Updated May 27, 2018
Romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Disneyland. But, it’s there, friends. It’s totally there.
First up, dining!
In this article
My recommendations for within the hotels are:
Steakhouse 55 – The Disneyland Hotel *pictured above
Napa Rose – The Grand Californian Hotel
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar – The Disneyland Hotel (This is not so much “romantic”, but it’s a ton of fun. And, the cocktails are STRONG!)
My recommendations for within the parks are:
The French Market Restaurant – So much about New Orleans Square feels romantic to me and this outdoor patio dining option is lovely. Try to grab a table on the outer skirts, near the railing for people watching and prepare for live music, too. I love the N’Awlins Salad. The Mint Julep Bar is in this same patio and serves the most delectable beignets. (Counter Service)
The Harbour Galley – I didn’t pay much attention to this restaurant for several visits. It blends in with the theming of this area and is easy to miss. And, while the menu is small, the lobster roll is yummy and so is the soup bread bowls. There are a few bistro tables near the walk up windows, but if you walk further around to the right of the building, you’ll find a “secret path” that I have included in my Unique Disneyland post. More seating exists on this path. (Counter Service)
Blue Bayou – Disneyland’s premier dining can be found at Blue Bayou. For decades, people have loved this restaurant. Many years ago, you’d find people in suits and dresses enjoying the ambiance. It’s more laid back now, but it’s still very popular. Arrive 30 minutes prior to your reservation time to request a “water front” table. This restaurant is housed inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, so you can see the boats float by as you dine. (Table Service) (Paint the Night Dining Package option) *pictured above
Cafe Orleans – This restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining. I like both versions, but on a pretty day, ask for a table outside. The pomme frites are divine, as is the monte cristo. (Table Service)
The Carnation Cafe – Just off Main Street, this place was one of Walt’s favorites. It doesn’t appear to be entirely romantic, but a table outside, under the red & white umbrellas just feels so cute to me. I love sitting and chatting about what Walt would have ordered and where he might have sat. Also, fried pickles. They had me at fried pickles. (Table Service)
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop – I may be partial to this place because I got married in San Francisco, but it’s just so quaint and sweet. I have to recommend it. Split a sundae and enjoy the old school set up. (Counter Service)
Alfresco Tasting Terrace – This place has beautiful views and good wine. It’s more casual than its big sister, which I’ll mention later in this list. (Table Service)
Carthay Circle – This is the premier dining option at California Adventure and is so beautifully decorated. Old school elegance is the only way to describe it. They have a full bar, too! (Table Service) (World of Color Package option) (Paint the Night Package option) *pictured above
Wine Country Trattoria – The garden setting and menu are both excellent here. Expect Tuscan food, less kids and a pretty ambiance. (Table Service) (World of Color Package option) (Paint the Night Package option)
Special Event Dining:
For World of Color and the Paint the Night Parade, you can tie in your meal with a reserved seating ticket for the show later that evening. I highly recommend this, as the meals that coordinate with this option are expensive, anyway. You might as well pay a bit more and get fantastic seating for a popular show.
Romantic Spots to Escape the Crowds
Take a look at some ideas for finding little escapes at one of the busiest places on earth.
There are so many more than this….it’s just a sample.
First, a map:
1. Main Street.
2. Jolly Holiday Bakery.
3. Snow White’s Grotto – such a cute photo op.
4. The patio behind Edelweiss Snacks in Fantasyland.
5. Little nooks in Fantasyland, near the castle.
6. Around the fountain in New Orleans Square.
7. Close to the fountain in New Orleans Square.
8. Within the shops of New Orleans Square.
9. On a bench overlooking the Rivers of America.
10. A little nook in Frontierland, near River Belle Terrace Restaurant.
11. Any bench around the “hub”, in front of the castle and near the Walt and Mickey Mouse statue.
Attractions for Couples
The following attractions are relatively slow moving and allow you to sit close.
1. Disneyland Railroad
2. Main Street Vehicles
3. Enchanted Tiki Room
4. Jungle Cruise
5. Mark Twain Riverboat
6. Sailing Ship Columbia
7. Haunted Mansion
8. Pirates of the Caribbean
9. it’s a small world
10. The Dark Rides – Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Save these until after fireworks and with the exception of Peter Pan, you’ll wait no more than 10 minutes per ride.)
A map, for your reference:
1. Red Car Trolley on Buena Vista Street
2. Goofy’s Sky School
3. Golden Zephyr
4. The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
5. Pixar Pal-A-Round (the Ferris Wheel)
A map, for your reference:
I love these cute souvenirs for a date at Disneyland:
“I’ll Be Your Mickey” and “I’ll Be Your Minnie” Shirts – These are hard to find, however, I see them often in the parks. Hot Topic has a version, although I think you have to be a teenager to actually walk in that store. Almost sure about that. Check out Etsy.com for other options.
Caricature – So, you don’t have to actually propose, as is seen in this darling version of what can be done, but a cute depiction of you and your sweetheart is fun to take home. Find artists to make these in New Orleans Square.
Jewelry – From The Emporium to the little shops in New Orleans Square, jewelry can be found all over Disneyland. I adore these Alex and Ani Bangles. I wear a lot of bracelets and LOVE to collect these.
- Take a walk down Main Street at really any time of the day. Slow down and enjoy the atmosphere. The little shops are so quaint and fun to browse through. If you’re lucky, snag a seat on one of the chairs or even just sit down on the steps of the faux door fronts. Relax and people watch.
- Find a bench at the hub (the middle of the park where the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statues are) and sit for a while. Take it all in.
- Another favorite walk – New Orleans Square. Shop for perfume, jewelry and more and then enjoy a beignet at the Mint Julep Bar in the French Market.
- My favorite place to watch the sunset is either aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat or from the River Belle Terrace patio. There’s just something about the sun going down over the Rivers of America that feels right. This is also my favorite time of the day at Disneyland.
- Check out ways to escape – in the park and beyond. This post, written for those who have HAD IT with Disneyland, is filled with lots of options like spa treatments and more in Downtown Disney.