Fireworks and Magic Kingdom just kinda go together, am I right? Seeing the fireworks light up the night sky is the perfect ending to a magical day at Disney World and have the best place to watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom in Disney World is that cherry on top of the happy memories made together in the theme park!
I love all things Disney and all the Walt Disney World theme parks but there is just something extra special about Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is Disney World to so many people, myself included. So truly this is not only a post about the best spot to watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom but it’s really also a post about the best place to watch fireworks at Disney World itself!
Why Magic Kingdom Has the Best Fireworks
Yes, I love and enjoy ALL of the nighttime fireworks at the various Disney World theme parks. Heck, I even enjoy the ones at Universal Studios Florida (shh! Don’t tell Mickey Mouse!).
Epcot has recently replaced the not so amazing former fireworks, Epcot Forever, with Harmonious. Hollywood Studios typically has Fantasmic as well as a Star Wars themed fireworks nighttime show and hopefully they will return in the coming weeks.
Even when all of the nighttime spectaculars are in full production I would still always recommend having your first Disney trip or your child’s first time experiencing fireworks be at Magic Kingdom.
Cinderella’s Castle is the epitome of Disney Magic. Walking down Main Street U.S.A and seeing the castle waiting for me gives me chills every single time I visit the parks. There is just something so special and iconic about it and seeing firework shows anywhere else just can’t compare.
I was very partial to the Magic Kingdom fireworks show of the past, no not Wishes, my favorite was Happily Ever After. I cried real tears on multiple occasions while watching and listening to the “Happily Ever After” song play over the speakers throughout the park.
Thankfully the new nighttime firework show, Enchantment, brings a lot of the elements from Happily Ever After but with more advanced special effects and immersive projection effects. The projections even travel down Main Street U.S.A!
If being a Disney fan has taught me anything it’s taught me that new changes will always be happening and that it’s best to embrace them and roll with them and all them to become new favorite things too!
These new fireworks include new music but thankfully still include the must-have watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks moment: Tinker Bell flying! It is important to note, however, that she doesn’t fly every night. It is weather permitting and sometimes she opts to stay inside Cinderella’s Castle and hang out with her princess pals 😉 I would be mindful NOT to build up Tinker Bell flying to your kids and crew as you’d hate for any disappointment just in case! Trust me – the new show will be one of the best things they experience all day even if she doesn’t fly!
Should You Stay for the Fireworks at Magic Kingdom?
I know you are probably assuming you already know the answer to this question. I’m saying how much I LOVE the fireworks so naturally I’m also saying that they are a MUST DO experience, right?
Yes, I love the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Yes I think Magic Kingdom has the best fireworks at Disney World. But no, I do not think every single family should stay for the fireworks show. Nor do I think every visit to Magic Kingdom has to end with the nighttime spectacular.
In fact, I didn’t take my oldest child to ANY of the nighttime shows until we’d gone to Disney for several trips. I love to take my kids on their first visit a little before age 3 (read why here!) but at that age naptime and bedtime are still very, very crucial to a successful vacation. Happy kids = Happy dad = Happy experience for mom right? 😉
I always recommend leaving the park mid-day for naps and/or leaving the park before bedtime. You want your child to be as well-rested as possible! If you leave mid-day for naps and plan a down day or later start time to your morning the following day, then I’d totally go for it with the nighttime fireworks. But if you have back to back park days in a row and have to get up early every single morning? I would not feel the least bit of guilt if you need to skip out on the night shows to ensure everyone gets the rest they need.
However, this is all only true IF you plan to come BACK to Disney World in the future. If this is a once in a lifetime trip for your family? I’d push through and make sure they get to see the fireworks, no matter what their age!
Older kids are more flexible and it’s easier for them to handle the later nights and the busy activities and non-stop going of a Disney World vacation. Even older kids benefit from a mid-day break (and yes, it’s worth taking even if you’re not staying on Disney World property!) and, let’s be real, Mom and Dad do too! So head back to your hotel or vacation rental home and take a nap, relax by the pool, watch a movie. Then go back to Magic Kingdom in plenty of time for the fireworks show!
And I promise you that Disney World fireworks will put any sort of 4th of July fireworks production you’ve seen to shame 😉 It’s well worth doing!
