The five things at Disney World that are better after dark

by Carl Trent on September 15, 2010

View of the boardwalk as the sun is setting

With fall and winter rapidly approaching and daylight hours waning by day day, here are the top five  things at Disney World that are better after dark.

The Boardwalk

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas and the entire Boardwalk are better after dark. When the lights come on, the music starts and guests come pouring onto the Boardwalk. During the day, you can ride bikes and see entertainers, but after dark this whole area comes alive. The bars open and the party starts.

The Disney World Resorts

Some of the Disney World hotels are actually better after dark.  The Polynesian Resort is better after dark. Right at sunset, a Disney staffer dressed in native garb (ladies, you don’t want to miss this) runs through the resort lighting the tiki torches. The torches bring a magical island touch to the whole place. Also, after dark,  you can hear the luau going on in the distance. The tribal drums and music of the luau give the resort an authentic island feel.

The Big Silver Ball

The Big Silver Ball in the front of Epcot is an impressive technological marvel. It’s imposing, it’s interesting, it’s silver, it’s big, it’s round, and after dark it comes alive. After dark, the Big Silver Ball turns into a big green or orange or red or … you get the point.  During Illuminations, there are even lasers that make sweeping designs on that Big Silver (or Red, or Orange, or Green) Ball.

Fireworks and Parades

In the 80s, Disney had an afternoon fireworks show around the lake in Epcot. They even made a big deal of the “daytime” fireworks. It was interesting, but, fireworks are better after dark.

Parades are also better after dark. The Main Street Electrical Parade in the Magic Kingdom is the best parade anywhere (except for the Christmas Parade). The daytime parades are hotter, sweatier, and harder to see. The lights on the floats, Tinker Bell starting the show, the castle as a backdrop, knowing the fireworks are coming  — this is what makes the parades better after dark.

The Extras

Extras? Yes, extras. Through the years Disney has added extra attractions that come alive after dark. The lights on the castle, the dancing fountains in Epcot, the spookiness of the Haunted Mansion grounds and the Tower of Terror, the Christmas lights during the holiday season. All over the parks there are extras the pop up after dark.

In your head you may picture Disney during daylight hours, but there are plenty of things that don’t come alive until the sun goes down!

–- Carl Trent of Dad’s Guide to Walt Disney World and Dad’s Guide to WDW the blog

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