Please tell me that I am not the only person who cries during fireworks at Walt Disney World. Please. When you talk about nighttime spectaculars Walt Disney World is really in a league of its own. Perhaps the New Years and Fourth of July spectaculars in major cities like New York and Washington DC rival the spectacles at Walt Disney World . . . but Disney does it every night in multiple locations. While I have a definite sentimental favorite (Wishes) I love all of the fireworks shows at Walt Disney World, and here are 5 reasons why:
5. The Projections
In recent years Disney has really perfected the projection technology it uses to enhance its nighttime shows with images shown on major icons like Cinderella Castle, the Tree of Life, and the Chinese Theater (Disney, if you are reading please incorporate projections on Spaceship Earth into the next version of Illuminations). These realistic renderings and animation enhance the shows and add another level to the experience. This is done most effectively combined with fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular. The movie scenes projected on the theater are enhanced with perfectly timed fireworks and laser effects. It immerses you in the story and makes for a very impressive show. The only catch with the projections is that you have to get in a spot where you can clearly see them for the best effect.
4. Dessert Parties
Although they come at an additional cost, I love the dessert parties that Disney offers for most of their nighttime shows. You are paying not only for the desserts and beverages, but also for the convenience of a reserved viewing spot (that is good) with less crowd around you and that you don’t have to stake out far in advance. The other thing that I love about the parties is the way some are themed to the fireworks show—in particular at Hollywood Studios. The Star Wars desserts help set the mood and scene for the show to follow. If you can add a party to your budget I recommend giving it a try, especially if you have a special occasion to celebrate. You can also view the fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot from a few restaurants in the parks and resorts if you time it correctly.
3. The Pyro
While you might thing the actual fireworks are the number 1 thing I love about the shows at Walt Disney World, I think it says a lot that they come in at number 3. Don’t get me wrong—Disney puts on a breathtaking pyrotechnic show. My personal favorite was the old version of the Star Wars fireworks before the projections. I don’t think I’ve ever personally seen the sky light up so bright or experienced the depth of volume from fireworks like that show (Symphony in the Stars). And if you are in the Magic Kingdom (or at a Monorail Resort) for one of the shows that features the perimeter fireworks (like July 4, New Years and parties) you are in for a really special treat. But each and every show has great effects perfectly timed to give just the right punctuation to my #2 reason. I think what I appreciate the most is that Disney isn’t going for the bang factor, they are using the fireworks to tell a story.
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2. The Story
I love that each show at Disney has a theme and a story that it works through during the presentation. At Magic Kingdom Wishes is very clear in the story as Jiminy Cricket narrates it for us . . . and who doesn’t feel a cheer rise up in use when the Blue Fairy comes! At Hollywood Studios the Galactic Spectacular plays out with movie clips telling us the epic saga of Star Wars. Epcot’s Illuminations leaves a little more up to individual interpretation but that storyline is threaded through the whole show. It is this tie back to the main story that makes every part of the fireworks spectaculars at Walt Disney World heartwarming, touching, relevant and beautiful.
1. The Music
As I’m writing this article I’m humming the Illuminations music in my mind. And I can’t tell you how many times the lyrics to Wishes pop into my head. All of the fireworks shows at Disney have an amazing score and music that sets them apart from your average fireworks show. I think this is part of the reason that every year around July 4 that meme pops up on social media about thousands of Disney fans being disappointed by their hometown fireworks show. Everything is carefully orchestrated to create a complete experience. Wishes, Illuminations, Fantasmic, Galactic Spectacular, and even the projection show on the Tree of Life all have outstanding music associated with them and I applaud Disney for putting as much (or more) thought and effort into that as they do the fireworks themselves. I just love that music.
Why do you love Walt Disney World fireworks?