Walt Disney World is slowly working towards getting back to normal operations during their phased reopening. During this time many offerings and procedures have been paused or modified to ensure a safe return to the resort. One of the most notable changes comes in how we visit the theme parks. Now you’ll need to make a Park Pass reservation before entering a Walt Disney World theme park, and you’ll find that the hours of operation have been reduced for the near future. While before the outbreak of COVID-19, the parks all usually stayed open until after dark and even offered after-hours events for night owls, the parks are now closing a few hours earlier than before. You may think that once the theme parks close the fun is over, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! There are some great ways to enjoy more of the resort into the evening, so let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
Walt Disney World has some of the best restaurants in Florida, but many of them aren’t even located in a theme park. So while most of the parks are closing around dinner time, it’s a great chance to transfer to a Disney hotel and enjoy a meal at one of the amazing Table Service locations. Some of our favorites include California Grill and it’s amazing views of Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and the elegant European atmosphere of Topolino’s high atop Disney’s Riviera Resort. If you’re not hungry, you can try out one of the hotel lounges like Three Bridges Bar & Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Almost all Disney Deluxe and Moderate resorts have one or more Table Service restaurants and reservations can currently be made up to 60 days prior to arrival. You’ll want to make your reservation in advance as entry into all Walt Disney World hotels is restricted to hotel guests and those with dining reservations at this time.
If none of the hotel dining options suits you, or your wanting to do some shopping in the evening hours, there’s no better place at the resort than Disney Springs. This is Walt Disney World’s sprawling shopping, dining, and entertainment center with more shops and restaurants than you can experience in one evening. You can purchase everything from Disney souvenirs, to clothing, to toys, and almost everything in between. Dining offerings range from some of the most upscale Table Service at the resort to grab and go stands. There’s also a good number of fun bars and lounges perfect for relaxing after a day in the parks.
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll want to take advantage of the top-notch pools available. All Disney hotels have multiple pools and splash pads including designated quiet areas for those looking for a break from the hustle and bustle. At select resorts you can even enjoy a trip down a themed waterslide or a relaxing dip in a hot tub. Each hotel usually has at least one Feature Pool and one Leisure Pool. The Feature Pools are usually open until 9 PM, while the Leisure Pools can stay open 24 hours a day.
Movies Under The Stars
Another great perk of staying at a Walt Disney World hotel comes in the form of free outdoor movies in the evenings. On select nights, many Walt Disney World hotels host a “Movie Under The Stars” where a classic Disney movie is projected on a large inflatable movie screen. These movies are free of charge and open to all hotel guests. The viewing areas are set up in open grass areas of the hotels as well as near pools and allow guests to pick their own spot and relax while enjoying more family time. The schedules and movies change frequently, so check with the front desk at your hotel for current offerings and showtimes.
Other Area Attractions
If you’re staying in the Disney Bubble you may not be aware of all of the other offerings for families visiting Central Florida. It can be relatively difficult to find the time to squeeze in another attraction while trying to take in all that Walt Disney World has to offer, but now is a great time to reserve an evening for just that! Not all theme parks and attractions in the Orlando area are closing early right now, and there are a few like SeaWorld Orlando that are offering special evening events that can last until 10 PM or later. We also highly recommend a trip to The WHEEL at Icon Park. This massive Ferris wheel is usually open until 9 PM and offers some of the most amazing views of the area.
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