Honeymoon & Luxury Travel Guide to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida: What to Do, Where to Stay, and Best Restaurants
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida, and is served by Orlando International Airport (MCO).
Guests staying at a resort on the Walt Disney World property can take the complimentary transportation called the Magical Express to and from the airport. It’s mass transit, nothing glamorous but it is easy and free. For your honeymoon though I’d splurge on a limo.
If you plan to stay on the Disney property at one of their resorts, I don’t recommend renting a car. There are complimentary buses, monorails and boats that run between Disney attractions and hotels. However, if you’re looking to explore the city of Orlando outside the Disney property, you will need to rent a car and they aren’t that expensive.
About Disney World
If you have never been before, check out my articles about the top attractions at Epcot, my top picks for best things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the must sees at the Magic Kingdom.
If you’re someone who loves Disney and fairytales, looking to celebrate your own happy ending, a honeymoon in Disney World will be your dream come true. Disney World features enough attractions to keep you busy for weeks, fine dining options for every taste, a surprisingly vibrant nightlife and plenty of opportunities for romance and relaxation.
My number one recommendation for honeymooners is to splurge on a VIP Tour. VIP Tours let you basically have unlimited fast passes, a personal tour guide and VIP transportation and access. I wrote an entire article about how Disney’s VIP Tour Guides work and why it’s worth spending the extra money in my opinion.
When to go
I recommend visiting between late April (whatever you do–go after spring break) and Memorial Day. The weather is comfortable, crowds are thin(ner) and prices at hotels are the most moderate. This is also when Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival is held, which features gorgeous foliage and free concerts. A visit during the Food and Wine Festival (usually in October) or between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be pretty romantic, too, if you’re hoping to get a gander at Disney World’s famous holiday decorations before the crowds descend.
Avoid mid-December through early January to miss the massive crowds, unpredictable weather and peak prices of the year. The lines are also unbearable at this time of year for most attractions.
Where to stay
I typically recommend staying on the Walt Disney World property, which affords you complimentary transportation and Extra Magic Hours at the theme parks. That means you don’t need to deal with parking or having a designated driver! It makes the experience very immersive. During “magical” hours (available either in the morning before or at night after regular park hours), you can enjoy minimal wait times since most children are in bed! Not only are the properties conveniently located to the parks, but we think staying on the property is essential to get the full Disney experience.
Since it’s your honeymoon, we recommend one of the hotels with a more adult theme. While some of the more juvenile resorts may be fun to visit with kids, there’s nothing romantic about a Goofy-themed bedroom. The more romantic hotels are more expensive, but if you do your homework, Disney offers plenty of regularly offered discounts that you can take advantage of (teachers, certain companies, check it out).
Our top pick is the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. This is followed by the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I did an entire write up when I stayed here a couple years ago. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! This Victorian-style resort is the crown jewel of Walt Disney World accommodations. Featuring a stunning lobby where a live orchestra sets the mood with jazz and popular Disney music, this charming hotel features a white-sand beach dotted with old-fashioned umbrellas, a world-class spa and gorgeous views. It’s also conveniently located just a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. You’re sure to be enchanted by its fabulous service and modern amenities. Check out the Villas here if you’re hoping for the ultimate luxury experience.
The Four Seasons Orlando is my top pick if you want to be a little less immersed in the craziness of Disney World and instead have luxury with as little or as much of Disney as you would like. You can enjoy complimentary transit to the parks too so no need to worry about dining.
What to do
Walt Disney World is the most visited entertainment complex in the world, and there is no shortage of things to see and do.
Young at heart
- One of the main reasons you’re here is to visit the Walt Disney World theme parks! While all of the parks are fun, honeymooners will probably enjoy Epcot the most. Here, couples can take a trip around the “World Showcase,” sample unique cuisine and even experience a glimpse into the future in Future World. That said, you should definitely visit the other theme parks while you’re in town, such as Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Nostalgic couples will enjoy a trip to the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. Be sure to plan ahead and take advantage of Park Hopper tickets, which grant you same-day access to all four of the theme parks, so you can make the most of your days.
For luxury connoisseurs
- To make the most of your time in Disney, couples who don’t mind dropping $2K should hire a VIP Tour Guide. A Tour Guide virtually eliminates any wait times by allowing you to go directly to every Fast Pass line as many times as you want. Guides also get you front row seating at all the shows, the choice of any row on rides, and back door entry and transport between parks (like the celebrities get). Tip: If you’re fast, you can do all four parks in one day eliminating your need to pay for four days’ worth of tickets!
- For unique souvenirs, visit Epcot’s World Showcase, which features shops from around the world selling many fabulous cultural gifts. These are my favorite places to shop. I sample cocktails from around the world and enjoy buzzed shopping.
