Remember that you’re not the only one worn down by those little monsters, Momma. Your better half probably longs for a night out as much as you do; but you both know that planning takes time, and the ideas come so rarely with homework and potty training taking up all of our discretionary effort & brain cells. Now is your moment to shine! Book a sitter and steal my ideas for a night on the town. The hubby and I have been on each of these three dates (as you can see); and I wouldn’t steer a sister wrong.
Cruising down I-Drive, you would never suspect that behind Señor Frog’s and Denny’s hides a unique performance venue. DRIP is an interactive dance performance, incorporating paint, sand and water. You have to buy tickets, but don’t expect a seat. From the minute you enter the place, you are a part of the show. You can purchase white DRIP logo t-shirts on site, or you can wear your own duds. You can even have them custom cut for a small fee (layer a tank top to be safe). Just remember that what you wear will end up decidedly more colorful by the end of the night. Grab a drink and meander over to the paint tables. Paint your shirt. Paint your face. Paint your date.
Once you look the part, and almost subtly, the show begins. The performance quickly moves through the bar and into a larger space, dragging a painted crowd in its wake. The performance is story-driven, centered primarily around a love triangle, and accompanied by a talented live band. Paint, water and sand are thrown about liberally and with wild abandon, which means you will be wearing a great deal of all three by the closing number. This is also a great double-date activity. It will leave you with plenty to talk about later. Word to the wise, bring beach towels to sit on for the ride home. My mini-van still has a blue smudge on the seatbelt and a bright orange thumbprint on the window seal. I could wash them off, of course. But I sort of enjoy the memory of a great night out.
Magical Midway’s Starflyer:
For the adrenaline junkies on a budget, you should try the giant swing carousel on I-Drive at the Magical Midway. You can see this thing from a healthy distance. It’s the large tower shooting up that twirls and swings around at an inconceivable height. I love amusement rides. The faster, the taller, the scarier, the better. But this one even had me a little on edge — being at this height over a “civilian” part of town, flung into the air at high speeds on what is an admittedly sketchy-looking carnival ride. For added fun, pick a 2-seater swing. That way you can cling to one another as you pray that the chains hold and you will eventually re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.
Afterward, while you still look prettily mussed and flushed with the excitement, take your date to a nearby eatery. Less than a mile from the Midway, you’ll find Brick House Tavern & Tap, where you can enjoy soft pretzel breadsticks, Greek meatballs and a Fiery Apple Cider (grown ups only!) while sitting on a couch (every table has one!) or watching the fire on their outdoor patio bar. Also nearby, in the shade of “the castle hotel”, you’ll find Cafe Tu Tu Tango, a quaint place with great food and lots of local color. Literally. Every inch of the place is covered in original art by local artists. And the banana pizza will blow your mind! Can you tell this gluten-free momma loves to indulge in decadent treats while my little Celiac is home with the sitter?
LUMA on Park:
My all time favorite restaurant, LUMA on Park in Winter Park, is directly next door to The Wine Room. While this night can add up in cost, it’s a decadent night that is sure to be remembered! At the Wine Bar, you purchase a pre-paid “debit card” to use around the store purchasing 1, 2, or 3-oz tastes of a variety of wines. For a wine-idiot like me, this is a perfect chance to find new favorites.
Then you can walk (not necessarily in a very straight line) next door to LUMA. When in doubt, make a reservation. And without a doubt, you MUST ask for the pastry counter. The pastry counter is a high-top bar seating arrangement directly overlooking the dessert prep area. You not only get to watch the mesmerizing ballet of chefs navigating the kitchen and artfully creating their culinary masterpieces, but you also get lots of perks! I would give my right earlobe (I considered “arm” here, but decided against it) for their popcorn. I know, popcorn doesn’t sound gourmet. But trust me, this popcorn is exquisite. Truffle oil, garlic, Parmesan, micro basil. Need I go on? Yes! I must!
I’m going to be honest. I can’t pronounce half of their ingredients, and usually rely on my server to help me navigate my choices. But I have genuinely enjoyed every single dish I’ve ever ordered. And my husband’s dishes, too — who are we kidding? I’m no foodie, but even a slouch like me can appreciate locally sourced, seasonally relevant dishes that are constantly changing at the whim of an extraordinarily talented chef. I promise you that this food will be Facebook-worthy. Oh yes, my friend. You will post a picture of this food, and you will be proud of it.
I was enjoying these dates with my man long before I began writing for Orlando Moms Blog. They’re not promotions — this is my life! And these favorites are just too amazing to not pass along. Please Like, Tweet, Share and Pin as a way to inspire others to date their mates! If you go to DRIP, I want to see pictures. If you ride the Starflyer, I want to see pictures. If you eat at LUMA, I want to know if you struggled as much as I did to figure out the space-age bathroom. But I do not want to see pictures of that. Just go check it out, then share your experience with me at [email protected], or with all our readers in the comments below. Happy dating!