NIGHTTIME MAGIC AT THE RESORTS
Walt Disney World is magical after dark – and that doesn’t just apply to the parks! The amazing resort hotels on property take on a new character at night and offer many exclusive activities in the evening. It’s worth exploring your own resort – or even resort hopping! – at night to enjoy the attention to detail and unique activities that WDW offers.
First, let’s look at the nighttime amenities you’ll find at many Walt Disney World resorts:
MOVIES UNDER THE STARS
Every night (weather permitting), Disney resorts offer Movies Under the Stars. Usually at or near the main pool, a different movie is offered nightly (you can see what’s playing where on the My Disney Experience App). Sometimes neighboring resorts will share this activity and swap hosting duties – ask for a resort activities list at check-in. This is an especially great activity with the kids when the parks close early or you need a night “off” from them!
Several resorts offer nightly bon fires, complete with marshmallow roasts! Your resort activities list will tell you where and when this activity happens. Resorts that offer this amenity include: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht & Beach Club, Grand Floridian, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans, Old Key West, Fort Wilderness, Saratoga Springs, Polynesian Village or Caribbean Beach Resort.
Resorts with park proximity offer some great alternatives for less-crowded fireworks viewing. At the monorail hotels, you can view Magic Kingdom fireworks with the music piped in to the beach area (and certain restaurants). The Crescent Lake area hotels offer good views of Illuminations and even Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. You might even spy fireworks from other resorts – the Generation Gap bridge at Pop Century / Art of Animation provides a pretty nice view of Illuminations.
You can even book a fireworks viewing cruise departing from one of the Magic Kingdom area marinas or the Yacht Club marina. It’s pricey, but a really unique way to see the shows!
ELECTRIC WATER PAGEANT
Most guests don’t even know about this nightly offering on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Floating barges decorated with bulb lights reminiscent of the Main Street Electrical Parade float past the Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness nightly – check the My Disney Experience app or your resort activities list for the specific time.
In the evenings, beginning at 4:30pm, some resorts have childcare centers, affording Mom and Dad a much needed date night! Lilo’s Playhouse at the Polynesian Village, Sandcastle Club at the Beach Club Resort, Simba’s Cubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Camp Dolphin at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort all offer this service.
We’ll get into specific evening-only dining experiences by resort shortly, but it’s worth noting that many resort restaurants – particularly Signature Dining locations – only offer
dinner (with an occasional Sunday brunch offering). But most Moderate and Deluxe resorts also have lounges that operate only in the evenings with some spectacular drink and appetizer offerings. Our favorites include Trader Sam’s, Mizner’s Lounge, and Territory Lounge.
A new addition is the Highway in the Sky Dine Around package, which takes guests on a five-course meal complete with cocktails, traveling by monorail to the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Village – ending the night with a fireworks display!
THE MAGIC OF RESORTS AFTER DARK
Don’t under estimate the magic of after dark atmosphere for enjoying your resort grounds. For many kids, nothing is more special than a nighttime swim! Pools are generally open until about 10pm, operating hours are listed at each pool.
Disney also does a great job of illuminating buildings, walkways, waterways, fountains, and more – your resort has a totally different personality at night, and in many cases seems more impressive than in the day! The value resorts are particularly eye catching with their larger than life statues taking center stage.