- You will be delighted to find an extremely high caliber level of nightlife in Disney World. There is even a separate district devoted to showing adults a good time:Disney’s Boardwalk. Here, you will find plenty of places to cut loose!Just a short walk from Epcot, is another area to grab drinks. Check out Jellyrolls, which is a dueling piano bar. It’s always a guaranteed good time.
- Disney Springs is the latest and coolest area though to hang out. It was formerly known as Downtown Disney but was recently completely revamped. There are tons of shops and unique eateries. My absolute favorite is the Boathouse (it’s actually owned by the same folks who own Gibson’s and Hugo’s Frog bar in Chicago, two of my favorite restaurants). Other classic spots are Bongos, a Cuban café and Raglan Road, an Irish pub. Oh and STK is opening in 2016.
For outdoorsy types
- Get a Fast Pass for the African Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. You’ll feel like you were just whisked away to the real thing! Okay not quite but it’s still fun.
- A visit during Epcot’s International Annual Food and Wine Festival is a must.
For culture seekers
- Enjoy a walk through Epcot’s World Showcase. There is plenty for adults to do here. Everything from fun rides to historical movies and art exhibits. This is my top pick for honeymooners. Enjoy cocktails and sample fun and delicious food from around the world.
- Look up theatrical show performances around the parks. The shows are always Broadway-quality. Sometimes they also have live bands–last time I was there I saw Fuel and Tiffany during Food and Wine.
For day trippers
- If you can’t sit still, go hotel hopping. Spend an afternoon visiting some of the other magnificent Disney properties. Take a trip to the Caribbean at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, enjoy a taste of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or visit the newly renovated Polynesian Village Resort. Enjoy each hotel’s uniquely-themed amenities, food and beverages during your visit.
For hopeless romantics
- Enjoy as many fireworks shows as you can. Wishes™ Nighttime Spectacular is a crowd pleaser. The best place to view it is on Main Street, U.S.A. (Or find a spot hidden away from the crowds and enjoy!) Upgrade your experience by booking a private, enchanting Fireworks Cruise. You can enjoy each other away from the crowds but still immersed in the action (cruises have synchronized audio on board). Also be sure to catch Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show as well.
- Play hooky after a long day touring the parks and book a couple’s massage atSenses — A Disney Spa at the Grand Floridian Resort. Revel in the post-wedding bliss and the excitement of your future together (perhaps your return visit will be with kids!).
- Celebrate the spirit of the tropical lifestyle. Lounge at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort(man-made) beach. Enjoy scenic views of the harbor and take a walk down the bustling boardwalk.
Where to eat
Walt Disney World has a myriad of gourmet dining options for even the most discerning palate. Whether you’re looking for high-quality grab-n-go options or a five-star dining experience, Disney has them all. The key to a good experience is to plan ahead. Like way ahead. Disney restaurants accept reservations 180 days in advance of your visit, so make sure to reserve a table as early as possible because trust me, Disney fans are booking that far in advance. Restaurants book up quickly, so this is essential. Here are my top picks:
- Victoria and Albert’s is an exquisite restaurant that is continuously praised by the finest international food critics. This AAA Five-Diamond-rated restaurant serves the best ingredients from around the world. It’s not just a big deal for Disney World. It’s a well-regarded restaurant for foodies all around the actual world.
- California Grill at Disney’s iconic Contemporary resort offers delicious cuisine and its 15th floor locale is a great place to watch the fireworks.
- In Epcot, the best restaurants are in the Canada (surprising I know), France and German pavilion.
These are fun and less fancy.
- ‘Ohana is Disney’s Polynesian Resort’s signature dining experience. You’ll feel like you’re worlds away as you dine on Hawaiian-inspired fare, sip Mai-Tais and watch the sunset.
- Dine at Boma, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This eclectic restaurant serves mouthwatering cuisine featuring African, Mediterranean and Indian influences.
- Share a nostalgic ice cream sundae at Beaches & Cream, located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Now that you don’t have to fit into your wedding dress, it’s worth the splurge.
Final Thoughts for Your Honeymoon in Disney World
Be sure to ask your Disney concierge for “Just Married” buttons! (And don’t be ashamed to get the wedding-themed Mickey ears! Everyone does it.)
Remember that unused days on your Disney Theme Park tickets can be upgraded within 14 days of first use so they don’t expire. This way you can save them and come back for your anniversary!
Consider surprising your sweetie with a gift that you order in advance through Disney’s Florist.
And did you know that you can actually live in Disney World? Yeah…check out my post on Golden Oak and my Golden Oak virtual tour!
Or if you’re on a budget for your honeymoon, check out my article about Disney World on a Budget! It doesn’t have to be such an expensive World after all 🙂
And you also must not miss a trip to Universal Studios if only to see Harry Potter world! It’s incredible. And since it’s your honeymoon, why not consider the VIP tour here. Check out my review of Universal Studios’ VIP Tour. (FYI I was hosted on this grand experience for free but it is amazing and worth it!)