The fireworks at Walt Disney World are nothing short of spectacular. And the fact that they put those shows on every day of the week is absolutely mind boggling to me. For most of us these themed shows set to music with an amazing amount of perfectly timed fireworks put any hometown holiday display to shame. Just watching the shows in the parks creates the perfect ending to a day of Magic at Walt Disney World, but there are some ways to plus that experience and make it extra special.
7. Bring the Glow
This is s super simple idea that makes the fireworks more fun for your family and everyone around you. I love to stock up on glow bracelets, glow sticks, glow necklaces, glow wands . . . all of these things before my trip. You can find them at a dollar store, Wal-Mart, and Target always has a nice selection in their summer seasonal stuff. Usually you will find half a dozen bracelets or so for $1 in a pack. Take them with you on vacation and each night that you are staying for the fireworks give your kids (or just take with you) a couple of the packages. While you wait for the show to begin have fun putting together bracelets, necklaces, etc. and sharing with all of the people around you. It makes the time go faster, it helps kids learn to share and talk to others, it saves money over those souvenir carts Disney has out, and it creates an entire section of happy, glowing people all around you.
6. Make your own dessert party
Each park has so many tasty snack and dessert options we like to see how we can make our perfect dessert party while waiting for fireworks to start. At Magic Kingdom my favorite treat is the ice cream cookie sandwich from the Plaza Ice Cream parlor (huge fresh baked cookies with hand scooped ice cream)—your choice of flavors. At Hollywood Studios I usually go with the Carrot Cake Cookie found at the Trolley Car Café. But, a pre-Illuminations dessert smorgasbord at Epcot is my very favorite. Usually we will find our spot in World Showcase and from there we will each go out and find a dessert to bring back and share. Kaki Gori from Japan is a big hit on hot summer nights; School Bread from Norway is always a good choice. But, if you can get a spot near France you by far have the best selection of amazing desserts from crepes to ice cream to pastries—yummm!
5. Pirate & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage
The Pirate & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage is a family-friendly good time and a unique way to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks. You meet you crew at the Contemporary Resort where you are served snacks, sweets and beverages like Pirate Punch. Captain Hook & Mr. Smee also make an appearance. Then it is time to hit the high seas with your pirate pal Patch who will guide your journey with Disney trivia, sea chanteys and more fun. You’ll lay anchor outside the Magic Kingdom to watch Happily Ever After fireworks from a beautiful vantage point on the water, and then return to your dock at the Contemporary for at least one more surprise. Kids love this voyage and it is a great way to see the fireworks with less of a crowd. It is a group experience so you will be on your ship with other families. You should make reservations for this experience in advance to avoid disappointment of the ship filling up.
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4. Get a Bird’s Eye View
One of the best spots to watch Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks is from the observation deck at the California Grill. The California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, and this angle gives a perspective on the magnitude of the fireworks that you can’t get anywhere else. The only disadvantage is that you lose the effect of the projections on the castle. The music is piped in so that you can enjoy the complete show. You may dine anytime in the evening at the California Grill, just save you receipt to go back up to watch the fireworks. I actually prefer a sunset seating for dinner and then coming back to see Happily Ever After.
3. Dessert Parties
Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot all offer an organized dessert party for their fireworks show. For Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks you have 3 options: desserts before the show with seating at Tomorrowland Terrace for the fireworks; desserts before the show with a reserved viewing area in the Plaza Garden; or desserts after the show watching in the Plaza Garden. I think the Plaza Garden viewing area is the perfect spot and angle to watch Happily Ever After, and I happen to love the buffet of tiny themed desserts so either before or after is my choice for the best value here. During the special parties like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party there are options for dessert parties during the holiday fireworks. At Epcot there is an option for a Frozen dessert party—you have a reserved area to watch Illuminations, great desserts, and after the show you get to ride Frozen Ever After; saves you a FastPass! And over at Hollywood Studios there is a great themed party for the Star Wars Fireworks. Delicious Star Wars themed desserts are served in the Star Wars Launch Bay, then you are escorted to your reserved viewing spot by Storm Troopers—how much fun is that!
2. The Grand 1
If you are really looking to create a fireworks experience that will not be forgotten, look into chartering the Grand 1 Yacht that anchors in the Grand Floridian marina. This Yacht holds 18 (or 17 if you travel with a butler) and can serve private dining and offer those butler amenities. The Yacht itself is a 52 foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge Yacht. Reservations should be made in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY and you can arrange the other enhancements at that time. I think private dining accompanied by Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks viewing would may a wonderful engagement or honeymoon experience at Walt Disney World.
1. A Private Fireworks Cruise
If you are looking for an intimate experience, but not quite on the Grand 1 Yacht level, you can charter a private fireworks cruise. There are options to leave from the Magic Kingdom area resorts to anchor in Seven Seas Lagoon while watching Happily Ever After; or to leave from the Yacht Club Marina to anchor near France for an up close and personal view of Illuminations. Generally you cruise around a little before each fireworks show, and snacks and drinks are provided, and the music is piped in to the boat. Options for private dining or to decorate to celebrate a special occasion are also available. The private Magic Kingdom fireworks cruise we did for my son’s birthday was absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to try out an Illuminations cruise sometime.
What is your favorite “special” way to enjoy Walt Disney World fireworks?