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Should You Use FastPass+ for Fireworks and Parades? Our Recommendations & Viewing Locations

by Leap on January 16, 2015

Update on concerning Magic Kingdom hub construction near Cinderella Castle:

Starting Jan. 12, 2015, the FastPass+ viewing location for Magic Kingdom parades is being relocated from the Central Plaza Viewing Area to the Town Square Viewing Area, near the flagpole, for both day-time and night-time parades. Starting Feb. 27, 2015, the viewing location for Magic Kingdom fireworks will relocate from the Rose Garden Fireworks Viewing area to the Main Street Plaza Gardens, adjacent to Casey's Corner and the Plaza Restaurant. Guests with FastPass+ reservations can choose either side, based on availability.

This question has come up a few times in our discussions of MyMagic+ and FastPass+. Today, we wanted to spend some time addressing whether it makes sense to use a coveted FastPass+ for fireworks and shows.

Fastpass+ for fireworks - Wishes

The very best answer I can give is that it is truly up to you and should be based on what is a priority for you and your family. If IllumiNations is one of your favorite fireworks shows and you don't want to worry about having to find a good spot in advance, then it might make sense to select it for one of your FastPass+ reservations. There are still others of you who wouldn't dream of giving up your Tier 1 FastPass+ selection to IllumiNations when you could be using it for Soarin' or TestTrack. For those of you who are headed to the Walt Disney World Resort for the first time, it's important to know that not having a FastPass+ reservation won't prevent you from seeing a parade or show, you just will have to arrive early to get a good viewing location. It's also good to know that there are multiple viewing areas for fireworks and parades (Fantasmic! being the exception). The bottom line is that it all depends on you and your family.

Fastpass+ for fireworks - Main Street Electrical Parade

All that said, we wanted to spend some time today discussing the different scenarios for when it makes sense to use FastPass+ for fireworks and parades and when it doesn't, so you can make a good decision for your family. Plus, we wanted to outline where each of the viewing locations are located in the park.

Factors to consider before you use FastPass+ for fireworks or parades:

  • How crowded are the parks? This is a primary consideration because during the busiest times, you may find you get more benefit from using your FastPass+ selections on top attractions, such as Peter Pan's Flight in Magic Kingdom or Soarin' in Epcot, which can see wait times in excess of 2 hours. That said, there are bigger crowds to contend with for fireworks shows and parades during busier times (although guests will find the second showing of Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic! to be much less crowded than the first).
  • What time of day are you touring? If you follow our advice and tour in the morning hours when crowds are at their lowest and then take a break in the afternoon when crowds are at their highest, you might not need FastPass+ until the evening anyway. So using FastPass+ for fireworks and parades makes more sense.
  • Do you want the option of getting extra FastPasses? Guests can obtain additional FastPasses in the parks via kiosks after they have used their first three. If you want to obtain more than the three advance reservations, then we recommend not booking fireworks and parades. The exception to this is Disney Festival of Fantasy, which is a daytime parade.
  • Are you park hopping? If you are, we suggest making your FastPass+ reservations for the second park. Depending on your arrival time in the afternoon or evening, or if you are park hopping just to experience the fireworks in a particular park, using the FP+ reservations for fireworks or parades makes more sense.
  • How many days will you spend at each theme park? If you are spending two or more days in a park, especially Magic Kingdom, then we think it makes sense to use FastPass+ for fireworks and parades at least one day.

How do you get FastPass+ for Fireworks Shows and Parades:

Originally these would only appear as FastPass+ options a few days before your arrival. Now they are available a full 60 days in advance. We definitely recommend making these reservations as earlier as possible if they are a priority, because there is very limited availability for these viewing locations.

Here are recommendations for using FastPass+ Fireworks Shows and Parades (plus locations): 

Magic Kingdom

Main Street Electrical Parade Fastpass+ for fireworks viewing location

  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade -  Central Plaza Viewing Area. The location is a crescent at the top of the hub in front of Cinderella Castle. It is a great spot for viewing the parade, with plenty of room to sit and stretch out. Is it worth it for Disney Festival of Fantasy parade? In our opinion, there are plenty of good viewing areas along the parade route that you can find a half hour or so early. That said, there is peace of mind in knowing that you've got a guaranteed excellent viewing location and you don't have to get in place too early to have a front-row view of the parade. You'll have to weigh it against the numerous other FP+ options in Magic Kingdom.
  • Main Street Electrical Parade - Central Plaza Viewing Area. This is the same location as the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and our feelings about it are generally the same: You get a great viewing location that isn't too crowded. All of the above information holds true, just know that once the parade ends, there is massive congestion in this area as people scramble to get in place for Celebrate the Magic and Wishes.

