“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
Those who have frequented Magic Kingdom certainly know how alive and vibrant the park becomes after the sun settles deep below the horizon. This park, which certainly enchants us all during the light of the day, is downright brimming with magic and wonder at night. There are, of course, many reasons to make your way into Magic Kingdom come nightfall—the harsh sun is no longer threatening, the crowds aren’t as overwhelming, and there are numerous experiences which rely solely on the backdrop of a dark and starry sky. If you’re planning an upcoming vacation to the most magical place on earth, make sure you don’t throw in the towel too early on your park day—Magic Kingdom is meant to be experienced at night! So grab a coffee, splash some cold water on your face, and take a midday nap if you have to! Here are 10 things you must do at Magic Kingdom come nighttime.
Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone—with their bright smiles and bursting muscles—are boogying on down each evening well into the night at Magic Kingdom’s Rockettower Plaza in Tomorrowland. Occurring nightly, this dance party typically gets going around 5p.m. and lasts late into the night hours. A lively D.J. spins all the upbeat, familiar tunes you can imagine while you mingle and get your groove on with these dynamic heroes. Seriously, this is a great opportunity to let your little one loose and get out some energy! But don’t worry—young or old, you’ll have the time of your life during this Disney experience!
9. The Electrical Water Pageant
Similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade, this water pageant relies on the use of brightly colored electronic lights to give “life” to the various sea creatures, emphasized by a playful, bouncy soundtrack. This magical experience takes place along the Seven Seas Lagoon (also moving throughout Bay Lake) and can be seen from the boat docks of Magic Kingdom (as well as nearby Disney Resorts). Typically beginning around 9p.m., the show runs every fifteen minutes, six times every night as it progressively moves across the waters giving resort guests as well as Magic Kingdom guests an opportunity to witness the long-running Disney experience.
8. Savor a Late Night Disney Treat/Snack
As a foodie, I’m all about the yummy eats at Disney World and eagerly look forward to the foods that I can only find at these parks. And as night settles over the park it simply beckons my sweet tooth to indulge in a little late night treat. If chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick covered with Reese’s Pieces aren’t your cup of tea, you can go a little more savory with a bucket of popcorn or a Mickey pretzel. Perhaps a deliciously soft-yet-crunchy churro is calling your name or one of Disney’s iconic ice cream cookie sandwiches is more your style. Whatever food you choose to dig into is the right choice while wandering the gorgeously lit grounds of the Magic Kingdom at night.
7. Main Street Electrical Parade
This regularly scheduled parade features live performers and awe-inducing floats covered in thousands of electronically controlled lights. Dazzling your senses with bright, colorful bulbs and an entrancingly upbeat and whimsical synthesizer-heavy soundtrack, this parade is a must-do whether you have children in tow or not. Don’t miss this enchanting parade as it lights up Main Street and beyond, the cast of memorable Disney characters and parade dancers brightening the path with lights and cheer. The parade’s happy, plunky tune—penned the “Baroque Hoedown” in 1967—will have your shoulders bouncing and your feet tapping, and will undoubtedly stay with you well after it’s over. Check your Times Guide for the parade times.
6. Celebrate the Magic
This has got to be one of the most unique Disney experiences you’ll ever happen upon. Impeccably-timed scenes from our favorite Disney movies are projected on Cinderella Castle, dancing across the surface alongside a wondrous soundtrack of familiar songs and quotes. It is of utmost importance that you make the time for this one—you’ll be blown away by the magical spectacle before you as it brings your most childlike enthusiasm bursting to the surface. Yes, I tear up every single time I witness this show, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. This unforgettable experience occurs at various times each night (sometimes twice a night).
5. Meet the Characters
Nighttime is an ideal time to meet the characters at Magic Kingdom. Though there are some characters that are strictly “day characters” (i.e. Pluto in Town Square, Gaston near Gaston’s Tavern, Fairy Godmother in New Fantasyland, etc.), many of them still continue their Meet n’ Greets well into the night and some even until the park’s closing. There is never a 100% guarantee that meeting the characters after dark will afford you with no wait (we’re looking at you Anna and Elsa!) but there is a good chance that the line will be much shorter than the daytime line. Case in point, I headed into the Pete’s Silly Sideshow tent with my daughter to meet Minnie and Daisy one night when Magic Kingdom stayed open fairly late and we had the entire place to ourselves. This gave us the opportunity to spend PLENTY of time with these fabulous Disney favorites and it truly made for a magical memory that I will not soon forget.
4. Take in the Scenery
Magic Kingdom is always breathtaking, but it takes on a whole new world of wonder at night. Beautiful lights strung all over the park enhance the walkways as colorful hues of projected light enhance the attractions. Instead of zipping around from attraction to attraction, take the time at night to fully immerse yourself in the scenery, taking notice of the beauty that surrounds you. I love grabbing a hot coffee and slowing my pace as I wander around, snapping pics from time to time of scenes that take on an entirely new meaning—a new character and charm—when it’s dark out. There are many places that begin to empty out as the night progresses, providing you a quiet appeal that the day simply does not bring. Take advantage of it and truly enjoy it!
3. Ride Outdoor Attractions
Riding an indoor attraction at night is really no different than riding it during the day, but if you have the pleasure of being on an outdoor attraction at night, boy are you in for a treat! Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Astro Orbiter—these are just a few of the many attractions that come to mind that are phenomenal nighttime attractions. If you can time it just right in conjunction with the nightly fireworks, get ready for an unparalleled experience! There are few things that are as jaw-dropping and powerfully exhilarating!
2. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular
Speaking of exhilarating, the nightly fireworks display is something that no other theme park can compete with. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is a 12-minute masterpiece that takes you through various Disney stories, narrated by familiar characters in the midst of an unforgettable musical score, while lights explode in brilliant bursts above you. Stake out a spot in front of Cinderella Castle and you will experience this show like never before! Check out the Times Guide for the fireworks schedule.
1. The Kiss Goodnight
Many theme parks have tried, but none truly master the magic like Disney does. The Kiss Goodnight—an unpublished “secret” Disney experience taking place each night at (and often after) closing—gently encourages guests out of the park as various hues across the color spectrum light up Cinderella Castle while a recording plays over the loudspeakers. It begins with When You Wish upon a Star and is followed by a voice thanking you for coming and sharing the ideals with which the park was built on. This goosebumps-inducing, heart-lifting Disney send-off is a perfect way to end your Magic Kingdom day.
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