More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Moms Panel Monday: Disney Parks After Dark

The last few weeks when I leave the office I have felt a bit like Madam Leota. Cue spooky music here. It takes my internal clock at least three months to get acclimated to daylight savings time. In the fall and winter The Sunshine State seems more like a Doom Buggy, but that also means cooler, longer nights. Nighttime at a Disney Park is a horse of a different and magical color.

Evenings at Walt Disney World Resort offer nocturnal fun for the whole family. What better way to celebrate the holidays than with fireworks, lights and parades? Moms Panelist Krista Curtis loves visiting the theme parks at night. In fact, several of her family traditions are held while Disney is dark.

At Magic Kingdom Park, Krista and her family set aside time to watch their favorite nighttime shows including Main Street Electrical Parade. With its twenty-three illuminated floats, over eighty performers and lively Disney theme songs, this parade is a perfect companion to Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. “Whether we watch from Main Street, U.S.A., one of the great spots inside Magic Kingdom Park or from a resort beach, ‘Wishes’ is a must-see for my family,” Krista says.

Another long-time family favorite is the Electric Water Pageant. This quaint, nostalgic floating parade takes place on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. “Watching the ‘Electric Water Pageant’ from the shores of Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a lovely ritual for us along with dining at Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue.”

On starry nights she suggests viewing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you definitely need to stay for Fantasmic! said Krista. For cooling off and spending quality time, the Curtis crew takes in a game of golf. That is, mini golf at Fantasia Gardens. “After the sun goes down the courses are cooler and my family loves a good game with friendly competition.”

My favorite “Disney After Dark” attraction is the holiday version of Cinderella Castle. Princess Mini-Me and I had a girls-only night a few weeks ago and attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Arm in arm, we walked down Main Street, U.S.A. Actually it was less like walking and more rushing, as her long, coltish legs speed toward SpaceMountain with me dangling behind her like a Mickey balloon. That child hates gym but can move like greased lightening toward a thrill ride.

The castle glowed like a pixie-dusted sugarplum. It was truly larger than life. I know that I looked ridiculous holding her hand and intermittently placing kisses on her cheek. She was in full-scale “tween mode” and viewing me with embarrassment and horror. I don’t care. That castle, those kisses and the memory of the wafting scent of hot chocolate and cookies is a moment I will treasure forever.

What are your after-dusk customs?


  • I am SUPER excited to see the New Fantasyland tonight after dark! I have seen it during the day, but this will be my first time seeing how it lights up my world in the evenings.

    Follow #NewFantasyland today and tomorrow to get a real-time perspective on the grand opening events!

    P.S. Princess Mini Me find the word mommy put the extra ‘e’ in for more embarrassing kisses:)

  • One visit, we were able to get in “one last ride” on Splash Mountain AFTER the parade. When we got off the ride, our walk towards the exit was my favorite Disney-after-dark memory. It was like we were the only people left in the park. It was calm, quiet, and deserted. We didn’t see anyone unitl we made it back to Main Street. This was an entirely different view and feeling to the park.

  • Hi Laura!

    After an exciting day at the parks, we love to watch Wishes Nighttime Spectacular from the patio at Gasparilla Grill and Games at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, while enjoying those delicious Mickey head ice-cream bars.

    It’s also a treat to see the Electric Water Pageant float on by, twinkling away while sitting in our comfy robes to help wind us down for a dreamy sleep right beside Cinderella Castle, how magical is that!

    Oh, the memories I’ve stirred thinking about this…

    Dreamy wishes,

  • Everyone’s mood improves after a great dinner in the park. We wander freely on bonus-time enjoying the cooler night air and the diminished crowd. One of these days I am going to make it for an evening runDisney race, since I do so much of my runDisney training at night. The evenings are truly magical at Disney!

  • I loved reading this! After-dusk customs for my family include my husband and I walking through World Showcasein Epcot. The lighting on the architecture is so romantic…;-)

  • Great post! We love touring the parks after dark. It’s cooler, less crowded and so magical. It’s also my favorite time to take pictures!
    Debra Ann

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