There are some seriously great evening activities for kids at Disney Resorts, which, in my opinion, makes staying on the property all that more special.
Families who are staying at a Disney Resort hotel—and families who are staying off-property completely—can enjoy activities like campfires, the electrical water pageant, and even views of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot fireworks.
For those who didn’t already know, you don’t actually need to be staying in a certain Disney hotel in order to explore it, as anyone can enter the hotel grounds to take in the incredible and unmatched Disney theming.
So whether you’re spending your holiday on Disney property or just want to experience a taste of what Disney hotels have to offer, here are some of the best evening activities for kids at the Disney resorts that will keep your little ones entertained come nightfall.
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A completely free evening activity that anyone can get involved with at Disney World Resorts is the nightly campfires. Marshmallows are free and in unlimited supply.
However, if you do want to get involved with making s’mores, you will need to purchase a s’mores kit or take your own ingredients along with you.
The campfires take place at various resorts across Disney property, from budget resorts like Disney’s All-Star Movies and Disney’s All-Star Music to Deluxe Resorts like the Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian Village.
Depending on the weather and the resort you choose to visit, the campfires typically run from 5:30 to 6:30 every evening. However, some resorts finish their campfires slightly later, at around 7 pm.
I’ve found that Disney campfires are a great way to interact with other families and children of a similar age as yours. Plus, making and trying your first s’mores is a must when visiting America.
You can find the full list of campfire locations over on the Walt Disney World website.
Movies Under the Stars
Another great activity that your kids will love is Movies Under the Stars. Only Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can attend the daily movies. But they are a fantastic way to wind down of an evening if you aren’t spending time in one of the parks.
The movies playing change from day to day—all Disney movies, of course—so it’s best to ask the reception at your hotel for the movie schedule during your stay.
Electrical Water Pageant
If you’re staying at—or visiting—the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Resort, or Contemporary Resort, then you can watch the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon from 8:25 pm to 10:30 pm every evening.
The pageant is simply a parade of floats that are all lit up in bright neon colours. But the patriotic songs that accompany the floats make it one of the best evening activities for kids at Disney Resorts.
Watch Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After Fireworks
The great thing about the Magic Kingdom fireworks is that you don’t actually have to be in Magic Kingdom to enjoy them. Sure, the fireworks are best experienced standing in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
But you can still watch the display—and hear all the music—from Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts. And the best part? You don’t need to deal with overwhelming crowds or the struggle of exiting the park with thousands of other people.
Watch Epcot’s Harmonious Fireworks
In a similar fashion, you can also watch Epcot’s Harmonious fireworks from the Boardwalk Inn and the Beach and Yacht Club resorts. I personally love watching the fireworks from these deluxe Disney resorts as it provides you with a completely different experience than if you were watching them in the park and no rush to exit either!
Character Dining Experiences
One of my favourite evening activities for kids at Disney Resorts is the character dining experience. Did you know that some of Disney’s best restaurants are actually located within the Resort hotel grounds?
Six of these restaurants are actually character dining. So, this means you can meet some of your favourite characters without even having to enter the parks!
There are a few character dining experiences throughout the resorts. And although they are slightly more expensive than other table service meals, dining with Mickey, Minnie, and other Disney characters really is one of the most unique and enjoyable experiences you can have on Walt Disney World property.
The list of Disney Resort hotel character dining locations is as follows:
- Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (temporarily closed for remodeling)
- Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort
Night Time Swims
Something we love to do when staying in a Disney Resort hotel (or any hotel in Orlando, for that matter) is have an evening/nighttime swim. Disney pools are usually open until at least 8 PM. However, during the hotter months, their opening times are often extended until 11 PM.
If you have a child, then you know full well how much kids love swimming in general. And for some reason, swimming in the dark makes it all that more exciting.
It goes without saying that if you do head for an evening swim, make sure you have your eyes on your child at all times to avoid any accidents.
Most—but not all—Disney World Resort hotels have onsite arcades that can be a great evening activity for families with kids. The arcades are filled with so many age-appropriate games so both adults and kids of all ages can battle it out to become family champions.
I personally like to save the Disney Resort hotel arcades if it is raining on an evening. But of course, arcades are fun no matter what the weather is like outside. You can check out all of Disney’s arcade locations here.
Watch the Live Entertainers Along Disney’s Boardwalk
If you’re staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, the Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Swan Hotel, or Disney’s Dolphin Hotel, then the Boardwalk is just a short distance away and has some great entertainment for you to enjoy.
Firstly, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and lounges that are dotted throughout the Boardwalk. Or you can marvel at the street performers who perform on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
You can even have your picture drawn by a caricature artist. One of my personal favourite things to do at the Boardwalk, however, is to rent a Surrey bike and cycle the entirety of Crescent Lake.
Evening Wagon Ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge
Something that’s on my Disney bucket list is an evening wagon ride over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from 6 PM to 8:30 PM, you can jump aboard a horse-drawn carriage that takes you all around the resort, departing from Pioneer Hall.
The ride lasts about 25 minutes and costs $15 for guests who are over the age of 10 and $10 for guests who are aged between 3 and 9.
Rent a Bike
And one of the final evening activities for kids at Disney Resorts is to simply rent a bike and set off exploring. Disney Resorts are expansive, and unless you dedicate a couple of hours and a few thousand steps, there is no way you’d be able to experience it all.
You can rent bikes from Old Key West, Port Orleans, Saratoga Springs, and the Fort Wilderness Resort. And don’t worry, there are both kids’ and adults’ bikes to choose from! At the Boardwalk, you can rent Surrey Bikes too – but after 8pm adults must be over 21.
If you’re looking for fun things to do that are off of Disney property for an evening, check out my article 24 Fun Things to Do in Orlando at Night with Kids.
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