4 ‘Must See’ Nighttime Shows at Disney World

Cinderella's Castle - Photo by Silver Pin Studios

When the sun goes down at Walt Disney World, the nighttime magic begins. There are several nightly events that take place all over Disney World, and for most of them, all you have to do is find a good seat or spot along the parade route, and get ready for some spectacular entertainment. You can watch Tinker Bell fly over Cinderella’s Castle, be entertained by Mickey Mouse in a awesome production of “Fantasmic”, enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade, and all eyes are on the skies during the dazzling fireworks display. Nighttime at Disney World is all about music, bright lights, and Magic!

4. “Wishes” Spectacular Fireworks Show — Magic Kingdom — This nightly fireworks display begins with a fanciful flight by Tinker Bell directly over Cinderella’s Castle. Her flight ignites the beginning of an extravaganza of sights and sounds like no other in all of Disney World. Jiminy Cricket narrates the entire show, featuring the music and characters from Disney classic films, such as Pinocchio, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Aladdin. The Blue Fairy joins Jiminy in celebrating the power of believing through a most wondrous display of pyrotechnical genius. This amazing exhibition of music, fireworks, and storytelling will keep you spellbound for almost 15 minutes, and will create a memory that will last forever.

3. Illuminations—Reflections of Earth—Epcot — World Showcase — Guests begin lining up around the Showcase Lagoon several hours before the show time of 9:00pm. This incredible production takes place on the waters of the lagoon and celebrates the past, present, and future of Earth, using dazzling fireworks and colorful laser lights. From the volcanic beginnings of Earth, through the history of humanity and achievements of our time, to comets of light soaring toward the future, the audience is mesmerized with the sounds and beautiful light displays taking place before their eyes. The spirit of humankind is represented so graciously and with such a joyous celebration that it becomes difficult to imagine any tragedy or turmoil emanating from this awesome planet, Earth. The entire family will enjoy the music, lights, and majesty of this breathtaking presentation! Make sure you put this on your “to do” list at Walt Disney World. You’ll be glad you did!

2. Fantasmic — Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Fantasmic is an extremely popular nighttime production presented on select nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It begins with Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice beckoning the characters from popular Disney classics, including Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, The Lion King, and Aladdin to come to life. As the story progresses, the Evil Queen from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs calls upon Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Scar, and a malicious Maleficent to turn Mickey’s dream into a nightmare. But wait! With a cast of 50 costumed performers singing and acting, life-sized props, fantastic pyrotechnics, laser lights, classic Disney scenes projected on walls of water, and the use of imagination, Mickey’s dream comes true, and of course, everyone lives happily ever after! Fantasmic is a thrilling adventure for the entire family, a definite “must see”!

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1. Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade — Magic Kingdom — This unique parade has quite a bit of history at Walt Disney World. It ran from 1977-1991. It was replaced by the “SpectroMagic” parade, which ran from 1991-1999, then reopened in 2001 and ended on June 4, 2010. In 2010, the Main Street Electrical Parade reopened at Walt Disney World as part of a 2010 promotional package, “Summer Nightastic!” It has been so popular that, as of this writing, it is on an “open-ended” run.

This parade is one of the most entertaining, musical, brightly lit parades I have ever had the privilege of viewing. There are glowing, spinning, gliding floats featuring popular Disney movies and characters. Tinker Bell opens the show in a float depicting a beautiful glowing floral arrangement, and Tink is riding in a hot air balloon. She is accompanied by other fairies all lit up, wings and all. Mickey Mouse is next riding atop a huge drum bearing the “Main Street Electrical Parade” Title, which is being pulled by a steam engine with Goofy as the engineer, and Minnie Mouse as a passenger. This is just the beginning of an elaborate display of whimsical, brightly lit floats all depicting classic Disney films. In between the character floats there are spinning, turning, caterpillars, snails, grasshoppers, and other lovable creatures, all covered with multi-colored lights. There are literally millions of lights covering the floats and the characters as they make their way down Main Street all the way to Frontierland. This parade which has been around for almost 40 years still attracts millions of visitors every year, and each night the audiences are thrilled and line up for hours before it begins to get a good viewing spot. It brings out the spirit of youth in all of us and sparks that child-like innocence we enjoy reliving. You would be hard pressed to find anyone not moving or dancing to the beat of the magical music! It is an absolute awesome way to end your day at the Magic Kingdom!

Helpful Hint — One of the least congested places to view this parade is near the end in Frontierland near Pecos Bill’s Inn and Café. The street is narrower than Main Street, so you get a really “up close and personal” view of each float, plus the characters walking along the route are more likely to present you with a great photo-op!

Whether you have the opportunity to experience one or all of these nighttime productions, you will have a memory that will stay with you forever, and you will have gorgeous pictures and fantastic stories to tell all your friends and family when you get home.

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Related Articles:

– 8 Must See Rides and Attractions At Epcot

– 7 Fabulous ‘Must See’ Attractions in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Silver Pin Studios

About Cecilia

I am a working mother of four adult children, 2 granddogs, and one grandcat. I have been a Disney fanatic since 1959, when my parents took my sister and I on a journey across the country to Disneyland. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and this became our vacation destination for the next 10 years. Later, when Walt Disney World was opened, we travelled to Florida and discovered a whole new Disney experience, and WDW became our new vacation destination. Now, our extended family members are all Disney Fanatics and always ready to talk about anything Disney.

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