When you think of romance at Walt Disney World, do you envision the commercials that include: laughing over dinner; a quiet round of golf together; pedaling a Surrey bike or a horse drawn carriage ride through the Riverside; jumping up from the bottom of your resort pool with the cool water slide in the background; disembarking from the Monorail with souvenirs in tow; or just taking in the sounds while strolling through the West Side at Disney Springs? I also happen to know it’s a very common occurrence for someone to propose in front of Cinderella Castle, at the end of a fireworks show (or possibly on the balcony of a “theme park view” room at one of the Magic Kingdom hotels), or a tethered hot air balloon ride at Disney Springs, but there are actually many overlooked areas in the parks that are surprisingly romantic. You need to know these things, because if you’re trying to recreate the production magic of paid actors in a commercial (under ideal conditions including well-behaved child actors) you’re setting yourself up for failure. Luckily, I’m here to help.
I am not too romantic (even though I may romanticize certain things), because my realistic demeanor does not allow for such sappiness. I yell at my wife, “I love you” on occasion, because I know your partner needs to hear these things every now and again, because work is hectic and schedules are full, etc., and there’s no better way to demonstrate that sentiment than a jolt to their core (and eardrums). It gets the job done, that reassurance, and it doesn’t sound awkward to them if you do it around a lot of people since they’re used to it. OK, I might be exaggerating a little, but I needed a sense of hyperbole here because I just wanted to point out that real romance doesn’t happen the cheesy way it’s portrayed around us in the media. That’s why the true, spontaneous moments of affection stick out so much. Everyone has different circumstances, but we’re all trying to achieve a shared goal: have a relaxing, good time while on vacation and enjoy the time away from the daily grind that wears us down so much. And with that said, let the surprises begin:
1) Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Magic Kingdom
Hopping on this attraction at night all lit up after the fireworks, the old ragtime-styled songs playing in the background as you pick a trusty steed and clumsily navigate your way into a saddle, set the tone. Once the bell rings and the ride starts, you take in the attractions as you circle: Pinocchio’s Village Haus, it’s a small world, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Cinderella Castle, and Princess Fairytale Hall. While moving up and down, you catch a glimpse of their eyes after the camera pulls away and you suddenly recall younger days and old dates. Something about this innocent ride beckons fond memories.
2) Mexico Pavilion and Japan Pavilion in EPCOT
These areas are quite unique. While Mexico offers a dimly-lit indoor marketplace with souvenirs, tequila, and a boat ride, Japan offers an outdoor, backyard-feel with koi ponds, sake, and babbling brooks tucked away around the main buildings/pagodas. You can easily find unsolicited tranquility with a sip of your favorite beverage and enjoyable atmosphere. Both spots offer quiet(er) places and higher elevation for grand views of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. You can an enjoy a Mariachi band outside of the pyramid steps in Mexico or a Taiko drum performance in Japan several times a day. EPCOT is twice as large as the Magic Kingdom, so give your feet a break and let your wonderful surroundings spark some interesting conversations.
3) Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in Magic Kingdom
You need a break from the day and the line is never too long for this attraction. You can sit down across from each other or side by side and either way, the slow-moving tour of Tomorrowland high above the guests is perfect for people-watching. There are plenty of dark tunnels and moments without narration (or Speedway exhaust) for you to talk about the day’s events or to just enjoy their presence. Wave at the guests in Mickey’s Star Traders down below. After all, you have been walking a lot, maybe holding hands, but nothing separates the space in between you two here in this ride vehicle. Hey, no tomfoolery though, those cameras are watching you!
4) Asia in Animal Kingdom
Not all spots need to be quiet for it to be considered romantic. Corridors and alleyways with shops and stalls make this area busy, but admirable. You hear an unfamiliar wood flute with a drum pattern that peaks your interest. The guests’ voices blend together as the fountain behind the Yak & Yeti soothes with birds prancing around and chirping with maybe a dip to cool off. The prayer flags, Anandapur ice cream truck, and architecture of the buildings all set a style that is plastered in front of Expedition Everest. With discernible screams of excitement and joy in the distance coming from one of the park’s main attractions, the bridge and view of the river are also incorporated into this section.
5) Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios
Think about when you clung to your sweetheart at a horror movie in the theater and how their resistance to white-knuckle during the scariest moments made you feel so comforted (or vice-versa). Now, just think of how awesome it is with this attraction, tonight you are the star! Exiting this ride after feeling so excited keeps the blood flowing and when you turn the corner you see a lovely, downhill view of Sunset Blvd, especially at night. The earful tower is now glowing behind you, Carthay Circle is begging you to come in to shop, and the little ones have their light up souvenirs, ready for Fantasmic! You could stay and watch or go back to the resort!