Best Evening Extra Magic Hours Attractions at Disney World

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The Kiss Goodnight is a light show projected on the castle when the park closes.

Staying on property during your next Walt Disney World vacation? Then you should absolutely be taking advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, which offer resort guests the opportunity to get to a park early or stay late. Simply show that you’re staying in a Walt Disney World resort and you can have fun in the parks beyond the normal operating hours. And if you’re using our Personalized Touring Plans, you can also extend your plan hours for both morning and evening Extra Magic Hours. As stated, Extra Magic Hours are offered both in the morning and the evening but for now we’re going to concentrate on some of my favorite Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions. While not every attraction is operating for Extra Magic Hours, some of the best and most popular attractions across Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are open to resort guests. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not offer evening extra magic hours. Perhaps that could change with the eventual opening of the park’s new Avatar Land but for now, park guests will have to get their Extra Magic Hours fill at the first three Walt Disney World theme parks. So without further ado, here are my top Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions for each park.

 

Best Evening Extra Magic Hours Attractions at Walt Disney World

 

Magic Kingdom

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • With Splash Mountain disappearing from the Evening Extra Magic Hours rotation, it falls on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to provide Disney guests with their outdoor mountain thrills late at night. As a general rule, I often find that the best Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions are outdoor ones and Thunder Mountain doesn’t disappoint. Be sure to hit this up at night on your next late night Magic Kingdom adventure.

Jungle Cruise

  • “The Jungle Cruise is old.” “The animatronics are cheesy.” All valid points and yet I still can’t get enough of this classic attraction. Maybe it’s because I love stupid jokes or maybe it’s because of nostalgia, but I still think there’s something special about this attraction. Throw in the element of darkness and it transforms into a new experience entirely. This is especially true for the temple portion of the attraction, which gets an eerier vibe thanks to nightfall. And don’t worry about being unable to see what’s happening. Lighting throughout the attraction will ensure that you won’t miss a thing even in the pitch dark.

The Haunted Mansion

  • This one’s just too easy. “Scary” experiences were meant to happen at night. While the attraction may take place indoors, the upgraded interactive portions of the waiting queue for Haunted Mansion along with the classic tombstones just feel right at home during nighttime. When’s the last time you told a ghost story during the day? I thought so.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  • Confession time. I haven’t been to Walt Disney World since the opening of New Fantasyland’s centerpiece attraction. Although I’ll be remedying this very soon, I can’t say how the experience changes at night. Although, being an outdoor attraction, it has a very good chance of officially making the list once I go on the attraction.

 

Epcot

Illuminations

Test Track

  • The final outdoor high speed portion of Test Track is one of the most exhilarating experiences available at Disney World. With the lights of the attraction shining, this becomes a no-brainer when it comes to Evening Extra Magic Hours must-do’s. If you don’t care about designing your own vehicle for Test Track and the line is still too long during Extra Magic Hours, take advantage of the Single Rider Line, which offers a significantly shorter wait time.

Maelstrom

  • Maelstrom might just be the strangest attraction in all of Walt Disney World. What starts as an attraction about “present day” (1980s) Norway suddenly turns into a mythical and fantastical boat ride. The attraction also features a short portion where you can see outside into the World Showcase. Anybody who’s ever been to Epcot at night knows how beautiful each pavilion looks all lit up so why not take the opportunity to experience that on a dragon boat with a few trolls. Be sure to experience the weirdness firsthand while you can as it’s rumored that the ride will be shut down soon to make way for a Frozen re-theming.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

  • I love the simulated nighttime sky of the indoor Mexico pavilion. The illusion is even greater when it’s actually dark outside as well. I think the addition of The Three Caballeros to this attraction has definitely enhanced it and given it a more “Disney” vibe. It also doesn’t hurt that the Gran Fiesta Tour almost never has any kind of significant wait. So why not knock back a few at La Cava Del Tequila and take a relaxing boat trip across Mexico with Donald and his friends.

