by JollyFrogger Diva
I have always loved the Disney Parks at night. There’s something about the lights that just transforms everything and makes it feel more magical to me. I love to walk around the parks and soak up the atmosphere at night, but there are also a few rides that I definitely save for after dark. Here are my favorites.
Perhaps it’s the haunted house fan in me, or perhaps it’s the fact that the lines are usually shorter, but I love nothing more than making Haunted Mansion my last ride of the night when at Magic Kingdom. I know it’s not supposed to be scary, but there’s something about the atmosphere at night that makes it feel a little creepier. It’s become a family tradition to save this ride for last. I especially love riding it at night during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party as Lady Carlotta is often found sitting out on the lawn keeping the guests in line entertained. I actually prefer not to FastPass this ride, as I enjoy wandering through the interactive queue that I feel was a wonderful addition to the ride. If you’ve never done Haunted Mansion after dark, give it a try on your next trip- if you’re brave enough, that is.
Tower of Terror
When we were kids, my family saved Tower of Terror for after Fantasmic, usually because it kept the wait down in the days of paper Fast Passes and 2 nightly showings of Fantasmic. What started out of a desire to miss the long lines has now become a tradition. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have ridden Tower of Terror when it wasn’t dark. Once again, like is the case with Haunted Mansion, there’s something about night that makes the ride a little creepier and a lot more fun. Even now, when the Fast Pass+ system can help keep the wait time down any time of day, I still prefer waiting until the sun goes down. The view of the park before you plunge into complete darkness is pretty awesome at night- so try to keep your eyes open and get a quick peak.
Expedition Everest is actually one ride that I love to ride both in the day and the night times, as I feel you get a different experience for each time. The view as you ascend the lift hill is fantastic during the day, but it’s also beautiful at night with all the lights. I happen to think that Animal Kingdom is especially beautiful at night, so seeing the sights from down on the ground and then up on the lift hill is one of my favorite ways to end a day at Animal Kingdom.The dare devil in me also loves plunging back down the mountain in near darkness, as it adds a wonderful thrill to the experience when you can’t quite see where you’re headed. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to what time to ride Expedition Everest, but if you’ve never tried it at night you really should.
Like Expedition Everest, I find the ride experience to be completely different at night than it is during the day. During the day, the photography enthusiast in me is focused on snapping the best pictures I can of all the animals we encounter. At night, flash photography isn’t allowed, so I am able to put down the camera and simply enjoy the experience. Disney even added a few nocturnal animals that you can only see if you take a ride after dark. I’ve heard that trying to time your ride for sunset gives you the best experience, as many of the animals are active and can still be seen well. However, we rode it well after dark and still had a great experience. The ride is a bit shorter at night than it is during the day, but it was still a lot of fun.
In my opinion, the parks at Walt Disney World really come to life at night. There’s something magical about all the lights and the night-time shows are some of Disney’s best, in my opinion. If you’ve never tried riding some rides with outside components, give it a try on your next visit. It’s a whole new world once the sun sets.