The grand finale of any Disney day is the nighttime spectacular; seeing fireworks right over Cinderella Castle is nothing short of magical. There's only a few more weeks to see Disney Enchantment illuminate the park as part of Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration. Starting April 3, 2023, we'll see the return of Happily Ever After, featuring new projections down Main Street, U.S.A. No matter what show you see, we've compiled a list of our favorite places to watch fireworks so that you can get the very best view!
Overview of the Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
Disney Enchantment debuted at Magic Kingdom on Oct. 1, 2021, in honor of the 50th anniversary. Catch characters from newer films such as "Onward," "Coco," "Raya and the Last Dragon" and "Soul," as well as your classic favorites from Disney history. Of course, Lily's favorite part was "Into the Unknown" from "Frozen 2."
The show features a new original song called "You Are the Magic" (that will get stuck in your head), enhanced lighting, fireworks, and, for the first time ever, projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. And don't worry — your favorite fairy can still be seen soaring through the sky! (Hi, Tink!)
Note that in late summer 2022, Disney updated the show with a new two-minute intro featuring Walt and Roy Disney and of course Mickey Mouse.
You can also experience Disney Enchantment like never before with the new MagicBand+! During both Disney Enchantment and Harmonious at EPCOT, your band lights up and vibrates in sync with the fireworks and music.
Starting April 3, 2023, you can once again "reach out and find your Happily Ever After" at Magic Kingdom, as the fan-favorite nighttime spectacular returns with all-new projections along Main Street, U.S.A. Disney Enchantment will run through April 2, 2023.
The Best Spots to Watch Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
If you want to get the full show with the castle projections, or if it’s your first time watching it, we highly recommend staking out a spot at the hub (the area in front of Cinderella Castle) or Main Street, U.S.A. The shows are more than just fireworks — the projections and lighting are truly incredible and worth seeing at least once. This is also the first show to use projections all the way down the Main Street buildings, so that area will also be a popular viewing location (and will continue to be once Happily Ever After returns).
Most showtimes in fall and winter are closer to 8 p.m. since it gets dark so early. For spring and summer, the fireworks are typically around 9 p.m. Always double-check the schedule on the day of your visit. For a prime central view, you'll want to arrive at least 60 to 90 minutes ahead of time. On typical days, you can be on the edges of the hub if you arrive about 45 minutes to an hour before the show begins. However, if you arrive too close to showtime, you are often directed away from the hub by cast members and channeled further down Main Street.
Since Disney Enchantment is the first show to have Main Street projections, you may not want to be too close to the castle in order to get the full show experience. We watched the show two nights in a row — once near the Partners Statue and another in the middle of Main Street near the Confectionery. We got both spots about two hours before showtime. The Main Street projections were a nice addition, but we personally feel that you don't miss out on too much if viewing in the castle hub area. The main focus of the show is still the castle projections and, of course, the fireworks.
Before the show starts, cast members will carve out space for foot traffic by using tape on the sidewalks. You'll need to make sure you're within the viewing area and not standing in the designated taped-off walkways, or else you will be asked to move. If you're not a fan of large crowds, we'd suggest arriving extra early so you can find a spot directly in front of a planter or some kind of barrier, so you don't have people on all sides of you. Cast members will instruct people to fill in all available space, so if that's not something you're comfortable with just yet, you may want to consider an alternative viewing spot, which we've detailed below.
If you want a guaranteed spot at the hub, Fireworks Dessert Parties have returned! You can reserve your viewing spot and indulge in some dessert at Tomorrowland Terrace too. There are three options currently available, but no matter which party you choose, you'll get to indulge in specialty-themed desserts prepared by a Disney pastry chef, including chocolate-dipped strawberries, butterscotch pudding, cheese and an assortment of beer and wine. Two options include a reserved standing spot in the plaza gardens, while the third option includes a seat at Tomorrowland Terrance to enjoy the show. Read all about the dessert parties in our complete guide!
Unconventional Spots to Watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks
So what if you're not able to snag a prime hub spot to watch the fireworks? While the early frog gets the flies, let's be real: It's not always possible to break away from the fun to stake out a spot. There are still plenty of ways to enjoy the fireworks throughout the park. The music plays around Magic Kingdom so you can sing along.
We highly recommend Fantasyland as a secondary location. You still get the view over the castle and you can even turn around and watch the exterior fireworks with Beast's castle from Be Our Guest restaurant. Or watch from the Tangled area with the lanterns hanging above you. Once the show is over, you are in the perfect position to hop on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan's Flight with much shorter waits. Just know that generally, the back of Cinderella Castle (and some nearby walkways) is roped off for safety during the fireworks show.
Other great spots include Frontierland, which is less crowded, so you can maximize ride time before and after the show. While everyone will be wading through the crowds by the castle, you can already be enjoying Big Thunder Mountain. We recommend a spot on the bridge by Splash Mountain, which gives you firework reflections over the water, as well.
Head to the entrance of Tomorrowland for another viewing spot — you may even get an angled view of the projections! Enjoy the show and then be ready to hop on Space Mountain to end the night.
Another twist is to enjoy Disney Enchantment while you're having fun on rides! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Tomorrowland People Mover, Splash Mountain, Astro Orbiter and Dumbo are all great attractions to experience during the fireworks if you time it just right. Keep an eye on wait times during the hour leading up to the show, so you can sync it with the show.
