If there’s one thing guests at Walt Disney World know, it’s that the fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets. If anything, Disney World at night is far more amazing than in the daytime. Every park, hotel and even Disney Springs seems more vibrant and exciting, aided by an electric display that can shine bigger than Las Vegas.
Trying to narrow down the best choices is hard as there are so many, from the big landmarks to smaller spots. However, these fifteen places rank as the best sights in Walt Disney World to spot at night to show every part of this place has a special magic once the daytime ends.
Yes, it’s an obvious pick, but it has to be counted. Seeing the lights go on across Main Street never loses its luster. The way the entire area lights up is fantastic, truly looking like an old-time town and the stores are more gorgeous. It’s even better at holidays with decorations up, but no matter the time of year, a walk down Main Street at night, even when packed with folks exiting, is a must-have experience for any WDW guest.
Big Thunder Mountain
With the former Splash Mountain undergoing refurbishment, Fronteirland is a bit less fun now. However, Big Thunder Mountain at night time is an even better ride than in the day. The way the lights work with the rocks is astounding, truly a desert oasis and adds to the thrills. It feels faster at night, but just walking around and taking in that huge mountain in great lighting makes for a wonderful turn for guests.
Disney truly went all out for Pandora at the Animal Kingdom. It makes total sense that at nighttime, this alien world based on the hit movies becomes a place of wonder with the lights shining and showcasing the beautifully done landscapes. In fact, it’s usually better to wait until later to hit Pandora because of how astounding it can be at night and immersing you in this experience like no other. It’s as close as you can get to being in this alien world for real.
Fantasyland can be okay at night, but one area in particular is terrific at nighttime. The main one is the area lit up by lanterns between the Winnie the Pooh ride and the Seven Dwarves Mine Car train. That connects to the Teacups, which always look wilder at nighttime with the fun lanterns highlighting the area. It sparkles more than the usual Fantasyland section to feel more magical like a true fairy tale world.
As noted, the Animal Kingdom can feel more magical at nighttime. Never is that more true than walking by the Tree of Life. The way it’s lit up in glows ranging from blue to various colors feels so natural yet otherworldly, which matches the entire park. Disney has done a few nighttime shows for it, but just circling the massive Tree and the rest of the Discovery Island section makes the Animal Kingdom better at night time than the day.
What better ride to enjoy for a nighttime visit than the Haunted Mansion? As soon as the sun sets, something changes with this gothic manor, the appropriately moody lights casting sinister shadows across it to the point you’d swear you see the gargoyles on the roof moving. If the moon is bright, it’s even creepier, but on a cloudy night, the Mansion is a marvel at nighttime for one of the scariest sights around.
Tower of Terror
Like the Haunted Mansion, the Tower of Terror is a top sight at night time. The opening sign that shifts logos looks better and yet just the view of that tower with the gaping hole illuminated by dark spotlights is a marvel of Imagineering setting. The designers make it look like a true 1930s hotel turned to darkness and you can hear that classic Twilight Zone theme playing as you see it. It’s a perfect setting for this classic thrill attraction that Rod Serling would be proud of.
Ever since its makeover in 1994, Tomorrowland at night time has been a marvel. The art-deco colors still have a retro-future feel to them and the variety is astounding. It’s hard to narrow down which is best: The People Mover with the cars flowing around; Space Mountain looking like a spaceship about to take off; the Astro Orbiter spinning about with those amazing rockets; or just walking around the area to take it all in. The Tron Light Cycle Run is the newest addition to make Tomorrowland far more vibrant when the sun sets.
Spaceship Earth area
It’s another obvious pick but has to be counted. The fact Spaceship Earth has been used for light shows for years proves how amazing a sight it is at night. Even without that, just lit up to live up to its name is astounding. That leads to the entire area around it with the sparkling fountains, the heart of Future World, and the walk around it at night time as you head out of the park remains one of Walt Disney World’s best experiences.
A walk around the World Showcase at night is good enough, with every pavilion featuring nice lighting. But the France pavilion is easily the best of the bunch. It’s designed to look like Paris, so of course, it lives up to being “The City of Lights.” From the restaurants to the quieter corner, the bakery, the Eiffel Tower mockup, and the fountains, it’s the brightest gem amid the World Showcase. It’s amazing as the closest you can get to being in France for real and little wonder it’s a nighttime sight fitting for the area.
There are a lot of great resort sights at night for WDW, enough to fill its own list. Yet the Polynesian Beach resort at night is fantastic as it lives up to the island motif. It’s aided by the lights of the other Magic Kingdom resorts and the park itself in the distance. The nighttime events are always great, as well as the campfires. There’s also the pool areas looking wonderful and the entrance of the main hall shines with the floodlights. Thus, the Polynesian Resort is likely the best WDW hotel at night time thanks to the island feel.
It’s the old-style feel that makes the Boardwalk at night look terrific. It matches the design of the 1920s Boardwalk areas, with the lights matching the bright white buildings. It shines well to make this a great nighttime spot following the passing of Pleasure Island and adds to the lovely vibe of checking out the shops, bars, and restaurants. Whatever else about the Boardwalk, it lives up to the promise of a top spot for nighttime partygoers in WDW.
Moana Journey Into Water
A recent addition to this list, this new Epcot attraction may be one thing in the daytime, but at night, it’s truly astounding. The pools are always brightly lit and in a variety of colors, so when the “jumping water” effects occur, it looks glorious. Te Fi looks like a true goddess protecting this area and the way the water bounces with the lights is great to make this one of the best additions to Epcot in a long time.
Galaxy’s Edge/Star Tours
Another obvious choice, but there’s something about this Star Wars land at the Hollywood Studios that stands out at night. The genius is how it feels so different in each area. The First Order shuttles seem more sinister, Oga’s Cantina bright and charming, Smuggler’s Run high tech, and Rise of the Resistance a hidden bunker but bustling with tech. In fact, making that outside trek in Smuggler’s Run at nighttime is cooler.
Meanwhile, Star Tours has always been terrific at night, with the recreation of an Ewok village and the hulking Walker above it a fascinating mix. It’s a good reminder of how otherworldly Star Wars is to be top sights at night.
Wrapping it up is the most obvious choice of them all. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle at nighttime is one of the most iconic sights in all of Walt Disney World. It’s great for the holidays or events like WDW’s 50th anniversary. Yet just a regular night bathed in different colored lights makes it appear as if it’s right out of a Disney animated film and a mainstay of WDW for decades.