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Exploring Disney Parks After Dark

posted on July 12th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager

On April 15, 1962, “The Wonderful World of Color” aired an episode titled “Disneyland After Dark,” in which Walt Disney gave fans around the country a look at how lovely Disneyland park appeared at night.

Starting tonight, we’ll continue Walt’s tradition right here on the Disney Parks Blog. Each Thursday evening, our new “Disney Parks After Dark” column will feature a new nighttime photo of a Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort attraction.
The New, 'Doubled' Dumbo the Flying Elephant after Dark in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

This week’s shot, taken by Disney Photographer Ali Nasser, is of the lovely “doubled” Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction in the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. Just seeing how colorful this newly refurbished attraction is makes me want to plan an evening at the parks for my family so we can see it for ourselves!

What do you think? And which Disney attraction is your favorite to experience at night? Tell us in the comments section below.

Read more about the new, “doubled” Dumbo the Flying Elephant in the posts below:

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Filed: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Sean from GA on July 12th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

It’s our favorite time to be in the parks!! Night time is just so much more magical, kudos to the lighting team at Disney!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:20 am

Agreed. It does look amazing.


Erin from RI on July 12th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

That is spectacular! I will see you on Tuesday morning Dumbo! And while I am at it I will continue my bid to fly on Dumbo during the WDW 20th Marathon! Thanks for the beauty Jennifer!


Bethany on July 12th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

The new Dumbo ride is absolutely gorgeous at night! Hands-down, the most beautiful. However, I would say Thunder Mountain is the best to ride at night, especially when the fireworks are going off overhead. It’s magical. :)


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:20 am

That is a great one at night. Such a good view from the top.


Barbara from MI on July 12th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

So pretty…you just don’t know how much I wish I was there now!


Dustin on July 12th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Hands down that has got to be Big Thunder Mtn. During the day, its a good ride. During the night, its a legend of a ride. Lots of great lighting on it. Props to the lighting imagineers


Joseph on July 12th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Big thunder mtn is one of our favorites to ride at night, but we also mostly like to walk around the park while i take nighttime photos of the kingdom. Being a Disney Photographer must be great, would be a dream job!!


Abigail on July 12th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Beautiful photo! My favorite attraction at night is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:20 am

You can see some great lights from that attraction after dark.


Andre on July 12th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

That’s an awesome shot. I have a sneaking suspicion that Tomorrowland will be featured in this series, with all if its amazing lights!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:21 am

You’ll just have to wait and see!


John from TX on July 13th, 2012 at 1:53 am

The ride that is really neat if you catch it on the night of a full moon rise is Expidition Everest.When you get to the opening where the tracks are mangled the fullmoon is like artwork shining in.I’ll bet those emagineers did that on purpose,it’s awesome.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:21 am

That’s a great tip, thanks John!


Katie from WI on July 13th, 2012 at 7:18 am

All the parks at night are such a different experience! We make a point to save certain attractions until it is dark. :)


Danielle on July 13th, 2012 at 8:23 am

Gorgeous photograph!! I can’t wait to see the new Dumbo during our trip later this year. My favorite Disney attractions at night include: Matterhorn, Tower of Terror, PeopleMover (bring it back to Disneyland too!), Jungle Cruise, and Thunder Mtn.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 8:40 am

I’ve never seen Matterhorn at night – that might be interesting. I agree that Tower of Terror looks very cool after dark!


Ed from NH on July 13th, 2012 at 9:20 am

Future World in EPCOT with the lights in the walkways near Innovations and the music playing is one of my favorite night time walks in Walt Disney World.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 9:38 am

That fountain lit up at night is pretty nice, too!


Katie on July 13th, 2012 at 9:27 am

My favorite rides to ride at night are Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. There is a moment (only for a second) at the top of Splash Mountain when you can see almost all of the Magic Kingdom with Cinderella’s Castle as the focal point and it is just breathtaking – especially if there are fireworks going off overhead. However, hands down, the best ride to be on during fireworks is Big Thunder Mountain because it feels like they’re all around you and that you’re actually part of the show.

