Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Rides to Experience at Night – Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort, while magical during the day, takes on a whole different kind of magic after dark. The Park and rides that we know and love develop a different feel once the sun goes down and the stars appear. If you are anything like me, you soak up every minute of magic at the park, staying as late as you possibly can and enjoying every experience along the way.


As such a big fan of this nighttime magic, I have compiled a list of my favorite rides to experience at night. For this particular post, I chose to stick to the rides at Disneyland Resort, mostly because that is where I have the most Disney experience. Whether you’ve been to the parks before, or you are trying to plan your first trip there, I hope this post can help you experience a little more magic!

Top 10 Rides to Experience at Night (Disneyland Resort)

10. Hollywood Tower of Terror

This ride ranks lower on my top 10 because a majority of the ride takes place inside and therefore makes it difficult to really say what is so amazing about it at night. When it comes down to it, the Hollywood Tower Hotel just looks really amazing when it is all lit up at night and the elevator shaft doesn’t have any sunlight peeking through, making it just a bit more thrilling!

9. California Screamin’

Depending on the showings of World of Color, this ride often closes down before it gets too dark, so you have to get to it quick! With the tunnels all lit up and the pier glowing it can be quite an exciting ride.

8. Mad Tea Party (Teacups)

The Mad Tea Party really becomes a party at night with the lights out on the floor swirling and changing along with the music. It can make your experience a bit more dizzy, but it’s definitely worth it!

Mad Tea Party Night

7. Mickey’s Fun Wheel

I am terrified of Ferris Wheels, but even I have to admit that the view looks amazing at night. You get quite the view of California Adventure, Disneyland, Downtown Disney, and even some of the surrounding areas. As with California Screamin’ you have to make sure you get to this ride quick depending on the scheduling for World of Color.

6. Autopia

Disney has done a great job of making you feel as if you are actually driving through a small town at night. Even better, by the time its dark out a lot of families with kids have gone home and/or are watching shows! What does this mean for you? Fewer people waiting in line for Autopia. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the hot sun beating down on you!

5. Splash Mountain

The only reason that this wonderful ride did not rank higher is because I have a really difficult time dealing with being soaking wet when it is cold and dark out, but that could just be me. There are many different amazing things about riding Splash Mountain after dark. The first would have to be that the line is usually shorter at night because so many people don’t want to get wet and cold. However, the coolest part about riding Splash Mountain at night is that if you time it just right you can get an amazing view of Fantasmic! or the evening fireworks while on the ride.

4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain has some really awesome lighting and visual effects at night. Like some of the other rides, the darkness also adds to the thrill factor. This is another cool one to be on when the nighttime entertainment is going as you can get quick glimpses of them from the ride vehicle. I have to say that the new improvements that they have made to the ride look especially great at night!

3. Radiator Springs Racers (… or really all of Cars Land)

Like Melissa said earlier this week, Cars Land at night is absolutely amazing! I wanted to choose a ride from this area of the park, but it was difficult to make a decision as to which ride to pick. I decided on Radiator Springs Racers because of the fact that you can really enjoy being outside and seeing a lot more than you can on any other ride in this area. Seriously, you should check it out.

2. Jungle Cruise

I love the Jungle Cruise for everything from the corny jokes to the peaceful pace. What is generally one of my favorite rides during the day becomes a whole new exciting adventure at night. When the sun sets this ride can become almost spooky as you sail forward into the darkness and all of the iconic scenes look a bit different when lit by the moon. However, the reason that Jungle Cruise earned my number two spot on this Top 10 list is because often the jokes will change at night. When the younger children leave the park and the population becomes more adult, the jokes can become a little more adult too. It can be fun to hear a whole different script than earlier in your day!

1. The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is by far my favorite ride to experience at night. The inner tracks become even darker and the twists and drops become more unpredictable, adding to the thrill. The outer tracks give you a beautiful view of Disneyland nightlife. Tomorrowland and Fantasyland when lit are beautiful sights and this ride provides you with a bird’s eye view of the whole thing. Besides that, some of the visual effects of the Matterhorn, such as the snow on the initial lift and the glowing crystals, become more visible the darker it gets.

Matterhorn at night

Let us know some of your favorite attractions to ride at night in the comments!

– Melissa Hoyt

3 replies »

Leave a Reply