WDW Magazine - - Front Page - BY CARL TRENT

When the sun goes down at Walt Dis­ney World, the fun starts. OK, there’s lots of fun dur­ing the day, but there are some re­ally fun ac­tiv­i­ties that only hap­pen Af­ter Dark.

Most of the Af­ter Dark ac­tiv­i­ties are free but there are sev­eral that cost a lit­tle (or a lot) of money. So should you splurge on one of these paid Af­ter Dark ac­tiv­i­ties or should you be a Scrooge and just skip them?

What kind of Af­ter Dark events are we talk­ing about? Let’s take a look.

The most pop­u­lar paid Af­ter Dark events have to be the par­ties. Mickey’s Not So Scary Hal­loween Party takes place in the Magic King­dom on se­lect nights be­tween late Au­gust and early Novem­ber. Mickey’s Very Merry Christ­mas Party is also at the Magic King­dom, and held in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Dur­ing the Hal­loween Party, every­one dresses up in cos­tumes (adult cos­tumes are al­lowed), and there is Trick or Treat­ing at dif­fer­ent candy spots through­out the park. At the Christ­mas Party, Christ­mas is ev­ery­where. There is “snow” on Main Street. The pa­rade ends with Santa Claus, and they serve cook­ies and hot co­coa. The fire­works shows and pa­rades are the best at Walt Dis­ney World, and even bet­ter dur­ing the hol­i­days!

If you want a re­ally fun and unique view of fire­works, go on one of the fire­works cruises. The Pi­rates and Pals Fire­works Voy­age kicks off with meet­ing Cap­tain Hook and Mr. Smee, fol­lowed by an un­for­get­table voy­age to watch the night­time spec­tac­u­lar light up the sky. If pi­rates and fire­works aren’t your thing, you can also set up a pri­vate cruise on boats rang­ing from a pon­toon boat to a pri­vate yacht.

The Starlight Sa­fari at Dis­ney’s An­i­mal King­dom Lodge is an in­ter­est­ing way to ex­pe­ri­ence the an­i­mals. Hop on an open-air sa­fari ve­hi­cle, don your night vi­sion gog­gles, and get ready to see the over twenty species who roam the Lodge’s Sa­van­nah af­ter dark.

OK, we started this list with hol­i­day events, so why not end it with a hol­i­day event? Hol­i­day D-lights in­cludes a be­hind-the-scenes look at where the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions are pre­pared. It in­cludes a yummy meal, along with an up close look at the Magic King­dom Tree, and con­cludes with a per­for­mance of WDW’S beloved Can­dle­light Pro­ces­sional.

The paid Af­ter Dark ac­tiv­i­ties run from around $70 to sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars per adult. Each pro­vides a unique ex­pe­ri­ence that you wouldn’t get with­out spend­ing a lit­tle ex­tra. But are they worth it?

The Scrooge side of me says, “I'm pay­ing enough money for this va­ca­tion, why would I pay ex­tra for some co­coa or to lis­ten to a Dis­ney Cast Mem­ber tell me how Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions are made?”

If money is an is­sue for you, don’t worry about these paid Af­ter Dark events. It’s not worth blow­ing the bud­get for them. Yes, Trick or Treat­ing in the Magic King­dom is cool, but at $70 to $85 per per­son, it’s not that cool.

On the other hand… All of the paid Af­ter Dark events are unique ex­pe­ri­ences that you just can’t get with­out splurg­ing. How else would you be able to see how Dis­ney tests the Christ­mas lights for Cin­derella Cas­tle, or ex­pe­ri­ence the Magic King­dom at its finest, and with free snacks! Or get to hunt for an­i­mals us­ing night vi­sion gog­gles? Spend a lit­tle money, and you can watch the fire­works with no crowds jostling you!

If you are look­ing for a unique ex­pe­ri­ence, then you might want to splurge a lit­tle to en­joy the paid Af­ter Dark events at Walt Dis­ney World.

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