Fireworks are one of those things that are an essential part of any Disney trip. After all, who could pass up one of the most fabulous fireworks shows on the planet? This is especially true when you consider it’s included in the price of a ticket. Of course, because Disney World is nearly always crowded, and because these fireworks shows are a must-see, going in with a plan is definitely ideal. Lucky for you, finding information on the Disney fireworks shows in advance is totally possible. In fact, we are going to use today’s article to address the most popular of the fireworks performances: “Happily Ever After”. “Happily Ever After” takes place nightly at the Magic Kingdom, and is a quintessential Disney show. It features plenty of magic, music, and nostalgia, and is the ideal way to end a wonderful day at the most magical place open earth. Wondering what you need to know before you go? Here are our top tips, tricks, and hints for seeing this fabulous performance.
1. Pack Smart
First of all, we have to point out that no matter how, where, or when you see “Happily Ever After”, you will almost certainly be stuck waiting for at least some period of time. You will want to pack accordingly, especially if you have young children. Essential items include:
- Glow sticks
- Some sort of toy or game
- A towel to sit on
Packing these things will save you lots of stress, so be sure they’re in your bag when you leave for the day.
2. FastPass is Gone
There once was a time when those who were quick enough could snag FastPasses for the nightly show at Magic Kingdom, meaning they didn’t have to camp out as long and were guaranteed a decent view. This is no longer a thing. Therefore, you will have to choose another option. Luckily, there are plenty of those.
3. Getting Front and Center
If you want to be front and center, your best bet is to arrive about 90 minutes before the show, snag a spot, and camp out. This will get you a super awesome view of the entire show, including the amazing projections this show relies so heavily on. That said, this method will also cost you a lot of park time, meaning you may miss out on other wonderful things. If you prefer to use some of that time on other things, you might consider arriving just 30–45 minutes before the show and settling for a view that is pretty far back, but still centered with the castle.
4. Unusual Viewing Areas
Obviously, watching the show from the front of the castle is the best way, and if you’ve never seen it before, this is what we recommend doing. However, for those who have seen “Happily Ever After” in the past, there is always the option of settling for an unusual view. While this might mean you can’t see the projections—taking a bit away from the show—it also means more time to do other things since you won’t have to claim a spot until much closer to show time. Some unusual spots to view from that still provide a nice show are:
- The back of Cinderella’s castle
- By Belle’s castle
- Near Splash Mountain
- While riding Dumbo (yes, really)
5. In-Park Dessert Party Options
Want a good view without the ridiculously long wait? If you’re willing to shell out some money, you can have your cake and eat it too—literally. The secret? “Fireworks” and “After Fireworks” Dessert Parties! Magic Kingdom actually offers a few different dessert party options:
- Fireworks Dessert Party with Terrace Viewing — Seated
- Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing — Standing
- After Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing — Standing
All options offer the same amazing dessert selection, so what you choose depends on whether or not you feel the need to sit during the show, and if you prefer your treats before or after the spectacle.
6. Watching from Afar
Don’t want to deal with the crowds in Magic Kingdom, but still want to watch the show? There is always the option of viewing from afar. “Happily Ever After” can be seen from a number of locations on Disney property outside of Magic Kingdom, and many of them even pipe in the music. However, the two best free viewing locations outside of the park include the Polynesian Resort Beach and the Ferry Dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
7. Ferrytale Fireworks
Another option for viewing from afar is the Ferrytale Fireworks Dessert Cruise. This cruise offers the very best view you’ll get outside of the park, along with some fabulous desserts and a magical boat ride. There is a cost to enjoy this cruise, but it is well worth the investment. While the boat is not currently running as of this writing, it is scheduled to be back up in late October 2018.
8. Stay Late
Our last tip is for those who choose to watch the fireworks while still in the park: Stick around for awhile after the show ends. Fighting the crowds to get to the exit gate isn’t worth it, and the lines for transportation immediately after the show ends are a nightmare. Meanwhile, the crowd levels plummet inside the park, and—if they’re still open—most rides become walk-ons.