What to Do at Walt Disney World after Dark
You have a rare opportunity during your next park visit. You’ll have downtime once the parks close!
For the next few months, Disney will close its parks earlier than usual.
So, for those people who are like me, we’ll have free time once the parks close, which has never been the case before.
Generally, at least one Disney park has stayed open until 10 p.m., leaving little wiggle room afterward.
Now that everything has changed for the moment, we should all savor it! Here are eight things to do at Disney after the parks close.
Be honest. Did you know that Disney owns and operates a pair of miniature golf courses?
I suspect that many people only realize this for two reasons. One is that a mini-golf course is near Disney’s Blizzard Beach and shares similar theming.
The other is that some Disney admission tickets clearly spell out the fact that the holder is entitled to a free round.
Frankly, Disney doesn’t advertise its mini-golf courses much because it doesn’t have to do so.
The people who want to grab a putter already know about it, and the rest are too busy at the parks to play a round anyway.
Still, you should know that Disney Imagineers have constructed two courses, Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf and Disney’s Winter Summerland.
Unsurprisingly, Winter Summerland isn’t open right now since the accompanying water park remains closed.
However, you can still play mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens until 10 p.m. nightly!
Hanging Out at the Club
Did you know that Disney hosts a couple of nightclubs on its campus?
No, Pleasure Island hasn’t returned at Walt Disney World, but park officials understand that everyone needs to unwind sometimes.
For a while now, the best spot to visit was Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk, home to all the best music from the 1980s and 1990s.
Unfortunately, Disney hasn’t reopened this club yet due to social distancing concerns.
You do have another option, though. The Edison at Disney Springs has reopened, at least partially.
You cannot get on the dance floor and shake your stuff just yet. You can watch one of The Edison’s remarkable performers entertain you, though.
The workers here play torch song sets sometimes. On other occasions, they show off their acrobatic moves.
If you hang out at The Edison long enough, you may get both. It’s not quite the same as a night of dancing, but you’ll still have fun.
Watch a Movie
Yes, movie theaters have reopened, including most of the cineplexes run by AMC Theatres.
For Disney fans, arguably the most extraordinary AMC location is at Disney Springs. Yes, it’s back!
The AMC DINE-IN Disney Springs 24 reopened on August 20th, albeit with some significant changes.
The exhibitor has introduced stark social distancing measures, including a reduction in capacity by 30 percent.
Also, nobody will deliver your food within the theater now. So, if you’re like me and got spoiled on dinner with your show, you’ll need to readjust plans.
The theater still sells food, but AMC offers a streamlined (read: small) menu for the time being.
Finally, I should mention that out of everything I discuss here, watching a movie in theaters is the one that makes me feel the least safe.
Personally, I wouldn’t do it yet, but I understand that others feel differently. If so, you can watch new titles like Tenet and The New Mutants right now.
Swim at the Pool
Over the years, I’ve noticed a divide in Disney fan communities.
Some people feel strongly about swimming each day while others think it’s a waste of park time.
With the parks closing early, you’re not sacrificing anything in terms of opportunity cost. You have that free time to swim, so use it!
Many Disney resort pools feature remarkably detailed theming, and some are comically spacious.
Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club Villas and the Volcano Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are both pools you should have on your Disney bucket list.
In fact, I’d throw the Lost City of Cibola pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort on that list, too.
Bring your swimsuit, everybody! You’ll finally have a chance to use it. Oh, and did I mention that the pool bars sell boat drinks? You’re sold, right?
Here’s a suggestion that isn’t quite what it seems. Yes, you can and should spend part of your downtime at Disney Springs.
While there, you’ll feel overwhelmed with shopping opportunities. Most places have reopened, and they have terrific deals to entice shoppers.
However, I have a slightly different suggestion, too.
Have you ever visited one of the Disney Character Warehouse stores in Orlando?
At these stores, you’ll find merchandise from Disney parks. The catch is that this stuff didn’t sell well, leaving the company with excess inventory.
Disney transfers these goods to the outlet stores, where the products sell for a fraction of the price.
Yes, bargain shoppers should have a special tingle right now at the thought of the available deals.
Orlando locals know that they get much better bang for the buck at the Disney Character Warehouses than in the parks.
Seriously, some stuff sells for 70-80 percent off the park price.
As an FYI, the Character Warehouses haven’t reopened yet, but the expectation is that they’ll return anytime now.
In fact, some cast members thought they would return last week. So, it won’t be long before they’re back.
Do the Splits
No, I don’t mean literally. I’m referencing Splitsville Luxury Lanes, the Table Service Restaurant and bowling alley at Disney Springs.
This place provides as much entertainment value as anywhere in the area.
You don’t even need to love bowling to have a good time at Splitsville!
Televisions are seemingly everywhere in this two-story building, making it a sneaky-great place to watch your favorite televised sporting events.
Of course, you’re really here to dine and bowl, and this place is perfect for it.
You remember how everyone in children’s sports would go get pizza after the game?
Splitsville is a lot like that, only you’re playing the sport at the pizza place. And some unexpectedly impressive fine dining options are available, too.
So, you can bowl, eat, and watch tv to your heart’s content. Now is the perfect time to fall in love with the greatness of Splitsville.
Savor Disney Dining
Whatever a foodie is, I’m the opposite of that. I’m not a fan of most flavors to the point where I only eat about 15 foods…total.
Somehow, when I’m at Walt Disney World, palate expands from that of a finicky four-year-old to a somewhat evolved eight-year-old.
Yes, I’m still having a burger and fries a lot, but I’ll mix in some Korean BBQ, too.
So, I speak from experience when I state emphatically that some of the best dining in the south is available at Walt Disney World.
During a regular park day, you may not have the time and energy to explore much of the culinary offerings.
When the parks close early, you have plenty of time to explore and treat yourself, though.
This is your time to shine! Target some Walt Disney World resorts for dining opportunities, but don’t forget Disney Springs while you’re there!
Seriously, places like The BOATHOUSE, The Polite Pig, T-REX, and Earl of Sandwich will fit any budget but leave you blown away by the meal quality.
Also, an important consideration right now is that many Disney Springs restaurants include outdoor seating. You’ll feel safe while you eat, too!
Leave the Disney Bubble
Out of all the suggestions I mention here, this one might be the idea you’d never considered.
Many vacationers reach Walt Disney World and promptly forget that the outside world exists. That’s why people describe the area as the Disney Bubble.
With your extra spare time, you might take a different approach, though. You may want to explore Orlando a bit more.
You could ride The Wheel at ICON Park or try some of the dining and shopping options outside the Bubble.
In fact, some nightclubs have reopened in Orlando, too. And since the area relies so much on tourism, you’ll do the city a favor by trying some new stuff.
Ordinarily, I’m a firm believer that you should never leave the Bubble unless you’re spending 10+ days at Disney.
2020 is a special circumstance, though.