When I first mentioned to family and friends that we were planning on going to Disney World for our honeymoon, they were incredulous. “Why would you want to be around hoards of people and screaming children during the romantic start of your life together?”
There is no better place on earth for some sun and a lot of fun that you can share together than Disney World! It is the world’s number one honeymoon destination, with good reason. There are scores of restaurants, bars, pools, entertainment, and resorts for you to experience together. One thing that struck me when I was researching ideas for our own honeymoon, er sorry, “Disneymoon”, was how repetitive the advice online was. Over and over, I read the same few tidbits of advice: dine at Victoria and Albert’s; schedule a private photo-session with a Disney photographer; get the Disney Dining Plan; wear your “just married” buttons. Having just experienced a Disney honeymoon, I can honestly tell you, there are a lot better ways to create a romantic, fun adults-only vacation for you and your spouse.
The Ten BEST Tips for your Disney Honeymoon
1. Do not schedule a ton of reserved dinners (ADR’s)
It being our honeymoon and all, my husband and I scheduled quite a few dinner reservations. We ended up eating much more food, and heavier foods, than we normally do and we found the cuisine way too rich for us. This often dragged us down for at least an hour after each meal. My husband had more steak on this trip than he usually eats in a year, because every restaurant had steak as the dinner option with the “delicious potato side dish.” This also restricts your schedule because you have to be at a specific place and time each night. Pick one nice restaurant for every four days of your trip and make those special evenings.
I highly recommend Le Chefs de France the Epcot world showcase. My husband surprised me with dinner here due to my love of all things French. It was the best meal of our trip and the ambiance was a calming french bistro at a table by the window looking out at the World Showcase. Other good bets for romantic dinners (i.e. less children attending, romantic ambiance) are the Coral Reef Restaurant (eat fish in an aquarium), Le Cellier in Canada (beer and cheddar soup), the Yachtsman Steakhouse (steak, steak, and more steak), Restaurant Marrakech in Morocco (belly dancers for everyone), the Flying Fish Cafe (noisy deliciousness), Todd English’s Bluezoo (dancing fish…not literally), and the Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios (cobb salads and grapefruit cake).
Other than that, have some counter-service picnics, share snacks, sip one frozen lemonade with two straws, order room service in bed for breakfast. You will be so happy you did!
You DO NOT HAVE TO eat at Victoria & Albert’s The Grand Floridian’s foodie haven was listed as a top priority on almost every Disneymoon advice list that I read prior to our trip. Trust me, shelling out $500 that you don’t have as a young couple for one three-hour meal that involves foie gras and a partner who is a picky eater is not going to be the kind of memory that you want to make.
You also don’t need to have the dining plan with my system of ADR’s. If you get the Disney Dining Plan with your Disney Package at a good price, then go for it if you want. This includes “free dining” options that are sometimes offered in the fall. It is a lot of money up front for a lot of food and we did not use it, preferring to pay out of pocket. Do not feel pressured to get it.
2. Go to a Water Park for the day
Disney has two wonderful water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. If you are visiting during the cooler months, only one of the two will be open while the other is having maintenance done, so check ahead of time. We visited Blizzard Beach in November and had a blast together! For any time of the year, get there very early in the day, or go late in the day, because crowds will build.
First, stake out your lounge chairs in the sand away from the crowd and run into the wave pool. Blizzard Beach has a beautiful turquoise wave pool where you can bob up and down to your heart’s content. When they crank up the machine-made waves out by the rocks, hold on tight to your honey! After your refreshing dip, climb some steps (ok a ton of steps) up to the Crusher Gusher and get a raft for two. Sail down the twisting and turning slide while screaming before you splash down. You can also race each other down the toboggan racers slide.
A chair lift will take you to the top of the mountain for Teamboat Springs, a group raft ride down a very long, very fun, very splashy course. We rode down with a lovely family from Argentina. Be warned, if you have problems with heights, getting to the top of the mountain for Teamboat Springs is not the easiest. You have two options: climb a million steps or take the chairlift. The chairlift stops at times during your ride to let other people on and you are waaaaay up high…without a net…or even a foot rest. This did not bother my dear husband or the six year old girl seated with us, but I, your fearless traveler, clutched the handlebars for dear life, praying my wet bathing suit and the slippery chair seat would not repel each other. Next time, I promise I won’t look down.
