From character meet-and-greets to zany dinner shows, there truly is no end to the options for family-friendly dining in Orlando. But for those looking for an Orlando date night that's quiet and kid-free, or a blissful escape from reality, the choices are surprisingly plentiful, too.
The sky lights up with a kaleidoscope of color each night as fireworks burst over Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Forgo the crowds and instead snag a table at one of a handful of restaurants known for their birds-eye vistas of the evening’s pyrotechnics.
Rocket to the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort where California Grill, arguably one of Disney World’s most magnificent restaurants, awaits. Celebrating the cuisine of the Golden State with fresh seafood, sushi and steaks, California Grill boasts sweeping views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and beyond through floor-to-ceiling windows. But the view diners are most anxiously anticipating is the fireworks blasting over Cinderella’s iconic castle. Lights are dimmed in the dining room as the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks show begins and the soundtrack, which is perfectly timed with the blasts of color illuminating the sky, plays inside as well as outside on the restaurant’s viewing deck.
Guests of the five-diamond Four Seasons Orlando restaurant, Capa, also enjoy stellar views on this Spanish steakhouse’s sprawling outdoor terraces on the 17th floor.
Oui, oui! Be transported to the romance of France at Monsieur Paul, an authentic French restaurant nestled into Epcot’s World Showcase. Ascend the steps to this second-floor retreat where a dining room accented with hand-painted ceilings and velvet, purple banquettes sit ready to take you on a culinary journey filled with the classic, rich deliciousness of France. For dessert you can stay inside with window views or book two spots at the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party, a fireworks fete featuring stellar views of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show, sweets from several international pavilions and sparkling wine. Park admission required.
With secluded alcoves and cozy booths, a date-night-worthy restaurant has the ability to make a couple feel as though they’re on their own secluded island. That’s exactly the feeling diners get at Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster where a slew of private dining rooms, available at no extra charge, create a clandestine vibe within this celebrated classy steakhouse. Bull and Bear supplies a similar milieu in its dark and sultry dining room at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where couples can snuggle into comfy side booths and share either the Chateaubriand or Tomahawk for two.
Designed to model an Italian seaside village complete with cobblestone streets and an expansive harbor piazza, the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is home to the Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa, where guests wander down a candlelit hallway on their way to being transported to an oasis of tranquility. Besides a co-ed lounge and whirlpool, 14 exotic treatment rooms, and access to the outdoor pool, the 11,000 square foot spa boasts a multitude of signature treatments including the Mandara Ritual for Hands and Feet, a two-hour cleansing, exfoliation and massage treatment that will put your everyday mani/pedi to shame.
Hop aboard Venezia, a 40-foot Italian water taxi docked at The Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs, for a private wine tasting cruise through Disney’s picturesque waterways. Each Saturday evening, a captain and crew stand ready to pour distinctive wines and delicious hors d'oeuvres throughout the one-hour cruise designed for couples with a love of sailing.
Rising before the sun, a hot air balloon ride might be the earliest adventure you have in Orlando, but it also might be the most memorable. Weather permitting, Orlando Balloons and other partners lift off daily carrying you off into the still, morning sky for an hour-long flight over the Orlando area landscape. Once on the ground, you will be treated to a champagne toast.
Those couples keen on getting in on the action can check out a few Orlando hotpots with an interactive element, including Farris and Fosters Chocolate Factory, a Baldwin Park gem offering couples the chance to take over the operations to make a pound of chocolate while sipping their BYO wine. At the Hyatt Regency Orlando, a series of monthly wine dinners hosted at Fiorenzo allow attendees to take a travel-free culinary journey through the world’s best wine regions with wine experts and Hyatt chefs as their guides. Finally, escape to Italy via the Harbor Nights events hosted regularly at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, where the Harbor Piazza transforms into a strolling culinary extravaganza complete with limitless gourmet bites and wine samplings at stations dotting the al fresco space.
Front Row Seats
Delight in being at the mercy of the chef’s whimsy during one of a select few chef’s table experiences available in Orlando. In Winter Park, Brandon McGlamery gives guests a front-row seat to the action in his kitchen at Luma on Park, where his team whips up a series of seven to nine artful courses. Just down the street at The Alfond Inn, Chef Marc Kusche unfurls five courses paired with wine for diners perched in front of his open kitchen at Hamilton’s Kitchen. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll along Park Avenue, Winter Park’s charming bricked thoroughfare and home to wine bars, one-off boutiques and intimate cafes.
And finally, it’s impossible to overlook Victoria and Albert's, home to Orlando’s most coveted chef’s table that's earned the city's only five-diamond rating. With up to 10 personalized courses served kitchen-side, this three-hour culinary adventure books out months ahead of time so advance reservations are a must.