 

  • Wishes nighttime spectacular - Main Street Plaza Gardens Area. The location is in front of Casey's Corner or in front of The Plaza Restaurant. Both sides look to offer great views of the castle, slightly to either side. With few trees in the gardens, guests utilizing these FastPass+ areas will be getting a very good view with much fewer heads and children on shoulders blocking their view. The Plaza side, like the Rose Garden, will experience Tinker Bell flying directly overhead, while the Casey’s side will have a better view of her entire flight. Based on availability, guests with FastPass+ reservations will have the option to choose either side.the rose garden southeast of the castle with the entrance just before the bridge to Tomorrowland.

Epcot

Illuminations Fastass+ for fireworks viewing location

  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - World Showcase Plaza Viewing Area. The location is between the tower gifts shops at World Showcase. This is a prime viewing spot for IllumiNations, making it a good choice for FastPass+  if you plan to ride Soarin' first thing in the morning.  If you'll be traveling with children under 40 inches at Epcot, then using FastPass+ for IllumiNations makes sense since your party won't meet the minimum height requirement Soarin'. (We recommend Soarin' over Test Track because the latter has a single-rider line that is even shorter than FP+.) Keep in mind that there are many, many good viewing locations around World Showcase, and you should be able to find one about 20-30 minutes in advance of the show.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic! - Reserved Seating Area. The FP+ seating area for Fantasmic! is a section of the seating just left of center of the stage, extending all the way down to the front row. You still have to arrive early to get a really good seat, just not as early as you would without the FP+. With the tiered FastPass+ structure in place at Disney's Hollywood Studios, we overall would not recommend Fantasmic! over Toy Story Midway Mania! since the latter sees 120+ minute waits every day of the year.  You might consider Fantasmic! if you are at Disney's Hollywood Studios before opening and ride Midway Mania first thing OR you don't want to ride Midway Mania. (Because Rock 'n' Roller Coaster has a single rider line, we don't recommend using FP+ for this attraction.) During the very busiest times of year, it might be worth it to FP+ Fantasmic, but generally the second showing is much less crowded than the first. 

As I mentioned at the start whether you use FastPass+ for fireworks and parades is really a personal choice based on your priorities. Now it's your turn. I know many of you have already experienced the FP+ viewing locations, and I'd really like to hear what fireworks shows and parades you used FP+ for and whether you thought it was worth it. 

Related: Disney World FastPass+ Tips and Touring Plan Strategies

Related: How To Use FastPass+ at Disney World in the Parks – Step By Step

Hoppy planning!

Leap

Comments
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bob Mar 27, 2014 at 2:33 p.m.

@ epcot now. If you use fastpass in epcot you can not use in another park that day no matter how many you pick1-3

Reply
diana Jan 9, 2015 at 5:49 p.m.

I don't understand what you wrote. can you explain further?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 10, 2015 at 10:50 a.m.

Hi Diana,

What he means is that you can only select one park per day in which to make advance FastPass+ reservations. Since he wrote that comment, Disney now allows you to make additional FastPass+ reservations from any park after your first three have been used/expired, but you must make that reservation in person at a park kiosk.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Michael Apr 9, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.

I had made other FP+ reservations for my family, including one where my wife was at one attraction while my son and I went to another. This week, I noticed that Wishes had opened up as available. I switched my wife to it, but nothing was available for my son and me. I then split my son and I into individual FP+ reservations and kept checking; the next day, I got my son in, and the day after, I finally got myself in.

So, my FP+ tip for fireworks and parades: if they are fully booked, try booking your party one at a time, and keep trying.

Reply
Sara Jul 7, 2014 at 3:22 a.m.

Is it worth using one or more of your FP+ reservations for the parades and/or nighttime displays during the quieter months, like September or January?

Reply
FrogBlog Jul 14, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.

Hi Sara,

I think it's worth it if you are going to spend more than one day in a park, such as Magic Kingdom, so you could use FP+ for the attractions on one day (taking advantage of unlimited FastPasses) and then book the parades and fireworks for another day.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Amanda Jul 28, 2014 at 4:59 a.m.

