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Complete Guide to Disney World Fireworks

This article is your complete guide to Disney World fireworks! One of the largest appeals of vacationing at Walt Disney World has always been the breathtaking fireworks displays that light up the skies every single day. Best part is, they’re free shows! As long as weather permits, with a valid ticket to either Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Epcot! With shows like Fantasmic! and Happily Ever After, there is sure to be a favorite at Walt Disney World.

With three out of the four parks having Disney firework shows, there’s so much that you need to know! From fireworks schedules changing daily, crowds, weather tips and exclusive ticketed fireworks dessert parties – there are so many things! That’s why we are here to breakdown all you need to know about Walt Disney World Fireworks.

We hope you find this post helpful, and if you are planning a trip to Disney be sure to check out our other free Disney planning resources! And be sure to go check out our partners at The Park Prodigy for the latest Disney World deals!

Tips and Tricks for the BEST viewing of Walt Disney World Fireworks

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Like any show at Walt Disney World, crowds are the hardest part to navigate if you plan on having a great spot to view the Disney fireworks. This is what we recommend to have the best spot to see any fireworks show inside of Walt Disney World.

Arrive Early

The best way to guarantee a spot to watch the most sought out fireworks shows is to ARRIVE EARLY! Happily Ever After is displayed directly on Cinderella Castle, meaning the viewing space for guests is directly on the castle hub! This is the relatively small area directly in front of the castle, which fills up very quickly. Our best advice is to arrive to arrive at least one hour prior to your desired show time.

The best part about Disney is that there are never snack booths too far from anything! If you’re worried about wasting time or possibly getting too hungry while you wait for the fireworks display, have one person save your spot and then send the rest of the family for snacks, like Mickey pretzels, cotton candy or popcorn! As crowds start filling in closer to the show, it becomes nearly impossible to stake a good spot. Get all of your favorite, must-do rides done beforehand, and then get your fireworks spot! There is nothing like being directly in front of Cinderella Castle watching Happily Ever After with an unobstructed view. Make sure you get the best spot possible.

Check the Weather

Weather is a huge factor if it will be an enjoyable fireworks experience at Walt Disney World. Disney Fireworks displays RARELY get cancelled due to weather in Florida. So, as long as it is safe, fireworks are on. With that being said, many people do not like to view fireworks in a downpour. Make sure you are checking weather apps frequently throughout the day!

Walt Disney World has been known to delay fireworks if there are lightning strikes in the area, but even in a Central Florida downpour, most shows will continue on. But know that, most of the popular shows are done at night and typically longer than 15 minutes. That means for an extended period of time you may get rained on, potentially with a heavy downpour! You may need a poncho, sweater or umbrella to have an enjoyable experience. If there are high winds, Walt Disney World will cancel their displays, so make sure to have the My Disney Experience app downloaded for all changes or delays.

Avoid the Holidays

Walt Disney World may seem like the perfect place to celebrate the holidays with built in fireworks shows. The downfall is that everyone wants to be at the Magical Place on Earth, so almost every holiday comes with extreme crowds. The Fourth of July has specifically always been a holiday that puts the parks at maximum capacity for the dazzling display of patriotic fireworks. Unless this is a bucket list activity for you, we would recommend skipping the parks and choosing a day with less demand and lower crowds. Luckily, there are exclusive ticketed events for some holidays like Halloween (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and Christmas (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) that offers lower crowds with spectacular fireworks shows that will hopefully returning by 2022.

If you are looking to see what are the best days to visit Walt Disney World in general, you can read about that in our guide for the Best Days to Visit Walt Disney World here.

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

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NEWS: Brand new fireworks display announced for Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration, “Disney’s Enchantment,” to start October 1st, 2021.

UPDATE: Happily Ever After Fireworks Show will be returning July 1st, 2021 to the Magic Kingdom park. This is the only show announced to be returning to the Magic Kingdom since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Magic Kingdom is the park that everyone thinks of when they are looking to travel to Walt Disney World.

The firework shows offered at the Magic Kingdom park are:

  • Happily Ever After
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Fourth of July Fireworks Display
  • Special events – Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular & Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  • NEW Disney’s Enchantment 50th Celebration Fireworks Spectacular

Happily Ever After

All Disney fans can agree that Happily Ever After is the ultimate celebration of Disney stories. This 18 minute long dazzling journey brings us through many of our favorite Disney moments celebrating all of our favorite characters, songs and events with lasers, music, projections and of course, fireworks! You will be captivated by the use of amazing Disney technology projected on Cinderella castle perfectly in sync with a captivating score and incredible fireworks display. This is a MUST SEE Disney fireworks display and will encourage any Disney lover to follow their dreams, trust their hearts and find a Happily Ever After.

