Truth be told for my family, any time of day that we can hop on a Walt Disney World ride or attraction is magical, but there’s just something even more beautiful about riding them at night. The vibe is different, the air is cooler, and the all over ambiance has an extra sprinkling of pixie dust that we adore. With the changing of the seasons it’s getting darker earlier- and that’s the perfect time to hit our nine favorite attractions! Here’s our list of top Walt Disney World rides that are even more magical at night and why you should try them both ways.
Astro Orbitor is fun any time of day, but sometimes we just can’t fathom waiting in a sun-drenched line only to have to squint during the ride’s entire length. Riding at night, however, is our favorite! The Magic Kingdom lights are on and twinkling as they perfectly do, the sun is down and we don’t feel like we’re melting, and the air in our faces is much cooler. If you’re planning a visit to Magic Kingdom for Halloween or Christmas and will be attending a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and want a spectacular view of the fireworks (or any night that Wishes is on!), try to time it right to make your ride during the fireworks. It was a complete fluke for our first MNSSHP and HalloWishes was beautiful from high in the air.
It’s all about the outdoor ambiance and the stand by queue for Haunted Mansion. The mansion is beautifully lit up and the queue is even more creepy and fun. And a tip for those that have trouble with light adjustment: it’s much easier to see all of the gorgeous details in the ride if your eyes have already adjusted to dark conditions.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the uber popular attraction at Magic Kingdom right now, no matter what time of day. Score a Fastpass+ selection for dusk or later and you’ll spy Cinderella Castle lit up as well as New Fantasyland Expansion- if you can keep your eyes open racing down the hilly track.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
It’s all about the attention to detail for this one. Take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night and you’ll see Haunted Mansion and the Liberty Belle as you’ve maybe never seen before and the details around the track seem much more vibrant.
We love the fact that Animal Kingdom is open at night! As a gal that only considered AK a half-day park, my family and I now have a new reason to visit for longer and later. If you’ve been to AK before, once you get over the majesty that is the Tree of Life, your eyes have probably averted to the giant mountain peak that is Expedition Everest. Sure, it’s lovely during the day, but the night views are spectacular!
Tomorrowland Transit Authority AKA People Mover
It’s generally right around dinner when our feet start screaming at us to take a break- and that’s exactly when we head for People Mover in Tomorrowland. When the sun goes down and the Magic Kingdom park lights go up, that’s the time to take a leisurely ride on this lenghty attraction. I think it’s so much easier to point out other attractions and Cinderella Castle has never looked so beautiful.
Another partially outdoor attraction, Test Track has a high speed run at the very end. You burst through a set of doors in your vehicle and accelerate until the very end of the ride. Sure, you really can’t see much more than during the day compliments of the slanted track, but the cooler nighttime air in our faces make us think we’re going even faster than we are.
I’m so in love with Adventureland in Magic Kingdom at night. It just feels like a completely different area and a ride on Jungle Cruise is a new experience when the sun sets. You won’t see as much of the small details as you would during the day, but that’s what makes it seem even more real. You’ll hear the same corny jokes and the ride length is the same, but you’ll have a new take on the treasure cave.
If you’ve taken a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris during the day (the only option up until May 2016) you will have seen plenty of wild animals, but they were probably asleep. Take a spin on the attraction at night and it will feel like a whole new ride. The nocturnal animals are raring to go and, compliments of the cooler temperature, you won’t be sweating your butt off in the open air transport.
Do you have a favorite nighttime ride or attraction at Walt Disney World? Please let us know in the comment section below!