Disney After Dark – 9 Experiences You Must Have at Disney Parks after Sundown

disney after hours _ disney fanatic

Walt Disney World Parks are such happy places and after dark the magic seems to be amped up even more. As trees and buildings glow with lights and the rhythm of the evening sets in, guests enjoy different details of the park. Every Disney guest needs to experience the magic of the parks after sundown so this article counts down nine Disney after dark experiences you should have on a Disney vacation.

1. PeopleMover by Moonlight

The PeopleMover remains one of my favorite rides because it provides such a beautiful view of Tomorrowland. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is “the perfect vehicle for people watching” and remains so after dark. Circling Tomorrowland in the air and watching the lights of the Astro Orbiter, stunning Cinderella Castle and watching guests meander between attractions below is a great evening activity in the Magic Kingdom. Because the line moves quickly it’s easy to ride this relaxing attraction more than once and to enjoy the evening happenings of the park from a different vantage point.

2. Park Evening Shows

The fireworks display and evening entertainment in Disney Parks are world-renowned. Choosing between Fantastmic! at Hollywood Studios, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, Magic Kingdom’s Once Upon a Time projection and Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom is the toughest call you will make. All the shows are fantastic so we suggest you plan to see them all during your Disney vacation.

3. People Watch

If you are looking to experience a slower pace on vacation, returning to the parks to wander, people watch and sample snacks in the evening is a great idea. Taking beautiful photos after dark, enjoying ice cream and drinks and posting up on a bench to take in the moonlit magic of the park is always a good idea. Resting near the lights of Storybook Circus in Magic Kingdom, or on a bench around World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot are some of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy the parks after dark.

4. Disney Dining with a View

Enjoying a late dinner in or around the parks is a relaxing and delicious way to enjoy Disney after dark. Inside the Magic Kingdom dining at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant with a view of Main Street, U.S.A or enjoying a buffet dinner at The Crystal Palace near Cinderella Castle is a great way to close out the park day. Booking the latest available reservation at a restaurant in a park may pay off with a nearly empty and beautifully lit park if your reservation ends after park closing. You will be able to snap some gorgeous photos on your way out of the closed park.

5. Skipping the Lines

Sure evenings in the park can get busy, but guests often find shorter attraction wait times in the evenings and can even snag last minute FastPasses at the end of the day. If you have seen the park shows and fireworks, consider hopping on some rides when the temperature has cooled and the lines have dwindled at the end of the day. If you are a Disney Resort Guest do not forget to plan accordingly for Extra Magic Hours each day to maximize park time and enjoy shorter wait times. Some of my family’s best park memories are hopping between rides during the final minutes of Extra Magic Hours at night.

6. Fireworks Snacking on Main Street, U.S.A

Stop by the Main Street Bakery or the Main Street Confectionery to grab a sweet treat to enjoy while you await Happily Ever After. Disney cupcakes are incredible but cookies, ice cream and other candies and confections are all great snack choices to end your day on a sweet note.

Castle fireworks

7. Bioluminescent Forest

Animal Kingdom’s Pandora-World of Avatar comes alive at night with the sounds and beauty of the bioluminescent forest. This sector of the park is so beautiful you will want to visit during the day and after dark to enjoy the full beauty of the floating mountains, lush foliage and unique details of the landscape. After dark enjoy a Night Blossom drink and embrace your inner Na’vi in the glow of the exotic bioluminescent plants.

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8. Spooky Rides and Outdoor Attractions

As silly as it sounds, hopping on the spooky Disney rides at night can be so fun! Think Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. I love snagging FastPasses for spooky, thrilling or outdoor rides and enjoying attractions in the evenings in the park. Rounding the top of Splash Mountain and seeing the whole park in moonlight, zipping through the final outdoor turn of Test Track in Epcot or soaring on The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Magic Kingdom are fun after dark experiences.

9. The Kiss Goodnight

As the park nears closing at the conclusion of Extra Magic Hours, guests enjoy a brief announcement and castle projection known as the “kiss goodnight”. Technically this is an announcement to notify guests the park is closing and ask them to exit, but as with most things Disney makes even a closing announcement a guest experience. Staying to see this magical musical message from Disney is a sweet way to close out a park day and is the pixie dust on top of a Magic Kingdom day.



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