PLAYguide: Date Night

Newborn-Friendly Dates

4 Date Night Ideas That Don’t Require a Sitter

Words by Stephanie Patterson

As a new parent, date night may be the last thing on your priority list. Yet, a regular night out is an important part of a happy and healthy relationship, and there’s no need to forgo it once your baby has arrived. Choose from these creative newborn-friendly ideas, and celebrate your family date night success. No babysitter required!

1. Audubon Park Dessert Hop
Audubon Park combines casual dining establishments with walkability, offering perfect conditions for a date with baby in tow. Keep things light and fun with a dessert hop around the district, starting at East End Market (eastendmkt.com) for a cookie at Gideon’s Bakehouse. Continue your sweet-toothed adventure with an ice cream right at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream and a cupcake from Blue Bird Bake Shop (audubonparkgardens.com).

2. Winter Park Alfresco Dining
Take advantage of Orlando’s pleasant year-round temperatures and dine alfresco on Park Avenue (experienceparkavenue.com/dining). Taste the best of Italy at Prato, or indulge in weekend brunch at The Parkview. After your meal, take a leisurely walk through Central Park or wander the brick-lined streets.

Admission for kids under age 4 is always free at Harry P. Leu Gardens.

3. A Day at the Gardens
If your baby is happiest when in motion, pack the stroller and spend a few hours in the great outdoors. Harry P. Leu Gardens (leugardens.org) boasts wide, paved trails and a tranquil garden environment year-round. Admission for children under age 4 is always free. More free fun for the family can be found at Mead Botanical Garden (meadgarden.org) in Winter Park, which features a scenic boardwalk and picnic pavilions.

4. Romantic Night In
For date night fun without leaving home, order food from UberEATS (ubereats.com/Orlando) or Postmates (postmates.com/Orlando), put on your [comfy!] date night best and light a few candles. Then, treat yourselves to a DIY spa day with backrubs and homemade mimosas or dust off your favorite board games for a little friendly competition.


STEPHANIE PATTERSON is a contributor to Orlando Date Night Guide, the area’s most comprehensive resource for local date night ideas. A local photographer, travel blogger and food tour guide, she shares her creativity on traveltasteclick.com.

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Date Night: Take Your Child Out on a Date Night

 

 

 

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For six years my husband and I have worked with a parenting coach. Among her many gems of advice, one that truly stands out as a game-changer for us is the concept of time in. The idea is that when kids are being less than angelic, parents should swap time out for a time in- bring them closer, love them more, hold boundaries but without alienation. It’s a method that’s worked well for us even though our daughters, now 5 and 7 years old, have long left the tumultuous toddler years behind.

Time in is about the moments where each child gets dedicated one-on-one attention with each parent, such as bedtime. It also includes a regular date night. Think about it: kids derive as much satisfaction as mom and dad do on their date night. When interactions are free from the distraction of siblings, social media and grown-up conversation, a child swells with delight.

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  1. Winter Park
    Grab a bite at The Cheesecake Factory (thecheesecakefactory.com) in Winter Park Village. Afterward, take a ride up the street, to Park Ave’s Rocket Fizz (rocketfizz.com) where you can grab a gourmet soda and a handful of retro candy. It’s sure to bring back memories from your childhood. Or, hit Rome’s Flavors, a hidden gem on Morse Blvd., for some homemade gelato.

    Up the fun: SunRail has a station in the heart of Winter Park on Park Ave. Consider riding the rail if your date night is planned during the week.

  2. Thornton Park 
    Soco (socothorntonpark.com) will win over your child’s petite palette with southern-style comfort foods, such as crispy macaroni and cheese croquets and Florida sweet corn bisque. After this scrumptious dinner, wander west about a block to The Pop Parlour (thepopparlour.com), where you will find artisan ice pops in flavors such as Lavender Lemonade and Pomegranate Plum.

    Up the fun: Lake Eola’s swan paddleboats are available to rent Sunday through Tuesday until 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday until 10 p.m. Cost is $15 for a half hour, no reservations needed.

  3. I-Drive 360 
    Take your pick from several terrific eateries at I-Drive 360 (i-drive360.com), the new entertainment and dining hub on International Drive. Choices include Tapa Toro, a fabulous tapas restaurant; Sugar Factory, and MTV-meets-Willy Wonka dining concept; and classic options such as Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse, which are nearby.

