One of the greatest things about a day at Walt Disney World is the nighttime spectacular that closes out your visit. When you think about the price of admission and take into consideration all of the attractions to experience plus a high caliber pyrotechnics show like Happily Ever After, a day in the Magic Kingdom is really a good entertainment value. The Happily Ever After Fireworks show takes place nightly in the Magic Kingdom and features stunning projections of Disney animation on the façade of Cinderella’s Castle synchronized with a medley of favorite songs from Disney’s animated movies and fireworks—it is amazing. Here are some tips to get the most out of the show:
10. There is no FastPass Option
In the past guests to the Magic Kingdom were given the option of scheduling one of their FastPasses for fireworks viewing. This provided a reserved area to come to just before the fireworks began to have a nice vantage point of the show. Unfortunately, Disney took this option away, so you can no longer make a FastPass+ reservation for the fireworks. We will go over other options to get a great seat without a hassle.
I like to go by my local Dollar Store, or Target $1 Spot to stock up on glow sticks before my Walt Disney World vacation. I have a lot of reasons for doing this, but the primary one is cost. As soon as the sun starts setting the carts come out with all kinds of light up goodies that every child wants—and they are not inexpensive. So, I like to counter the “Mom I Wants” with the glowing sticks, wands, bracelets, etc. that I have packed in my bag. But, they serve a couple of other purposes as well. We like to take many more than we would use as a family so that we can share them with people around us. This is a great way to keep kids entertained, help them with social skills and just spread some Disney magic. Also, if someone from your group leaves your area it is easy to find the glowing group!
8. Bring a Towel
While I don’t necessarily advocate one person saving a place for several others by spreading out a towel, it can help if one person from your family of 4 or 5 leave for a bathroom break while waiting for the show to start. The main reason I like to bring a towel is for comfort. It gives you a little cushioning from the concrete and is a lot cleaner. Or, if it turns chilly once the sun goes down you can always cover up with it.
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7. Get to your spot early
Unlike the former Magic Kingdom Fireworks show, Wishes, Happily Ever After relies heavily on projections show on the Castle to tell the story and for a major part of the show. If you are unable to clearly see the Castle you won’t have the experience that the show designers intended. And, because you need to be able to see the Castle, it limits the prime viewing spots more than other fireworks shows. I would recommend that you commit to finding a spot for the fireworks early if they are very important to you—and they really are a can’t be missed show. At busier times of year that may mean 90 minutes or more before the show starts. You can sort of judge if you walk through the hub area about how many people are already setting up camp in their spots.
6. Don’t go hungry (or thirsty)
Since you are going to stake out your spot early you might want to think about having something to snack on or drink while you wait. Since Disney allows you to bring your own food & drinks into the park you may want to go that route, it is certainly more economical. But, of course Disney also offers lots of delicious treats to enjoy. I think the best tactic is to get your spot all together so everyone knows the general area, then send 1 or 2 people to track down the treats. Main Street USA has the bakery offerings at Starbucks, Ice Cream at the Plaza, all kinds of sweets at the Confectionary, or if you are looking for savory Casey’s Corner is an option. Popcorn, drink and ice cream carts can be found all around. And depending on the spot you find it might be an easy walk over to Sleepy Hollow for some of their treats.
5. Bring some entertainment
If you are waiting an hour to an hour and half for the show to start you may want to have some entertainment in mind for little ones. Sometimes Cast Members will be out doing some activities, but you can’t count on them being where you are. I like to pack a deck of cards or a puzzle book, I load up my phone with Disney related apps (and other games) before we leave, and there are always games like Guess Who? Or Eye Spy . . .always fun in the Magic Kingdom
4. Stay after the show
Whether or not the Magic Kingdom remains open after the fireworks you are probably going to want to stay put for a little while. The masses of people are heading toward the exit and you don’t want to get into that crowd to walk or to wait on transportation. Hang out for a little while and let some of the people get out of the way. If you take a look around you may find a PhotoPass photographer where you could get some nighttime shots with the Castle in the background. If the park is remaining open it is a great time to try to fit in a few more attractions—you could always plan ahead and make a additional FastPass in the late afternoon to use after the fireworks, or you could just wing it.
3. Be Able to See the Castle
As I said before, this show is heavily dependent on the Castle projections. They are beautiful and coordinate so well with the fireworks and other effects used for emphasis. To me the main show is the projection and the other parts are just to compliment that. Finding a spot where you can clearly see the Castle without a light pole or tree in your way is key. If you can find a spot that has something in front of you preventing other guests from standing immediately in front of you (like a trashcan, or the fenced off hub grass areas that are not open for guests) that is a bonus.
2. Ideal Spot
When choosing a spot you need to make sure you are close enough to see the projections, but far enough away that you can also see the fireworks that come up right around the Castle. Ideally you want to be somewhere between the end of Main Street (like Casey’s Corner and the Plaza) and the Partners Statue of Walt & Mickey Mouse in the center of the hub. In that area you should be close enough to really be able to see the projections but at a good fireworks angle too.
1. Fireworks Dessert Party
There are two options offered when booking this party (and you must reserve in advance for availability): Plaza Gardens Viewing or Tomorrowland Terrace Viewing. Both options get you the same desserts prior to the fireworks. The Tomorrowland Terrace option is more expensive, but you do have seating to watch the fireworks. The Plaza Garden option, the less expensive of the two, actually has the better view. After the dessert party portion you are escorted into the reserved viewing area—the Plaza Gardens or “hub grass.” I feel that this option is a great value, the viewing area is perfect for the show, it is not crowded so you don’t have to stake out a spot extremely early or fight with crowds, and the desserts are delicious. Win, Win Win. If you are looking for a hassle free way to enjoy Happily Ever After make a reservation for the dessert party early in your planning process to secure a spot.
What are your tips and tricks for watching Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom?