a club member, or know a club member who can call in a reservation for you. You might think you don't know anyone who's a member of Club 33 but in this day and age of social media, you'd be surprised how small the world gets! If you're visiting Disneyland for a special occasion like a big birthday or anniversary, try asking your friends on facebook if anyone has a connection to a Club 33 member. I normally would feel timid asking but I found out that club members aren't limited on how many reservations they make per year, even for other people, so it doesn't hurt to ask!
I have lots more photos and details about our Club 33 experience that I'll put into another blog post!
Bring a backpack or cross-body bag: you will want to be hands free for hand holding, sharing treats, and just enjoying the park! No need to be annoyed by a fussy bag. I loved this backpack for our date video!
Wear comfortable shoes: even when you're on a date, you're STILL at Disneyland which = a crazytown amount of walking. So make sure your feet aren't going to be dying after an hour or two! Nothing kills the mood more like blistered, sore feet. I love my yosi flats because they're super comfy and cute enough to wear with even a dressy outfit.
Go for the thrill: you might not be bungee jumping, but a roller coaster can give you that same feeling of exhilaration while you're holding your partner's hand! Our favorite rides for a Disney date are Splash Mountain (sit at the back for best chance of staying dry!), Soarin over California to feel like you're enjoying a private ride over the coast of California, Indiana Jones for an excursion experience (don't go right after dinner, it jerks you around more than any other ride!!), and California Screamin for that surge of adrenaline.
Sneak in a kiss: the best makeout spots, if you're not 16 and into PDA, are inside the Haunted Mansion, on Pirates of the Caribbean, or inside the Tiki Room! All just dark enough to be somewhat inconspicuous while showing a little affection.
Whip it good: I cannot visit Disneyland without indulging in Dole Whip, my favorite Disney treat ever. HACK: go inside the Tiki Room entrance (just behind me on the right in the photo below) instead of standing in the very long line that wraps around the outside of the Tiki Room. You don't have to stay for the show but the line in here goes 10x faster!
The BEST photo op: If you want a photo like we have here of us in front of a deserted castle, or even just the castle itself without any other lurking visitors, head over there about 20 minutes before the afternoon parade begins. They'll rope off the entrance to the castle and you'll have a completely unobstructed shot of Sleeping Beauty's digs.
Run away to Neverland: during the parade, run away to Neverland in Peter Pan's Flight. As I mentioned yesterday in our tips for Disneyland with babies and kids, it's one of the busiest rides in the park and it does not offer fast passes, so if you're on a date night the best time to go on that ride is during the parade. It's pretty magical and romantic!
Watch the fireworks from Main Street: the best place to watch the fireworks, in my opinion, is at the top of Main Street. Try to hang out right near the end of the street, close to the Holly Jolly Bakery or the Photo Supply Co, and they'll start roping off the street a few minutes before and you can get a front row spot to see the fireworks show! You can also eat a late dinner at the Holly Jolly Bakery if you've been running around having fun all evening and want to sit to watch the magic.
Take the shortcut out: when the fireworks show is over, everyone will head down Main Street for the very long way out of the park. Take the shortcut and veer right instead, behind the Penny Arcade, to make a quicker exit! You'll be routed behind all the shops at Main Street and probably cut a good 5 minutes off your exit time. Unless of course you want to linger. The shops stay open 1 hour past closing time at Disneyland.
Come with us on a date to Disneyland in our video below! And if you haven't already, check out our tips for doing Disneyland with babies and kids here. It's got some great insider info even if you're not taking little ones along, a FREE printable survival checklist, and a $300 gift card GIVEAWAY for two of our most loyal readers.
Video by Gray Anderson