    Up the fun: After dinner, check out I-Drive 360’s attractions, including the Orlando Eye, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Madama Tussauds Orlando. 

PLAY Tips: Plan Small, kids don’t need an extravagant date night. They’re just as happy to head to the local pizzeria followed by a frozen treat from a favorite fro-yo spot.

Create Build Up, start talking about the date night a few days before. This will get them excited and give you the chance to share how much you’re looking forward to it, too!

Completely Unplug, all your efforts will be in vain if you check your phone all night. Don’t send the message that you’d rather be somewhere else.

Reminisce, talk about the date night afterward when you’re alone with your child, such as bedtime. Share with them how much you enjoyed the one-on-one time.

Words by Kristen Manieri
KRISTEN MANIERI is a Longwood-based mom of Elizabeth (7) and Aly (5). She is the founder and editor of the Orlando Date Night Guide, which houses hundreds of ideas and recommendations for sharing fun and meaningful quality time together in Orlando. From cooking classes to hidden gem restaurants to unique and exciting things to do, you’ll find the best of Orlando’s date night offerings inside the pages of this comprehensive online guide. 

 

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Date Night: Globe Trotting

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to hop on a plane with your sweetie and land in an exotic place far from the ups and downs of modern parenting? When such a getaway is out of reach, consider recreating the experience locally. We’ve uncovered five Orlando spots that will take you around the world on your next date night.

Advertising Resorts Shoot at Loew's Portofino Bay Hotel  at Universal Orlando Resort UOR PBH

Italy
Designed to model an Italian seaside village complete with cobblestone streets and an expansive harbor piazza, the Loews Portofi no Bay Hotel (loewshotels.com/portofi no-bay-hotel) transports couples to the charm of Mediterranean Italy. Reserve a table at Mama Della’s Ristorante, where strolling musicians soulfully serenade while diners enjoy antipasto, bruschetta caprese, Mama’s veal sorrentina and tiramisu. Wander to the piazza for Musica Della Notte (Music of the Night), a nightly musical performance on one of the balconies overlooking the harbor piazza.

Downtown Disney guests (L-R) Brenda Sievert, from Nova Scotia, Canada, and Dean and Lisa Nicholson, from New Brunswick, Canada, make a spirited toast at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 'Mighty St. Patrick's Festival' runs March 13-17 and features Irish bands and pro dancers, beers on tap, specially crafted food, face painting and plenty of St. Patrick's Day memorabilia. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

Ireland 
With its location at Disney Springs, you may expect Raglan Road (raglanroad.com) to be a kitschy, Americanized version of Ireland’s famed pubs. Prepare to be surprised. Raglan Road feels like someone plucked a watering hole from Dublin and plopped it in the midst of mouse ears and roller coasters. Adorned with dark wood and stained glass, Raglan Road serves classic Irish cuisine inspired by Master Chef Kevin Dundon, an Irish native. Expect dishes like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips for lunch and dinner as well as a full Irish breakfast with black and white pudding at the Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch. Toss in a few pints of Guinness, a live Irish band and award-winning Irish dancers, and you’re in for quite an Irish party.

Ethiopia 
Tucked in a plaza on International Drive, Nile Ethiopian Restaurant (nile07.com) will celebrate its 10th anniversary this years. Servers dressed in customary Ethiopian attire treat guests to a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony lasting as long as two hours, where coffee beans are roasted at your table, ground by hand and then served in a clay pot known as a jabena. Another surprise at Nile is the lack of cutlery; you’ll be using bread to scoop up stewed and sautéed dishes such as kik alicha (split peas) and doro wat (chicken). Opt to sit at a straw table with stools instead of a traditional table. Those willing to channel their inner traveler will find this gem to be a delight.

Cuba Libre

Cuba
It will feel as though you’ve just discovered a Cuban cafe hidden down a bricked Havana side street when you arrive at Cuba Libre (cubalibrerestaurant.com), a dining and night life spot at Pointe Orlando. Authentic Cuban food (including more than a dozen varieties of mojitos) dominates the menu, which is why the 15 Tastes of Cuba experience is ideal. Guests choosing this option are treated to small plate versions of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including ceviche, plantains and empanadas. After dinner, this elaborately designed locale turns into Orlando’s hottest Latin dance club with DJs and salsa dancers spinning indoors and outside on the patio.

