No Reservations for Valentine’s Day? No Problem!
Couples are sitting closer together in restaurants and coffee shops, handholding has made its annual comeback, and red hearts adorn the windows of every bodega I pass by. No matter where you call home, chances are you’ve eaten a few of those little message heart candies and are prepping for Valentine’s Day. Of course, Walt Disney World Resort is a fantastic place to celebrate Valentine’s Day! With plenty of romantic dinner and date ideas to choose from, this is the place to be on V-Day.
Uh-oh…you don’t have a dining reservation? Don’t even bother checking the dining reservation page, because the popular reservations are long, long gone. So I’m guessing your choice to spend the day at Walt Disney World was a last minute one, or you would have made those reservations 6 months ago right? Well, no sense dwelling in the what-might-have-been, so let’s focus on what still could be! Visit any of the parks reservation-less, and you won’t be completely out of luck come February 14, we made sure of that! If you do it just right, it might be the one Valentine’s Day you’ll be talking about for years to come!
Worldly Date Ideas
Ok, so you’ve found yourself without a reservation for dinner but are still hoping for a romantic date night for the ages at Epcot. First, take them on a little wine tour of Europe! You can purchase a Wine Walk ‘passport’ of sorts in Italy, France, or Germany Pavilions, and sample wines from all three lands!
Once you pick up your passport, cast members at each of the Pavilions will let you choose from a few offerings of wine. You’re allotted 6 total pours on the wine walk, making this a perfect pre-dinner date cocktail experience like no other!
For dinner, I recommend popping by Spice Road Table in Morocco. Yes, I know this restaurant takes reservations, but every time I’ve tried to stop in without one, I haven’t had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table. If that fails, sit at the bar! You can order from the menu (I’d recommend a tapas style meal, order the hummus appetizer, spicy garlic shrimp, and hummus fries) and pair it all with an imported Moroccan wine or beer.
Epcot offers lots by way of desserts, but for a lovely romantic dessert to share, stop by France Pavilion for a warm crepe to enjoy while you cozy up around World Showcase Lagoon for the nightly showing of Illuminations. Cap off the night with a kiss by fire(works) light, and you will have pulled off an incredible Valentine’s date…as if you planned it!
Lights, Camera, Romance!
Take your date to Hollywood where you can enjoy a more non-traditional, yet still very romantic, no-reservations date night. I like the drinks, dinner, dessert formula for a date night, especially on Valentine’s Day, so let’s see what Hollywood Studios has to offer for all you little lovebirds out there.
The Baseline Tap House is the hottest, newest place to grab a drink at Hollywood Studios. There are many, many beers on tap to choose from as well as a specialty cider, and wines. They even feature two cocktails on tap!
*Insider alert: While not on the menu, I know for a fact the Tap House offers several wines from Skywalker Vineyards, the winery owned by George Lucas himself!
No matter what you two decide to sip on, it all pairs well with the California Cheese Charcuterie that is packed with delicious cheeses, meats, and baguette that will hold your appetite over until dinner.
Speaking of dinner, why not treat your date to a meal at the 50’s Prime Time Café? It’s true that Valentine’s Day reservations have been unavailable for this restaurant for many months now, and chances of waiting for a table will be fruitless, so why would I send you there? Being in Hollywood is all about who and what you know, so here’s a little secret! Go to the Tune-In Lunge- the lounge attached to the Prime Time’s main restaurant. Here you can order from the Prime Time’s full menu! Take advantage of the cozy living room set up and enjoy your meal!
After that traditional 1950’s American meal, I think dessert should follow suit and the tried and true, age old DOC (dessert of choice) is just what Cupid ordered: ice cream! Hollywood Scoops has everything you and your date are craving from scoops to waffle bowls and of course, sundaes. Since its Valentine’s Day, you should probably stick to one tradition that seems to hold up no matter how much time has passed and order something with chocolate. The brownie sundae would be an excellent choice, as it features a chocolate brownie, ice cream (vanilla, but you can swap it out for chocolate), chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a perfect red cherry to top off your dessert and your perfect day!
Step Into Your Own Fairytale
Valentine’s Day with your love at Magic Kingdom = perfection. For a little pre-dinner fun, stop into the Big Top circus tent in Fantasyland where you’ll find a glass case brimming with mouth-watering treats and decadent eats. Pick up a few chocolate covered strawberries if you want to shower your sweetie with traditional Valentine’s Day decadents, or go for one of my favorites: specialty caramel/chocolate covered apples! Ask the cast member to slice it for you and it’ll be perfect for sharing! Now that you’ve got a portable treat, board the train at the Fantasyland station and cuddle up as your tour the Magic Kingdom with your sweets and your sweetie!
Without a dinner reservation at Magic Kingdom, a romantic meal will unfortunately be quite difficult to come by. Luckily, Disney is all about imagination, so you get to put yours to the test for this meal. If it were me, I know what I would do: step out of the park for a dinner. Take a leisurely stroll to the Contemporary Resort and go to the California Grill Lounge.
Similar to the Tune In Lounge at Hollywood Studios, you can gain access to some of the restaurant’s menu offerings. More importantly…all of the drink and specialty cocktail offerings are available! The best reason to choose this option? The California Grill is located at the top of the Contemporary Resort, so you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Magic Kingdom Park while you dine!
No matter what you chose to do for dinner, its time to head back to Magic Kingdom for dessert…and fireworks! Main Street Confectionery has special desserts created just for Valentine’s Day, and they’re portable, making them perfect to purchase quickly and make it back to Main Street in time for the fireworks. Arrive early with your date, as you definitely want a good view of the castle. What could possibly be the better ending to a Valentine’s Day date than losing yourselves in music swells and beautiful fireworks over Cinderella Castle?
Let Nature Be Your Guide
Finally, those of you visiting the Animal Kingdom on Valentine’s Day without a single date-related reservation can rest easy. I saved this one for last because it’s hands down the no-reservation Disney parks option I would choose if I were in your shoes! Since the Animal Kingdom has begun staying open past dusk, its many dimly lit walkways and winding paths make it the best park to wander hand in hand with your love.
As the sun sets, make your way to Nomad Lounge. The indoor/outdoor lounge is relatively new, and the low lighting, big comfy furniture, and extensive cocktail and small plates menu make it the most romantic option in the park! I recently tried the bread service, and I’m confident the presentation alone will be enough to impress your date! There are many small plates on the menu that you can stay right here for dinner too. In fact, that’s exactly what you should do, as the atmosphere truly cannot be beat.
Post dinner certainly calls for a moonlit stroll, and the paths winding through Pandora are the place to visit with your V-Day date. The land truly does come alive at night, and the iridescent plants, floating mountains, and dancing lights will definitely put you in a romantic whirl. The feel of the entire Animal Kingdom shifts when night falls, as nature somehow seems to take the spotlight even more in the low lighting. Wonder and adventure buzz around each bend of secluded walkway, and no matter where you wander in the park; there is a feeling of newness to each corner of the park as you walk at night.
Before you two head on home with bellies full of delicious food and hearts buzzing with romantic warmth, finish off your night with a showing of Rivers of Light, the newest nighttime entertainment offering at Animal Kingdom! I love to grab a bag of cinnamon roasted nuts before the show since they’re a light, healthy dessert option that are perfect for sharing. The gentle, relaxed nature of Rivers of Light is perfect for cuddling and soft conversation, which is how any Disney date day should be capped off!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!