When we think of our Disney vacation, most people are imagining their adventure under blue, sunny skies. With the sunlight shining, Cinderella Castle sparkling, and the clear skies overhead while you ride attractions, it’s easy to picture this scenario in your mind. However, you might be surprised to hear that some of the attractions at Disney theme parks are actually best enjoyed at night. That harsh sunlight is replaced with the soft twinkling of lanterns and atmospheric lighting that sets the scene for after-dark magic. Not only does it give your ride experience a completely different feel, but there are some attractions that are even better to enjoy at night than during the day. Here are five of my favorite rides to enjoy after the sun goes down in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Mad Tea Party – Fantasyland
One of my favorite attractions to visit after dark is the Mad Tea Party spinning teacups in Fantasyland. The overhead lanterns come to life, casting a beautiful glow over the swirling saucers below as the cups dance around the floor. The feature lights make the motion even more intense and create a much more cozy environment. It looks fantastic in photos too!
Dumbo, The Flying Elephant – Storybook Circus
As you move up and down on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the night sky provides a more immersive feeling. The ground below drops away, and your imagination takes the wheel as you fly through the sky under the stars.
Splash Mountain / Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – Frontierland
Even though this attraction is currently closed as it is transformed from the fan-favorite Splash Mountain to the brand new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, it is a must-do when it comes to nighttime attractions. The structural features of the outdoor sections are sure to remain the same, so while we don’t have the whole story of what the new ride will feel like, climbing up to that open-air drop and sailing down as the rest of the park sparkles in the distance is a must-do experience.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Frontierland
The wild, wild west loves a ghost town where the tumbleweed turns and the abandoned gold mines are haunted. Racing around on your speeding train is even more intense when the lights go down, and everything feels more urgent. The dips and turns are more pronounced as you are transported back to the 1850s on the wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Racing around the outdoor areas of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction is a fun way to enjoy a unique perspective on the surrounding Fantasyland. Golden street lamps and blue feature lighting sparkle in the distance, and I love the scene at the end looking into the Seven Dwarf’s collage while everything outside is dark and the evil queen lurks in disguise at the door.
Let me know what your favorite Magic Kingdom attraction is to ride at nighttime. Is it one of the ones on my shortlist, or do you have a special ride you would like to add?
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.