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Bali 
Tucked inside the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, the Mandara Spa (mandaraspa.com) is the closest most of us will come to a Balinese getaway. Thankfully, this 12,000-square-foot ancient Asian-inspired retreat truly immerses guests in the spirit of the tiny Indonesian island that is world renowned for its healing and restorative traditions. Book the Coconut Poultice Massage, a 75-minute signature service using heated and scented coconut poultices with a blend of coconut and sweet almond oils, lotus flower milk and yogurt. After this epic pampering, sip a fresh juice or tea in the meditation garden, both spectacularly crafted with Balinese-inspired design to inspire serenity and calmness.

Words by Kristen Manieri
KRISTEN MANIERI is a Longwood-based mom of Elizabeth (7) and Aly (5). She is the founder and editor of the Orlando Date Night Guide, which houses hundreds of ideas and recommendations for sharing fun and meaningful quality time together in Orlando. From cooking classes to hidden gem restaurants to unique and exciting things to do, you’ll fi nd the best of Orlando’s date night offerings inside the pages of this comprehensive online guide.
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Date Night: Get Schooled by Local Chefs

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If you’re tasked with the monotonous chore of cooking every day (pasta again?), learning a shortcut or delicious flavor combination can be a breath of fresh air. You can spend hours watching Food Network or taking cooking classes, but we’ve got a better idea. Turn your date night into a culinary education via a chef’s table at one of Orlando’s best restaurants. You’ll get to pepper the chef and sommelier with questions throughout this multi-course dining experience designed to give you a personalized epicurean escape.

Sushi Pop Chef Chau by Manieri

Sushi Pop 
Chef Chau, Sushi Pop’s revered culinary star and owner, becomes your personal guide through eight spectacular courses during his Omakase tasting experience. Plate after beautifully designed plate will arrive at your table, each paying homage to the world’s most delicious Asian cuisines.
$95 per person; optional wine pairing is $45 per person.
407-542-5975; sushipoprestaurant.com

Luma

Luma on The Park
You won’t fi nd a closer spot to watch the inner workings of this much-loved Park Avenue restaurant. Perched at your kitchen-side table, you’ll watch as your dishes are created by a culinary perfectionist, Chef Brandon McGlamery, who will craft nine petite courses during a feast that lasts for hours.
$75 per person; optional wine pairing is $30 to $50 per person.
407-599-4111; lumaonpark.com

Season’s 52
Offered at the Altamonte Springs and Orlando locations, the Season’s 52 chef’s table dinner experience features a seven-course (including an amuse-bouche and dessert) journey into fresh and seasonal cuisine. Guests can be seated in a private room or order the chef’s table menu from anywhere in the main dining room.
Prices vary by location.
407-767-1252 (Altamonte Springs) or 407-354-5212 (Orlando); seasons52.com

Hamilton’s Kitchen
Chef Jason Klingensmith takes his guests on an eight-course expedition at Hamilton’s Kitchen inside The Alfond Inn, where guests sit at an enormous wood table overlooking the exhibition kitchen as courses are presented by the chef throughout the evening.
$125 per person; minimum of four guests.
407-998-8089; thealfondinn.com/dining/hamiltons_kitchen

Highball & Harvest
Chefs dole out fi ve delectable courses steeped in local fare with a passion for culinary ingenuity. Courses, which are fi nished and plated at the chef’s side table as guests look on, are paired with wine from H&H’s expansive cask wine collection.
$185 per person, including wine pairings.
407-393-4422; ritzcarlton.com

Words by Kristen Manieri
Kristen Manieri is a Longwood-based mom of Elizabeth (7) and Aly (5). She is the founder and editor of the Orlando Date Night Guide, which houses hundreds of ideas and recommendations for sharing fun and meaningful quality time together in Orlando. From cooking classes to hidden gem restaurants to unique and exciting things to do, you’ll find the best of Orlando’s date night offerings inside the pages of this comprehensive online guide. 

