7 Tricks for Getting the Most out of Disney World Fireworks

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Credit: Disney

Disney fireworks are vibrant spectacles that elicit a euphoric response from children and adults alike. A perfect way to top off a perfect day, no Disney vacation would be complete without viewing these dynamic, pyrotechnic extravaganzas. Always a must-see, these fireworks shows tell stories through synchronized song and dialogue. Dazzling displays of bursting color light up the night sky at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios in separate, one-of-a-kind shows, reminding us that though many have tried, no one else is able to deliver the breathtaking magic of a fireworks show like Disney does. Let’s take a look at 7 tricks for getting the most out of Disney World fireworks!

7. Consider Your Company/Surroundings

Do you have small children in your group? Fireworks can be awfully overwhelming to sensitive kiddos who might not be able to comprehend that they’re not in danger as these bright lights burst above them with a thundering boom. If you aren’t certain what their reaction will be, perhaps positioning yourself a bit of a distance away from the show is your best bet. Watching from afar will make the noise less frightening, and if they begin to panic you can always duck into the nearest souvenir shop or attraction. The closer you are standing to the main show, the larger the crowds and the harder it will be to escape should they become upset.

6. Arrive Early

If you want a prime viewing spot, you’ve got to get there early! Just like the afternoon parades, people want to be front and center once the entertainment begins, and grabbing the “best seat in the house” is near impossible once the show actually begins. Because firework times can differ from day to day, make sure you pick up your show time guide on your way into the park. Plan to position yourself at your preferred viewing spot anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before the show begins. If you have kids in your group, don’t forget to have something to entertain them while they wait with you.

5. Watch from a Nearby Disney Resort

One of the greatest things about fireworks is being able to see them from quite a distance away. While viewing Wishes Nighttime Spectacular from the hub of Cinderella Castle is an experience like no other, you will still get a great show even if you aren’t inside the park itself! Some locations at the neighboring resorts even pipe the music through nearby speakers for your viewing pleasure. To get a wonderful view of fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, check out the Contemporary Resort’s Grand Concourse balcony (4th floor) where you’ll find a designated fireworks viewing spot. The beaches at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds as well as the boat deck at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa are also great places to watch. If you are at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort around the time of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, head to the bridge connecting this resort to Epcot and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Though not an unobstructed view, you’ll be able to catch Epcot’s nightly fireworks here.

4. View from a Disney Restaurant

If you can, book dinner reservations that offer a great view of Cinderella Castle or Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon, ensuring they coincide with the nightly fireworks show! Some of my favorite locations for the Magic Kingdom fireworks include the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill as well as the Grand Floridian’s Narcoossee’s. Both restaurants have a supreme outdoor viewing spot designated for patrons only, or you can watch the fireworks show from the comfort of your own table. At Epcot, the United Kingdom Pavilion’s Rose and Crown Pub as well as the Mexico Pavilion’s La Hacienda de San Angel are right on the water, making these dining locations ideal for catching Illuminations.

3. Book a Fireworks Dessert Party

There are two Fireworks Dessert Parties mentioned on the official Disney World website—Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom and Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot. Both promise VIP seating with a stellar view of the nightly fireworks display, all the while giving you the option of stuffing yourself silly with the most delectable desserts known to mankind. These viewing parties are pure indulgence, guaranteeing a feast for your eyes as well as your stomachs. If you are fortunate enough to book a reservation, you won’t have to worry about jockeying for a spot among the crowds of spectators as you have a guaranteed designated spot just for you with a perfect view! For available dates and to secure a reservation, visit the Walt Disney World’s website.

2. Time it During Outdoor Ride/Attraction

I happened upon this experience completely by mistake and managed to witness some of Wishes while flying through the air on the Dumbo ride. The view was spectacular as the fireworks were bursting directly above me and I thought, “Now THIS is how you watch the fireworks!” There are plenty of outdoor rides/attractions around Disney property that would make the PERFECT viewing spot for the fireworks—the only problem is you won’t be able to catch the fireworks in their entirety due to the short length of most attractions. But if you are able to time it right you will be in for an exhilarating experience, guaranteed! The most notable rides to be on during the Wishes fireworks show include Dumbo The Flying Elephant, Astro Orbiter, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. If you are at Downtown Disney, you can potentially score the best seat in the house as you soar high in your tethered balloon during Characters in Flight. From this elevation, you could see any of the three parks’ fireworks shows!

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1. Book a Fireworks Cruise

I had the opportunity to take a fireworks cruise during the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular with just two other family members and the boat captain. I was incredibly excited to be able to see the show from the vantage point of the Seven Seas Lagoon and could enjoy snacks and drinks while we watched. Seeing the bright lights of the fireworks reflecting off the waters around us was magnificent and I will never forget this one-of-a-kind experience. The boat captain then took her time bringing us back to the Contemporary Resort’s dock, giving us facts and trivia as we toured the quiet waters of Bay Lake. There are two Wishes Fireworks Cruise packages, a basic and premium, the only difference being that the premium package comes with an audio feed of the music and allows for up to 10 guests (as opposed to the basic package’s allotment of 8 guests). Also available is the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage which sets sail from Disney’s Contemporary Resort and includes an immersive swashbuckling experience for your little ones. This event begins with cookies, snacks and beverages before you set out on the water with your pirate guide. There are also character appearances from Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and Peter Pan himself. Last but not least, you can book an Illuminations Fireworks Cruise which also includes snacks and beverages for your enjoyment while you watch the phenomenal show. Booking these cruises in advance is highly recommended and can be done on the Walt Disney World website.

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Kelly B

Full time mommy and writer. I love to eat dessert first and have dance parties in my living room with my two kiddies. I have an affinity for strong coffee, Disney and dreaming up fantastical bedtime stories. I love pointing to the night sky and telling my daughter the crescent moon is the Cheshire Cat smiling at us.

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