Walt Disney World may be a top destination for kids, but there's plenty of great entertainment for grownups, too. The Downtown Disney area alone has
22 restaurants as well as Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues. Essentially, you could do dinner and a show every night during your vacation and still have a different experience each time.
My husband and I recently ventured to Downtown Disney for a date night. We typically grab dinner at one of the resorts and watch the fireworks from outside the parks, but this time we had our sights set on La Nouba at Cirque du Soliel. La Nouba's giant multiple-peaked tent is Cirque du Soliel's first permanent freestanding theater and makes a stunning visual icon. The show mixes classic circus acts with modern street performances in a high-energy mix of humor, suspense, and breathtaking stunts.
After the show, we strolled Pleasure Island, looking at artwork and watching street performers on our way to dinner. We decided on The Portobello with a romantic table outside overlooking the village lake. After sunset, it's pretty pleasant outside, even in the summertime.
The Portobello, one of my favorite restaurants, locally sources as many of their ingredients as possible. You'll find Florida peppers, Winter Park honey and Orlando Brewing Company beers on their menu as well as some of the freshest made-from-scratch pasta in town. My husband chose the rigatoni with sausage, a light and mild pasta dish perfect for summer. Based on our server's recommendation, I went with the grilled pork chop and Florida sweet peppers. I have to say, it was the best and biggest pork chop I've ever tasted. For dessert, we shared a biramisu, which is a tiramisu made using Orlando Brewing's Blackwater Porter in place of espresso. The citrus-flavored ladyfinger cookies and tang of the sweet beer reduction is a unique experience.
IF YOU GO
- La Nouba has showtimes at 6 and 9 p.m. daily. Tickets range from $87 to $124 depending on seat section and season. I recommend arriving an hour early to allow time for parking and beating the crowd. If possible, choose seats in the upper bowl area (not down by the stage) for the best overall views.
- Web: CirqueDuSoleil.com/en/shows/lanouba/
- Phone: 407-939-7600
- Portobello is one of the best Italian restaurants in Orlando, so make a reservation. They atmosphere is semi-fancy, but family-friendly! You'll often find a "stroller parking lot" outside . . . after all, it is Disney. Whatever you order, save room for their biramisu dessert.
- Web: PortobelloRestaurant.com
- Phone: 407-934-8888