Walt Disney World is one of the most sought after and romantic honeymoon destinations not only for its location, but the many resort offerings. With themed restaurants and hotels, couples are sure to find a place to stay that is both relaxing and memorable. Prior to booking your Disney honeymoon, make sure to take the time to plan out both your budget and discuss your expectations for the trip to decide how you will allot your money and where you will spend your time.
Where to start?
Create a honeymoon budget. Be realistic and decide how much you want to spend on your room, entertainment (including park tickets), food and travel.
Disney vacations can be quite costly, so knowing your budget will ensure you are getting the best value and you will avoid the dreaded overspend.
Once you have created your budget, then comes the fun part…deciding where to stay.
Do your research.
Prior to contacting Disney’s Reservation line or booking your vacation online, do some test planning through Disney’s online reservation site. Put in your requested dates and decide on hotels that fit closely within your budget. If you contact Disney prior to having a basic game plan for your stay, the cast member may hear the word “honeymoon” and start offering rooms that are not only pricey, but wayyyyy too large for a party of two.
When planning my honeymoon a few years back I called the Disney Reservation Line and after the cast member heard the word “honeymoon” the first hotel option I was given was a town-home style suite at Disney’s Beach Club that would cost us over $4000 for the week. Ouch! The place was enormous and more suited for a family or royalty so I knew going forward to plan a head and have a basic understanding of the price range and hotel theme we would consider.
For honeymooners, I would suggest avoiding the value resorts if possible. These hotels are themed out for families and young kids and offer nothing in the way of romance. There are several resorts in the moderate cost range that are more adult friendly and quieter than the value resorts. For moderate hotel honeymoons, I suggest Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside and Coronado Springs. All of the Deluxe resorts offer accommodations that are excellent for a honeymoon week with a variety of themes and amenities. My favorites are the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Swan and Dolphin resorts are reasonably priced hotels located on the WDW property; however are not owned by the Disney Company. They are generally frequented by convention-goers and have a more corporate feel. You won’t find over the top Disney themed decor, however the resorts do have access to transportation and some even boast excellent views of the fireworks at Epcot.
Plan your meals.
Disney permits guests to book their Advance Dining Reservations 180 days prior to your arrival. Decide where you would like to dine by using Disney’s dining search tool and keep in mind which parks you will be visiting each day.
Think about scheduling at least one table service meal per day. This will give you time to relax and enjoy spending time together without the hustle of running around the parks. Romantic dining locations can be found throughout the resort. **Be sure to explain to the Dining Reservation Agent (or make a note if you are planning through the website) that you are celebrating a special event.**
Some of my restaurant picks for honeymoons and date nights include:
California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Ask for the Wishes seating so you can have dinner and enjoy the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the hotel’s observation deck. We recently enjoyed an anniversary here and were completely impressed with the service and attention to detail. They even gave us a few special surprises to make our event even more magical.
Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. This waterfront gem serves seafood and has an exceptional view of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Consider booking your reservation later in the evening to enjoy both the Wishes Fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant.
For those who want to splurge a lot and have a one of a kind dining experience, Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian is the most intimate restaurant on site. With a strict dress code and limited seating, the location is the perfect setting for an evening out for two.
The Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk Resort serves seafood and offers some interesting seashore inspired desserts. Have dinner at the restaurant, then take a stroll on the Boardwalk and enjoy the sights.
Tokyo Dining at Epcot has quite possibly the best view within the park. Book your dinner close to IllumiNations Reflections of Earth and enjoy the fireworks spectacular from one of the large windows of the establishment.
Don’t overbook your days.
Because there is so much to do within the Walt Disney World Resort, guests have the tendency to plan out their stay and go… go… go… the entire time. Not only is this exhausting, but it doesn’t allow for honeymooners to relax and enjoy their stay.
Keep your days simple. Think of a few rides and experiences that you want to enjoy each day, and then plan for some downtime whether that be your meals, pool time at your hotel or even just a few minutes sitting on a bench within one of the parks and chatting. Trust me, the last thing you want to do is to run around a park all day and then be so exhausted that you don’t enjoy your dinner or the fireworks.
Consider the other happenings at the resort.
The WDW resort has some neat activities outside of the parks that are fun for couples hoping to make lasting memories. Sure some of them cost extra, but just think about the stories that you can tell when your vacation ends.
Enjoy a high flying adventure on the Characters in Flight balloon in Downtown Disney. Soar hundreds of feet in the air and look at the resort below. For an extra special touch, think about taking your flight during the fireworks to watch them like you never have before.
Go golfing. Disney has two mini golf courses on the property; Fantasia Gardens, themed out with the characters from that beloved film and Winter Summerland, a Christmas themed golf experience with a Summer course and a Winter course. Play a round of golf or two…take lots of photos and enjoy the friendly competition.
Take a spin. Canoes, mini motorboats and sailboats can be rented for a fee from various locations throughout the resort. Take a spin on the lagoon and take in the views of the sprawling landscape.
Stroll around and explore the resort. One of my favorite memories from our honeymoon was walking from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to our resort after park closing. We avoided the rush at the buses and boats and just casually walked the paths and reveled in the quiet time. We ended up at the Boardwalk…played some carnival games…grabbed a funnel cake and sat on a bench for a while. There are many fun little pathways and trails and are best enjoyed in the evening hours when the temperatures have dropped.
Let’s go to the movies! The Downtown Disney AMC 24 is a Dine-In theatre experience that offers guests the option of having a meal while they watch a film. Enjoy a sandwich or pizza and a beer as your watch a blockbuster movie in a comfy theatre setting. After your movie, explore the shops of Downtown Disney. It is the perfect place to handle all of your souvenir shopping!
Why don’t you take a picture…it will last longer.
You will want lots and I mean LOTS of photographs to remember your honeymoon. Disney’s PhotoPass Photographers can be found throughout the parks and sometimes are located in the hotels. Plan out where you would like your photos and think about getting at least one photo in front of a major location at each park. The musts are Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom and the Sorcerer’s Hat at Hollywood Studios. The PhotoPass site has some handy maps with locations of photographers so you can better plan your day.
If you purchase your MemoryMaker PhotoPass prior to your vacation, you will save $50. Log in to MyDisneyExperience.com for current pricing. The MemoryMaker can be added to your MagicBand and you simply allow the photographer to scan your band before each photo. Although the cost of this option is daunting, it is significantly more cost effective than purchasing the photos individually. (I learned that lesson the hard way on a prior trip)
Think about some fun photo ops…get creative and you can even bring along small props to make it more fun!
The best advice that I can give you regarding honeymoon planning is to just be realistic with your time. Plan exciting entertainment options that you will both remember. Remember that sometimes what seems to be the simplest of moments can really be what is most memorable about your trip.
Wishing you a magical honeymoon!