Disney's theme parks might be famous worldwide, but their resorts, restaurants and bars are destinations all on their own. One fun way to experience three of Disney's most-acclaimed properties is by taking a self-guided tour, pub crawl or progressive dinner on the monorail.
The monorail provides free transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot with a special train that stops at the Polynesian Village Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Contemporary Resort. Traveling around the Seven Seas Lagoon and stopping for a bite and a drink at some of Disney's signature bars and restaurants makes for a memorable evening with a touch of Disney magic and adventure, that's fun for a girls night out or a creative date.
Stop 1: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
First, head to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort right next to the Magic Kingdom's transportation center. Parking is free when you're visiting the property for dinner or drinks; just present a valid driver's license. (If you're drinking, Ubers are prevalent in Orlando.) The Polynesian is Walt Disney World's original resort, which opened in 1971 on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Stepping out of your car, you're immediately transported to a South-Pacific oasis, complete with lush flowers and tiki torches. The lobby is inside a grand ceremonial house and, outside, new bunglows look out over the water.
Tucked away in the back corner of the main building is Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, which recently opened this year. This enchanting little hideaway is decked out in themed decor and offers a Polynesian-inspired menu of small plates such as Hawaiian poke with Sriracha aioli, kalua pork tacos and dumplings with soy-sesame dipping sauce.
The drinks match the festive atmosphere with fun names like the Mosquito Mojito, Shruken Zombie Head and the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum. But be careful, ordering a signature cocktail comes with consequences. When you order the Uh-Oa! you will anger the gods. Watch as thunder and lightning ensue until the wait staff finally settles their anger without sacrificing any guests.
Stop 2: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Now it's time to walk upstairs to the second floor to access the monorail for Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Reminiscent of Palm Beach's golden age, this Victorian-era resort comes with the highest price tag on Disney property at around $600 per night. From the monorail station, you'll enter the second-floor balcony of the five-story lobby. This perch provides a great group photo opp as well as a subtle spot for people-watching and just soaking up the grandeur.
Follow the jazzy sounds of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra straight to Mizner's Lounge. Order the artisanal cheese plate or charcuterie for the table and sit back with a classic cocktail like a gin martini or Manhattan. From the windows, you'll get a peek at the 10 pm Wishes fireworks show—9 pm on week nights—from the Magic Kingdom.
Stop 3: Disney's Contemporary Resort
Next up is Disney's Contemporary Resort. This monorail trip is especially fun as you pass over the main entrance of the Magic Kingdom and then onto the hotel where the track actually runs straight through the lobby.
Take the escalator down to the concierge stand and request a table at California Grill. Getting a dinner reservation on short notice at this 15th-floor, signature restaurant is nearly impossible, but you can typically snag a table late-night after the fireworks. This beautiful penthouse dining room overlooks Seven Seas Lagoon, with stunning views of Cinderella's castle all lit up at night, as well as the surrounding resorts you've just visited.
Order a port or a coffee to pair with the chocolate, Nutella pudding cake. Or if you prefer to drink your dessert, a refreshing choice is the cucumber fizz made with vodka, limoncello, cucumber water and a splash of Sprite.
If you're up for more fun, the Wave bar downstairs at the Contemporary stays open until 2 am. Otherwise, board the monorail for your final leg back to the Polynesian. The monorail stops running one hour after the Magic Kingdom closes, and times vary so check accordingly.
You've now come full circle, making a complete trip around the Seven Seas Lagoon with stops at three of Walt Disney World's most-famous resorts. Cheers!