One of the most magical parts of a visit to Disneyland is seeing the fireworks at the end of the night. The Frog Family are fireworks junkies, especially Disneyland fireworks. Over the years, we've viewed spectacular shows from different spots both inside and outside the parks. We have varying favorite locations based on our time limit, plans and location.
During the Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration that debuted at Disneyland Resort this January, the nightly Disneyland fireworks show has been replaced with a new nighttime extravaganza called Mickey’s Mix Magic. On select nights (mainly Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays when weather permits), the show also includes fireworks. On the Disneyland app, as well as Disneyland's online entertainment schedule, the calendar will either indicate "Mickey's Mix Magic" or "Mickey's Mix Magic with Fireworks" so that you're able to plan your viewing night and location accordingly (super hopful)! On select weeknights, there are two showings of the nighttime spectacular to choose from. The show includes music, state-of-the-art projection and other special effects that can go on every night of the week without the fireworks. This means that there is always a show — yay! — even when high winds could cancel the fireworks, or on a weeknight in the winter when there would not usually be a fireworks show. But that also means that there are slight differences in the show depending on when you view it. We continually update this guide to help you pick the best spots for the show. Choose wisely, and we're sure your Disneyland Resort visit will end in a festive finale!
The Hoppin' Good Details on Mickey's Mix Magic
So, what is this new show? DJ Mickey is spinning toe-tapping tunes to turn Disneyland into a dance party, with hoppin' music featuring a nod to favorite elements or movies highlighted in past Disneyland fireworks shows, along with a new song, “It’s a Good Time." It'll have you singing “Come on everybody, getcha ears on! It’s a good, good, good, good time …” for days. Here’s the event playlist:
- “It’s a Good Time”
- “I Wanna Be Like You”
- “Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat”
- “Friend Like Me”
- “Grim Grinning Ghosts”
- “Un Poco Loco”
- “Let It Go”
- “It’s a Good Time” (Finale)
Projections include Mickey and Minnie and their pals and a cast of characters from “The Jungle Book,” “The Aristocats,” “Aladdin,” the Haunted Mansion, “Coco,” “Frozen” and more Disney favorites.
It's important to note that during early 2019, Fantasmic! is under refurbishment, Sleeping Beauty Castle is under refurbishment and World of Color in Disney California Adventure is under refurbishment, leaving Mickey’s Mix Magic the only nighttime show for a short time. (See all the Disneyland refurbishments here.) There’s a lot to know about finding the best places to view Mickey’s Mix Magic based on the changing elements, so hop along as we discuss the viewing locations.
Best Places to View Disneyland Fireworks and Mickey's Mix Magic Inside the Park
Inside Disneyland Park, the fireworks are extraordinary. Any fireworks show creates a nostalgic, emotional journey through light and sound. Enhancements such as narration, sound and music make it worth the effort to see it in the park. These elements blend with fireworks and special effects (lighting, fire, lasers and projection) to provide a magical finale to your visit.
During Get Your Ears On, Mickey’s Mix Magic gives you that magical ending to your night with and without fireworks. It will be shown in varying locations throughout its run as it skirts the refurbishments. That means that the show locations are always changing as park elements change, and the show can be slightly different based on whether you are seeing the show with fireworks or without. There is one showtime per night, but the showtimes do vary, so you need to check the entertainment schedule. Weekend and holiday shows with fireworks are at 9:30 p.m., but weeknight showtimes can vary. It might be at 7:30 p.m. one night and 7:50 p.m. the next night, or even at 8:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., based on park hours. The good news is that the early show nights are better for tadpoles with early bedtimes who can’t usually stay awake for a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show. If you aren’t sure if there will be fireworks, ask a cast member. There are two consistent viewing areas: Main Street, U.S.A. and “it’s a small world.” Once the castle is done being refurbished later in spring 2019, the hub in front of the castle will be a viewing area with projection on it. And once Fantasmic! finishes its refurbishment in spring 2019, the Rivers of America will become a viewing area with projections on large water screens.
Watching Mickey's Mix Magic from Main Street, U.S.A.
Main Street, U.S.A. is going to give you the best viewing of the show on nights with fireworks. Stand in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. (from Central Plaza to the Train Station, between the buildings) for the show. You get the iconic castle view in the distance, are treated to a laser light show that comes out of the castle on fireworks nights and get to experience snowfall every night. This is also the best location for making a quick exit after the show.
