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Classic to Creative: 10 Orlando Date Nights to Dazzle



Romance. Sure, we all want it. But we all have our own ideas about what it is. And sometimes even that varies depending on the weather, our moods, even our diets...! No matter your preference, or that of the person to whom you are pitching woo, Orlando, the City Beautiful, is rife with options for making fireworks. Or seeing them, as a matter of fact. Walt Disney World Resort offers nightly shows. Whether you want to see them amid the crowd on Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. or while dining somewhere at EPCOT – or even from the deck of a luxurious Disney yacht in the Seven Seas Lagoon – they are sure to issue oohs and aahs from your loved one. Interested in something just a tad more traditional? No need to board a plane and head to California to enjoy a winery. We've got a great one right here in Central Florida. While nature lovers will delight not only in all the outdoorsy options Central Florida has to offer (how about a bioluminescence kayak tour out in Merritt Island?), food lovers will enjoy a cooking class at Terralina Crafted Italian. 


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Timucua Arts White House


What happens when a world-class musician converts his beautiful downtown Orlando home into an amazingly intimate performance space? Find out at the Timucua Arts White House, a gorgeous venue that hosts musicians and artists from all over the world in, well a living room. What's more, often these exhibits and performances come free of charge! This is a special venue, an exceptionally unique performance space that really showcases the incredible artistic reach of the Orlando community. Bring a dish or a bottle of wine to share and spend the evening amid the intimacy and warmth of the Timucua Arts White House.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Timucua is a venue unlike any other. It's a jazz club in your best friend's living room. It's a must-do.

A.D.'s expert tip: Get on the mailing list for a head's up on the well-known international, national and local talent on tap.

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This Florida outfitter hosts an amazing array of kayak outings, perhaps none so suited for couples as the monthly Full Moon Kayak. Join your fellow paddlers as the sun sinks below the horizon and the big, bright moon rises to reflect on Winter Park's lovely Chain of Lakes. Paddle side by side as you enjoy ghost stories via experienced guides and raise a toast to the stars â€" and the sultry, silvery moon itself. A light snack and all kayaking or canoeing equipment will be provided. Bring a sense of adventure, your romance A-game and a willing partner for the paddle.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: For offering date-night options where attention to nature, and each other, are required, Adventures in Florida deserves a nod.

A.D.'s expert tip: For delayed-gratification Valentine excursions, consider a nighttime bioluminescence paddle (available May - October, when the dinoflagellates are "in season.")! It's amazing!

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Did you know that Orlando's Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes was among those chosen by the readers of USA Today and 10Best.com as one of their favorite spas? We can't think of a better excuse to give them a try next time you're looking for a special occasion treat with your special someone. RC's Spa Couples Retreat ($235-250 per couple) includes all spa poolside cabana amenities (ceiling fan, TV, fresh fruit and water and spa access), a bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. More intimate, you say? Try the Couples' Bath (20 minutes, $145), a luxurious experience in the spa's private whirlpool followed by sumptuous refreshments in the relaxation sanctuary.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Want the best? Take it from us (and our readers!). This property serves up luxury, indulgence and romance unparalleled.

A.D.'s expert tip: Tack on a service (massage, mani-pedi, facial, etc.) for extra indulgence.

Read more about The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes →


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Harry P Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical oasis just minutes from downtown Orlando. It's peaceful, relaxing and of course beautiful. A stroll through this haven is ideal for date day any day, but you may want to mark your calendar for the first Friday of each month. That's when outdoor movies are shown at 7:30 p.m. Alcohol is permitted so stock up that picnic basket with a bottle of wine (don't forget the bottle opener), some cheese and chocolates and enjoy an evening outside cozied up on a blanket. Admission is $6 for adults. If you want to make it a family date night, the little ones will cost $3 to get in. Check the website for movie listings.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Al fresco cinema bumps the typical movie night up a few notches; Leu Gardens' fragrant "theater" is a winner for romance.

Michelle's expert tip: Depending on the time of year, pack bug spray or a sweater, or both. Florida weather is weird.

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Savor the Savanna
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World


Spice up the romance with a visit to the wild side. Embark on a romantic Evening Safari Experience at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is a private tour that includes views of the animals on the savanna and a sampling of African-inspired food. You'll even get to toast your love with a selection of beer and wine. Couples who love animals can embark on the Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This private tour includes special access to the savanna with breathtaking views of the animals, as well as a sampling of African-inspired food, paired with a selection of beer and wine. Prices start at $169 and include a memorial keepsake. Although your memories may be enough to take home. To book, guests can call 407-WDW-TOUR.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: This is a serene, romantic experience surrounded by a spectacular view.