But!…nighttime is also a magical time to walk around the countries at Epcot to see the more romantic side of them. It’s at nighttime when they truly feel like lively street corners in a distant land.


Nathan on July 13th, 2012 at 9:41 am

Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion. It gives the eerie feeling walking up to it.


Aaron from AL on July 13th, 2012 at 10:06 am

Oh, by far and away, my favorite nighttime ride to see is the Astro Orbiter. It makes for outstanding existing-light photography, especially with fireworks in the background!

A close second is Pirates of the Caribbean, when the fog is rolling and the colored lights are on, it has a wonderfully eerie feel!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 10:20 am

Astro Orbiter is one of my favs at night. Very colorful!


Christopher on July 13th, 2012 at 11:33 am

Um… Haunted mansion, of course. Esc. on a stormy night!


Christopher on July 13th, 2012 at 11:35 am

Or, Tower of Terror… on a stormy night… it’s all about the scary/creepy rides in a even creepier environment. Makes the hairs on my arms stand up.


Joseph on July 13th, 2012 at 11:48 am

Jennifer….just wondering if you only used photos from licensed Disney photographers… granted the answer is probably yes but just had to ask, Since nighttime is te best time to take photos of the Parks.


Alicia on July 13th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

My fav is Astro Orbiter! The view from so high up is amazing!


Hunter on July 13th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I love this concept. I have always been intrigued by Disney After Dark. And now I cannot wait for Thursdays to roll around. If every photograph is like this one, I will be hooked forever!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 13th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

That’s great to hear, Hunter. It will be fun to feature a new attraction each week. They all look so different at night!


Kyra on July 13th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

It looks awesome! It kind of reminds me of the Kingdom Keepers books, since those mostly happen at Disney
Parks at night. This is going to sound weird, but I love Journey into Imagination with Figment after dark. It’s an indoor ride, but coming out of it into the darkness is cool.


Allie on July 14th, 2012 at 11:57 am

I had the same thought, Kyra! Even the title reminds me of Kingdom Keepers, since the first book’s subtitle is “Disney After Dark”!


Kathleen from TX on July 16th, 2012 at 9:10 am

Nighttime is my favorite time. My favorite night ride is TTA. It gives such a great view and is so relaxing.

As others mentioned, the title makes me think of Kingdom Keepers. I LOVE those books (even if I am not the right demographic).


Sherry from NY on July 16th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Expedition Everest! It’s that much scarier!!


chrisitne on July 16th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I miss the music at night, there are just a few venues available, where there are many in the daytime! The boats don’t run either. But then I love World of Color and the Mad Tea Party!


cierra on July 17th, 2012 at 1:15 am

My favorite night time attraction as to be the Jungle Cruise! The jungle is even more exciting at night.


Maggie from OH on July 17th, 2012 at 11:47 am

That is an incredible picture. Nighttime is always my favorite time to be in the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom. I actually complained that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ended too early at midnight. And my favorite Disney memory of all time is riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin 3 times in a row at 2 am on my honeymoon.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 17th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

The temperature is so much cooler at night, too. Visiting the parks during fall, at night, is ideal!


Amanda from AL on July 17th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

The castle during Christmas time is by far my favorite thing to see at Disney after dark. But I love seeing all the lights in tomorrowland, at night you feel like you are taking a whole new vacation! Disney does MAGIC well!


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 17th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Agreed! The castle lights during the holidays are AMAZING!


Lindsey on July 17th, 2012 at 7:10 pm

That picture is gorgeous! I wonder if The Magic Carpets of Aladdin looks similar. My favorite Disney at night ride has to be Splash Mountain though I need to get back onto Mad Tea Party.


Jennifer Fickley-Baker on July 17th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I think Splash Mountain may be on our schedule soon! Keep checking back!