However, if you have an adult in your group that isn’t all about the fireworks? Let them stay back with any little ones! My husband happily volunteers to keep our youngest while I’ve taken the older kids back many times to enjoy the nighttime fireworks 🙂
(this little guy has been going to Disney World since he was literally 12 days old but didn’t see his first fireworks show until a week before he turned 4!)
What Time Are Fireworks at Magic Kingdom?
Start time for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park (and all of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks) varies depending on the time of the year, what time the sunsets, and what other events may be taking place.
During the holiday season Magic Kingdom is often home to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney Very Merriest After Hours, and other various events. These parties may have their own fireworks as part of the theming event and often it can cause the traditional fireworks show to be pushed earlier or scrapped completely.
It is ALWAYS wise to check the park schedule on Disney’s website or on your My Disney Experience App prior to visiting the parks. I actually recommend checking the park hours and fireworks schedule 60 days before your planned trip to best help decide any possible dining (or if you, by chance, want to partake in one of the fireworks dessert parties which I discuss in full here!).
The Disney ddining reservation system opens for bookings 60 days in advance so knowing your plans and securing your park ticket is ideal before that 60th day!
The park schedule is usually updated 30 days in advance so be sure to check in again then as well as right before and during your trip to ensure you’re up to date on the most current park hours and entertainment times.
If watching the fireworks while at the Disney theme parks is a top priority for you then I also highly recommend taking the time of the fireworks at Disney World and magic kingdom into account when planning your trip.
If you go in the summertime or other seasons when it stays bright out longer and later, then keep in mind that the fireworks will also take place later in the evening. I’ve seen them start as late as 11 PM on some nights during peak times of huge crowds in the summers!
The best time of the year to see the fireworks at Disney World is when the sun goes down earlier in the day. The earlier it gets dark, the earlier Disney World will have their start times be for their fireworks schedules. Wintertime is the best time to see fireworks as they are typically starting at times as early as 8 PM.
When you have kids every little bit of sleep you can get is crucial and earlier fireworks start times mean earlier bedtimes after a long day at the parks!
When I took my youngest to see Disney Enchantment for the first time we went in November of last year as part of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and were able to watch the show over Thanksgiving at 8 PM, we did participate in the Enchantment Treats and Seats Dessert Party which you can read more about here if you’re interested in that option (but be warned, it’s gonna cost ya a lot of money!)
Where is the BEST Place to Watch Fireworks at Magic Kingdom?
You will get a variety of answers when asked where is the best place to watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Lots of people have their own favorite fireworks viewing spots both inside and outside magic kingdom.
And, yes, you CAN see the fireworks outside of Magic Kingdom in the sky from a variety of locations outside of the walls of the park. And, yes, some locations are totally and completely FREE to view the fireworks.
Sure you can find a spot at the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or you can even pay to enjoy a meal as part of a dinner package and view fireworks at California Grill (which my husband and I did once…it’s a nice date night experience!). You can even see them in the sky from Disney Springs. Heck, you can even see them not even ON Disney property!
However, NO view can compare to the view in front of Cinderella Castle when it comes to viewing the Magic Kingdom Nighttime Spectacular. Everyone knows that the best fireworks views of both the fireworks as well as the projection show are directly in front of the castle. That’s why is also always the crowded areas too 😉
Now that Enchantment has projections down Main Street you will hear people say that it’s worth standing further back (even behind the partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in the main hub) to be able to see the Main Street projections and, yes, that area is offering unique views but the BEST way to FULLY enjoy and experience the nighttime spectacular is getting as close to the castle as you physically can.
Due to the large crowds if you want a good view of the show I highly recommend heading to this viewing area around 2 hours to 90 minutes before the fireworks showtime. Some days it’s not necessary to arrive that early, but I’m a better safe than sorry kinda person. 😉
I will say that Happily Ever After was THE best fireworks show at Magic Kingdom (ever, in my opinion) and for that show the crowds started gathering for prime viewing spots well over the 2 hour pre-show marker but I’ve always arrived at my spot between an hour and a half to two hours before showtime and I’ve had no issues claiming my space.
Ready for the big reveal of the secret viewing spot? Guess what? It’s not just ONE spot…it’s TWO!
When facing the castle from Main Street you can easily locate this special spot, especially because there are TWO of them. Yes two epic view spots!
When looking at the castle you want to go towards EITHER of the walkways that lead you INTO the castle. There is one both on the left side as well as the right side of the main castle stage. This is a bit older of a castle photo but I wanted to find one that shows both of the walkways 🙂
These walkways will remain open and accessible to guests up until about an hour before the fireworks start and then will be “closed” by a cast member putting a rope across the walkway path. There will be a cast member hanging out in this area and I highly recommend chatting them up.
We’ve learned a TON about the parks and have made great friends and memories by being friendly with cast members (as well as with other guests who have sat near us in our special spot, several we still keep in touch with now!).
In the past guests were allowed to actually sit across the entrance of the walkways once the ropes were brought out to close off the path entrances, but recently Disney has made the area safer by marking off a walkway in front of the castle with tape.
This was MUCH needed and allows you to safely walk to the bathroom, get snacks, etc and return to your spot without fighting the crowds. Don’t worry, even sitting directly behind the tape the views are still perfect!!!
Why is THIS the Best Place to Watch Fireworks at Disney World?
You’re probably wondering why this “secret spot” is so magical for the fireworks viewing and how it’s a “secret.” First of all, most people gather directly in FRONT of the castle. There is a large section directly in front of the castle stage which serves as almost a “mosh pit” for fireworks viewing. I have never watched the fireworks from this spot because it looks miserable. It is ALWAYS extremely crowded and there is no way I’d ever be able to see anything from right there.
Our great place for fireworks viewing is a “secret” because people either migrate towards the center stage OR they hang back a bit in the main hub in order to avoid the directly in front of the castle crowds. This great spot isn’t really one that people realize is even there. We’re there early enough to claim the spot before crowds start pouring in and before casual guests realize it even exists.
The reason it’s the best view spot is that you can see the castle, the fireworks, and the projections without ANYONE in front of you. I’m short (5’1″) and I typically have a few (or even all four) of my kids with me to watch fireworks. There is no way I can possibly hold any of them up long enough to get good views of the fireworks, especially with any sort of adult in front of us.
By being positioned on the side of the main stage we avoid the massive crowds in the middle section and with the walkways blocked off we have no one in front of us either. As a result we have the PERFECT views of both the fireworks and the projections and ALL of us can see. Even the smallest of my kids can see perfectly and enjoy the full experience of the fireworks.
Arriving early during your Disney World trip is a bit of a hassle, for sure. And is a big reason why this spot is special – you do have to work for it a bit but if you do arrive early, you WILL be rewarded with the epic viewing location.
Be warned: you will love to watch magic in your kids eyes so much as they watch the fireworks that you may not see much of the show yourself. My favorite part of the fireworks display is seeing my children’s eyes light up and experience their joy! Who knows, your typical bickering siblings may even share a special bonding moment – and as us mamas know that takes some REAL magic right there!
What to do While You Wait for the Fireworks at Disney World
I know two hours sitting waiting for a twenty-minute fireworks show sounds miserable (and it’s why my husband doesn’t come with us haha) but it truly flies by if you plan accordingly!
My recommendation to any friends who aren’t as familiar with The Walt Disney Company way of life is to choose your favorite place to eat at Magic Kingdom as a LUNCH spot and skip any sort of restaurant or even quick-service dining at dinner. Instead, eat a large lunch and PACK your own dinner (Yes, outside food is allowed…it’s my favorite tip for saving money at Disney!).
Once you secure your spot, bust out that dinner! You can bring along this awesome travel blanket to sit on. It folds up super small in it’s own little pouch which makes it a breeze to toss in your Disney bookbag for the day. Usually, I have a couple of kids sitting in our double stroller too!
This is also an ideal time for picking up that favorite Disney snack. I will let my kids choose a Disney treat on our trip and save it for them to enjoy during our wait for the fireworks. Often I will get myself a Mickey pretzel with cheese dipping sauce from a nearby cart as my dinner and will typically get an extra to share with the kids too 😉
Speaking of nearby snack options – if you want to purchase something WHILE you wait I’ve learned the locations of the nearby treats. When facing the castle the snack cart on your left will have churros, Mickey pretzels, and cotton candy. The snack cart on your right will have popcorn and cotton candy.
You can also now place a mobile order for Sleepy Hollow which is a short walk and can pick up some DELICIOUS funnel cakes or other menu items from there! We’ve also mobile ordered food from Casey’s Corner (hotdogs) as well as Lunching Pad (Mickey Pretzels AND hot dogs ha!).
