While Walt Disney World is usually a popular pick with families over winter break, The Most Magical Place on Earth can also be an enchanting place for an adult Disney trip during the holidays, especially for couples. So, whether you’re looking for a little alone time during your family vacation or a pair of Orlando locals wanting some Disney magic this holiday season, you’ll find plenty of romantic things to do at Disney World that also bring the Christmas spirit.
Read on for some suggestions for your upcoming date night at Disney World, Christmas edition, and get ready to make your holidays both merry and memorable.
Making Your Date Night at Disney World During the Holidays Happen
Before you bust out the mistletoe, here are some things to consider when planning your Disney World date night this Christmas.
Babysitting and Childcare Service at Disney World
Unless you live in Central Florida or are on an adult Disney vacation, if you’re traveling through Disney World at Christmastime, it’s likely with one or more kiddos in tow. However, as heartwarming as it is to see their eyes light up in wonder at the sight of Santa Claus or the massive Disney Christmas trees, there’s a good chance that you wouldn’t mind some time alone to enjoy the magic of a Disney World Christmas.
That’s where the babysitting and childcare services at Disney World come in. For childcare your kid won’t hate being dropped off at, there’s Camp Dolphin at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. Located in the Epcot Resort Area, this convenient drop-off service isn’t just for Swan and Dolphin guests – anyone can use it.
Reservations are required. Then, simply drop off your child (between ages 5 to 12 only) between the hours of 4 PM and 11 PM. A meal and snacks are provided, and participants also enjoy various supervised activities, including movies, board games and arts & crafts.
Prefer to keep your kids in your hotel room? Then arrange for a sitter through Kid’s Nite Out. This Disney-approved babysitting service that sends a professional childcare provider to your room armed with enough kid-friendly diversions to keep them entertained all evening long.
Romantic Disney World Resort Hotels for the Holidays
When it comes to the best Disney World hotels for couples, we’d typically suggest dreamy, honeymoon-ready resorts like Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter or Caribbean Beach Resort. However, the holidays call for something different – some cozier, with just the right amount of romance.
With its wooded setting, rustic charm, towering Christmas tree and new (as of 2019) gingerbread cabin, the Wilderness Lodge fits the bill. This deluxe resort truly feels like it was made for the holiday, a Northwoods escape perfect for cuddling up when the weather gets cold (by Florida standards, of course).
Or, for something more elegant, you can’t go wrong with the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. While its dignified digs don’t scream festive, that all changes as soon as you reach the lobby, and the scent of gingerbread fills your nose.
The hotel’s elegant holiday decorations, including a massive gingerbread house and gracious Victorian-inspired décor, make for a refined yet romantic hotel choice. Plus, with its sweeping views of Magic Kingdom, you can even catch Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks on Disney Very Merriest After Hours nights across the lagoon.
10 Things to Do for Your Date Night at Disney World During the Holidays
Whether you’re a theme park guest or an Orlando local, there’s no time to visit Walt Disney World that is more magical – or romantic – than during the holidays. From festive treats that are perfect for sharing to enchanting Disney Christmas decorations and much more, you’ll have plenty to see and do for your date night at Disney World this yuletide season.
Theme park tickets not in the budget? Don’t despair – most of these suggestions are for outside the parks anyway.
For a Wholesomely Festive Disney Date Night (or Day) at the Theme Parks
Although all of Walt Disney World gets dressed up for the holidays, some of the best festive vibes can be found in the parks thanks to giant Christmas trees, jolly decorations and seasonal bites and sips. A few rides even receive merry makeovers just for the occasion, making for a fun way to enjoy the spirited atmosphere alongside your love.
Experience the Nostalgia of a Magic Kingdom Christmas
The holidays are the perfect time for getting in touch with your inner child, and there’s no better place to do that than the Magic Kingdom. Decked with garlands, ribbons and baubles, Main Street, U.S.A. is a vision in its Christmas finery and a fitting way to start or end your day.
Santa is doing socially distanced meet-and-greets at the Liberty Square Gazebo behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. So, stop by to let him know that you’ve both been very good this year and snap a selfie. Then, head over to Adventureland for the Jingle Cruise, a yuletide takeover of this classic Disney ride complete with cheesy Christmas jokes.
You’ll also want to be sure to sample some of the limited-time dishes and drinks that are on offer around the park. As you snack, sit and watch the character cavalcades as they float by. Visiting between December 22 to 31? You’re in luck because you can also catch Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade even if you don’t have tickets to Very Merriest After Hours.
