Saturday, January 16, 2016

Valentine's Day idea: Book a last-minute Valentine's weekend trip to Disney World

Valentine's Day not only falls on a weekend this year, it's a three-day weekend, thanks to the Presidents Day holiday. That means this is the perfect year to spring a last-minute trip to Disney World on your (exceptionally lucky) loved one.

We did a little research to see what's available at this late date, considering that it takes almost military precision to plan a Disney vacation these days.

Even with little-to-no advance planning, you can have a wonderful, romantic weekend at Disney World. Here are a few ideas:

Where to stay: There are rooms available at a wide range of hotels, from about $200/night at Pop Century or the Art of Animation resorts to almost $1,000/night for a theme park view room at the Contemporary. Staying on property means you can grab Disney's Magical Express from the airport — a real time- and money-saver on a weekend trip.

7 Disney Valentine's Day gift ideas

Dining on Valentine's Day: You can't get a reservation at the California Grill, but there are still plenty of options for dinner. Rose & Crown Pub and La Hacienda de San Angel at Epcot both have reservations available, as do Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge (where a room goes for about $550) and Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (with a similar room rate). Jiko is one of the last remaining quiet, romantic restaurants left at Disney World, and is a great choice for Valentine's Day. You also can get into Morimoto Asia, the newest restaurant to open at Disney Springs.

Winging it: If you don't make reservations, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a romantic date night on Valentine's Day. Tutto Gusto, the wine bar at Epcot's Italy pavilion, features a stone-walled wine cave where you can sit on a loveseat and share a flight of wine and a plate of cheese. Over at Disney Springs, try getting a seat on the boat at Jock Lindsey's Hanger Bar, with its lovely view across the water to Saratoga Springs Resort, or find a seat at the bar at Wolfgang Puck's for some of the best sushi you'll find at Disney World. Finally, hop on the Monorail for a pub crawl and hit the Wave bar at the Contemporary; Trader Sam's Grog Grotto or the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian; and Mizner's Lounge at the Grand Floridians. You can catch the fireworks from any of the resorts, depending on your timing.

Valentine's Day treat: You can still get a Valentine's Day reservation for either the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot or the Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios. At Epcot, $49 per person gets you a sweet view of the IllumiNations fireworks show as well as a buffet of internationally inspired treats and assorted refreshments, including sparkling wine. At Hollywood Studios, $60 per person gets you Star Wars-inspired desserts and a Chewbacca souvenir stein. Both events still had space available as of Jan. 12.

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