I often take my kids solo to view the fireworks as crowds aren’t my husband’s jam. It can be tricky to hold your spot and pick up snack items and keep eyes on your child. I recommend an Apple Watch as a great way to communicate with your older child as you make a quick run for the snack cart. Typically I make fast friends with fellow guests who are waiting for the fireworks and feel comfortable having them keep eyes on the child while I make the snack dash. My kids are all also VERY familiar with the parks and comfortable with me doing that, so for sure only do what is comfortable for you and your family and child!
Another great way to pass the time while waiting for the fireworks, aside from eating and making friends with Cast Members and Fellow Guests, is to download the free app called Heads Up!
While you are within the Disney Parks they have a FREE Disney card deck that features tons of fun Disney related terms to guess and we LOVE it. It passes the time super quickly and is really fun and keeps the Disney magic going while we wait. We also almost ALWAYS have other guests nearby join in!
I always typically pack small toys and notebooks for my kids as well. They will play or draw if needed and truly the time passes a LOT quicker than you’d think!
A Word to the Wise: Navigating Crowds
The reward for your longish wait is an amazing view of the fireworks. The downside? You WILL face massive crowds leaving the park after the show ends.
Ideally, if possible, try to have your fireworks viewing night be a night that Magic Kingdom stays open LATER than the fireworks start time. When the park is closing at the same time as the fireworks are ending it’s pure CHAOS. But when the park stays open a bit later? It can help lower the massive amount of people all trying to head to the parking lot at the same time.
On that note if you are viewing the fireworks on a night that the park stays open later you may want to consider keeping the fun going and head away from the crowds leaving. It’s a great opportunity to hop on rides that typically have a longer wait time as often they have less lengthly lines at this point in the day.
Some rides are a totally different experience when ridden at night, like Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.
There is no point in rushing to the exit when the fireworks end. If an exit strategy is of top importance to you then you’ll need to sacrifice great fireworks viewing and place yourself further down Main Street to be able to have a quick exit when the grand finale comes to a close.
If you choose to view them from my personal favorite place you will be IN FRONT of all the crowds when it comes to viewing the fireworks but BEHIND them when it comes time to head to the seven seas lagoon to either ride the monorail, a bus or the ferry back to your Disney world hotel resort or the parking lot.
Take your time. Let the kids hang out a little longer. Take some photos in front of the castle. Ask each of them how they enjoyed the show. Little ones may fall asleep in the stroller which makes for a treat in itself.
If the park is staying open later consider heading to the nearest land to your spot (we most often view on the left side of the castle so we will walk to Liberty Square to head to attractions in that direction, if you’re on the ride side you’ll head towards Tomorrowland). Even just one ride can significantly lower the crowds as you exit.
When the park closes at the same time as the fireworks show expect a good hour to two hours to get to your car in the parking lot. Nope, I’m not exaggerating. It’s slow moving. Be patient. Be kind. Do the “park exit shuffle” on your way out.
Usually cast members will be on hand to direct you to the easiest exit. I personally prefer to take the ferry back to the parking lot as it’s always a sure thing, never breaks down and the entrance to it is smooth. That monorail incline can be a BEAST to push a stroller up when you’re worn out and exhausted.
Another advantage of riding the ferry is that you can often see the Electrical Water Pageant as it takes place around the Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s one of my favorite Disney touches and makes my night whenever we happen to get to see it on our way home.
As I walk towards the park exit I ask just about every Cast Member I pass which way to the ferry. Even before I hit Main Street. There are multiple park exits and I’ve gotten trapped in the “wrong” one in the past which made my navigation to the ferry more difficult. Keep asking, keep moving forward, and keep reminding yourself it was all worth it.
Planning a Trip to Disney World?
- Be sure to check out ALL of my Disney Travel Tips as well as see our personal travel experiences here!
- We own a 6 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom home 3 miles from the parks in the beautiful gated community of Emerald Island. Our Disney Rental Home has a heated pool and spa, Disney theming throughout and a great game room for the kids. Be sure to visit this post for all the details about renting our home!
- My favorite planning tool for Walt Disney World parks is Touring Plans. Being a member of their site allows you access to crowd calendars and daily itineraries to avoid waiting in lines! Learn more here!