By JAMI HILL

This is the time of year when my phone starts ringing and my Inbox fills with excited announcements from newly-engaged couples asking for help with their honeymoon vacations. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows the importance of a relaxing week of escape together after months of wedding preparations with So. Many. People. Around.

Why in the world would you want to vacation at a theme park destination or on a family-focused cruise?  Let me tell you; it’s because you want to have FUN together!

My husband and I looked at each other minutes after he put a ring on my finger decades ago and declared, in unison, “Disney World” as our honeymoon destination. We thought we were the only ones who’d want to play at the House of Mouse, but it’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world!  Over 1,500 couples marry at Walt Disney World each year, and thousands more proposals happen all over the 47 square miles! It’s simply romantic, nostalgic, and a full-on escape from reality.

I talked to a couple who recently honeymooned in Walt Disney World to learn that much has changed since our stay at the long-gone Clubhouse Villas back in the late ’80s. Matthew and Samantha Martin Woods wanted to hit the parks for adventure, but enjoy relaxing downtime at their resort.  They knew they would enjoy nice dinners together, but spending their vacation dollars and time on a truly Deluxe hotel was not their priority.

One of the surprises they enjoyed was the attention they received simply by wearing Disney’s ‘Happily Ever After’ buttons around the resort.  Guests and staff alike congratulated them all week and they received a special dessert at dinner.

One of Samantha’s wedding guests contacted me to ask about a gift she might provide as an ‘extra’ for their honeymoon.  Well, Disney has all kinds of options and we settled on Animal Kingdom Park’s Wild Afrika Trek, a behind-the-scenes small group tour. Samantha and Matthew loved it and have a specific memory to last a lifetime!

Samantha reports that, “The people that work at Disney are welcoming and make sure that you have a great experience while there on vacation. The fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom is AMAZING. I would recommend Disney for a honeymoon to anyone! It was a trip to remember for a lifetime!”

 

These honeymooners wanted me to make sure they had time to explore the other Orlando theme park destination:  Universal Orlando. Like many adults and kids of all ages, they are huge Harry Potter fans so we worked in a full day across town! Universal is a vacation on its own and could be a great honeymoon choice for any couple!

 

 

I can picture it as a perfect stop before sailing away on a cruise. The two Harry Potter sections of the Universal parks are in the two theme parks so you do need park-to-park passes to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley. Staying onsite at one of their three premium hotels gives you the most bang for your buck there any day with FREE Front of the Line access and many other perks. It’s a great adult vacation destination!

 

Now, I’m about to tell you that Disney Cruise Line is a wonderful honeymoon idea and you may want to laugh or turn away but stick with me. Would you believe that I have sailed on Disney Cruise Line four times (with the fifth coming up in two weeks) and on all but one, I have seen very few children except when I was in family areas?

Disney Cruise Line caters to adults with many adult-exclusive areas all over the ship!  You’ll find a pool, pool deck with water feature and hot tub, plenty of lounge chairs, a coffee shop with deck, full-service spa, two restaurants, a pub that shows live sporting events, a champagne lounge, a bar with live music, and a nightclub with a DJ and dancing.

There are also wine tastings, mixology classes (watch out!), trivia games, Broadway-quality shows, first-run movies at all hours, larger-than-average staterooms, split baths, and impeccable service and cleanliness. Disney’s private beach, Castaway Cay, is second to none, and includes an exclusive private beach with private bar service and plenty of towels and seating.

 

Did I mention that these cruises sail to the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Panama Canal, Alaska, and Canada as well as to the Bahamas and the Caribbean? Honeymoon romance and relaxation await you at sea and incredible ports in dozens of cities!

I hope you see that the words Disney, Universal, and Disney Cruise Line mean much more than kids and playtime. Don’t forget the worldwide options that open up with Adventures by Disney, too! Think about your honeymoon goals and dreams.  How do you want to look back on this trip for the rest of your life?

 

Jami Hill is the co-owner of FTM Travel, a full-service, no fee agency based here in Brentwood. When she isn’t traveling with her family or girlfriends, nothing makes her happier than planning trips for others. While Disney Destinations are her passion and she has traveled to Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line yes, over 60 times at last count, she explores and books all kinds of vacations. Share your travel ideas with her at jami@ftmtravel.com.