Used Fast Pass + for Main Street Electrical Parade tonight. Excellent viewing, no crowding, far from it in fact. Gorgeous back drop of the castle. Stayed here for the castle show, again fantastic viewing and stayed for Wishes. Fireworks were slightly blocked but this did not affect our overall experience as it was still a great view xD

Reply
Bhavna Oct 19, 2014 at 9:55 p.m.

Hi

We are 5 adult visiting Orlando for 2nights on dec 30th 2014 to 1st jan 2015

We looking to purchase 2 day universal pass , looking at your web sight it's going to be very busy during that time ,can I buy tickets with express pass included

Also I see you have offer pay for 2day get 3day can we use the free day then or does it have to be later on?

Also for some reason we don't go to Orlando ,would the tickets be refundable if so what the last date I can cancel

Thanks

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 20, 2014 at 7:55 a.m.

Hi Bhavna,

The 2 Day, Plus Extra Day Free ticket is a great value! All three days would need to be used within a 14-day period.

We do not offer Express Pass, but you could purchase it in the park when you arrive if you decide you need it. We offer full details on our 365-day refund policy under our FAQs page.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Wendy Nov 20, 2014 at 2:08 a.m.

Do you ship tickets to a Canadian address for disney world?

Reply
FrogBlog Nov 20, 2014 at 8:13 a.m.

Hi Wendy,

Yes, we ship to Canada.

Leap

Reply
Teresa Nov 29, 2014 at 8:16 p.m.

We are traveling to Disney next week, not staying at a Disney resort so we don't have access to FastPass+. For the parades and fireworks, will it be obvious to us where we will be allowed to view without the FP+? In previous years before FP+ we just found a spot that worked for us.....can we still do this?

Also, do most of the rides that have had traditional FP access still have this available....where you walk up, insert your admission card into the machine and it spits out a FP? I'm thinking of Space Mtn, Flight of Peter Pan, etc. type attractions.

Thanks for your help! You guys are a great resource for tips and tickets!

Teresa

Reply
FrogBlog Dec 1, 2014 at 7:07 a.m.

Hi Teresa,

Yes, it will be easy to see where to view the fireworks and parades outside of the small reserved area. Traditional Fastpass is no longer available.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Teresa Nov 29, 2014 at 8:20 p.m.

Just saw the other post about FP+ being open to all guests. We won't make use of that on this trip........

maybe never since we like to "go with the flow" of the day and the kids. It's a little late now anyway since we leave in four days. Just wanted to add this as a PS to my previous questions.

Reply
Leslie Dec 15, 2014 at 9:38 p.m.

Our fastpass for Festival of Fantasy parade viewing in January says Town Square by flagpole. Did they change the spot? And if so, is this spot as good?

Reply
Lauren Dec 28, 2014 at 2:42 p.m.

I just booked fast pass for Festival of Fantasy and Main Street Electrical Parade in January. Is says Town Square Viewing area by the flagpole, not Central Plaza viewing area. Did they change it? Is this spot just as good?

Reply
FrogBlog Dec 29, 2014 at 9:43 a.m.

Hi Lauren,

This is an additional viewing area, and it is a very good location!

Best,

Leap

Reply
Janna Jan 7, 2015 at 5:11 p.m.

Hi Lauren (or anyone else who may know):

Did you enjoy the fast pass at Town Square Viewing area for the Festival of Fantasy and Main Street Electrical Parade? I ask because we are going next month and ours is also here. Also, were you able to stay in your spot to watch the fireworks after? Able to see the Castle light show from here?

Reply
Ginger Jan 11, 2015 at 7:21 a.m.

Is the fast pass area seated or standing?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 11, 2015 at 3:24 p.m.

Hi Ginger,

It's whichever you prefer. We have seen people doing both.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Laura Jan 21, 2015 at 3:48 p.m.

We just made fastpass reservations in March for the 1st Main Street Electrical Parade at the new Town Square viewing location (only location offered), and then fastpass reservations for new Wishes viewing down by Casey's/Plaza. Do you think it will be hard to hoof it down crowded Main Street in time to make it to the fireworks fastpass?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 21, 2015 at 11:06 a.m.

Hi Laura,

In general, there is quite a bit of movement between the parade and fireworks, but not as many people leaving the park, and thus going against you down Main Street as you get after the fireworks. I think you will be OK.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Laura Jan 21, 2015 at 9:25 p.m.

