As night falls at Walt Disney World, the lights of Main Street illuminate and guests make their way to their fireworks viewing location. The darkness of the night also transforms certain attractions into an entirely different experience. For some of these attractions, the nighttime brings a vibrant and colorful experience. For others, the darkness brings added eeriness to an already spooky attraction. These attractions are some of the best to experience after dark.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority
For years I had heard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority was a fantastic attraction to ride after dark. Tomorrowland has always been my favorite land to see at night. The neon lights are so colorful and beautiful after dark. Last year I finally took the time to experience the TTA at night. As beautiful as the lights of Tomorrowland are from the ground, they are even more gorgeous from above. While riding the TTA after dark, you’ll be able to take stunning photos of Tomorrowland and Cinderella Castle.
Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is my favorite attraction to experience after dark. The darkness of the night combined with the dimly lit gardens, mist, and the 1930s music playing in the queue add to the eeriness of the attraction. You feel like you are about to step into a haunted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood. The atmosphere of the queue after dark immerses guests into the story of the five hotel guests who vanished from the elevator on Halloween night in 1939.
The Tower of Terror queue isn’t the only great thing about experiencing this attraction after dark. After boarding the maintenance service elevator and descending into The Twilight Zone, you’ll find a spectacular view of Hollywood Studios. You’ll be able to see the lights of the park for a few seconds as your elevator plummets 13 stories. This view of Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite views in all of Walt Disney World.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a must do attraction for nighttime at Magic Kingdom. The experience is totally different than a daytime ride through the wilderness. The darkness of the night adds a bit of spookiness to the usually not-so-scary attraction. You’ll travel past bats and through eerie mists in the mine. The little mining town you’ll pass on your ride comes alive at night. The mountain itself is beautifully illuminated after dark. My favorite part of experiencing Big Thunder Mountain after dark is towards the end of the attraction. As your trains travels past the bones in the side of the mountain, notice the mists, gysers, and the lighting on the bones. This part of the attraction is especially beautiful after dark.
While the Haunted Mansion is a spooky attraction, even during the daytime, it takes on an entirely different aura at night. It begins as you see the mansion illuminated from a distance. As you approach the Haunted Mansion, you begin to hear crows and howling. A hearse pulled by a ghost horse stands in front of the mansion. To the left of the main doors are tombstones. Pay special attention to Madame Leota’s tombstone. Through the darkness, you may notice her eyes as she looks back at you. Though the Haunted Mansion is an indoor attraction, the darkness of the night sets the tone for your visit to see the happy haunts, making Haunted Mansion one of the best nighttime attractions at Disney.
Splash Mountain offers amazing views of the Magic Kingdom after dark. Your journey to the briar patch will also include several opportunities to see Cinderella Castle illuminated at night. One of the best views is when your log reaches the top of Chickapin Hill, just before you go down the big drop. In the past, if you timed your ride just right, you would be able to catch a glimpse of the nighttime parade traveling through Frontierland. Though Magic Kingdom doesn’t currently have a parade, I expect one will return someday, once again providing guests with a wonderful opportunity to view the parade from Splash Mountain.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the search for the mysterious Yeti continues into the night. Much like Big Thunder Mountain, Expedition Everest provides an entirely different experience after dark. Your expedition will seem a bit scarier as you ascend the mountain in the dark. In addition to the added spookiness of the Yeti, Expedition Everest provides stunning views from high above Walt Disney World. As you ascend the mountain, you’ll be able to spot Spaceship Earth as it is brilliantly illuminated. You’ll also be able to see another great nighttime attraction, Tower of Terror. After taking in these gorgeous views, it’s back to the hunt for the Yeti which will have you speeding through dark caverns to escape the illusive creature.
Have you experienced any of these attractions after dark? Which attraction is your favorite to visit at night? Did you favorite nighttime attraction make our list? Let us know in the comments below!