For all of the passion and fulfillment a meaningful relationship can bring, the joys of finding that special someone often come at a steep price. Nothing truly great happens without time and energy, and for many of us that cost is payed through the increasingly frustrating and confusing endeavor that we call dating.
Dating is tough. It shouldn't be, but it is. Not only do we have our own insecurities and past experiences to deal with, but there are so many unspoken rules and codes of conduct we are trying to follow, never knowing exactly how to convey the best sides of ourselves while remaining true to who we are. Some of us spend what is supposed to be an enjoyable romantic encounter trying so hard to gauge how we are feeling, and how our prospective partner is feeling, that we absentmindedly leave behind any chance for a truly enjoyable experience.
For those of you with lonely hearts, who are just about ready to throw in the towel and swear off this fruitless searching forever, worry no more—I am about to solve all of your dating problems!
That may have been a bit of an overstatement. What I am actually going to do is elaborate on one really good idea, that I totally didn't come up with, that has managed to work for quite a few folks. As it turns out, when you are having a difficult time making some magic of your own, you can always borrow some from the place you know has a steady supply: Walt Disney World.
Here are a few reasons that a Disney first date is the least stressful, most customizable, and most just-plain-enjoyable time you can have getting to know that (possibly, maybe?) special someone.
It's cost effective for annual passholders, but may be worth it for anyone else too:
Yes, getting to know someone new can be immensely fun and exciting, but before we get to the good stuff let's talk about one cold hard fact: dating is expensive.
If you told any one of us that we were guaranteed to meet our soulmate, we would gladly empty our bank accounts to scratch that itch deep in our chests. The sad fact is, though, that oftentimes we leave a first date calculating everything we spent and comparing it to the lackluster experience we purchased.
For annual passholders, a Disney date does not have to be expensive. You have the option of catering what you spend to the vibe you are trying to send. Casual coffee date? Instead, meet for a few hours and hit up some quick-service while you walk and talk. Wandering one of Epcot's many festivals is a great way to snack and take in some scenery while you get to know each other. Something slightly more romantic? An evening table-service before a fireworks spectacular.
The thing is, normal dates may be judged by how nice or expensive the setting, but remember that the environment sets the mood. A more affordable meal surrounded by Imagineer-supplied splendor can make one of Disney's less expensive eateries have a much higher emotional impact.
Not an annual passholder? Well, then, your date just got pretty pricey. That doesn't mean this is never a good idea though. Maybe you shouldn't take every blind internet date here, but if you are trying to make an impression on someone you already know makes your heart gyrate like a Roomba in a fish tank, this'll do it.
It limits awkward moments, and helps you get to know each other:
Nothing bothers me more than first date introduction questions.
"What do you do for work?"
"Where did you grow up?"
"How many siblings do you have?"
Don't get me wrong, if I like someone I'll want to know all of those things eventually, but I don't want my date to feel like a job interview. Here's an example of how a Disney first date introduction can go:
"Where would you like to go first?"
"Well, I have to ride Peter Pan's Flight while I'm here. It was my sister's favorite ride when we were kids, so now it reminds me of her. She moved out of state but she always asks if I went on it when we talk."
Hey, you just learned something about someone in a way that doesn't seem forced and formulaic! For Disney fans, we all have memories of the parks that will make it easier to share about ourselves. If you are with someone who doesn't, congratulations, their first memories of a ride or experience will now have you right there with them. Even if it doesn't work out, for the rest of their lives they will remember mercilessly destroying you points-wise on their first ever Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin run.
The array of attractions and entertainment are also an easy solution for when the ever-dreaded awkward silence rears its hideous head. My first ever Disney date did not have a single awkward pause in 3 hours (it's usually one every 3 minutes). Conversation hit a halt? Look almost anywhere and talk about the first thing you see. I'll throw you another example:
"So after I spent about a thousand dollars getting a new garbage disposal installed, I realized the smell was actually coming from me all along. I see my dietitian on Tuesday, so, fingers crossed."
"Look! I think they're doing that Muppet show thing in Liberty Square."
"Oh my god I loooove the Muppets!"
It can last however long you want it to:
The best first dates aren't forced. They're just two people getting to know each other and letting the time unfold naturally. A Disney encounter makes it easier to just let the date be whatever it wants to be. Assuming you've got the time to spare (what are you doing today that's so important, anyhow?), you can start off your first date with a casual early afternoon meet-up, and then feel things out as you go.
Not feeling a connection? That's okay, you've had a pleasant hour or two in a theme park and can now go your separate ways. Not a bad day, by most accounts.
Interested in getting to know a little more about this person? Well, there is still plenty to see, do, and eat; stick around a bit longer.
Totally feeling a connection? Good for you! You know, finishing the night off with a fireworks show could be a delightful denouement to the first story in your fairy tale romance.
Disney offers experiences for just about everyone. If killing a few casual, stress free hours riding attractions feels like the best way to enjoy your time, you can do that. If the vibe is starting to get a little more intimate, Disney will turn on the romance. Ask, and ye shall receive. Just don't demand. Let your date happen naturally, in the comforting confines of a Disney park. The park's got your back. Trust in the park.
Parking makes parting a bit less weird:
So, your completely customized date is nearing its end. One of the most harrowing parts of the dating experience can be the awkward goodbye moment.
On a typical date, a lot of things can go wrong here. This is where where two people, having shared the exact same experience, can have totally different views on how the date went and what the proper social actions are. Your Disney date solves this problem by giving you plenty of opportunities to casually and safely bail, or stick around and make the parting a bit more romantic.
The odds of you having coincidentally parked in the immediate vicinity of your date are low. If you met up at the Magic Kingdom (my personal recommendation) you can say your goodbyes upon leaving the park, after a monorail or ferry ride, or at one of your vehicles.
If you aren't feeling it (or you are, but that feeling is 'creeped out'), you can plan an early parting. If you do desire a more fond finale, offer to walk your date to their car, or ask them to walk you to yours.
You may find someone to enjoy the parks with:
If your Disney first date hasn't ended with an amorous addition to your life, no big deal. Chances are, if they agreed to meeting at a park then they are at least a bit of a Disney fan, or willing to try new experiences. There is always the possibility that you aren't romantically compatible, yet you still enjoyed your time. That is totally okay.
Maybe you haven't found a partner in life, but you may have found another partner in the parks. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, looking for love and finding friendship instead can be an amazing thing. If the worst thing that happened to you today was that you made a friend, good for you! Many people wish they had those problems—keep things in perspective.
What have you got to lose?
Nothing. If your attempts for romance are coming up short, give a Disney first date a try. If I'm wrong, and it goes really badly, you still have the protective and nurturing embrace of familiar Disney attractions to comfort you.
The important thing is that you have a setting where you can really shine, where you can show someone new how truly amazing you are. Because you are awesome, and eventually another equally awesome person is gonna figure that out.
Just make sure to bring an umbrella for two.