Let’s talk strategy. You’ll see people sitting on curbs before the show, but the best view is from the middle of the street. Hop in place about an hour before the show on fireworks nights and maybe 30 minutes before the show on other nights. If the street still looks empty, don’t disappear into a store for long, or you may come out a minute later and realize that everyone suddenly appeared in the street. The cast members will announce to the curb sitters that the best view is in the middle, and everyone moves in at once. Standing in the area across from Gibson Girl should put you in a great spot to view the main projection, as well as fireworks and castle effects. Plus, it snows there!
Check out our video of Mickey's Mix Magic, as seen from Main Street!
Getting the iconic castle view
Usually the best fireworks view with the most effects and Disney magic is right in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. But with Mickey’s Mix Magic, Sleeping Beauty’s castle is behind tarps and fences for much of its run, so there will not be projections there again until the roof is done being repaired. Hold off on this location until the castle refurbishment ends. The lasers that come out of the castle might be best viewed from Main Street, U.S.A., but you can definitely see them in this area. From this area you should be able to see projections on the Matterhorn. You may not experience snowfall in this viewing area.
Once the castle refurbishment is done, keep in mind that if you camp out for the front-row view of the castle, there will be people walking in front of you because that becomes a walkway. It can be very distracting and take away from your experience. Consider placing the tadpoles on shoulders or hold them up so they can see. Just be considerate of blocking those little ones behind you. It's not perfect, but sometimes the best places to view Disneyland fireworks are those where you can find room to see them.
Watching Mickey’s Mix Magic near "it's a small world"
One of the best places to view Mickeys Mix Magic is near "it's a small world." The projection is clearer on “it’s a small world” than at Main Street, U.S.A. (those shop windows, buntings and trees distort the view). This location is especially good for nights without the fireworks because the fireworks are off to the left and not central to the show. The fireworks get shot off behind Toontown. (Mickey never seems to complain about that, does he?) While the show is off to the left of "it's a small world," you can see and hear the fireworks well.
The viewing area can vary for this show. On nights with fireworks, they may close the “it’s a small world” ride and move the viewing area back, closer to the raised areas across from "it’s a small world.” They will put a rope up along the edge of the brick area. BONUS: You'll have a lot of choices in elevations with steps and raised areas that can get you above the crowd. For past fireworks shows, this area tended to be way less crowded. For this show, with all of the refurbishments in the parks, we saw many people choosing this location. Losing the Hub and Rivers of America means more people squeezing in here. We did not experience lasers or snowfall in this location, but there are also no lasers at Main Street on nights without fireworks.
When should you hop in place? We saw cast members putting the ropes up 60- to 75 minutes before showtime on opening weekend with fireworks that night, and the area was filling in 60 minutes before showtime. That window may be a little closer to showtime on a weeknight. On nights without fireworks, the viewing area might get a little closer to the attraction and accommodate more people. We suggest bringing a blanket and sending a runner for turkey legs and chimichangas at Edelweiss snacks (they have Mobile Order) to snack on while you wait. Many people remained sitting on steps, benches and the ground right in and near the raised areas, which might good for tired families.
Here’s how to get the best view of Mickey’s Mix Magic at "it’s a small world.” You want a clean, clear view of the front panel under the clock face, so make sure that pesky attraction sign is out of your way. The sign has a hinge on the left. They will open the sign and keep it that way through the show, so position yourself so that you are not behind it and that it will not block your view of the show or the fireworks.
Viewing from Rivers of America
Rivers of America is one of our favorite in-park locations for viewing the fireworks because you can usually time it before or after a showing of Fantasmic!
This location is unfortunately not available until Fantasmic! returns from refurbishment. But once it returns, here is how to do it. If you are watching the 9:00 p.m. Fantasmic!, just stay in place after the show ends and watch the 9:30 fireworks show from there. We expect weeknight shows would be uncrowded in this location, but they have not announced if they will have Mickey’s Mix Magic at this location on nights without Fantasmic! New Orleans Square offers a less-obstructed fireworks view than closer to Frontierland. After fireworks, many people who watch the first Fantasmic! show exit. This massive movement allows folks who want to get a good jump on a standby spot for the 10:30 p.m. Fantasmic! time to hop into place.
