Whether SoCal locals or Disney adults on vacation, The Happiest Place on Earth has long been a downright dreamy place to enjoy a pixie-dust-drenched date night. Disneyland offers couples everything from playful rides and dazzling fireworks to sophisticated dining and indulgent spa treatments, along with a healthy dose of nostalgia.
Ready to plan your next Disney date night? We can help. (And they say chivalry is dead.) Keep reading for our guide to having a romantic date night at Disneyland, including some sweet ways to spend your time.
Fall in Love with These 16 Dreamy Disneyland Date Night Ideas
If you’re thinking of doing Disney with your special someone, you might be wondering, “is Disneyland a good place for a date?” Yes! (And we still mean that even if you’re traveling as a family with your kids – see our tips and tricks at the bottom.) Believe it or not, romance is in Disneyland’s DNA.
Starting way back in 1957, Date Nite at Disneyland revolutionized the park-going experience. The offering invited young lovers to take advantage of the park’s all-new late-night hours and enjoy its attractions and hospitality into the wee hours of the morning.
Heart-eyed couples would don their fanciest clothes and cuddle up under the moonlight on the park’s more romantic rides. A local band was brought in for live music and dancing. The event was so popular Disneyland even used Date Nite to launch the park’s first-ever pyrotechnics display. And really, with people talking about seeing fireworks when they fall in love, what could be more appropriate?
Although the original lovey-dovey tradition is no more, the spirit of Date Nite still lives on at Disneyland. Valentine’s Day and the season of love brings Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts’ Nite, while Dapper Day – though not strictly for couples – sees guests put on their spiffiest duds twice a year.
And before the Covid-19 pandemic, you could even swing dance the night away to a live band on Saturday nights at Fantasyland’s Royal Theatre. Plus, let’s not forget these romantic things to do at Disneyland:
#1 – Canoodle with your boo at the Haunted Mansion, the best makeout spot in Disneyland
No, we’re not joking. The Orange County Register once polled its readers on their favorite place to pucker up at Disneyland. (And they say news outlets nowadays never do any hard-hitting journalism.)
Thanks to its guise of “privacy” throughout the shadowy dark ride and a spooky theme to use as a ruse to cozy up, the Haunted Mansion was dubbed the winner. So, go ahead – sneak a kiss, or several, from the comfort of your Doom Buggy. Just be sure to keep an eye out for hitchhiking ghosts.
#2 – Or snuggle with your sweetie on another Disneyland dark ride
The Haunted Mansion isn’t the only Disney dark ride where couples can enjoy a little “alone” time. Many other enclosed rides throughout Disneyland Park and California Adventure offer a similar air of “privacy” that’s perfect for date night.
At Disneyland, Peter Pan’s Flight takes lovebirds on an undeniably romantic jaunt by secluded pirate ship over a twinkling London and the mermaids of Neverland. Or, for a delightful boat ride with a sense of adventure, set sail on Pirates of the Caribbean – just be sure to request the back row. Meanwhile, over at California Adventure, a ride on Ariel’s Undersea Adventure sets the scene for a fairy-tale kiss inspired by The Little Mermaid and “Kiss the Girl.”
A Note About Those Quotes: Keep in mind that while it can sometimes feel like you have privacy or that no one can see you (or anything less-than-family-friendly that you and your boo may be doing in the shadows) on dark rides at Disneyland, that definitely isn’t the case. Disney has cameras everywhere, especially in the dark corners of its enclosed rides. Trust us, cast members are watching, so remember to keep things PG.
#3 – Soak up some nostalgia on the Mark Twain Riverboat or Storybook Land Canal Boats
Blame it on Titanic (I’m flying!), but there’s something idyllic about floating down the water in a boat with your sweetheart. Sure, their journey and, thus, their relationship is doomed from the start, but we digress.
Channel Jack and Rose and go back to a simpler time as you cruise the backwaters of the Rivers of America from onboard the Mark Twain Riverboat. Then, claim the back row on one of the Storybook Land Canal Boats for a charming whirlwind tour of some fairy-tale destinations.
#4 – Feel like you’re in a whole new world from the top of the Pixar Pier Ferris Wheel
For many young couples at the local carnival, nothing could be more romantic than kissing at the top of the Ferris wheel. So, make your way to Pixar Pier for a spin on the Pixar Pal-A-Round.
While some gondolas on this lively Ferris wheel swing and slide as you whirl around, we prefer the steady, non-swinging gondolas. While they can’t compare to a magic carpet, their breathtaking, bird’s-eye views and picturesque setting make for top-of-the-world smooches.
#5 – Enjoy some friendly competition on the shooting gallery-style rides
They say that healthy competition can help keep things interesting in long-term relationships. So, let your competitive side shine and do your relationship some good at the same time with a ride on attractions like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Toy Story Midway Mania or WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.
Not only will you get a chance to impress your significant other with your skills, but you can even use the opportunity to place a playful wager, like the loser treating the winner to a sweet DOLE Whip or a sensual massage back at home or your room.
#6 – Scream together on one of Disneyland’s thrill rides
While the dopamine will already be flowing during your date night at Disneyland, why not kick things up a notch with a little adrenaline rush? Disney’s thrill rides may not be made for cuddling like the dimly lit dark rides, but your heart is sure to skip a beat as you careen around corners on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or the Incredicoaster or shout with glee (or fear) on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
#7 – Relax with a serene couples massage at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
A theme park day – or heck, just life in general – can be stressful. Treat yourself and your sweetheart to a Signature Couples Massage from the Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. For this luxurious treatment, you and your special someone will enjoy rejuvenating side-by-side massages along with time to enjoy spa amenities like the steam room and relaxation lounge.