Savor the Flavors and Traditions of the Season During Christmas at Epcot
It wouldn’t be the holidays without lots of delicious food and meaningful yuletide traditions, and you’ll find both at an Epcot Christmas, with the heart of this festive celebration being the Festival of the Holidays. Chockful of seasonal tastes and Christmas customs from around the world, it’s a great way to share both a smorgasbord of snacks and some of your own family traditions with your boo.
Foodies will love creating their own festive food tour of the Holiday Kitchens or sampling the sweets that are part of the Holiday Cookie Stroll. Others will enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit by listening to the Holiday Storytellers and checking out each pavilion’s unique decorations.
The park’s annual Candlelight Processional is another mainstay of the Christmas season and a must for any Disney date night at Epcot. Make a night out of it, and secure your seats in the process, by booking the Candlelight Processional dining package.
Lastly, be sure to go on Living with the Land before you head out for the night. When draped in hundreds of twinkle lights, this relaxing boat ride through Epcot’s greenhouses makes for an incredibly romantic – and festive – attraction.
Get in the Holiday Spirit with a Snack-filled Hollywood Studios Christmas
If you’re looking for old-fashioned fun with plenty of sweet Christmas treats to try, then Disney’s Hollywood Studios is for you. Of the four theme parks, aside from the Holiday Kitchens at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays, this is where you’ll find the bulk of Disney World’s festive food items for 2021. Make a day out of trying them all with a Disney Christmas food crawl. Or, sprinkle them throughout your visit as you watch the Santa Claus Merry Motorcade or other character cavalcades roll by.
With its retro details and foot after foot of glittering tinsel (Hollywood Studios is inspired by Tinseltown, after all), fans of Christmas decorations and all things Shiny Brite will go crazy for the park’s vintage holiday stylings. Check out all the yuletide touches before heading to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration to revel in the show’s festive finale with Olaf and a “snowfall” powered by pixie dust (and soap).
Towards the end of the night, take a break at The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge to snag the Holiday Bliss cocktail, a boozy, caramel apple-flavored concoction mixed with vanilla vodka and ice cream mix. Then, make your way to The Hollywood Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard to end your night with Sunset Seasons Greetings, the park’s holly-jolly projection show.
Make Merry with Earth’s Creatures During Christmas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Animal lovers and Christmas fans alike won’t be able to get enough of the unique holiday festivities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Aside from St. Nick making an appearance on his Festive Flotilla, the celebrations remain largely focused on winter’s creatures and preserving nature’s beauty.
The park’s Merry Menagerie greets guests at the entrance to Discovery Island in a welcome unlike anything else at Walt Disney World, featuring adorable, life-sized (and sometimes larger-than-life) puppets of winter animals that interact with visitors as they stream into and out of Animal Kingdom. Sculpted by artisans, these penguins, reindeer, polar bears, arctic foxes and other cold-weather creatures are a striking and undeniably cute way to commemorate the season.
Once you’re in the park, the other lands beckon, adorned with themed decorations inspired by their setting and its traditions. Africa is a standout, with its crafty, homespun accents seemingly made from recycled materials and brilliant lights at night. While DinoLand U.S.A., bedecked with its kitschy, dinosaur-themed Christmas trappings, takes things in a completely different, delightfully cheeky direction.
When you and your boo aren’t admiring the Animal Kingdom Christmas decorations, head on over to the Nomad Lounge and grab a table outside overlooking the Discovery River. As you tuck into something tasty at this worldly signature restaurant, keep an eye out for the Disney character flotillas to float by below. Finally, before you head out, don’t forget to linger in front of the Tree of Life to catch one of its wintery awakenings.
For Holiday Cheer and Romance, No Disney Park Ticket Required
Don’t want to pay for tickets? No more available Disney Park Pass Reservations? No worries! From Disney Springs to the many different Disney World hotels, there are still a ton of Christmas-y things to do for your Disney date night, with no theme park ticket needed.
Get Festive with an Over-the-Top Disney Springs Date Night
Thanks to its incredible dining, amazing shopping and the fact that it doesn’t require a park ticket or reservation to get in, Disney Springs is incredibly popular with vacationing guests and Orlando locals alike. However, it transforms into something even more magical when the holidays roll around.
Spruced up for the season (literally, ha!) with a whole trail of holiday trees, a flurry of twinkle lights and even its own faux snowfall, it’s a true winter wonderland. Or, at least as close as you can get in Florida. Then, to really take your date to the next level, when you’re finished marveling at the snow or tracking down all of the themed trees in the Christmas Tree Stroll from the ground, head on over to the Aerophile balloon to check out the view of the merriment from above.