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Antarctic Wedding (in Central Florida)

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Antarctica Explorers Wed at SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

A true “white wedding” was held on Friday, January 10, 2014 at SeaWorld Orlando as two Antarctic explorers shared their vows at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the park’s cool rendition of the icy continent. Heart-warming and bone-chilling extremes could be felt as the couple, who met in 2012 while working in Antarctica for the New Zealand government, was married in the 32-degree, snowy penguin habitat.

Just inches from the bride and groom were 250 members of the bridal party – a colony of king, Adélie, gentoo and rockhopper penguins – all dressed in their black and white “tuxedos” fit for the occasion.

“Antarctica is such a beautiful and intense environment. When you experience that with someone, the bond you create is rare. Having our wedding here at SeaWorld in this realm that so perfectly captures the essence of the continent brought me right back to the day Jeff and I met,” said the bride, Susanne Grieve.

The couple “wintered” together in 2012, braving average temperatures of minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh produce and mail were two of the many conveniences the couple went without during their time in Antarctica.

Grieve, who now teaches conservation, preservation and archaeology courses at East Carolina University, hopes to one day return to the frigid continent where she had previously worked with the Antarctic Heritage Trust to protect late 1800s explorers’ legacy, including the bases and the artifacts they left behind. The groom, Jeff Rawson, still works for the New Zealand government and just recently returned from Antarctica. Rawson’s work focuses on supporting scientific research on climate studies and ice core sampling.

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Escape Orlando in 90 Minutes or Less

RoadTrip

Hop in the car, crank the tunes and take a trip back to your dating years when getaways were simpler and required much less “baggage.” Road trips are the perfect escape from the everyday (and who are we kidding … the kids). Orlando is surrounded by many quaint and quirky towns just waiting to be explored. So book Grandma, tank up and hit the highway.

Written by Kristen Manieri of Great Dates Orlando

Eccentric Excursion: Cassadaga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ETA: 40 minutes
Did you know we live in very close proximity to the “Psychic Center of the World?” Cassadaga’s old-world streets are where you’ll find more than 40 mediums, psychics and healers. With roads named Séance Circle and Metaphysical Street, this is a very interesting corner of the world to get lost in.

MUST DO  Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you’ve been wondering what the future might hold (or what your stock portfolio might do), perhaps it’s time to consult the experts at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Check out their website ahead of time to pre-book a session with one of their world-renowned spiritual healers and psychic mediums.

MUST SEE Legend has it that spirits can reveal themselves to us as glowing balls of light called “orbs.” Experience this phenomenon during the 90-minute Orb Photography Tour, each Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. $25/person. RSVP by calling 386-228-2880.

MUST EAT  If your psychic experiences put you in the mood for some food and liquid enlightenment, head over to the Lost in Time Cafe (located in the Cassadaga Hotel) for some “Spirit” burgers and real-life characters sure to entertain you.

MAKE IT SPECIAL Arrange a couple’s astrology consultation through the Cassadaga Hotel and Psychic Center. In this one-hour session, local astrologists will consult the stars to chart out your fate. Uh oh… is that another bambino on the horizon?

Rural Ride: Clermont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ETA: 35 minutes
In the heart of Lake County amidst (yup, you guessed it) more than 1,000 lakes, Clermont might seem like an unlikely destination for us city slickers. But we think you’ll be surprised to find a ton of delightful day trip diversions on and off the water.

MUST DO  Ever dream about hitting the open road on a Harley? Stormy Hill Harley in Clermont runs a weekend motorcycle course in this ideal locale, thanks to its hilly terrain and lack of traffic. Once certified, easy riders can rent gear and bikes onsite. Class is $250/person.

MUST SEE  If you do one thing this summer, take a trip to Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards on the weekend of August 22 and 23, when you can squash grapes between your toes at the annual August Stomp. Also enjoy complimentary tours and wine tastings at this 77-acre vineyard.

