Erika Abdelatif

I Celebrated Valentine's Day At Disneyland & It Put Cupid To Shame

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It's February and that means romance is in the air, lovebirds. That's especially true at Disneyland Resort, which launched a Valentine's Month celebration in honor of Mickey & Minnie's 90th anniversary. Yes, really. Could anything possibly be more romantic than a V-Day extravaganza at the Happiest Place on Earth? Well, I celebrated Valentine's Day at Disneyland and am here to report that it's truly a fairytale come true.

This limited-time experience runs through February 18 and features adorable decorations and photo-ops down Main Street, as well as special food and drink offerings, and even an exclusive scavenger hunt experience aimed at finding Minnie's hidden valentines around the park for Mickey.

Now, if you're worried about being overwhelmed by an overly saccharine, lovey-dovey experience, never fear. Disneyland's Valentine's Day experience is surprisingly toned down. It's not like Halloween or Christmas. It was so subtle, you could nearly get through the whole park without noticing the holiday features unless you were looking out for them carefully.

At first, I was almost disappointed. I was expecting to be showered in pink and red confetti at every turn. I wanted to see sparkling hearts dotting the sky on Space Mountain. I'd imagined being serenaded by a yeti on the Matterhorn, and the seductive comfort of a shirtless Aladdin feeding me chocolate-covered strawberries. But there was none of that. (I mean, c'mon Aladdin!) It was almost as if we'd arrived to Disneyland on any ol' day of the year. How could we celebrate all the love and affection I have for my partner without being doused in a romantic ambiance? JUST LET ME BASK IN YOUR 90-YEARS OF LOVE, MICKEY AND MINNIE!

Lucky for me, I was wrong. Here's why: Disneyland is already one of the most romantic places on the planet. Yes, long lines can be boring. And yes, there's a good chance a strange eight-year-old will step on you while crawling excitedly onto the Jungle Cruise.

But while we stood in line (we're too unorganized to manage FastPasses), we laughed and people-watched, we told stories from our past that we've never shared two years into our relationship, and we cuddled when it got cold. And, of course, all those tiny little moments only amplified the bigger things, like the adrenaline rush that accompanied squeezing each other's hands while dropping 130 feet on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout or watching fireworks explode over Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Erika Abdelatif

At the end of the night, we had dinner at California Adventure Park's Carthay Circle Restaurant, a restaurant inspired by the Carthay Circle Theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs first premiered in 1937.

The romance gods must have been looking out for us because, somehow, we landed a table in a private room at the back of the restaurant, making us feel like true VIPs. Take my word for it: If you're looking for a romantic night, skip the Blue Bayou and make a reservation here, instead. The combination of the retro backdrop, the classic cocktails, and the privacy of a secluded room made for an idyllic evening, allowing us to feel way more chic and sophisticated than ever.

All in all, Valentine's Day isn't about chocolate and flowers, candlelight dinners, or grand gestures of love. It's not about Aladdin feeding you strawberries. (Though... again, maybe it should be?) It's about spending time with the person you love and cherishing the partnership you've built together.

If you can make it to Disneyland to celebrate Valentine's Day, I highly recommend it. We laughed harder than we have in a long time and built memories that'll last a lifetime. We had meaningful conversations, and learned new things about each other. That, my friends, is what dreams are made of.

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