You have about three minutes between the end of Fantasmic! and the beginning of the fireworks — that’s two shows from one location! The less traveling you do in the park around fireworks time, the easier it is. Stay put, and you will not be disappointed. You'll hear the music and narration, and the projections will be shown on three water screens. We have watched from the tiers below the entrance to French Market, and the fireworks were perfectly centered above the Fantasmic! stage between two water screens.
What if the fireworks are canceled?
An advantage to watching Mickey’s Mix Magic is that there will still be a show even if the fireworks get canceled. Canceled? What? Does that really happen? If there are high winds at altitude, the fireworks may be canceled. In fact, on opening weekend, we were watching at “it’s a small world.” The show started normally with fireworks, but then, partway through, dangerous winds picked up and the fireworks stopped while the rest of the show went on without missing a beat. We had seen the show at Main Street the night before, so we knew there should have been more fireworks, but most guests around us had no idea that anything was missing. It used to be a big letdown when the fireworks got canceled before or during the show, especially if you had staked out the perfect spot. But this show is designed to go on without fireworks and only gets enhanced by fireworks, so the show still goes on as planned.
Best Places to View Disneyland Fireworks Outside of the Park
Mickey’s Mix Magic music and projection takes place only inside Disneyland Park. On the nights with fireworks, you will be able to catch some of the fireworks from other locations. Even though we prefer watching the fireworks from inside the park, there are several great viewing locations outside of the park that allow you to see the larger and higher explosions. It's not ideal, but sometimes your Disneyland day doesn't allow for proper fireworks time. Your tadpoles may be too tired, you don't have a park ticket/valid pass, or you might just need a more relaxing, crowd-free location.
View from your hotel room or balcony
Some on-site and off-site hotel rooms, or even hotel pool decks, have great fireworks views. You can dress your tadpoles in their jammies, watch the show and then hop into bed. It’s HEAVEN not being miles and miles from your nice warm bed! We have watched them from the Marriott Courtyard on Harbor Boulevard near the park entrance. Any of the hotels in that area may offer a great view of the action, but be sure to request a room with a fireworks view or find out if they have a pool deck or lounge with a view. If you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Grand Californian, the concierge lounges provide views of the fireworks. Many concierge rooms at the resort hotels offer fireworks views with the soundtrack piped in for full effect. (By the way, we offer discounts on Los Angeles hotel rooms near Disneyland.)
Hop to the pool deck at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel
You can view the fireworks from the third-floor pool deck at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, complete with music and narration. You do not need a room key to get in. When you exit the doors toward the pool area, make an immediate right. You will pass a bar (drinks or snacks before the show, anyone?) and see people lining up at the railing looking toward Downtown Disney. You can arrive at this spot shortly before fireworks time. If you are not staying near the resort, you can park in Downtown Disney (check prices and validation requirements). This is a free, non-stressful way to view fireworks and get to hear the music and dialogue from the show. We like getting the music played for free. Free stuff is our jam! If you're into freebies, here's a blog post with lots of tips on finding free (or almost free) things to do at Disneyland.
Watch from the Mickey and Friends parking structure
We also like to watch the show from the roof of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Sometimes, we leave the park 30 to 45 minutes before the show to watch from the roof for a quick getaway after a full day in the park. Other times, we simply walk there from Downtown Disney and take an escalator ride up. It never disappoints. Just be aware that the fireworks usually set off many car alarms in the lot, so that can detract from the experience. (There are large structures for the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area, so that now blocks the views of the in-park show, but you can still experience the large bursts. You can no longer see the castle from the structure.) We recently discovered that we could see the Disneyland fireworks from the much further Toy Story parking lot, as well.
Watch from the Esplanade or Downtown Disney
You can walk to the Esplanade between the park entrances to get a view of the fireworks. It's free and within walking distance (and shuttle distance) from many hotels. You can't see the castle from there, but you can see the higher fireworks. Sit on the Disney California Adventure side of the Esplanade.
At the other end of Downtown Disney, you can see the fireworks from the railing across from the LEGO Store, between the Monorail and Tortilla Joe's (although there are some palm trees that may enhance or obstruct your view; it’s all a matter of how you look at it). You can find a great and less-obstructed Downtown Disney fireworks view between Splitsville and Tortilla Jo’s. Also, just outside of the security checkpoint at the Downtown Disney parking lot, people will gather to watch the show. When facing the Downtown Disney entrance, stay to the far right. There is a large open space that used to be part of the valet area. You can watch from there without even having to go through security check. Park at Downtown Disney for easy access.
