Magic Kingdom at Night

Out in the real world, the cover of darkness can rob attractions of their prime features. At Walt Disney World, however, the shadowy environment simply becomes another tool that Imagineers use to enhance your experience and highlight exactly what you’re supposed to see. There’s a reason indoor attractions – known as dark rides – are so popular. The controlled setting gives Imagineers more sway over what you see and experience.

At night, outdoor attractions become dark rides in their own right. Lighting and effects that are unseen during the day suddenly come into play, enhancing your experience and giving you a whole new look at an otherwise familiar ride. Here are some top Disney attractions you simply must experience at night.

Kilimanjaro Safaris 

Kilimanjaro Safari

Image: Tim Pierce, Flickr (license)

Night safaris used to be reserved for special events or exclusive encounters. However, Disney's Animal Kingdom’s new nocturnal persona has made after-dark safaris a regular affair. Since this is a relatively fresh offering, it should be at the top of your list of must-see features at Disney. At night, you can glimpse a whole new side of the African savannah, where intimidating predators slump into sleep, and nocturnal creatures come out to prowl. The safaris are newly lit to evoke images of the setting sun and rising moon, and your evening safari guide will provide you with fresh information, not featured in the daytime ride.

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise

Image: Suzanne Lozzi, Flickr (license)

The rivers of the Jungle Cruise take on a more mysterious air at night, making this is a popular pick for an evening boat ride in the Magic Kingdom. The darkness is a perfect mask for some of the less-realistic elements of the ride, adding to the enchantment. Something about the cover of darkness also seems to make those skippers a little rowdier, which can make for a hilarious cruise if you’re lucky enough to get someone who’s in the mood to veer a bit off script.

Liberty Square Riverboat 

Liberty Belle

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

The Liberty Square Riverboat offers excellent views of the Magic Kingdom from the Rivers of America, circling Tom Sawyer Island. Not only will you get a good look at the park in all its evening glory, you’ll also get to see attraction scenes with their alluring lighting. Features like the burning cabin are particularly stunning once the sun sets.


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