After you’ve come back down to Earth, mosey on over to Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar. Aside from the gloriously tacky Christmas decorations, this festive transformation of Disney Springs’ Hangar Bar, one of the best bars at Disney World, also offers a tasty array of holiday foods, making it a must for your Disney Springs date night. Split something shareable like Grandma’s Favorite Sliders topped with venison sausage and cranberry aioli or Milk and Cookies (with boozy coquito subbed out for the milk).
Resort Hop and Admire the Christmas Decorations at the Disney World Hotels
The Walt Disney World Christmas decorations are beautiful throughout the parks and Disney Springs, but the holiday cheer also makes its way to all of the resort hotels, with each receiving its own merry additions. In other words, it’s prime time for some Disney World resort hopping.
Taking advantage of Disney’s complimentary transportation system, hop on the monorail, Disney Skyliner, a water taxi or one of the buses and visit the resorts with the best Christmas decorations. Perennial favorites include the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort and Beach Club and their massive gingerbread displays, as well as the Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Inn, Coronado Springs, Fort Wilderness and Yacht Club.
Peddle a Surrey Bike Beneath the Twinkle Lights at Disney’s BoardWalk
Disney’s BoardWalk, the Central Florida resort’s other entertainment district, is a charming spot for a Disney date night. Rent a surrey bike for the romantic mode of transportation on your voyage around Crescent Lake.
Along the way, be sure to stop for seasonal treats at the BoardWalk Bakery, admire the BoardWalk Christmas tree and take time to enjoy the street performers entertaining along the promenade. These magicians, jugglers and more start putting on a show once the sun goes down, and many add some festive elements to their shows once the Christmas season rolls around.
For an Outdoorsy Disney Date Night at Christmastime
While the magical snowfalls happening around Walt Disney World would have you believe otherwise, Orlando tends to be relatively nice during the day, even in December and January. So, take advantage of the balmy temperatures by having a festive outdoors adventure for two.
Go for a Holiday Sleigh Ride Through the Fort Wilderness Christmas Decorations
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort comes alive with the spirit of the holidays each festive season, and it isn’t just because of the ornaments put up by the Disney decorators. It’s because many of the guests who bring their camper or tent also dress up their campsites for the season, sometimes quite elaborately.
While you could just board a bus and ride around to see the sights, we suggest you book one of the Fort Wilderness holiday sleigh rides instead. Looking spiffy with garlands and lights, these sleighs make for a merry, and romantic, way to see the Fort Wilderness Christmas decorations.
Frolic with Santa and His Elves at Disney’s Winter Summerland Golf Course
If you’re looking for a playful way to get in the festive spirit without having to deal with huge crowds, then set your sights on Disney’s Winter Summerland Golf Course. Offering two whimsical courses inspired by the jolly old elf himself, it’s great for a little friendly, flirty competition.
Now, we’ll admit that this Disney World mini-golf course is actually available all year long. However, with its Christmas-y theming starring Santa and the elves either preparing for the big night or on vacation following the whirlwind evening, it’s certainly worthy of a Disney date night this holiday season. When you’re done, head over to Disney Springs or Disney’s BoardWalk to keep the merrymaking going.
Cuddle Up During a Cozy Campfire and a Disney Movie Under the Stars
It’s cuffing season, and what better way to warm up for the holidays than with an inviting campfire and a Disney Movie Under the Stars? Held by some of the Disney World hotels, these al fresco showings and crackling campfires are completely free for guests to enjoy, unless you opt to buy a s’mores kit or two.
Bring a blanket and some hot cocoa and cozy up with your main squeeze as you nosh on gooey toasted marshmallows and watch the show. During the holidays, catch festive favorites like The Santa Clause, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and more.
Well, lovebirds, that’s all the Christmas Disney World date ideas we have. What’s your favorite way to spend the holidays at Disney World with your significant other? Is there anything we forgot? Let us know in the comments below!
Hoping to make the most of your time in the parks so you can really enjoy Christmas at Walt Disney World with your better half? Take a look at our one-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Then, why not save some extra cash in the process? Maximize your travel budget with our discount Disney World tickets.
Amber is a proud former Walt Disney World Cast Member, an unabashed travel addict, and a hospitality and tourism specialist with over 10 years in the industry. She likes getting her wanderlust fix by sharing her favorite park tips and tricks with other Disney fans. When she isn’t working, you can usually catch her in a hot power yoga class or spending way too much money at Disney Springs.