The animals are sleeping and don't respond too well to fireworks. Time to take your night party somewhere else as the park closes usually at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., but some nights as early as 5 p.m. through August.
Best place to catch the sunset: Everest, on your climb up the mountain, although getting up close to the Tree of Life with a turning sky can be nice. Still, the sun will be setting after the park closes most of the summer. Mark your calendars for Aug. 21, as that's the first night the sun sets at 8 p.m. at Disney.
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Much like Epcot's World Showcase, the lit-up sets for New York and San Francisco make for a nice nighttime stroll. On the other side of quaint is the flashing cacophany of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, which can be seen lighting up the park for miles around. Riding that at night is like hitching a ride on an electric current.
The Men in Black building also stands out as an interesting facade when lit up with its twin New York World's Fair spaceships that conjure up the memorable finale from the first film.
Universal's Cinematic Spectacular, though, is the big nighttime draw. The show that celebrates 100 years of movies debuted in 2012 and features sheets of water onto which are projected clips from Universal films accompanied by colorful, synchronized fountains, pyrotechnics, music and the narration of Morgan Freeman. It's in the Universal Studios lagoon, so there's several vantage points to catch the show.
Best place to catch the sunset: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit gives a great view of Orlando any time of the day, but there's no better place to catch the sun dipping than this ride, and it has its own soundtrack. Try entering the apropos hidden track code 129 for Journey's Wheel in the Sky.
The park is open until 10 p.m. until Aug. 10 and then open until 9 p.m. the rest of the month.
There's no other part of Islands of Adventure to goes hand-in-hand with nighttime than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just moving about the streets and shops after dark really increases the experience of having left the real world and having entering something mysterious and magical. IOA though closes earlier than its sister park and so the summertime after-dark experience is limited to less than an hour of your day there.
Best place to catch the sunset: Dr. Doom's Fearfall gets you to a great height, but you have to probably wait more than an hour in the dark tunnel queue, so you might just miss it. The Incredible Hulk Coaster gets you high enough and moves a little faster. Just hanging out at the edge of the The Islands of Adventure lagoon after coming through the Port of Entry gives you a nice view of the west at sunset. Still, you might enjoy the creeping shadows getting longer while sipping on a Butterbeer up Harry's way the best.
The park is open until 9 p.m. until Aug. 17, and then closes at 8 p.m. most nights through the end of August.
SeaWorld rolls out Summer Nights from June to August each year and the mix of the park's vast water-based attractions with the nighttime air can make it one of the most refreshing park experiences in Orlando.
The main draw is the Shamu Rocks show, which is a lot more fun and amped up than the daytime show of One Ocean. Both roller coasters, though, offer a great visual experience of the park after dark. Manta is head-first of course, but Kraken gives you a great towering view of the park and International Drive in the distance.
The park is open until 10 p.m. through Aug. 11 before pulling back hours to close at 8 p.m. or 7 p.m., although it's open until 10 p.m. on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 as well.
Best place to catch the sunset: Kraken has a great climb building up to the drop that gives you time to enjoy the view before you lose your breath. But for the nonthrillseekers, there's the 400-foot Sky Tower, which is now included with park admission. Another good spot is the pearl diving alcove, more specifically the walkway above the divers, with a great view of Shamu Stadium across the lagoon.
So if you're willing to tackle the park's heat during the day, keep these sweet spots in mind for the twilight hours and after. It can end up being the coolest part of your day.