There are many ways to spend your days at the Walt Disney World Resort and Parks, but there is no other way to end a day then by seeing some of the most spectacular firework displays Walt Disney World has ever had to offer.

Castle Fireworks” by Tim Taylor licensed under CC BY 2.0

Recently, the Walt Disney World Resort did retire the Wishes fireworks show at Magic Kingdom making way for new Disney World attractions. Now while there was mixed reviews for Wishes, many people were sad to see it go but excited for what was next to be offered. 

The hype was there for Happily Ever After Fireworks.  But does it live up the expectations? Where is the best places to sit? Do I need reservations? Are there any speciality parties? What should I expect? So here is you all access pass to the perfect way to end your day at the Magic Kingdom during your Disney dream vacation.

Happily Ever After Fireworks Show

Happily Ever After is the newest nighttime spectacular to take the Magic Kingdom stage! After years of vacations being closed with Wishes at the end of the night, Disney decided it was time to usher in a new show that would be able to appeal to all Disney fans young and old, and believe me it does not let anyone down.

Now Happily Ever After is not just a fireworks display but also a stunning projection show that takes place right in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  The projections include features from movies including:

  • Aladdin
  • Big Hero Six
  • Brave
  • Frozen
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Incredibles
  • The Lion King
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Moana
  • Mulan
  • Tarzan
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Toy Story
  • Up
  • Wall-e
  • Wreck it Ralph
  • Zootopia

When I say that this nighttime show has something for fans of all ages, I definitely mean it. They managed to cover decades of Disney Movies within an 18 minute projection show.  The show in the sky match perfectly with the Happily Ever After Fireworks soundtrack and projections that are on the castle.  Oh yes, that’s right! I said music! While you are enjoying the stunning you can belt out the lyrics to your favorite Disney songs!  And the new fireworks display does not let anyone down.  It is jammed back full of fireworks. 

Now if your children are afraid of loud bangs and bright flashing lights, I would steer clear of this event.  It usually happens late during the park day after night has fallen (about an hour to closing) so it is possible to leave the park early without missing much of your day. 

If you are not ready to leave, it is possible to just do an attraction that is inside like Mickey’s PhilharMagic Concert or It’s A Small World, just to get away from the sound and flashing lights.  You can also always try to do the show, but if that doesn’t work just jut over to Tomorrowland and do Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin or Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. So do not become completely discouraged.

  • DISNEY WORLD TIPS: Right after the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, there is going to be a mass exodus out of the park so BE PREPARED. Grab onto your family members.  If you are leaving with everyone else just stay close and remember that there will be a wait on the Disney buses, Ferry boats and monorails since everyone will be leaving at the same time.  If you are staying in the park then just grab onto your family members and head into the general area you want to be in.

Best Seating Areas

Now when it comes to fireworks, everyone knows it is all about location.  You are going to want to have the best view in the house. Now there is a speciality party that is going to be available for purchase, that we will get to later, but for the best free seating you have some options.

Now let’s start with behind Cinderella’s Castle.  This is a great view if you want to see just the fireworks and the fireworks alone BUT you will be missing the entire projection show.  So if you actually want to have the full view of Happily Ever After, DO NOT stand behind Cinderella’s Castle.  Unlike Wishes, this show is dependent on the projections, you lose a lot of the Disney Magic if you do not try to get the best seats possible.

So where is the by far best viewing spot? It is going to be directly in front of Cinderella’s Castle.  Like literally as close to the front as you can get is going to be the best view if you want to see the projections at their clearest.  You can always take a moment to see where the Garden Viewing Party is going to be at and then find a spot close to there to park your family and yourself to get the best view of the projection show AND the fireworks.

Now maybe you just want to see the projection show and fireworks but you also do not want to get stuck with the mass exodus that happens after the fireworks ends, you can stand anywhere along Main Street in Magic Kingdom, still get a good view of the show and be able to make your way to the exit quickly.  Now keep in mind when leaving after the fireworks there will be a long line for the monorail and ferry boats so this could be an important factor to think about for your family when attempting to end your day at Magic Kingdom.

Outside the Park Views

Yes, it is true.  Not only can you see the fireworks display within the Magic Kingdom itself, but there is also a magical secret looming within all of the Magic Kingdom Resorts within the monorail loop!  Each one of the resorts have a restaurant that specially is catered to the fireworks celebration each night.  These three restaurants all have spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks display itself and to provide you with an experience, they pipe in the soundtrack as well so the fireworks and music are totally timed just like if you were standing in front of Cinderella’s castle itself!