Michelle's expert tip: Bring bug spray. The mosquitoes can be brutal in Florida, especially at dusk.

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Rent a watercraft at Walt Disney World


Want to romance your sweetheart and make some umm… fireworks? First watch a fireworks show over Magic Kingdom, from your private watercraft. You can rent a private yacht that leaves from one of the Walt Disney World marinas and cruises the lake in front of Magic Kingdom. The Grand 1 Yacht starts at $399 per hour plus tax. Pricing may vary based on the time of day. You can enhance your mini cruise (for an additional charge) with add-ons like dining and butler service. If you and your honey are looking for a daytime extrusion, there's an option for that as well. You can book a daytime cruise that sets sail from Disney's Yacht Club Resort. It will take you along the waters of Crescent Lake and the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot. You can take a cruise around the world without leaving Orlando! To reserve a cruise, call 407-939-7529.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: What better way to pamper your princess than with a private yacht and fireworks?

Michelle's expert tip: Call and book now! There are a limited amount of boat options and they go quickly, especially in February.

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Who knew central Florida was in the wine-making business? The Lakeridge Winery produces 50,000 gallons of wine each year. While clanking wine glasses with your love, you'll also be able to get some amazingly romantic photos. The sunshine state is 99.9 percent flat, but this quaint, family-run winery is situated on basically as high elevation as you'll find in Florida. The spot provides sweeping views that will make you feel like you're transported to a California vineyard rather than a winery not far from some of the largest tourist destinations in the world. Feb. 7 â€" 9, the winery will host Winefest. For $10, guests can sample a full range of award-winning wines. Live music will be playing and local artists will have their work on display. If you can't make it that weekend, no need to worry. Free tours and tastings are held every day of the week.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: This is a picturesque spot that lets you escape the city life and relax with some good vino.

Michelle's expert tip: Check the website because they often have special events going on throughout the year.

Read more about Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards →


Romance capsule at ICON Park
Photo courtesy of Michelle Spitzer


Take your love to new heights, literally. You and your sweetheart can take a spin on The Wheel, which includes a ride in a climate-controlled capsule and takes guests 400 feet in the air. Instead of sharing the capsule with others, rent it out for a romantic date. For $175 you can have the capsule all to yourself (or up to five people). You'll get an open bar featuring beer and wine. During the 23-minute ride, you'll get spectacular views of the City Beautiful. Want another spin? It's just $10. Add more to the party for $38 a person. All guests have to be 21 to share this experience. Staff can help upgrade your experience with special touches like a decorated capsule, chocolates or even a proposal. When you're done with your romantic trip above Orlando, stroll around ICON park and pick one of the restaurants on site to continue your evening.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: A private, spectacular view high above Orlando with your sweetheart at your side and a glass of wine in your hand.

Michelle's expert tip: Time your visit around sunset for an even more spectacular view!

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Universal Orlando VIP Tour Experience

You know what's romantic? Treating your honey like the rich and famous. However, you don't have to be a celebrity to experience a Universal Orlando Resort VIP Tour Experience. Your day will include a Universal Orlando expert touring you around Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, or both parks. The experience includes exclusive backstage access, insider info and (best part) enjoying the attractions without waiting in line. The VIP Experience includes multiple parties in your group, but if you want to really impressive your date, go for the Private VIP Experience. That's, well, you guessed it, private to just your party. You get to determine the itinerary for the day.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Being treated like a celebrity is always romantic, wouldn't you say?

Michelle's expert tip: Prices start at $189 plus tax per person, but you also need to buy a park admission ticket.

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Terralina Crafted Italian Pasta Making Classes

Everyone knows the way to a man's heart (and let's be honest, most women's hearts too) is through the stomach. You and your sweetheart will have fun, eat some good food and maybe even learn some new kitchen skills at Terralina Crafted Italian's pasta-making classes. Executive Chef Justin Plank leads the classes and teaches students how to make fresh pasta with just a few simple ingredients. This is all done while sipping on some wine of course. The cost is $45 and in addition to the cooking lesson, it includes lunch. If carbs aren't calling out romance to you, Terralina Crafted Italian also offers wine and cheese pairing classes.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: It's fun, interactive, delicious and requires teamwork. What's not to love?

Michelle's expert tip: Located in Disney Springs, take a stroll around the area after your class. You'll find good live music, shopping and plenty of dessert options to top off the meal you made.

Read more about Terralina Crafted Italian Pasta Making Classes →


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Meet Michelle Spitzer

Michelle Spitzer grew up in South Florida taking many family vacations to the Orlando area. For the past 12 years, she's called central Florida home.

A journalist for more than two...  More About Michelle

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