MUST EAT Shop the huge gift boutique at Lakeridge Winery for your gourmet picnic provisions, then sip your freshly purchased Pink Cresendo sparkling wine at a picnic table or shady spot amidst the vines. www.lakeridgewinery.com

MAKE IT SPECIAL  If wine isn’t your thing, you can enjoy some peace and quiet on one of the area’s namesake lakes on your very own pontoon boat. Half-day rentals are $129 and a full day will cost you $199, including fuel.  www.clermontwatersports.com

Old World Outing: St. Augustine . . . . . . . . . ETA: 90 minutes
Discover America’s oldest city during one of the many popular tours offered in this historic community. The cute cafés, artisan shops and character of St. Augustine’s Colonial Spanish neighborhoods have been luring romantics for centuries.

MUST DO Don’t miss the hilarious (and informative) St. Augustine Haunted Pub Tour departing every day at 8:30 p.m. Although you’re not likely to see any actual ghosts, bartenders will be serving up plenty of spirits.

MUST SEE  Take a self-guided wander through Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine’s most notable historic landmark. Ancient dungeons with cavernous corners provide ideal secret make-out spots.

MUST EAT  Catch your breath at one of St. Augustine’s famous bakeries such as the Bunnery Bakery & Café on St. George Street, where notorious sticky buns are finger lickin’ good. 904-829-6166

MAKE IT SPECIAL  Schedule your trip to take part in the First Friday Art Walk. Evening tours begin at Rembrantz on King Street, and you can stroll hand-in-hand enjoying art exhibits, music, entertainment and great food. www.artgalleriesofstaugustine.com

Small Town Spin: Mount Dora . . . . . . . . . . . . ETA: 45 minutes
Cafés, antiquing and nature walks are all great reasons to visit Mount Dora, a small town dripping with charm. Thousands of people visit each year during its many famed festivals, like the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. www.mountdora.com

MUST DO Sail Lake Dora’s pristine waters with Captain Doolittle’s Eco Tours offering day and sunset cruises (352-434-8040), or explore Mount Dora’s picturesque downtown streets, historic B&Bs and scenic nature trails during a 60-minute Segway tour. www.segwayofcentralflorida.com

MUST SEE Anyone with the slightest interest in antiquing needs to check out Renningers Antiques & Farmers Market, open Saturdays and Sundays. Make a game of it by deciding on one particular item to seek out at more than 180 shops.

MUST EAT  Lake views and live music make Pisces Rising a popular dining option. Do not – we repeat – do not leave Mount Dora without devouring a frozen key lime pie-on-a-stick, found at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

MAKE IT SPECIAL  Snuggle up with your honey in the back of a horse-drawn carriage ride through Mount Dora’s scenic streets. Departing from the corner of 4th and Alexander, private rides are available. Don’t forget your bottle of bubbly. www.ahitchntime.com

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Date Night: Dad's Turn To Drive

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Guys, this night is for YOU. You’ve done your duty and seen every chick flick out there. It’s time you put your big boy pants back on and take control. Skip the couples pedicure (btw, you totally got your man card revoked for that one) and do something you really want to do.

[Men Dig Pigskin]
Have you been mourning the conclusion of Monday Night Football? Imagine the thrill of watching that incredible pass make it from the quarterback to the open receiver as he runs into the end zone for the touchdown, all in comfortable chairs and AC. Pure heaven. You can have that thrill again. Take your darling to an Orlando Predators arena football game this summer, now through the end of July.
www.orlandopredators.com

[Gamblin’ Man]
Need to get away from your adult responsibilities for a while? The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa is the perfect place to go and relive those carefree, kid-free days. Consider this the perfect playground for a play date with your wife. With everything from comedy shows and casinos to amazing food, there’s something to do every night of the week. You can leave the minivan at home and hop aboard the Hard Rock bus instead to get you there.
www.seminolehardrocktampa.com

[Hmmm … Beer]
When’s the last time you and your significant other went to happy hour? Find a sitter and enjoy a cold brew after work together at the Orlando Brewing taproom. It’s got a free behind-the-scenes guided tour (Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m.) that will give you a new appreciation for one of nature’s best nectars. Afterward, watch a local band while enjoying one (or a few) of the dozens of different drinks the brewery has on tap. This local brewery is one of only five certified fully organic breweries in the nation. Let your dollars do the walkin’ with $2 pints on the 30th of every month. www.orlandobrewing.com