If you want to see fireworks from outside the park, there's a new spot to consider. The Fifth —Anaheim's only rooftop bar and restaurant — is a neat and stylish setting. The Fifth is located on the fifth floor roof of the Grand Legacy at the Park.
We checked it out recently (because you know, "research") and The Fifth has some pluses and minuses. Pluses include a kid-friendly environment (up until 10 p.m. when it becomes 21 and over) with a relaxed vibe and great views of the parks. You can also catch a distant view of the top of World of Color when it returns from refurbishment. The Fifth offers different themed entertainment each night. We enjoyed dancing to the live band that played on a Thursday. Leap danced like it was our honeymoon all over again.
The negatives include limited parking. Expect to get diverted to the nearby Anaheim Garden Walk parking structure for a 10- to 15-minute walk back to The Fifth. Plan on paying $6 to $7 for parking. It's best to walk from your hotel or grab a Lyft or Uber. Be sure to tell your waiter you used Uber to get a discount on your bill. You can make reservations only up until 7:30 p.m., which can add up to a hefty bill of eating and cocktails while waiting for that 9:30 p.m. fireworks show. They are closed Mondays and have a cover charge Fridays and Saturdays. Don't froget to bring a sweatshirt!
The biggest issue of all is that if the fireworks get canceled (as they quite often do for wind and weather), you are out all that money and time. Obviously, the disappointment is the same whether you waited three hours in the park for that perfect view or were planning to view outside the park. Can you justify dropping around $100 on food and drink at a location because you wanted to watch the fireworks, and then they do not happen? If you plan to eat out and think fireworks would simply be a bonus, you may justify the gamble.
Guess what? The night we visited The Fifth, there was no fireworks show because it was too windy! The Fifth did stop the band and were ready to cue the fireworks music, but the fireworks never came. We took the news in stride (because — drinks), and we used the experience as a warning to our readers. We recommend The Fifth, as long as your expectation of the fireworks is just a bonus. Don't go there only for the fireworks.
Other fireworks viewing spots around Anaheim
There are many other places to catch a view of the Disneyland fireworks around Anaheim. We have even caught the show from Interstate 5 when driving by at fireworks time. (We did not stop on the freeway. The 5 is bad enough.) We have heard of street locations and even gas stations with views, but with little tadpoles to keep safe, we recommend watching from a location away from traffic.
Calculating a fireworks cancellation
Why does the show get canceled? If there are winds at altitude, they will not shoot fireworks off. It may seem pretty calm where you are standing, but they send up a weather balloon to check on things up above, and if the winds are too strong or blowing in the wrong direction, they will cancel the show. Usually, Disneyland does not officially cancel the show until right at the scheduled show time. Sometimes they make announcements that the show will likely be canceled, but only the people in the park get that memo. Sometimes they will delay the show's start for up to 15 minutes. We have even been there when they started the show, but then shut it down right in the middle.
We watch the way the wind is blowing the flag on the pole at the Main Street, U.S.A. train station. If it is blowing toward Frontierland, it seems that fireworks might not happen. If it is blowing gently toward Tomorrowland, we may be in the clear. Ideally, we like to see that it is not blowing at all. A noticeable breeze is bad news for the show.
Before you go through the task of narrowing down our list of the best places to view Disneyland fireworks, we recommend not investing a lot of time, energy and money in doing it. Yes, if you are in the park, it can be worth it to take the time to get the right location. Do not invest too much in an outside location. Why? Because the scheduled fireworks may not go off as planned, and the show is simply much better in the park. If you choose to watch from outside, use a free locations with easy access.
If you are in the park when the show gets canceled, make the best of it. Watch the projections up close — chances are, if you have already seen the show before, you will realize all of the projection details you might have missed while you were too busy gazing at fireworks. You might catch the next parade (if there is one) or Fantasmic! show, which never disappoints, or knock some rides off your list. If you're in the park, it makes sense to stay in the park until closing to continue the fun. Enjoy it, since much of the crowd leaves at this point and wait times dive. Have a backup plan in place (such as getting ice cream or rushing to hit the Fantasyland rides such as Peter Pan with shorter lines once they reopen) if the show does not go on. Better luck next time!
Where are you favorite places to view the Disneyland fireworks and Mickey's Mix Magic? Do you have any secret spots that you're willing to share? Let us know in the comments below!