This was my first time at a water park ever and we had the BEST time. The slides we went down were thrilling and fun. The water was warm, yet refreshing. When we grew tired, we got a couple of slushy cocktails and some donut holes with chocolate dipping sauce and we sat back in the sun and sand. To end our day, we floated around the entire park on Cross Country Creek (a lazy river) in a tandem raft together trying to avoid the icy drips of water that fell from the cave and a clothesline of dripping socks. The theming here is fantastic and your opportunities for a fun time abound.
3. Stay at a Disney Resort or on-site Resort.
If you can swing it financially, stay at a Disney Resort for all, or part, of your honeymoon. Disney Resorts are an experience themselves and there is something for everybody. If you love the idea of a secluded cabin in the woods, stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. If you dream of walks on the beach in Hawaii without the long flight, stay at Disney’s Polynesian. Do you love New Orleans? Stay at Port Orleans Riverside. Or make every day a safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney’s theming offers wonderful resorts for everyone, and their amenities will make your honeymoon’s trip logistics much smoother. Disney resort guests are offered Extra Magic Hours, with an hour just for you at specific parks in the morning and evening. That means you might get into the Magic Kingdom one hour earlier than everyone else and then close up the night one hour later at Hollywood Studios.
You will also be in the best proximity to enjoy the included Disney transportation (buses, boats, monorail) so you won’t have to worry about parking. Some resorts also enable you to walk to the gates of your favorite parks! If you are having any trouble with your magic bands or forgot one last souvenir, your resort can help you with that too. Stay at a Deluxe Resort or Moderate Resort. We don’t advise you stay at a Value Resort for your honeymoon because those are geared heavily to families (lots of kids in the pool) but if you happen to know and love one, then go for it.
If price is an issue, and Disney Resorts can be very pricey, particularly in peak times, running anywhere from $270 a night and up (waaay up), you can still be in great proximity to the parks for a nicer price by staying at the Swan or Dolphin hotels in Disney’s boardwalk district. Located right between Disney’s Yacht Club and Boardwalk resorts, you are in a prime location to visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The hotels feature great restaurants, Disney transportation, Extra Magic Hours, and a spot for a lively nightlife on the boardwalk. Prices tend to be lower here, and if you are a teacher or a nurse, they often offer a discount.
Also an option is the Buena Vista Palace & Spa, located directly across the street from the Disney Marketplace (soon to be Disney Springs). If you are a D23 Gold Member, you can receive a 15% off discount, at times. They offer a shuttle to all Disney theme parks and water parks, a Disney Store, and a Disney Character Breakfast on Sundays.
If you are a Hilton Honors member, your best bet might be the new Waldorf=Astoria Orlando, located just minutes from Disney. Rooms rates are often lower than Disney Deluxe Resorts, yet feature cushy amenities and complimentary transportation to the parks. Teachers are also offered a very nice summer room rate here. We’ve also heard good things about the room rates and amenities at the Wyndham Cyprus Palms in Orlando.
Or, try splitting up your stay. Book an off-site hotel or motel for several night and then splurge on two or three nights at a Disney Resort.
4. Take a Special Disney Tour
Your honeymoon is the time for making memories as a couple, and Disney’s high quality tours will enable you to have special experiences that most of the guests to Disney world won’t. We did the Wild Africa Trek, a three-hour safari in Disney’s Animal Kingdom complete with animal interactions, informative lessons, a suspension bridge adventure, photo opportunities, and a beautiful lunch out on the savanna. It was the highlight of our honeymoon and we can’t stop talking about it. The tour groups are small (ours was 8 people) and offer you much needed time away from the crowds at Disney. Disney offers something for everyone.
If you love the sea, Epcot is your answer. Dolphins in Depth can provide for dolphin interactions, Epcot’s Seas Aqua Tour and Dive Quest are available for those of you who know how to dive. Are you avid gardeners? The Behind the Seeds tour in The Land may be just your thing! The Wilderness Back Trail Segway Adventure, The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour, the Keys to the Kingdom are several other unique options for your Disneymoon.
On a smaller scale, Disney offers new dessert and drink options during fireworks displays in both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. A cordoned off VIP area with a great view of the fireworks, sparkling beverage, and a buffet of desserts provides a memorable evening for honeymooners. You can book this under dining (ADR) in your “My Disney Experience.”
