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New Ways to Light Up Summer Nights at Walt Disney World

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This summer, Walt Disney World is offering guests all-new nighttime experiences. From a street party in the African village of Harambe, to late night drinks and small plates around Epcot's World Showcase, visitors are able to keep the celebrations going long after the theme parks have closed. Here's what's on tap:

Harambe Nights marks the first time that Disney's Animal Kingdom has jumped into the after-hours business -- after all, animals go to bed early. But on Saturday nights this summer, Animal Kingdom will close at 7 PM and the Harambe Nights party will begin. Including African-inspired food and beverages, meet-and-greets with Disney characters, signings with Disney Design Group artists, and dancing to live Afro-pop music, the event begins with a special showing of the new show "The Lion King: Concert in the Wild." A live orchestra and celebrity narrator will bring a unique twist to each show.

Harambe Nights is a specially-ticketed event, running $119 (plus tax) for adults and $79.00 (plus tax) for children. View more information and event dates at Disney's official website.

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party offers a little extra festivity to Epcot's nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth spectacular. There will be sparkling fireworks and sparkling wine at this event, which includes desserts from the host nations around World Showcase Lagoon as well as an assortment of beverages. The dessert party includes a VIP viewing area for IllumiNations, near the World Showcase/Future World bridge, and begins at 7:45 PM on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the summer. Prices are $49 for adults and $29 for children.

Reservations for IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party can be made at the website.

Epcot After Hours Wind Down is a unique event for the foodie that isn't ready to go home at 9 PM. After IllumiNations, four select restaurants around World Showcase Lagoon play host to guests in the After Hours Wind Down: La Cava del Tequila, the Rose & Crown Pub, Spice Road Table, and Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. Guests can choose a reservation at any one of the restaurants, and from about 9:15 to 11 PM, enjoy a beverage flight and a selection of small plates for $35 per person. Additional beverages and snacks can be purchased as well. Afterwards, guests can enjoy a tranquil walk through Epcot long after everyone else has gone home for the night.

Reservations for Epcot After Hours Wind Down can be made at the website.

Of course, Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests will still be able to stay out late all summer long, thanks to Extra Magic Hours. With one park opening an hour early or staying open two hours late every day just for Disney Resort hotel guests, at least three nights a week you'll often find a theme park open until 11 PM or later. In fact, the Magic Kingdom often offers Extra Magic Hours as late as 2 or 3 AM on Sunday nights throughout the season.

For more information on special summer activities at Walt Disney World Resort, visit their Summer Festival and Events page, or contact your travel agent.

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