Date night ideas and childcare options at Disney World
(Article last updated: April 14, 2016)
Now that 1 of our kids has moved out of the house and my husband and I have more time to spend together, I'm really glad we took the time for date nights over the years because we never lost the ability to do things on our own without the kids.
That includes Disney World trips where we have often enjoyed a mid-trip night out sans children.
Here are some ideas for ways to spend date night and child care options for the kids while you're away...
Where to spend date night
There are lots of things to do at Disney World where kids aren't allowed and other things where kids just don't often have as much fun.
Tour the World Showcase at Epcot
Although our kids love The World Showcase now, it isn't such a hit with little ones a lot of the time.
My suggestion: take kids to visit the Future World section of Epcot and then return in the evening to do the World Showcase. Schedule a nice dinner in 1 of the countries, have a drink while strolling through the World Showcase and then see Illuminations to wrap up your date.
Visit the Boardwalk
The Boardwalk area is home to a few great restaurants, Jellyrolls piano bar, a dance hall, the ability to rent a surrey bike and live entertainment that appears outside on the Boardwalk.
In addition, all of the resorts in the area (Boardwalk Inn, Swan/Dolphin, Yacht Club and Beach Club) have lounges where you can get a drink.
Eat a fancy dinner
Although most Disney World restaurants are very kid-friendly, a few are definitely better suited for adults. Here are some recommendations for adults-only meals:
- Victoria and Albert's (at The Grand Floridian) - View the menu
6 course meal that takes 2 hours in 1 of the top 3 restaurants in Florida. Need I say more? (Also an option at this restaurant: eating at The Chef's Table where you get a personalized menu and eat at a table in the kitchen. Not many of those reservations available so book those 180 days in advance! Check out my Chef's Table review.).
- California Grill (at The Contemporary) - View the menu
Recently refurbished restaurant with lot of wine, sushi and wood burning oven selections. Book a late reservation here to watch Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom from the comfort of the restaurant.
- Narcoossee’s (at The Grand Floridian) - View the menu
Casual seafood restaurant overlooking the water that has great steaks and Magic Kingdom views.
- Artist Point (at The Wilderness Lodge) - View the menu
Menu that includes Pacific Northwest dishes like salmon. Reservations are easier to get at this restaurant than many of the others on this list.
- Jiko (in Animal Kingdom Lodge) - View the menu
This restaurant offers its own spin on African food in a low-light, quiet setting, making it 1 of the most romantic restaurants at Disney World.
- Citricos (at the Grand Floridian) - View the menu
A restaurant known for its great filet mignon. If you don't want to have a full meal with a reservation, you can go to the bar and have a drink with appetizers.
- Yachtsman Steakhouse (at The Yacht Club) - View the menu
A great steakhouse located near the Boardwalk. This is another great option if your date night happens to include visiting the Boardwalk area.
Take a tour that's not kid-friendly
Many of the tours offered by Disney have age restrictions so families can't participate unless they have older children. Many of these tours are offered during the day so they wouldn't be so much a date night as a date day.
Check out the tours that are ideal for adults on the Disney World site.
Or do whatever else you want!
It doesn't have to be an adults-only event to be a date night. Let's be real: anything you do without the kids is going to be different than what you do with them.
Are your kids too scared to ride some bigger rides? Tour a park or two without them so you can ride those rides as a couple rather than using Child Swap/Rider Switch to take turns.
See some of the shows in the parks that your kids might be too antsy to sit through.
Watch a parade, do some shopping, people watch.
Whatever you'd like to do will be a little bit easier if you're not having to worry about the kids for a little while.
Child care options
But where will the kids be while you're having your date night?
You have a couple of options, both of which we have used and liked:
On-site kids clubs
Some of the Deluxe Resorts have kids clubs where your kids can go spend a few hours and play and eat.
Here are the details:
- Available at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, the Dolphin and The Polynesian
- At the Dolphin and Animal Kingdom Lodge, the cost is $15/hour with a 2 hour minimum. At the Beach Club and Polynesian, it's a flat fee of $55 per child.
- Kids must be 3-12 years old (4-12 at The Dolphin) and potty trained (no pullups)
- Available 4:30 p.m. - midnight most of the time
- Dinner is included and is usually standard kids food
- Activities include board games, arts and crafts, video games and Disney movies
- Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE (Camp Dolphin is 407-934-4241)
Best suited for: people who only need a couple of hours in the evening, potty trained kids, families with 1 child, parents who are nervous about having a sitter in their room or who want alone time in the room without the kids
Kids Nite Out babysitters
This service provides babysitters that function much like nannies who can be available when and where you need them. You can also hire them to be helpers if you need an extra set of adult hands for your trip.
Here are the details:
- Available 24/7
- Sitters are all 18+, insured and bonded, have hands-on training and child-care experience, including child/infant CPR and basic first aid
- Children 6 months to 12 years old can be cared for
- $18/hour for 1 child, $21/hr for 2 children, $24/hr for 3 children, and $26/hr for 4 children. After 9 p.m., an additional $2/hr fee is added. $10 transportation fee will be charged with every reservation.
- 4 hour minimum
- Activities are provided like books, games, arts and crafts (we gave our sitter some money and she took the kids to play games on The Boardwalk)
Get more info on the Kid's Nite Out website.
Best suited for: families with small children who can't attend kids clubs, people who need a sitter outside of the hours offered by the kids clubs, families with multiple children (less expensive than kids clubs), people who need care for 4+ hours