[Indoor War]
If you’re into games, this fast-paced, high-action venue is Orlando’s best video gaming spot. At Hard Knocks’ huge urban-themed laser tag combat area and intense simulation arenas, you’ll be able to show off your tough guy skills to your sweetie. Remember, though, shooting her does not score you any points in the bedroom. So, take it easy, Rambo. www.hardknocksorlando.com

[Rockin’ Party]
Show your main squeeze how a cocktail party should be done at Orlando’s only rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party. A ticket to Velvet Sessions at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando includes themed cocktails, finger foods and a killer concert from groups such as Joan Jett, The Fixx, and The Psychedelic Furs. Velvet Sessions are held the last Thursday of the month. www.velvetsessions.com

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Calling All Players

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It’s time to play, giggle and do anything BUT act your age. There’s a reason why your kids are so happy and carefree. They play almost all the time. Now, surely you can find a few hours this week to do the same at one of these great locations around town.

Written by Kristen Manieri

Board Games Over Mind Games
What do you get when you mix Monopoly and martinis? You get a night you’ll both be talking about for months. Described as Orlando’s alternative to the typical night out, PlayDate Orlando takes place monthly in swanky nightclubs transformed into epicenters of fun. This fall, events are hosted by Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Classic games like Trouble, Jenga, Connect Four and Yahtzee grace the tables around the club, with the dance floor reserved for rowdy Twister matches and musical chairs. www.playdateorlando.com

Useless Information Wanted
Unleash your inner know-it-all during a round of Earth Trivia at various Orlando venues, such as One Eyed Jacks, Gator’s Dockside and Scruffy Murphy’s. This live trivial pursuit for couples or groups is divided into rounds of 10 questions, each featuring categories like movies, music, TV, science, sports and geography. The top smarties win prizes, like restaurant gift certificates. Warning: Fact-checking with KGB (text 542-542) is strongly frowned upon, but peeking at your partner’s answers is A-OK. www.earthtrivia.com

College Days Flashback
Check out ICEBAR Orlando on Monday nights starting at 9 p.m. for a major trip back to your college years. Their weekly Beer Pong tournaments invite teams of two to face off for one of the most inane, yet hilarious, bar games ever invented. Oh, you’re going to act like you’ve never played? (OK, we’ll play along.) Players throw a Ping-Pong ball across a table with the hopes of landing it in a cup of beer lined up at the other end. A ball in the cup means the opposing team must drink their cup of beer. Winning teams go on to face off against their next contender. Dumb, we know, but so much fun—whether you’re winning or losing. www.icebarorlando.com

Cordial Competition
Grown-ups do have their own playground, ya know; it’s called Firkin & Kegler, an entertainment mega-center in Waterford Lakes. Share your time between the pub-style restaurant, 32 lanes of bowling, golf simulator and arcade (where air hockey matches become the ideal way to gamble for that evening’s late-night back massage). You’ll love the ample outdoor seating, perfect for enjoying pints of ale and the return to saner Orlando temperatures. Got a late-night pass from Grandma? Get down at Firkin’s nightclub and lounge, called “The Loft,” where great music always takes center stage.  www.firkinkeglercenter.com

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Get your mind out of the gutter—we’re talking bingo, but with a twist. Led by local drag legends Miss Sammy and Carol Lee, Tuesday Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s offers the chance to “eat, drink and be Mary” while enjoying an effortless pastime peppered with spirited songs and feisty comedy. This flamboyant eatery, known for its ’50s flair and colorful customers, boasts 11 burger varieties with names that denote Mary’s naughty and nice personalities. We loved the slightly X-rated drink list packed with enticing libations, like the Juicy Screw and Screaming Orgasm.  www.hamburgermarys-orlando.com

DIY Play Time
No sitter? No problem. Tuck the kiddies into bed and then sneak off to your own bedroom for some private play. Your covert couple time can include sexy Scrabble (dirty words only), naked hide-and-seek, or strip Monopoly (pay rent with clothing). Of course, a classic round of Truth or Dare is always a sure bet when it comes to adding some sugar and spice to your liaison.

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
E.E. Cummings

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Get High

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Everyone knows that Cloud Nine is where the best connections are made. These aeronautic adventures will make your “date night” rise to the top. And by the way … it’s not too late to join the mile-high club.