5. Wear your buttons…but only if you feel like it
Ah the buttons, sweet buttons. Everyone tells you to get the buttons and wear the buttons. Disney offers honeymooners a special “just married” or “happily ever after” button that you can pick up at your resort or at Guest Relations at the parks. It makes you more recognizable to cast members. But in the words of my husband, “everyone has a freaking button.” And it’s true. There are buttons for first visits, Birthdays, Anniversaries, the just engaged, family reunions, My Triumph, and the mysterious, yet general “I’m Celebrating.”
Many people don these buttons with the hope that they will get “free stuff” during their travels throughout Disney World: cupcakes, fast passes, room upgrades, gold krugerrands. A word of advice, do not wear a button with too much expectation attached to it. We wore our buttons quite a bit because we liked them. We got a lot of congratulations from cast members and visitors and it was a nice conversation starter. We got beautiful leis at the Polynesian Resort in honor of our newlywed status and a nice tasting plate of little chocolates for dessert at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. We also got a pink plastic placemat with all of the Disney princesses on it at Cinderella’s Royal Table (not sure where I put that, come to think of it). It was nice to be congratulated. Just don’t expect perks because of your big purple button or you will likely be disappointed.
6. Find the perfect honeymoon souvenir
The opportunities for buying an object to commemorate your honeymoon abound. When you are searching for the perfect souvenir, think “heirloom” not Disneyana. You can always get that giant stuffed Minnie Mouse on your next Disney trip. We found beautiful blown glass Christmas ornaments in a “wedding set” complete with a certificate and wooden storage box in Germany, which is sure to be a family heirloom. We also picked up a small hand-carved wooden statue of two intertwined giraffes to remember our safari and stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The world showcase offers many opportunities for honeymoon souvenirs from different countries, including crystal wine glasses, jewelry, murano glass, perfume bottles, silk kimonos, venetian masks, beer steins, and teapots.
If you are just setting up a home, Disney kitchen items make great, packable souvenirs. Available at the Disney marketplace and many resort gift shops, potholders, tablecloths, dishtowels and fun kitchen gadgets will help you remember your trip.
Did you marry an animation enthusiast or Disney fanatic? You might want to invest in a piece of framed animation art or a beautiful snow globe you can display. Did you love your resort? Many of the hotel shops have matted prints of artists’ interpretations of resort views.
If you are strapped for cash with all this Disney-ing…fear not, you can have a great souvenir for very little money! Simply collect small items along the way to put into a shadowbox frame. We made one with our happily ever after buttons, hotel stationary items, a menu from our favorite dinner, magic bands, receipts, park maps, pressed pennies, and some favorite photos for less than $20!
7. Do not go to the parks every day
Repeat after me. Do. Not. Go. To. The. Parks. Every. Day.
Do not do it! No matter how much you love Disney! No matter how much you want to ride Splash Mountain again. No matter how much you really need to get those cute ballet flats in the store on Main Street. No matter how much you want a better photo of the two of you in front of the castle. Even if you have a Tinker Bell tattoo somewhere on your body (yes, you are indeed a hard core Disney fan sir). Do not go to the parks every day. This is your honeymoon and it only happens once! So spend time together relaxing away from the parks. Sit by the pool, stroll on the beach, have a drink at the hotel bar, work out in the gym side-by-side, see a show, or relax in your room. Be together without hoards of people in your business.
If you think you will have trouble doing this, and there are many people who will, I recommend buying your Disney Parks ticket as a Park Hopper Pass for 2 days short of your stay. For instance, if you are staying 6 days, purchase a 4 day Park Hopper. This gives you a lot of flexibility on the days you are at the parks to do everything you want to do, but will restrict you from going every day.
You can thank me later.
If you need to do something away from the parks, rent a SeaRacer boat or bikes at your resort and set off together to explore. The boats seat two people and are a lot of fun. You’ll forget about the parks if you and your sweetheart cruise in Bay lake together. Take turns driving the boat! Or pack some snacks or sandwiches for a picnic and head off on your bikes for a relaxing ride. Disney also offers Surrey bicycles built for two.
For more romance, carriage rides are offered at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans. (I’ve heard the one during the holidays is fantastic because of all the decorated campers.) If a little competition makes you frisky, Disney also offers two miniature golf courses: Winter/Summerland at Blizzard Beach and Fantasia Gardens golf just past the Boardwalk.
