Best Nighttime Disney Attractions

Tower of Terror at Nighttime

For several Walt Disney World attractions, the nighttime brings a unique experience. Some of these attractions feel spookier after dark, while others just simply look beautiful lit up at night. Let’s take a look at some of the best attractions to experience at nighttime.

Tower of Terror is my favorite attraction to experience at nighttime. The darkness of the night, dimly lit gardens, the mist, and the 1930s music playing in the queue really add to the spookiness of the attraction. The atmosphere of the queue at night helps to immerse guests into the story of the five hotel guests who vanished from the elevator on Halloween night in 1939. You really feel as if you are about to enter an old abandoned and haunted hotel.

The Tower of Terror queue isn’t the only great thing about experiencing this attraction after dark. Once you’ve boarded your elevator and it begins it’s descent into The Twilight Zone,  you’ll also get a great view of Hollywood Studios lit up at night. This just might be one of the best views at Walt Disney World.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is another great attraction to experience after dark. Riding at nighttime is almost like experiencing a completely different attraction. While this mine train isn’t really very scary during the daytime, it can have a slight spooky feel to it at nighttime as you travel past bats and through mists in the mine. The little mining town you’ll pass on your ride seems to really come alive at night, more so than during the day. The lighting on the mountain at night is beautiful to see. My favorite part of experiencing Big Thunder Mountain after dark is towards the end of the ride when your trains travels past the bones in the side of the mountain. I love the mists, gysers, and the lighting on the bones right there at the end of the ride. It’s a completely different experience than during the daytime.

Though I haven’t personally experienced the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at night, I’ve heard it is one of the best attractions to ride after dark. I can definitely see why. The neon lights of Tomorrowland look fantastic at night! What better way to take in all of these beautiful lights than to take a ride through Tomorrowland on the TTA?! The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is one of my favorite rides during the daytime, so I can only imagine how much fun it would be at nighhttime. I have seen some absolutely amazing photos taken from the TTA after dark. I will definitely be making a point to experience this attraction after dark on my next Walt Disney World vacation.

Splash Mountain also offers spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom at nighttime.  If you time your ride just right, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the  Main Street Electrical Parade as it travel through Frontierland. Your journey to the briar patch will also include several opportunities to see Cinderella Castle lit up at night. One of the best views is when your log reaches the top of Chickapin Hill, just before you go down the big drop.

What is your favorite attraction to experience at nighttime? Let us know in the comments!

Be sure to click the button below to check out all of the other great posts about Disney parks at night in this week’s Riding The Rails. Thanks to The Magical Blogorail for hosting!

Photo credit: Express Monorail / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

Latest posts by Kimberly (see all)

  • My boys LOVE riding Big Thunder Mountain at night during Wishes! 🙂

  • Have to say that Tower of Terror is also one of my favorite night rides. The queue alone is just stunning at night.

  • When Storybook Circus first opened in the Magic Kingdom, I got a surprise FastPass to ride Dumbo around 9 o’clock at night. It was truly magical; the lights of the circus, the music, and the view of the sparkling kingdom was unparalleled!

    • I forgot about Dumbo! That would be another great one to ride at night. I’ve seen some amazing photos of it at night!

  • I have GOT to make a point to ride more at night! Tower of Terror is my favorite ride, but I always do it first thing in the morning (the whole FastPass rush!) I need to change that! I’d also like to do the Haunted Mansion at night. I never would have thought of TTA, but I’m guessing it is a beautiful view at night! Great list!

    • Before they had Fantasmic, my family used to always ride Tower of Terror a bunch of times right before park closing. There was hardly ever a line. We would just run from the exit to the entrance. We ended up doing that with a couple of cast members who weren’t working one time. It was so much fun!

      • Oh my gosh, that sounds like a blast. We just saw Fantasmic for the first time in December. I was bound and determined to watch that show if it killed me! LOL It was great – but now I’d be more willing to ride ToT over and over again at night!

        • Ever since they started doing Fantasmic, we always go to it instead of riding ToT a bunch of times. I really want to ride ToT like we used to, but Fantasmic is just so great! I can’t bring myself to miss it. I think I just need to make sure I’m at Hollywood Studios two nights so I can do both!

          • There you go! That sounds like a good plan. I hope they soon add some stuff to that park. It used to be one of our favorites, but on our last trip we almost got bored with 2 full days there.

          • I hope so too! It used to be my favorite park until a few years ago. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten more interested in Disney history which makes Magic Kingdom more interesting to me or what. Or it could be because some of the things I loved at Hollywood Studios (like the Disney Stars in Motor Cars parade and Residential Street) are gone with nothing equally as great to replace them. I wasn’t too impressed with the Pixar parade that was there last time I was there. I think it’s about time HS gets some new attractions and maybe a Monsters Inc. rollercoaster! Maybe they’ll work on that once the DAK expansion is finished.

          • Yep, you nailed it. On our last trip, we were done with our favorites by noon – then we were like “What do we do now?!” (Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster) I also enjoy the Great Movie Ride, but would love to see it updated. And the Backlot Tour is just a shell of its former self. 🙁 I’m hoping they’ll add more Star Wars stuff, or SOMETHING!

          • Yes, Star Wars land or something would be a great fit there! I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I do like the old movies (the new ones…not so much). I love Star Tours, so I’m sure they could come up with attractions people like me would like just as much as the Star Wars fans would.
            I’ve never been a huge fan of The Great Movie Ride. It’s ok, but to me it’s always seemed a little boring. I think it definitely needs something. I’d love to see another great parade too.

          • I’m not a huge Star Wars fan either, but my son is so I’ve really learned to appreciate it. I do enjoy Star Tours, and I can see so many ideas for expansion of that franchise.

          • Well, who knows…maybe they’ll start working on something like that in a few years.

  • What a great post, Kimberly! I love BTMRR at night, and if you time that right, you can walk right on during Wishes and even see some of the fireworks from the train! I’m about as big a weenie as it comes to Tower of Terror, but I may have to suck it up and go on it at night to get some shots of Hollywood Studios at night from it.

    I’ve never been on Splash Mountain at night, but I can see that being great too! Also, I have been on Haunted Mansion at night, and it’s a lot of fun, so go do it. Lastly, the TTA is absolutely incredible at night — and often so uncrowded that you can ride it 3 or 4 times before it shuts down for the night.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever ridden BTMRR during Wishes, but I’m sure that would be fun! I may have ridden Splash Mountain during the fireworks years ago, but I can’t remember for sure. I love watching the fireworks, so I usually don’t ride anything while they’re going on.
      Haunted Mansion is another great one at night! I love the queue! It’s extra spooky at night and supposedly you can see figures in the windows at night (I’ve never looked for them). I actually thought about including Haunted Mansion in my article, but I thought it was getting a little long.

  • Lisa Cameron

    While I am too big of a ride chicken to ride the big time rides at night (let along in the day), I must say that we recently rode Dumbo at night. It was amazing! I don’t know why we never did it before, but we will be doing it again.

    • I haven’t ridden Dumbo in years. I might have to try it at night on my next trip. The lights on it are amazing!

  • Pingback: Top 10 Locations To Photograph After Dark()

  • DIStherapy

    Nightfall does seem to create a completely different ride experience, doesn’t it? I agree with all of your choices, but my favorite “dark ride” is Expedition Everest. It is absolutely wild at night!!!

    • I have never ridden that one at night! I’ll have to add it to my must do list for my next trip. Sounds like fun!

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