If you are looking to book a reservation (and I strongly recommend a reservation if you are wanting to view the fireworks from any of these locations) you’re going to be looking in 9p to 10p time frame for most parts of the year (remember park hours can always be changed so it does have some risk with it).  All three of these restaurants also take the Disney Dining Plan but it does count as a table service credit so please keep that in mind while booking as well.

  • If you are looking to eat at the Grand Floridian, you are going to want to select Narcoossee’s.  There is an outside deck area which I would recommend if you do not want any blocked views and this restaurant is worth two table service credits.
  • If you are looking to eat the the Polynesian, you are going to want to select Ohana’s.  This is worth one table credit and the food is amazing, but keep in mind that the window seating is limited here, so you might not get the view you desire but it is still very visible.
  • At the Contemporary, you are going to want to book your meal at the California Grill which is worth two table credits OR you can eat at the lounge instead which requires no reservations.  This is not a straight on look but it is a very spectacular showing.  It is personally one of my favorites.

At every resort on the monorail loop you do have one viable and wonderful option as well.  You can view the fireworks from any of the outside terraces. It is fantastic to just stop at one of the resorts, pick up a small little meal at the many lounges and kiosks around the resorts and then head outside to one of the many outdoor viewing terraces and enjoy the show from there.  It is a more affordable and less planned option than making a reservation at one of the resorts.

I always recommend at least one time viewing the fireworks from the resorts.  You may miss out on the projections, but it is just a peaceful way to end a magical day.

Happily Ever After Fireworks DESSERT PARTY, Anyone?

If you want to guarantee yourself some of the best seating in all of Magic Kingdom for the Happily Ever After Fireworks, you are going to want to reserve the Fireworks Dessert Party at Tommorowland Terrace with Garden Party Viewing.   Now keep in mind, this is a PAID event.  And since there is no current fast pass selection for the Happily Ever After Fireworks display, this is going to be your best bet to get the prime seating of the night.  But keep in mind, it is definitely pricey.

There are two separate parties going on at the same time.

  1. Standing Only Party: The first option is the standing only party.  This is the least expensive of the two options.  You will arrive at the Tommorowland Terrace and indulge in some fantastic desserts and drinks while mulling around and waiting to be escorted by a cast member to your final viewing destination in the Garden Plaza. This is going to be one of the best spots to view the entire show because remember it is not just a fireworks display but also a projection show on the front of Cinderella’s castle.  The price is $59 for an adult and $35 for a child.
  2. Seating Party:  On the other hand, if you do not want to stand for the firework display but still have one of the best views in the house, the seating party is going to be the one for you. You will arrive at the Tomorrowland Terrace where you will also dine on spectacular Happily Ever After Fireworks desserts and drinks and then be able to stay in the seating area and enjoy the view that will honestly take your breath away.  The prices for this party is $79 per adult and $47 per child.

Conclusion

So in the end you’re probably wondering should you stay for the fireworks?  Of course! This is easily a 4.75 stars on the 5 star rating scale.  Seriously, it is the ultimate way to end any night at Magic Kingdom.  And honestly, you cannot possible ruin it.  There are pros to every viewing area.  You can even splurge for the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Patty just to provide that small extra treat to the end of a long day at Magic Kingdom. 

If you are on a budget then don’t worry, grab a popcorn bucket and some drink, find the spot perfect for your family and settle in for a show that you will not forget.  Now keep in mind this isn’t the same Wishes show that everyone loved for years, but instead a new spectacular that is not just fireworks but the music and projections from some of the best Disney has to offer. 

If your small child is prone to loud banging noises, it is even possible to go to the resorts, still be able to enjoy the fireworks portions but not have to endure the loud bangs that come up when standing close by.

This is by far one of my favorite nighttime shows that Disney has to offer.  I enjoy reliving some of my favorite Disney shows, but also how they provided a visual spectacular that not only I enjoy, but my children as well.  Just keep in mind that if you are staying for the firework show to not only plan the actual show into your day, but also the time to get your family settled into a viewing spot and how you are going to end your day at the park.

Make sure you decide if you are going to want a spot close to the exit or nestled in front of the castle.  Either way the magic in the sky and Cinderella’s castle will provide memories that will last a lifetime.

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