We also really enjoy exploring the other resorts. Use Disney transportation to visit the other hotel and see the different theming. Have lunch, a coffee, or a drink at the resort and see the stunning lobby, grounds and pool. Look at the restaurant menus for future visits. Often, the resorts are quiet when everyone is at the parks during the height of day, which will enable you to have a nice look around.
8. Buy some ears, just not necessarily those ears
You know the ones I’m talking about right? The bride and groom ears? The white ones with the little tiara and the bit of veil flying off of it? The black ears with the tiny top hat. I’m sorry. We couldn’t do it. We tried. We even took a picture in them. And that was more than enough for me. They just weren’t us. If they are you…if you’ve been dreaming about them since you were a wee lass, well, then go on ahead, wear them with pride! But if you grimace at the thought…
and my there was a lot of grimacing…
Then try the new Glow with the Show ears. They light up! Oh yes they do! And they change colors, seemingly randomly, so you can always find your honey in the dark…even when you are back home! If you are at Fantasmic, they synchronize in a light show with the music. When the blue fairy flies out during Wishes, they turn blue. Be a part of this chromatic spectacle. Get your picture taken with these ears on coming down Splash Mountain at night. When you touch your ears to his ears they turn the same color. Touch your ears together a lot. (Touching ears leads to kissing. You can’t have enough of that on your honeymoon!)
9. Eat, Drink, and Shop Around the World
Epcot’s World Showcase enables you “walk around the world.” This is a delight for honeymooners when you eat and drink and shop your way around the world. For every drink you get, make sure to have a snack in each country so you don’t get too tipsy. The more you drink and eat, the more you will buy souvenirs. This is particularly fun. (No, I’m sorry honey, I don’t remember buying the navy blue Italian leather hobo bag that I now love so much. Soft. So very soft).
If you are drinking Aquavit in Norway, then share some school bread (why is this so delicious, tell us why!) Dumplings go great with the slushy Plum Iced Tea in China. Split a bratwurst or curry wurst in Germany with your beer (if you visit during the holidays Germany has Gluhwein!) You can do this economically if you save your snack credits from the Disney Dining Plan or split items out-of-pocket along the way. Or do like we did and pre-purchase a Disney Gift Card for this purpose. Then you can just enjoy yourselves! Visit the kiosks and counter service areas of each country to maximize time.
Visit the kiosks and counter service areas of each country to maximize time. In Italy, we picked out a handful of Italian chocolates to nibble on with our bellinis. We did a sake tasting in Japan (turns out we like sweet sake). And in France (why is it always France?!) we had the best snack of our lives… Oh yes… An ice cream sandwich made with a scoop of salted-caramel ice cream inside a buttery brioche. And the whole thing was toasted! It was warm and cold. And oh so good! With two Grand Marnier slushies. I think about it still. The Best. Snack. Ever! And I cannot recreate this. Ce’st Impossible!
10. Enjoy being the “biggest kids” around
Let’s face it, if you didn’t have a bit of childlike wonder in you, Disney World would not be your Honeymoon destination. We say live it up…and embrace your inner child. Delight in each other’s happiness. Ride Aladdin’s Magic Carpets at night. Laugh at the Country Bear Jamboree. Split a Mickey sundae on Main Street. Construct your own lightsabers.
We went to the Character Breakfast at the Cape May Cafe. Nothing beats a hug from Goofy and strawberry waffles together! We watched Wishes twice. We (finally) rode the Seven Dwarves Mine Train at midnight.
Try to get the Memory Maker photo package if your honeymoon is three days or longer. This is not something we would always go in for, but for our honeymoon, we were very glad we got this. Photopass photographers stationed at the best points throughout the parks (and in some hotel lobbies) will take your photo on their camera, and then take some for you on your own. (You can do this for free with a Photopass card) Included in the Memory Maker, however, are all the big ride photos (Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Test Track, Expedition Everest). We were delighted to discover later that Disney had some video of us on there too, including the Tower of Terror drop, our nighttime ride on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and a Holiday Greeting from Main Street. It all makes for a great digital album of our honeymoon.
If you follow these ten tips, you will have a wonderful Disneymoon…
and you’ll Live Happily Ever After!