What? You’re spending some time at Disney and you don’t want to go to bed at the same time as the pre-school set?
We have good news for Disney-loving nightowls! There are some fun spots to pass the time after the sun goes down. Join us for a tour around Disney World, as we explore places you can go after hours for some time to relax a bit.
You may think that, with the closure of Pleasure Island’s nightclub district and the coming of Disney Springs, there’s nothing much to do at Downtown Disney after dark these days. But actually, there’s plenty.
We’ve enjoyed House of Blues for their funky, rustic decor and their live music. But we love the food, too. Enjoy a meal from their table service Crossroads menu, which features a mash up of Southern, Soul, and Tex-Mex inspired food. Or order from the new counter service Smokehouse, where they specialize in barbecue, until 10 p.m. Of course, there’s also a full bar available, so you can wash down that meal with your favorite cocktail or brew.
For a more continental experience, head over toRaglan Road Irish Pub. You’ll be bowled over by the authenticity of the venue; much of the decor was actually brought to Orlando from Ireland. And nightly Irish music and traditional Irish step dancing keep the jovial atmosphere hopping well into the night.
And no problem if you don’t arrive until after 11 p.m. They offer a full bar and the Pub Grub menu until close! Dishes include some of our favorites, like theirDalkey Duo and Fish and Chips. And guests with special diets aren’t left out — their Gluten-Free Fish and Chips are some of the best we’ve had! Imbibe with a Celtic Martini or a pint of Guinness for a match made in pub heaven.
Or stop in at Bongos. This Cuban restaurant and bar features a huge menu of authentic Cuban specialties. We’ve loved everything we’ve tried here so far! They also have an extensive selection of Mojitos. Choose from a traditional version of this classic Cuban cocktail, or liven it up with flavors like Strawberry or Coconut.
Who can resist a ride on that most famous of Disney transportation systems? But when the trip involves a fun take on a pub crawl, it gets even better!
For a fun evening with a classic Disney twist, head to the Magic Kingdom Resorts for the Monorail Crawl. Just board the monorail at any of the stops you prefer — we love hopping on after a day in Magic Kingdom! — for a trip around Seven Seas Lagoon and stops at all three resorts.
If you decide to go in order, your first stop will be Disney’s Contemporary Resort. There, head to theOuter Rim Lounge for a classic Disney cocktail, like aGlowtini! We recommend that you start your crawl at the Outer Rim, since it can close as early as 10 p.m. — and you wouldn’t want to miss anything.
At Disney’s Polynesian Resort, enjoy a Lapu Lapufrom the Tambu Lounge. This tropical concoction, crafted with rum and served inside a hollowed-out pineapple, is reason enough to don a lei and dream of the hula. But if you need some sustenance, we recommend their heavenly and huge Pulled Pork Nachos. With Hawai’ian-style Pulled Pork, Melted Cheese, Pineapple Salsa, and Spicy Mayo on a bed of House Made Chips, they are incredible. (Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Poly during your crawl!)
Wrap up the evening at Mizner’s Lounge in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This classy cocktail spot features some delicious handcrafted drinks. Enjoy them as you listen to live music, courtesy of The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. Or indulge in a glass of Champagne with their luxurious Berkshire Pork Belly served with a Tamarind Glace and Hominy Cheddar-Potato Purée. This is one of my favorite dishes here!
Wind Down at Epcot
What about a fun way to appreciate the magic of Disney after hours without having to leave the park? Then the new After Hours Wind Down at Epcot is just the experience for you. During select evenings between now and Sept. 15, 2014, guests can book an exclusive, after hours pass into one of Epcot’s four hottest lounges — Rose & Crown Pub, Spice Road Table, Tutto Gusto, or La Cava del Tequila. We recently enjoyed the event for the first time at La Cava del Tequila.
Included in the ticket price of $35 (not including tax and gratuity) will be a drink and access to light snacks. The event begins immediately after the nightly fireworks show, Illuminations, concludes. Guests who purchase tickets can continue to enjoy the lounge that they’re visiting until 11 p.m. It’s a fantastic way to have a more intimate park experience in one of the most beautiful spots in all of Walt Disney World — Epcot’s World Showcase.
A good time at Disney doesn’t have to end when the parks close. Enjoying the resort into the wee small hours — or at least until late night — is a great way to take advantage of some great experiences that are geared more toward grownups.