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The nighttime shows you don’t want to skip

Most guests know about the nighttime spectaculars in Walt Disney World® Resort like Happily Ever After, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, Fantasmic, and Rivers of Light, but most of the parks are filled with other, smaller shows that can’t be missed.

Tree of Life Awakenings

The enormous tree that stretches out from the center of the park visually transforms itself in a way that mimics what Cinderella Castle does during Happily Ever After. Set to a moving score, the entire tree is illuminated with moving animals and vibrant colors. The visual on the tree is swapped out by a group of fireflies every ten minutes, so it’s a great sight to stop and watch while moving between attractions.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks

Set at 8:30 every night, the firework spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®runs close to the 8 p.m. showing of Fantasmic, but if you’ve already seen the elaborate nighttime show or have an extra night on your trip, the Star Wars-themed show is a must-see. It’s perfect for fans of the franchise with its familiar scores and projections on the Chinese Theatre façade, but it doesn’t go so deep into Star Wars that it would isolate those unfamiliar with it.

Once Upon a Time Castle Projection Show

The projection show that preceded the creation of Happily Ever After, Once Upon a Time now follows the conclusion of the new fireworks spectacular on Cinderella Castle. Narrated by Mrs. Potts as she reads a bedtime story to Chip, the show takes guests through scenes from classic Disney films. It’s short enough that on extended park nights you can easily get right back to riding attractions.

The Kiss Goodnight

This is the real gym of nighttime shows in Walt Disney World®Resort, a special event that so few guests know about that the hub in front of the castle is practically empty when it begins. It’s a “thank you” from Magic Kingdom® Park, one that typically plays 30 minutes after the park has hit its closing hour. Main Street and the Emporium are still open, and are really the only places in the park where you can see that just-over-2-minute show. It’s simple and bittersweet, and spoiling it here would only spoil the experience of seeing it for the first time in person. It’s the perfect way to cap off a long day in one of the world’s most famous theme parks, and ranks at the very top of the list of must-see shows.

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