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time show is the precursor for Happily Ever After using the same state of the art castle projection technology and pyro techniques. This beautiful story is narrated by Beauty and the Beast’s Mrs. Potts as she tells Chip a captivating bedtime story. Running 14 minutes long, this enchanting story sweeps you throughout the Disney universe, with scenes from Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and so much more!

Fourth of July Fireworks Display

Independence Day has always been a crowd favorite at the most Magical Place on Earth. With incredible events that run both July 3rd and July 4th, usually sending Magic Kingdom to maximum capacity. Magic Kingdom park has been home to the “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” Set at 9:15 PM both nights, the sky is emboldened with a beautiful fireworks display running for 14 minutes right above Cinderella Castle. The patriotic musical selection evokes a sense of pride with an exclusive Independence Day score allowing for all who are watching to feel bold with red, white and blue.

NEW Disney’s Enchantment – Opening October 1st, 2021

Disney is pulling out all the stops when it comes to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration starting October 1st, 2021. That means, a newly imagined fireworks spectacular dazzling Magic Kingdom park in a way we’ve never seen before. For the first time in forever, projections will be played on Cinderella Castle and extended to the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A. creating the most magically immersive experience yet. We can expect so many new, exciting features. Such as, a captivating musical composition, stunning fireworks and incredible technology coming to Magic Kingdom later this year.

Magic Kingdom Special Ticketed Events Shows

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Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular

UPDATE: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party will NOT be talking place 2021 and will be replaced by Boo Bash. Read more about Boo Bash here.

During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, our host, Jack Skellington, from The Nightmare Before Christmas takes us on a Trick or Treating adventure with our favorites Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy! This spectacular showcases all of our favorite villains, spooky dancing skeletons and ghosts causing eerie fun for our favorite pals. This has always been one of our favorite night time shows with the unique Cinderella Castle projections, in addition to beautiful fireworks and pyrotechnics.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks

During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and select days in December, Minnie Mouse takes over Cinderella Castle and gives us a heartwarming spectacular featuring all of our holiday favorites. Cinderella Castle has a wintery makeover projection show, periodically covering the fortress in icicles, wrapping paper, bows, snowflakes and more while listening to our favorites like We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime. As always, there is a dazzling fireworks display to accompany Minnie’s Christmasy cheer.

Epcot Fireworks

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UPDATE: Epcot Forever will be returning July 1st, 2021 to the Epcot park. This is the only show announced to be returning to the Magic Kingdom since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown. Harmonious is set to debut for the 50th Anniversary Celebration later in 2021.

Epcot has always been the park to celebrate the past, present and future. With amazing innovative rides, celebrations of culture from around the globe and, of course, fireworks shows that appeal to all.

Epcot Forever

After we said goodbye to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth in 2019, Epcot’s main show running for 20 years, the park needed an interim spectacular before the new long-term replacement show, Harmonious was ready. That is where Epcot Forever was created! This incredible display showcases all of Epcot’s musical history for the last 37 years using fireworks, lasers, lighting and special effects. During Epcot Forever, you can hear an original arrangement of music from Epcot’s classic attractions like Journey Into Imagination, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth and so much more! Make sure to check out Epcot Forever before it is permanently replaced by Harmonious later on in 2021.

Harmonious

Epcot has always been a representation of human achievement and global connection with its vibrant, cultural festivals and celebrations to it top notch attractions throughout the park. When Epcot’s transformation was set in place, Imagineers and Live Entertainment Cast Member crews knew that a new nighttime extravaganza was in order.

These teams are currently hard at work to bring the new Walt Disney World Fireworks show Harmonious to life before the end of 2021, which is meant to tell a story of global connection and celebrate how much power we can all hold if we use our differences to unite. Imagineers are hoping to use story and song from Disney to meld together those from across the globe in this incredible, original fireworks story display set to debut for the 50th Anniversary celebration. Make sure to keep checking back on our blog to see the newest release date!

Hollywood Studios Fireworks

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UPDATE: There are no announced return dates for any Disney fireworks shows in Hollywood Studios in 2021. Keep checking back for updates!

Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! has been a show dazzling Disney guests on both coasts AND across the globe being featured in almost all Disney theme parks in the world! Fantasmic! has been a running show in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios since 1998 and has continued to be a favorite for Disney lovers. Fantasmic! features more than 50 live performers, incredible special effects, with dancing water, pyrotechnics and magical surprises throughout. Mickey Mouse is our main character as he falls fast asleep and becomes a magical sorcerer’s apprentice with brand new exceptional powers to control the water, color and magic! This show features our favorite heroes and villains, like Aladdin, Belle, Ariel, The Evil Queen, Maleficent which includes a 40 foot tall dragon that attempts to vanquish Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey! Fantasmic! only occurs on select nights, so make sure you check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes.

Star Wars Galactic Spectacular

In a galaxy far, far away Disney has created the perfect nighttime show for all Star Wars lovers. Using themes from John William’s original score, this feels like an authentic cosmic Star Wars event. The Galactic Spectacular is one of a kind with its projected show right on the incredible Chinese Theater and surrounding buildings on Hollywood Boulevard. You are right in the center of this majestic event, witnessing our favorite Star Wars characters, star ships, battles, and scenes right out of the movies. You will feel the Force strongly as the state-of-the-art projections, lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics and fireworks display around you. All of our favorites appear, like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda and so many more. This show only happens select nights in Hollywood Studios so make sure to check the My Disney Experience app for accurate showtimes.

Animal Kingdom Fireworks

For the safety and well-being of the animals living within Animal Kingdom park, there are no fireworks shows. Instead, Animal Kingdom has a captivating projection on the Tree of Life called Tree of Life Awakenings as you exit the park.

Walt Disney World Fireworks Schedule

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All Disney fireworks schedules are based off of each park’s posted hours, which are typically posted 180 days out. Since the pandemic, park hours have only been posted 60 days out, it can be harder to make plans. The My Disney Experience app or the Walt Disney World website has all park hours and the time of Disney firework shows.

Walt Disney World Dessert Parties

UPDATE: At this time Disney is not holding any Walt Disney World dessert partiesWe will provide more information as it becomes available.

These events have become increasingly popular as many people find the Disney World Dessert party to be the perfect way to end your nightOffered at each of the four Disney World theme parks, Disney dessert parties are a truly magical way to enhance your experiences at the nighttime parades and fireworks shows. Each event offers an exclusive buffet or select desserts, unique experiences and premium viewing of the fireworks.

Each dessert party does offer varying experiences, desserts and viewing areas so to read a more in-depth description of each party, you can read our Ultimate Guide to Every Disney World Dessert Party!

Magic Kingdom Dessert Parties

  • Magic Kingdom Dessert Party with Plaza Garden viewing ($59 for adults, $35 for kids)
  • Magic Kingdom Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace ($79 for adults, $47 for kids)
  • Magic Kingdom After Fireworks Party ($69 for adults, $41 for kids)
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza View (prices vary)
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Dessert Party with Tomorrowland Terrace view (prices vary)

Epcot Dessert Parties

  • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party ($79 for adults, $49 for kids)

Hollywood Studios Dessert Parties

  • Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party ($79 for adults, $45 for kids)
  • Hollywood Studios Fantasmic! Dessert Party ($39 for adults, $19 for kids)

Animal Kingdom Dessert Parties

With Animal Kingdom no longer showing Rivers of Light, there are no dessert parties offered at the current time.

Past Walt Disney World Fireworks Shows

If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in a decade, fireworks shows and nighttime displays will be very different! Here is a list of Walt Disney World fireworks from the past.

Magic Kingdom

  • Fantasy in the Sky (1971 – 2003)
  • Wishes : A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams (2003 – 2017)

Epcot

  • Carnival de Lumiere (1982-1983)
  • A New World Fantasy (1983-1984)
  • Laserphonic Fantasy (1984-1988)
  • IllumiNations (1988–1996), IllumiNations 25 (1996-1999), IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (1999– 2019)

Hollywood Studios

  • Sorcery in the Sky (1990-1998)

Walt Disney World Fireworks FAQs and Facts

Q. What time are the fireworks shows in Walt Disney World?

A. Fireworks schedules depend on park hours, which Disney typically posts 180 days in advance, but due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Walt Disney World has only been posting park hours 60 days in advance. Currently, showtimes are not available on the My Disney Experience app or the Walt Disney World website. They are anticipated to come back with the Happily Ever After and Epcot Forever fireworks shows returning July 1st, 2021.

Q. When will Walt Disney World fireworks return after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020?

A. Happily Ever After in Magic Kingdom and Epcot Forever in Epcot will be returning July 1st, 2021.

Fireworks Fun Facts

  • Walt Disney World uses over one million fireworks costing over 18 million dollars a year.
  • Walt Disney World uses compressed air to launch their fireworks instead of gun powder! This releases no extra fumes for guests to breath in.

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