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10 Nighttime Shows You Must See At Disney

There is something magical about Walt Disney World at night. It is beautiful during the day, but once the sun goes down you can feel the magic even more. There is also still plenty to do at night, even if you’ve already hit all of your favorite rides. Here are ten nighttime shows that you are not going to want to miss.

 

10. Electrical Water Pageant

Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Resorts

Most evenings something special happens in Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, weather permitting. The Electrical Water Pageant is a hidden gem, many guests have no idea that it even takes place. Fourteen lit floats glitter with sea creatures. The theme then changes to a patriotic one, with American flags. The whole event is set to music. The floats then move on to the next stop. You can see the Electrical Water Pageant outside of the Magic Kingdom’s entrance and also at the park’s resorts. Ask a cast member for the best viewing areas and times.

9. Street Performers

Disney’s BoardWalk

Want to see free entertainment that’s fun for the whole family? Stop by Disney’s BoardWalk evenings between 7:00 and 10:00. You’ll see jugglers, magicians, and more. There are three performers each evening but six total, so you might want to stop by more than once. The shows take place in front of the Flying Fish Cafe and the Screen Door General Store. If the weather is bad, check inside. The inside shows take place in the lobby and by the Belle Vue Lounge.

8. YeHaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

YeHaa Bob Jackson’s show is another hidden gem. He has been entertaining audiences at Walt Disney World for well over a decade, and people who have seen his act keep going back for more. His musical show is hard to explain; he’ll sing songs and tell bad jokes. Audience participation is part of the fun. The show is family friendly and takes place most Wednesdays through Saturdays. There are three shows each evening. The show is free, and even though it’s held in a lounge you are not required to purchase drinks or appetizers.

7. Rivers of Light

Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Embrace yourself for the celebration of nature with the newest nighttime show at Animal Kingdom, Rivers of Light. This 15-minute show is held in an amphitheater next to Expedition Everest and boasts dramatic storytelling and animal folklore through beautiful floats, inspiring music, impressive water screens, and all the latest technology and special effects. Truly a celebration of nature’s beauty!

6. Tree of Life Awakenings

Animal Kingdom Theme Park

The perfect way to cap off the night is with the Tree of Life Awakenings! While fireworks are too loud for the animals, Disney Imagineers had the great idea to use lighting projections on the Tree of Life to turn it into a centerpiece of colorful design and show. After the sun sets, fireflies begin to appear on the Tree of Life approximately every 10 minutes. These fireflies begin awakening of the Tree of Life which turns into a brief but gorgeous presentation worth stopping for. But wait… there is more than one show so don’t think because you’ve seen one show you’ve seen it all!

5. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

Hollywood Studios

It doesn’t matter if you are a Star Wars nerd or not – Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is the perfect way to close out a night at Hollywood Studios! Watch as the Chinese Theater turns into a huge screen for a 14-minute show full of high-definition projection surrounded by lasers, fire, incredible music and sound effects, and of course – the sky lights up with awesome fireworks! It’s an unforgettable Hollywood Studios moment!

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4. Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time, Magic Kingdom

Who would have thought that Cinderella Castle would also make a great projection screen? With a little bit of pixie dust the Castle transforms each evening. It will seemingly come alive with glimpses into the lives of Anna, Alice, and others. The show changes seasonally. Once Upon A Time is best seen from Main Street, U.S.A., and is held weather permitting.

3. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

World Showcase, Epcot

What better way to end the day at Epcot than with fireworks, lasers, and a giant floating globe? IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth celebrates the past, present, and future of our planet. It is held nightly when the park closes, weather permitting. There are good viewing areas all along World Showcase, but on busy days you should claim your spot early. Some of the restaurants along World Showcase also offer great seating opportunities, so you might want to plan your evening meal accordingly to see if you can grab a coveted spot.

2. Fantasmic!

Sunset Boulevard, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Step inside Mickey’s dream with Fantasmic!. The show uses water screens, live action, fireworks, and more. Mickey faces off with some classic Disney villains as his dream turns into a nightmare, but of course good triumphs over evil in the end. The show can be a bit intense for small children, you might need to constantly reassure them that Mickey will be just fine. Seats can go fast, so ask a cast member if there is a recommended time to arrive. If there is more than one show the first one is often more crowded.

1. Happily Ever After

Magic Kingdom

Happily Ever After is arguably the best fireworks show that you will ever see. Cinderella Castle lights up in different colors and it’s all set to music. Happily Ever After can be seen from most places in the Magic Kingdom, but the front of the park is better than the back. If you’d like to enjoy the show and great desserts at the same time, make reservations for one of the two Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Parties. You can then see the fireworks from a reserved viewing area, and you’ll end your day on a sweet note as well!

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.