Written by Kristen Manieri of Great Dates Orlando

Hot Air Balloon Ride
Topping our list for th emost rantic sky-high exploit is a champagne hot air balloon flight with ou rpartner. While this daybreak date will certainly have you missing a few ZZZs (balloons ascend at dawn), this tranquil trip with stunning sunrise views will be well worth it. Bob’s Balloons offers daily flights 365 days a year for $175 per person including nibbles and bubbly upon landing. For $475 you can book your own private basket for this hour-long jaunt over the picturesque landscape near Diseny. Be sure to book a sitter for an extra couple of hours so you have time to take a post-flight afternoon nap.

Orlando’s Largest Roller Coaster
Much like the “butterflies” you had when you first fell in love, roller coasters provide a glee that is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Play hookie with your spouse and take an impromptu ride on the Kraken at SeaWorld (sans the kids). This roller coaster will take you higher and faster than anywhere else in Orlando. There’s nothing like adrenaline and a theme park to make you two feel like kids again. Of course, if you’d rather save the jostling and bumping for when you get home, the 400-foot Skytower is a harmless alternative. C’mon, you have those yearly passes anyway.

Open-Air Biplane Ride
For something very unique try Fantasy of Flight’s vintage bi-plane rides complete with a cute hat and goggles. Up to 4 people of any age sit up front for the ride of their lives ($69/person). We recommend making an afternoon of it and having lunch at their air-side café, where you can enjoy a great view of the daily aerial demonstrations while noshing. Besides the world’s largest private collection of classic aircraft, guys will L-O-V-E the fighter jet simulators. Hang glider and hot air balloon simulators are super fun too. You will be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy this experience.

Treetop Zipline Excursion
Joining their Horseback and Eco-Safaris, the Zipline Safari is the newest and most exhilarating attraction at Forever Florida in St. Cloud. Safely strapped into your harness and snapped onto a fifty-foot-high, mile-long trail, this tree-top rendezvous will have you soaring at speeds as fast as 20 mph. Expect a bird’s eye view of the Florida wilderness including sightings of gators, bears and white tail deer. Amp up the romance by reserving a Moonlight Zipline Safari, scheduled on select evenings each month ($85/person). Watch out for that tree!

Skydiving
Adrenaline junkie couples know it takes a lot more heart-pounding action to take their breath away. Thse extremists head to Skydive Deland where tandem flights offer sixty seconds of freefall followed by a five-minute float. Technically, you and your honey will be strapped to someone else for your dive, but the heart-stopping thrill you’ll share together will be yours to remember forever. Set aside $179 per person and about three hours for instruction and flight time. On the fence about it? Go grab a bite at The Perfect Spot (the on-site restaurant), where burgers and cold beer are enjoyed along with excellent views of other divers making their landing right in front of you.

Indoor Skydiving
Even the faint of heart can experience the weightless thrill of skydiving without the risk, thanks to Sky Venture on I-Drive. This indoor simulator blasts wind up its tunnel with such force that divers are suspecded in air for a 40-second flight. This uber-realistic experience is used by professional divers looking to practive turns and spins without dropping form an airplane. Couples can opt for the “Two-fer” package which includes training and flight gear, two minutes of flight rotation, two DVD copies and two photo CDs for $124.95.

Hang Gliding
For those couples that prefer to glide through the sky rather than fall from it, sunrise and sunset hang gliding flights are a local alternative at Wallaby Ranch, south of Kissimmee. Once your instructor-piloted glider is released from the tug about 2,000 feet in the air, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking 15-20 minute free-fly before softly returning to the ground. This is probably the closest you will get to the feeling of actually flying on your own. You can enjoy the experience together, since couples can be in-flight at the same time (in separate gliders) at a cost of $120 per person.

Helicopter Ride
Probably the most romantic way to “get high” is a helicopter tour like the Fireworks Flight offered by Orlando Helicenter. This ride soars about 1,000 feet in the air, boasting an unsurpassed view of Epcot’s nightly illuminations fireworks show. Orlando Helicenter offers a variety of chopper tours over theme parks and multi-million dollar neighborhoods starting at $20 per person, all of which can be taken at night for an extra $50. These flexible flyers will even let you bring your own champagne for a post-flight toast. Cheers to that!

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