There's no better way to cap off a fun day of riding rides and experiencing attractions at the Orlando theme parks than with a spectacular nighttime show. Don't leave the parks too early, or you may miss the best show of the day, since they only happen after the sun goes down. From explosive fireworks to high-tech projection effects, there's never a dull moment during these incredible displays. Here are the best nighttime shows to catch at the Orlando parks right now.
Universal’s Cinematic Celebration at Universal Studios Florida
Orlando's newest nighttime show can only be found in the lagoon at Universal Studios Florida at the Universal Orlando Resort. Grab your spot in the new, specially designed viewing area located in Central Park, and prepare to be blown away by an exciting celebration of the characters and films of Universal Studios. Dance along with DreamWork's Trolls, get into some mischief with the Minions and ride along with the family of Fast & Furious as your favorite characters are projected onto multiple layers of massive water screens. Watch in awe as more than a hundred colorful fountains dance and sway along to the music and pyrotechnic effects explode in the air. Just like any good cinematic experience, the new show is full of heart, humor and adventure, offering something special for every member of your family.
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
After the sun sets at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Hogwarts Castle comes alive with state-of-the-art projection mapping combined with special effects and lighting. The show celebrates the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Members of each of the houses in your family can show off their spirit as the iconic castle is transformed with the colors and iconic elements of each house. You might find yourself moved by pieces of the delightful score from the Harry Potter film series, now in a completely new arrangement created specifically for this presentation. This incredible shows runs on select nights throughout the year, and plays multiple times a night, beginning at dusk. Be sure to grab yourself a frosty mug of Butterbeer before finding your spot to enjoy the show!
Happily Ever After at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
The biggest fireworks spectacular in Orlando, Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom combines the latest in fireworks, projection mapping, original music and more. Cinderella’s Castle is brought to life with stunning colorful designs and hand-drawn animation that is projected right onto the front of the structure. The real star here is the fireworks, and Happily Ever After features the most fireworks ever presented in a Walt Disney World nightly show! Classic Disney songs, a new musical score and a brand new song created just for this show play against scenes from your favorite Disney films, including Moana, Aladdin and so many more. Plus, it wouldn't be a Magic Kingdom nighttime spectacular without seeing Tinkerbell make her way down from the castle at the end. Stick around after the show for another special presentation at the castle called Once Upon a Time.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot
Experience the wonder and magic of Illuminations, showing every night around the World Showcase Lagoon in Walt Disney World's Epcot. The show tells the story of Earth's past, present and future with the aid of amazing fireworks, laser effects and a 350,000-pound Earth globe, which was the first spherical video display ever created. This energetic show also features huge fiery explosions and fireballs that are launched 60 feet into the air. In addition to the entire spectacle, this demonstration is also full of heart. With a moving original score, and narration by actor Jim Cummings – the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and many other beloved characters – prepare to have your heartstrings tugged. You can watch Illuminations from any of the nations around the lagoon, or reserve a spot by booking a FastPass+ in advance.
Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Prepare to be dazzled by light on Discovery River in Disney's Animal Kingdom during Rivers of Light. It's a unique mix of live performers, floating set pieces, water projections and more, creating a celebration of animals and nature. Walls of water showcase footage of wild animals from around the world, while brilliantly illuminated boats and floating scenery move around in a perfectly choreographed ballet. There are more than 50,000 color-changing LED lights on the four animal floats seen during the show. It's a spellbinding mix of song, light, and vivid colors you'll never forget. Recently, the park began offering a special dessert party which includes VIP seating for the Rivers of Light show, in addition to tasty snacks, mixed drinks and decadent desserts you can't find anywhere else!