#8 – Gaze into each other’s eyes over some delectable Disneyland dining
No matter where you are, no date night would be complete without a romantic dinner. Fortunately, no matter where you are at Disneyland, you’ll find plenty of dining options to choose from.
Theme park eateries like the Carthay Circle Restaurant at California Adventure or Disneyland’s Blue Bayou offer elevated eats and atmosphere in the heart of the action. Or, if you’d rather not fork over for a costly park ticket, book a reservation for the Grand Californian’s Napa Rose or Catal Restaurant at Downtown Disney instead.
Don’t worry if a fancy meal isn’t in your date night budget. Cheaper options like sharing a variety of snacks and desserts on a DIY Disneyland food tour can be just as memorable.
#9 – Then unwind with something boozy at a Disneyland bar or lounge
Going to get a drink is an age-old date night tradition, and it’s an oldie but a goodie for a reason. Liquid courage can be crucial, especially during the early stages of a relationship. Get the conversation flowing over a glass of something tasty at one of the many Disneyland bars.
Themed bars like Trader Sam’s and Oga’s Cantina are sure to appeal to the geeks out there, while the Lamplight Lounge and Carthay Circle Lounge are classy spots for a cocktail.
#10 – Create your own souvenirs at the Animation Academy
For some, being able to laugh at yourself is an incredibly attractive quality. For others, it’s incredibly impressive drawing skills. Either way, chances are you’ll be happy at the Animation Academy.
This interactive attraction walks guests through how to sketch your favorite Disney characters, making for a fun bonding experience. Swap your finished masterpieces for a unique token of your time together.
#11 – Or win a prize for your love at Pixar Pier
Remember walking the mighty midway with your special someone? If you were lucky, one of you would walk away from one of those tricky games with an outrageous stuffed animal and bragging rights. Recreate this nostalgic competition – with a playful twist – down at Pixar Pier, complete with adorable, Disney-inspired prizes perfect for your magical date night.
#12 – Celebrate your date with some fun photo opportunities
You know what they say, pics or it didn’t happen. Commemorate your enchanted evening with a photo or two around the Disneyland Resort. This sprawling destination is filled with enough adorable photo backdrops to fill your social media feeds.
Pay tribute to your fairy-tale romance in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Test the strength of your love at the Sword in the Stone. The possibilities are endless.
#13 – Party the night away during Sweethearts’ Nite or another special event
With exclusive, lovey-dovey dishes, dance parties and appearances by iconic Disney couples, Sweethearts’ Nite is the ultimate Disneyland date night idea. This and other Disneyland After Dark events or seasonal parties make for a welcome departure from your average theme park visit.
Sure, the tickets can be pricey. However, there’s something magical about themed food and drinks, dancing the night away and, best of all, blissfully short lines.
#14 – Skip the spendy park ticket but not the romance at Downtown Disney District
For a Disney date night that’s fun and memorable without breaking the bank, head to the Downtown Disney District. Along with delightful dining and some of the resort’s best shopping, lovebirds can also enjoy live music. We especially love the smooth rhythms of Flambeaux’s Jazz Club at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.
#15 – Challenge your special someone to bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Can you think of a more wholesome date night than donning a pair of bowling shoes and showing your sweetheart what you’ve got? We think not. Fortunately, Disneyland has one heckuva place to enjoy this all-American pastime.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes combines retro charm and a little good-natured competition with an impressive menu and the latest in bowling technologies, making for a carefree Disney date night that doesn’t skimp on the fun.
#16 – End your date night with a bang with the Disneyland fireworks, Fantasmic or World of Color
What better way to cap off your pixie-dust-filled Disney date night than with one of the stunning nighttime spectaculars? While the Disneyland fireworks are an obvious ending for your magical day, don’t forget about the resort’s other impressive displays.
With its timeless battle between good and evil and some of your favorite characters, Fantasmic is like a Disney movie brought to life, making it ideal for your Disneyland date night. While over in California Adventure, the World of Color dazzles with its vibrant kaleidoscopic effects.
Tips & Tricks for Your Date Night at Disneyland
Now that you know what you’ll be doing, make sure the big day goes off without a hitch with these Disneyland date night tips:
- If you can, save your Disney romance for the evening – Date Nite at Disneyland was a hit for a reason – nighttime in the parks is the best. The lines tend to be shorter, outdoor rides like Splash Mountain and Jungle Cruise take on air of romance when the sun goes down. Plus, don’t forget the fireworks!
- Feel extra-fancy and do some DisneyBounding or wear matching shirts – Dressing up was a mainstay of Date Nite at Disneyland, so make like the lovebirds of yesteryear and get spiffy. Do what feels most comfortable for you, whether that’s DisneyBounding, attire that would be right at home on Dapper Day or just simple matching t-shirts.
- Don’t forget a sweater or jacket – While you could certainly just cuddle up with your sweetie for warmth, you’ll both probably be more comfortable if you bring along a sweater or jacket to put on when the night turns cool.
- Make a dining reservation if you’re planning on a sit-down meal – Table-service restaurants are incredibly popular. Save yourself any last-minute disappointment and book a table in advance.
- Skip the crowds with Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes – For those who’d rather be out doing more fun things together than wasting time in line, consider splurging on Disney Genie+. Otherwise, make the most of it with fun apps like Heads Up or Play Disney Parks.
- Arrange a babysitter – Just because you’re traveling with kids at Disneyland doesn’t mean that you and your other half can’t enjoy a little alone time. Services like Destination Sitters will send a vetted sitter to your hotel room to entertain you little ones while you sneak away for the night.
Well, lovebirds, that concludes our round up of the best couple things to do at Disneyland. Have you gone on a Disney date night at The Happiest Place on Earth? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how to save some cash for your day of romance with our discount Disneyland tickets.