 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Thanks to Splash Mountain’s absence from the current Evening Extra Magic Hours roster, I’m officially declaring the Tower of Terror the king of nighttime attractions. Scary ambiance and backstory? Check. Outdoor portions? Check. Visually distinct nighttime appearance? Check. Tower of Terror is a great attraction but at night it’s an amazing one. If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and wait until nightfall for your first Twilight Zone experience.

Toy Story Midway Mania!

  • The inclusion of Toy Story Mania! on this list isn’t because the attraction is particularly better at night. Basically it should be on your list if you forgot to get a FastPass+ during the day and didn’t want to wait 120+ minutes in the Stand-by line. While the line won’t be short by any conservative definition, it will almost certainly be less than what you’d experience during normal park operating hours.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

  • While the attraction is indoors, the Endor themed line is definitely more immersive at night and okay you got me. There usually isn’t a line for Star Tours during Evening Extra Magic Hours and I can’t even remember the last time I had to go through the full line queue during the later parts of the evening. I just love Star Wars and I’m adding it. It is my list after all. Really, in my opinion, it speaks to the fact that Hollywood Studios needs more attractions. I suggest adding the rumored Star Wars Land and a version of Car’s Land. Disney, if you need any other ideas on how to improve the park, call me.

 

So there you have my list of the top Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions at Walt Disney World. Of course, there are plenty of other awesome attractions open during that time as well and I’d love to hear some of your favorites. Be sure to leave a comment below to tell me your favorite Extra Magic Hours attractions, attractions you wish were available during that time (cough Splash Mountain) or just say, “Hi!”

 

Please welcome TJ Van Fechtmann to the TouringPlans blog team. TJ lives in Rhode Island and enjoys writing about Disney for young adults.

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Posted on July 15, 2014

10 Responses to “Best Evening Extra Magic Hours Attractions at Disney World”

  • by Vanessa Schomberg on July 15, 2014, at 3:17 pm EST

    Nice, little blog. I really enjoy every “Extra Magic Hour” and most of the attractions above, are my favorites at night too! :) Very excited for the next blog and by the way, welcome to the team!

  • So after many years of TouringPlans recommending we skip parks on their EMH days, suddenly it is being advocated. Interesting… Wonder why?

    • by T.J. Van Fechtmann on July 15, 2014, at 10:21 pm EST

      This is just my opinion on the best attractions. I can’t speak for the entire staff but I personally like to park hop a lot. I sometimes do skip EMH parks during the day and just end up going to them solely during those hours at night.

    • The only reason TP would not recommend a.m. EMH is if you, like the majority, cannot make it in time. You would then be behind a big line getting to every attraction. If you can B&D there for opening, go for it. Especially if you can the hop.

    • I would generally say that evening EMHs are more worthwhile than morning. Do another park during the day then hop to the evening EMH at Magic Kingdom, there is something very special about 2am in MK!

  • I love all of those rides, too, however with young children, we don’t take advantage of evening emh very often. Is there a list of rides offered during extra magic hours? When was splash mountain dropped? We’re returning in November and with shorter park hours, we might have increased opportunity to participate :)

    • by T.J. Van Fechtmann on July 15, 2014, at 10:23 pm EST

      I’m glad you liked my choices! If you click the park links in the first paragraph of my post, they’ll take you to the EMH attraction list for those parks. As for Splash Mountain, it was sadly dropped in August 2012.

  • One change to nights at Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Mania is being closed early due to the fireworks being shot off somewhere back there. It’s closing at 8:30 and basically everything at the back of the park is being closed/roped off like backlot tour, honey I shrunk the kids and that dining area. Animation courtyard was still open.

    I think this is a big negative to have TSM close early!

  • Good call on Big Thunder Mountain, Test Track, and Tower of Terror in particular. I also think Maelstrom is a great nighttime attraction, especially since waiting in line for it seems weird.

    It’s too bad that Splash Mountain is being phased out from evening extra magic hours. That’s a great nighttime ride!