What To Do On A Night Off From The Disney Parks

Disney World Fort Wilderness Campfire

If you are are staying at Walt Disney World for more than just a few days, it’s almost necessary to schedule a park-free day in order to give your body a rest and give your travel party time to enjoy your resort amenities! But after sleeping in, lounging by the pool, and sipping on your favorite drink, perhaps you wonder, “What can we do tonight?” Thankfully, there is never a shortage of things to do at “The Most Magical Place On Earth”. Here are some ideas for what to do on your night off from the parks.

Resort Hop

Resort hopping is the perfect activity for a night off from the parks. Not only does it allow you to try restaurants other than the ones at your home resort, you can also buy souvenirs from other gift shops, and scope out the resorts’ accommodations and amenities for when you plan your next trip to Walt Disney World! You can even do a Monorail or Skyliner Meal Crawl, to make the most of your free evening. If you stick to the monorail resorts, stop at any of them for a view of Enchantment from across Seven Seas Lagoon. Head to the beach and dock areas of the Grand Floridian or Polynesian or the concourse of the Contemporary to hear the audio track as you see the lights shoot high into the sky. Before you return to your resort, order a night cap at one of the Disney resort’s exquisite lounges like Trader Sam’s at the Polynesian or the Enchanted Rose at the Grand Floridian.

Beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
The beach at the Polynesian is a wonderful place to relax at the end of the day. Arrive early enough to snag an Adirondack chair and watch the Electrical Pageant Parade before the fireworks begin!

Reserve A Private Fireworks Cruise

There are various ways to see fireworks from outside of the parks, but if you are celebrating a special occasion or just want to surprise your travel party with a memorable experience, book your own private fireworks cruise for either Magic Kingdom or EPCOT! A cruise around the lagoon and light snacks are included in this intimate experience for up to 10 people before you stop to enjoy Enchantment or Harmonious. Cruises depart approximately 1 hour prior to the start time of the fireworks and reservations may be made up to 60 days in advance.

Disney World Fireworks Cruise
You won’t be disappointed with a private fireworks cruise that gives you an exclusive view of Disney fireworks from on the water! Photo by Disney

Enjoy Live Music At Disney Springs

Disney Springs is the perfect place to visit on a night off from the parks. There are countless restaurants to eat, even without a reservation, and just as many places to shop for yourself or others at home. But if prefer to relax, consider grabbing a sweet treat and finding a seat at the AdventHealth Waterfront Stage to enjoy free live music offered nightly. Acts featuring everything from Classic Rock to Latin Pop will keep you entertained while you take in the view of the resorts across the water. Check the calendar of events to see who is playing on your night off from the parks! Other venues at Disney Springs also offer live music such as Ragland Road and House of Blues.

Waterfront Stage at Disney Springs
The waterfront stage at Disney Springs is located between World of Disney and the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain!

Book A Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Make your way to Port Orleans – Riverside for a scenic ride along the Sassagoula River in a horse-draw carriage. My favorite way to travel to Port Orleans is via boat from Disney Springs. Relax as you take in Walt Disney World from a different perspective before enjoying the views from your carriage of this romantic resort reminiscent of the bayou in Louisiana. Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered every half hour between 5:30-9:30PM, but it’s best to make a reservation in advance online or via the My Disney Experience app. Afterwards, head to Scat Cat’s Club at the neighboring Port Orleans French Quarter Resort for Mickey-shaped Beignets!

Disney Port Orleans Carriage Ride
Carriages at Port Orleans -Riverside seat up to 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children! Photo by Disney

Visit The BoardWalk

Disney’s BoardWalk is bustling with activity and the perfect place to visit in the evenings. Grab dinner at one of the restaurants or a quick bite from one of the carts. Stop in for a drink at AbracadaBar or sit outdoors on a bench and enjoy the beauty of the area when the sun goes down. Guests can also rent surrey bikes for 2 or 4 people or take a cruise on a Friendship Boat around the lagoon. Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf is also just a short walk away! Don’t forget to snag a spot on one of the bridges to view fireworks in the sky from EPCOT! If you’re not quite ready to head back to your resort after the show, visit JellyRolls for some fun with dueling pianos!

The BoardWalk Beach Disney
The BoardWalk is the perfect place at night to sit and enjoy the view!

Starlight Safari At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Would you like to see animals without needing a park ticket to enter Animal Kingdom? Schedule a Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge! Usually offered at both 8:30PM and 10:00PM, this VIP experience will give animal-lovers ages 8 and up memories to last a lifetime. Travel through the savanna on your open-sided safari vehicle as you get up close to over 30 species of African animals who are often more active at night after the heat of the day has subsided. Have dinner before or afterwards at Sanaa at Kidani Village and enjoy a view of the savanna from your table.

Starlight Safari Disney
You may need night vision to capture the creatures on the savanna during the Starlight Savanna Tour! This tour takes place after the sun sets. Photo by Disney

Enjoy A Campfire And A Movie Under The Stars

Many resorts offer firepits where you can enjoy quality time together as you relax to the crackling sounds of the campfire. Roast your own marshmallows or purchase a kit at the resort gift shop. Afterwards, head to the big screen where you can view a Disney Movie Under the Stars! If you are staying at Camp Wilderness Campground, or if you can make your way there, meet Chip and Dale at their Campfire Sing-a-long! Check your resort’s entertainment schedule for the days on which the movies are offered and which titles will be shown.

Chip And Dale Sing Along Disney World
The Chip ‘N Dale Sing-a-long is a great opportunity to meet characters outside of the parks! Join them by the campfire at Fort Wilderness Campground. Photo by Disney

Order In

When all else fails, if you’ve had a fun-filled day off and a delicious dinner, there’s nothing wrong with ordering dessert via room service and heading to bed a little early to catch up on sleep. That 7:00AM alarm to reserve your individual lightning lanes and first Genie+ selection of the day will be going off before you know it.

Disney World Dessert
Ending your day off from the parks by enjoying a delicious dessert on your resort room balcony is never a bad idea! Photo by Disney

What do you like to do on your nights off from the Disney parks? Do you prefer a night out and about or a quiet night in? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Photo by Disney

Written by

Shelley Wehler

Contributing Writer

Shelley is a stay-at-home mother of two girls living outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her love of all things Disney has grown even more as she sees the magic come alive through the lens of her young daughters. She spends her free time keeping up with the latest in Disney news and daydreaming of her next trip to the parks!

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