Walt Disney World comes alive at night. We’re convinced that the parks were mades to experienced at nighttime, because there’s something entirely magical about the parks when the lights come on, and everything starts twinkling, which is one reason we think the Magic Kingdom is better at night. All my favorite Walt Disney World memories have happened at night. To anyone that’s not a Walt Disney World fan, I challenge them to sit on the hub grass, watching the lights of Main Street U.S.A at night, and not find themselves utterly charmed. Plenty of classic rides at Disney World are far better experienced at night. Here’s our list for you to know which rides to make sure to experience at nighttime on your next trip.
1. Astro Orbiter, The Magic Kingdom
Guys – there are plenty of rides at Walt Disney World that we think are seriously underrated, and we think Astro Orbiter is one of them. Why does Dumbo get all the praise, when Astro Orbiter gets the shaft? WE LOVE ASTRO ORBITER! It’s even better at night, when this second story ride has stunning views of Bay Lake and Cinderella’s Castle.
2. Dumbo, The Magic Kingdom
Speaking of Dumbo, this ride becomes even more magical when the sun goes down. Dumbo has fantastic lighting, great views, and is an amazing classic Disney ride. We’re fans of anything in Fantasyland, and Dumbo is no exception. Make your next trip to the big top a night-time twirl.
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Magic Kingdom
The ‘Wildest Ride in the Wilderness’ becomes a completely different experience when it’s dark outside. The dramatic lighting effects on the mountain make the ride more thrilling and enchanting (and one of our favorites in the parks!) once nighttime falls. This is a not-to-be-missed Disney experience.
4. Splash Mountain, The Magic Kingdom
For a solid two years, Splash Mountain was my favorite ride. Although I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to Disney parks (my favorite ride seems to switch from trip to trip!), I still think that Splash Mountain is much better at night, when you can see beautiful views of Cinderella’s Castle, and you drop down a water slide without really being able to see the end.
5. The Tower of Terror, Disney Hollywood Studios
Tower of Terror is without a doubt the creepiest ride at Walt Disney World, and if you really want to up the spooky factor, taking a ride when it’s dark, will really leave you scared. The Tower of Terror is so intricately themed, that it needs to be experienced like it’s supposed to be: when it’s dark outside.
6. Expedition Everest, The Animal Kingdom
We love Expedition Everest, especially because very recently, the Animal Kingdom has extended its operating hours, so you can face the Yeti of Everest at night anytime you want. We love the ride during the day, but there’s something exhilarating about hurdling through the mountains and escaping the Yeti in the darkness.
7. The Mad Tea Party, The Magic Kingdom
Don’t get me wrong, we will take the over-sized teacups at The Magic Kingdom for a spin anytime of day, but we enjoy our dizzying spin even more at night. We love the lights of Fantasyland, and how uncrowded we usually find this ride at night, as we hate lines! At night, the lanterns are illuminated, and there’s something magical about seeing the lights of Fantasyland twirl behind you as you spin.
We hope our list of rides that are better at night at Disney World will help you experience things in a whole new light (no pun intended!), and help make your trip to the most magical place on earth even better.
If you love nighttime photos of the Magic Kingdom as much as we do, we have more in our post on Night Photography of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
Also, if you’re like us and love TAKING nighttime photos, but are just starting out, we put together a guide to help you get started: Beginner’s Guide to Nighttime Photography.