Thanks - we are excited to use fastpass and avoid waiting on the curb for an hour!

Reply
Brenda C. Jan 22, 2015 at 3:01 p.m.

Hi,

I will be passing through Orlando in in a few weeks. I will only be there one night so Im only able to attend the park during the evening (around 7pm). I would like to take my younger sister to see the fireworks at the magic kingdom. Is there a separate ticket I could purchase or would I have to buy the full day ticket? Thanks.

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 22, 2015 at 2:57 p.m.

Hi Brenda,

Unfortunately, you would need a 1 day ticket to see the fireworks inside Magic Kingdom, but you could watch them from the beach at Disney's Grand Floridian or the boat dock at TTC. Even more fabulous is from the observation deck at California Grill inside Disney's Grand Floridian. You would need a reservation for dinner or dine at the bar. And if you get an early reservation, just show your receipt and would be allowed back up to see the fireworks. The music from the fireworks show is piped in at each of these locations.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Ella Jan 25, 2015 at 5:20 a.m.

I & my family will be in Disney world next month. I am walking with a crutch. Do I and my group still need s fast pass for everything. We have been to Disney couple of years and I and my group just have to go thru handicap line to be able to go to the attractions/ rides without waiting or standing in a long line.

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 26, 2015 at 7:22 a.m.

Hi Ella,

You must be so excited about the trip! I would suggest you visit guest services when you arrive to see what kind of accommodations can be made for you and your family. Here is more about Disney's guest assistance policy as it has changed in recent years.

Best,

Leap

Reply
Julie Jan 29, 2015 at 10:21 p.m.

What are the chances of pulling my 4th fastpass so probably around 12:30 pm (after I used my first 3) for the electrical parade in July? And to top it all off it is for a party of 9

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 2, 2015 at 7:51 a.m.

Hi Julie,

You might be able to snag a 4th FP for the Electrical Parade, but more than likely it would be for the second nightly parade. It's less crowded than the first one, so less "worth it" in our book. But that is totally up to you and your group!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Michelle Feb 11, 2015 at 10:02 p.m.

We will have a lot of under 40" kids so we got IllumiNations FastPass for Easter week. How early do we have to get to that early with our FastPasses?

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 12, 2015 at 12:26 p.m.

Hi Michelle,

Your actual FastPass+ reservation lists the time you should be there. I would suggest getting there when the window opens so you can sit down and spread out with your group!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Sandra Feb 17, 2015 at 2:59 p.m.

Do you ship tickets to Canada? If so how long would it take to receive them in Saskatoon, SK? Thanks

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 17, 2015 at 11:33 a.m.

Hi Sandra,

Yes, we ship to Canada. If you add the tickets you want to the cart, you can view the current shipping times.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mark Feb 25, 2015 at 5:17 p.m.

How much is a FastPass+ and can you use the app to make reservations...

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 2, 2015 at 8:31 a.m.

Hi Mark,

FastPass+ is free with valid park admission, and yes, you can use the My Disney Experience app to make reservations.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jamie Feb 25, 2015 at 5:53 p.m.

Hi. My daughter's high school band is marching in Disney on Monday, March 30th. We were told "the parade slot has been moved to 9:45 pre-electrical parade on Main Street". Not to sound stupid, but what is the pre-electrical parade? Is it mostly school marching bands? Also, where would be the best place to view (and time to get there)? I'm driving from Louisiana with my family and while I can't wait to play in Disney, my main focus is to see my daughter marching in the parade. Any advice you could give would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much!

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 2, 2015 at 8:40 a.m.

Hi Jamie,

You must be so proud! The pre-parade is simply an opener to the actual parade, and who is in the opening varies. Normally, it's not marching bands, so this is going to be an extra special treat! Personally, I like the locations just off the sides of Cinderella Castle, since you can get shots of the castle along with the parade. If Cinderella Castle is 12 o'clock, I'd shoot for between 1 and 3. If the hub area is again open for FastPass+ reservations, that is another option and will also get the castle in the background. Normally for this time of year, I would suggest getting in place at least 45 minutes in advance. Since this is a special event and it's unclear how many bands will be performing (hence, how many parents will be watching), I would highly recommend you check with a cast member in the castle area in advance of that.

We like to use the waiting time to eat, so a couple of party members could grab dinner at Casey's Corner and bring it back to the group.

Please report back to us and let us know it goes!

Leap

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