Exiting Magic Kingdom After Fireworks
You sang, you danced, you may have even gotten a little misty — and now, the show is over. So where do you go? Well, expect a mass exodus once Disney Enchantment ends. While sometimes the park may not be closing just yet, most guests take this as an end-of-the-night signal and start making their way toward the exit. If you have tadpoles, be sure to hang onto their hands or secure them in the stroller (honestly with any age, we try to stay together by creating a conga line and holding onto each other's backpacks). If you're not ready to leave, and you're on the fringes of the hub, our suggestion is to duck out to a nearby land or ride to avoid the crowds.
Most people will head down Main Street, while others may head through a big gate that cast members open near Tomorrowland that cuts around to the main entrance. If you're ready to leave after the fireworks end, in our experience, that big gate is the best way to go — if you turn toward Main Street, you'll find it nestled just next to the Plaza Inn and Tomorrowland Terrace. For this reason, if we know we're leaving after the show, we tend to stick to the right side of the castle to watch, then make a speedy exit. If you head down Main Street, you may be diverted through some of the shops toward the exit. (You know what that means — if you're hoping to do some evening shopping, you should give it some time after the fireworks end for the foot traffic to die down.) No matter which way you exit, cast members will help direct you.
Because so many people are exiting at once, if you are using Disney transportation, be sure to pack your patience. If you're headed back to Magic Kingdom parking, take the monorail, boat or bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center. We recommend the buses as a quick getaway, plus they are usually charter buses so you can rest your feet.
Where to View Fireworks Outside of Magic Kingdom
You don't even need a ticket to Magic Kingdom to enjoy the fireworks! You can utilize the resorts and areas around the Seven Seas Lagoon to get some frogtastic wide views of the fireworks.
The easiest spot to get to is the Transportation and Ticket Center. The area near the ferry boat dock provides excellent straight-on views of Magic Kingdom. The music is still played here, so you can enjoy the show and then have a quick exit to your car with no long waits for the monorail.
Disney's Contemporary Resort
We have to mention one of the best spots outside of the park — California Grill. This rooftop restaurant gives incredible views while enjoying Californian cuisine. And the best news — the restaurant is offering a limited-time, 50th-anniversary menu! Just know you will be getting an off-center view, but this unique vantage point makes up for it. There's even a special observation deck to watch the show with the music piped in. If you're dining during the show, the music is played and the lights are dimmed. But every dinner guest gets a special perk! If you've eaten at the California Grill at any time during dinner service, you can return to watch the fireworks later from the observation deck — just show your receipt.
There is also a hidden gem of a spot by the walkway between the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower. If you turn left as you exit the Contemporary, there is limited seating on the balcony beneath the monorail.
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Grab a Dole Whip and watch from the beaches at the Poly. Or book a reservation at 'Ohana for delicious food (we recommend the noodles) and great views. The music plays throughout these areas of the Polynesian Village Resort, including Trader Sam's, so you won't miss out on the classic Disney tunes.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Located on the shore, enjoy fine seafood dining at Narcoossee's with an impressive view of the fireworks across the water. Head out to the marina and beach areas for some great outdoor views by the lagoon.
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Believe it or not, you can enjoy the fireworks from the Fort Wilderness beaches! It is farther away so it's not recommended for your first time watching, but it is a relaxing spot and the music plays here, as well. You'll even see the Electrical Water Pageant as it finishes its trek around Seven Seas Lagoon.
Specialty fireworks cruises are also back, departing from each of the above marinas.
Special Event Fireworks
While Disney Enchantment is the regular nighttime spectacular, Disney offers special firework shows exclusive to holiday parties. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party offers Disney's Not So Spooky Spectacular while those attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party can see Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks. These shows are full of extra pizzazz with more exterior fireworks that are sure to wow tadpoles and frog parents alike. Note that on party nights, there is no showing of Disney Enchantment since the park closes early. Those not attending the party will want to plan accordingly to see the regular Magic Kingdom fireworks on a non-party night.
There are also special fireworks for the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve.
Other Nighttime Entertainment
Harmonious — the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park — also debuted Oct. 1, 2021, at EPCOT. Harmonious celebrates how the music of Disney inspires people around the globe. Get carried away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists. While the fireworks can be viewed anywhere around the World Showcase Lagoon, the new show has elements that are best viewed from certain angles. Check out our best spots to watch EPCOT fireworks post, so you know exactly where to stand! Harmonious will also have its last show on April 2, 2023, with EPCOT Forever as a temporary replacement, starting April 3. An all-new nighttime spectacular will debut later this year.
Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, check out "The Wonderful World of Animation" and "Disney Movie Magic" projections at the Chinese Theater. We highly recommend viewing one of our favorite nighttime shows, Fantasmic!, at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.
Though Disney Enchantment is the main nighttime spectacular for Magic Kingdom, there is still plenty of fun once the sun sets as smaller nighttime entertainment continues:
Whimsical sea creatures light up Seven Seas Lagoon in the nightly Electrical Water Pageant. The water parade typically starts at 9 p.m. and rotates through the lake for an hour. It is viewable from the Magic Kingdom hotels, as well as Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge. There are also special enhancements made for the 50th anniversary!
Though temporarily unavailable, the Once Upon a Time projection show used to occur on the castle about half an hour after the main fireworks show, as Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast shares bedtime stories with Chip. See scenes from Disney classics such as "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Frozen."
Stick around past the official park closing time and you might just hear a special closing announcement called the "Kiss Goodnight". Cinderella Castle lights up for a brief farewell message about half an hour after the park closes. After a long day, it's that extra pixie dust that adds a nice touch to an already magical day! (This is currently unavailable)
Have you seen Disney Enchantment yet? Where is your go-to fireworks viewing spot? Let us know in the comments below!
Related: Treat Yourself to a Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party