Checking out the parks during the day is the more popular option for park guests, but going at night is a whole ‘nother ball game! There are tons of exciting and beautiful shows and events that are only offered at night in several parks and resorts on property. Not sure what to attend? No problem! Here are ten of the best nighttime experiences that Walt Disney World has to offer!
10. Hard Ticket Events
Most of Disney’s hard ticket events are hosted in the evening, which makes it even more magical. The lights and special effects are fantastic in many of these events, which would not be as magical if it were hosted during the day. Some of my favorite hard ticket events to attend in the evening are Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, and Night of Joy. What’s nice about attending these types of events is that you can enjoy your resort or relax during the day, and then have fun in the parks at night!
9. Downtown Disney/Disney Springs
There are a plethora of activities to explore at Downtown Disney, and while you can enjoy most of the activities during the day, there is nothing like the nightlife during the evening hours! Downtown Disney offers activities such as an indoor theme park (Disney Quest), bowling at Splitsville, and dancing in several areas with DJ’s. There is an active nightlife with people of all ages and a myriad of restaurants and shops to explore. What’s nice about visiting at night is that it seems like everything comes to life with the lighting and sounds that are all around the area. The dance parties also add to the nightlife. This is a great place to hang out with your family and friends after a day in the parks! Whether you’re grabbing a bite to eat and the unique restaurants, wanting to build at the amazing Lego store, or go shopping in the biggest store in Disney property, you are sure to find an activity for all members of your party at Downtown Disney!
8. Dining Outside
There are some really great restaurants on the Disney property, and when dining at night, there are some restaurants that offer spectacular views. With these restaurants, I always like to enjoy the patio area so that I can see the beautiful scenery and even the fireworks that Disney has to offer. Some of my favorites include the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary resort and ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, and Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the Magic Kingdom (with views to the Magic Kingdom during the Wishes show). Most of the restaurants in Epcot offer viewing sections to Illuminations as well, and there is even a dining package that allows you to watch Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios right from your table. Be sure to make reservations to any of these restaurants for dinner if you are interested in dining with a view in the evening!
7. Magic Kingdom Park Closing Ceremony
Every single evening just before the last guests leave the park at closing, there is a very special closing ceremony that takes place called The Kiss Goodnight. This 2- minute ceremony is played every 30 minutes after park closing and begins with the beautiful Cinderella castle twinkling lights along with the song When You Wish Upon a Star. While this is playing, a narrator greets the guests with a beautiful speech relating to making dreams come true. If you are a true Disney fan like I am, I know you will choke up at how sweet and heart-warming the speech is. It is truly magical and a must do at night.
6. Resort Campfires!
There are a few resorts that offer campfires for groups of all ages in the evening hours. It is so much fun to roast marshmallows and make s’mores with other guests. My all time favorite campfire location has to be at the Fort Wilderness campgrounds. Here, Chip and Dale will come join the fun with a sing-along that is sure to have you clapping and dancing the entire time! Chip and Dale also come around and take pictures after they perform with everyone, which is an extra special treat! All marshmallows are provided in the resorts, however, if you would like to make s’mores, you can purchase the s’more kits from select resorts.
5. Poolside Movies
This has to be one of my favorite ways to relax at night after spending the entire day at the parks. All Disney resorts offer poolside movies in the evening. There is a giant inflatable screen, which is propped up by the pool area. You can lounge in the pool chairs or bring a towel and lay in the sand (in certain resorts) and enjoy a different film each night. I personally love grabbing dinner to go and enjoy it while watching the film.
4. Electrical parade at the Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Resorts
There are two fantastic electrical parades that are a must see on Disney property. The first one is the Main Street Electrical Parade that is performed in the evenings at the Magic Kingdom. Each float in this parade is completely covered in multi-colored lights and is sure to make your jaw drop. Even some of the characters costumes have lights all over them! It is well worth finding a great spot to sit and watch this parade! The other parade is only offered for those that are staying/visiting the Magic Kingdom resort area. The Electrical Water Pageant rotates between the Magic Kingdom Resorts each night and offers a huge display of several ‘screens’ that light up with correlating tunes on the seven seas lagoon. This parade lasts 5-10 minutes, but it is relaxing and cute! Be sure to check with your resort for the times (which is usually in fifteen minute increments between the hotels).
3. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
One of the most popular nighttime events at Epcot Center is the fantastic night show, Illuminations. Here, you will get to experience a beautiful 3-D model of Earth as it floats in the World Showcase Lagoon to tell the three part story of the Earth: it’s past, present, and future. This glowing globe glides smoothly across the water while illuminating in the different parts of the story. The fireworks that are set off in this show as well as the music are stunning and a must see!
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This is by far my favorite nighttime spectacular that Disney has to offer. If you haven’t seen the Fantasmic! Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, add it to your must-do on your next trip! Join Mickey as he defeats the villains to prove that the power of imagination can conquer all. This show is a water extravaganza and it incorporates several classic Disney tale characters with larger than life replicas and fantastic fireworks. This show is only offered once or twice every evening, so be sure to check it out!
1. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular
This show will have your jaw on the floor by the end of it. With it’s special effects and integration of the most beloved Disney movies, I am sure this will be on your top five favorite nighttime events at Walt Disney World. As the classic Disney characters narrate the spectacular firework show, you will see Tinker Bell fly through the night sky (literally). Then, Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy rejoice in the power of imagination, while getting a visit from the Disney villains. It is really a fantastic story with special effects and fireworks that are simply out of this world. There is no other show like Wishes!
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Photo courtesy of Silver Pin Studios