I have a confession to make. I like to skip the fireworks in Disney World…and I always have.
Disney World is known for its nighttime spectaculars. These shows have fireworks, projections, lasers, heart-wrenching music, and more; so it’s pretty easy to see why fans are so attached to them. Though the fireworks are pretty cool, I tend to skip the shows…and maybe you should to. This is why I skip the fireworks (almost) every time.
Happily Ever After, EPCOT Forever, Fantasmic— these shows cap off a Disney day with stunning displays of fireworks, special effects, and music. Even now-extinct fireworks shows like Wishes and IllumiNations have their die-hard fans.
And it’s true, the fireworks are stunning and certainly better than any other fireworks shows I’ve ever seen. That said, I’ve been going to Disney World for my whole life and my family has always chosen to skip the nighttime spectaculars. I know, I know, it sounds wild. What about seeing Tinker Bell fly? I get it. But there are a few good reasons that you might want to skip the fireworks.
It’s A Great Time To Ride
The number one reason I’ve always skipped the fireworks is because it’s a great time to ride rides with super short lines. Thousands of people flock to watch the fireworks, so the time before the show starts and during the show, the rest of the park will see some of the lowest crowds and wait times of the whole day!
Fireworks time could see you getting on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad multiple times or riding Frozen Ever After without standing for an hour in the queue. If rides are the priority, then watch a YouTube video of the fireworks back at the hotel and get on your favorite attraction!
In fact, riding during the fireworks can even give you a super unique experience. For instance, a lot of outdoor rides will give you a view of the fireworks in Magic Kingdom. My favorite ways to watch them are on Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and the PeopleMover.
I also had one of the most unique experiences at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor when I accidentally entered the show during the fireworks one time. There were so few people that we had to hold for enough people to enter the audience for them to run the show, then pretty much every family got to see someone they know up on the screen featured!
It was the first and only time I’ve ever gotten to interact with the monsters and help with their jokes, and I’ve always wanted to do that. So, if you’ve really wanted to see yourself on the big Monstropolis screen, taking on this interactive show during the fireworks could be your best move.
Really, you just can’t beat the wait times when everyone flocks to see the show. It’s like a whole different park! P.S. This trick actually works for parades, too, to a lesser degree!
Fireworks Take Up A Big Chunk Of Time
Another reason I tend to skip the show is that really seeing the fireworks tends to take up a big chunk of time. Most nighttime spectaculars are around 20 minutes, with Fantasmic being as long as 30 minutes. Beyond that, getting a good spot often means arriving at least a half hour early — more on busy days. AND, when you leave from the fireworks, you’ll be navigating huge crowds! A distance that might typically take 5 to 10 minutes to walk could take 20 to 30 minutes to walk.
All in, you’re using an hour or two of your park day to see these nighttime spectaculars. Think of the rides you could ride, the photos you could take, and the snacks you could eat! I’m typically willing to dedicate that time to a show once, but not repeat times. You’ll find me on Pirates of the Caribbean instead.
Try A Different View
Skipping the fireworks doesn’t mean not getting to see them entirely. I have had some really awesome experiences seeing them from a more unique view! One of my favorites is the view of Happily Ever After when you’re walking through Fantasyland. I’ll typically stop to take in about five minutes of the show when dashing from ride to ride. This spot makes it feel like you’re fully surrounded by fireworks in all directions!
As I mentioned above, seeing the fireworks from rides can be super magical, but it can also be pretty cool to see them from restaurants. A well-timed Plaza Restaurant reservation could have really cool views, and nearby hotel rooftops provide some amazing fireworks views as well.
My family absolutely loves dining at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where they dim the lights and pipe in the Magic Kingdom fireworks music. You can even watch from a number of dedicated fireworks patios! Similarly, Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort provides awesome views of the EPCOT show. Maybe consider skipping the waiting on Main Street in the crowds, and opt for a nice dinner instead!
You Might Not Be Okay With The Crowds
It’s also okay to skip the fireworks if you’re not great with crowds. Crowds during the fireworks are some of the most intense of the entire day anywhere in Disney World. This can be a lot to handle, so skipping the fireworks can be a huge relief to those who aren’t comfortable next to thousands and thousands of people.
Plus, you can then experience the rest of the park with lighter crowds than the whole day! A double win!
You Can’t Beat Walking Through An Empty Park
And another reason I skip the fireworks is to set myself up to get to walk through an empty park. On nights when the fireworks are right before or at park close, everyone will exit immediately after the show. But, there’s a way to exit later and see these parks mostly empty!
The trick is to get in line for an attraction a minute before the park closes. If it closes at 9PM, make sure you’re in line at 8:59PM. If the line is around 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself exiting the attraction after the fireworks have wrapped up. This works well with attractions in the back of the park like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Rise of the Resistance or Slinky Dog Dash, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Not only will you get to ride these rides with a dramatically shorter wait than you would have seen mid-day, you also get to stroll through a relatively empty park on the way out and take some amazing photos.
A lot of people make fun of me because I tend to skip EPCOT fireworks in favor of the last show at The American Adventure. Some nights, this show will run beginning at park close. When this happens, you’ll find yourself in a mostly empty theatre watching the 29-minute show until the fireworks are over. If you’re exiting through the front of the park, that means that World Showcase and World Celebration will be mostly empty as you move through. Pretty cool, right?
So, you see? It’s not too crazy to decide not to watch the fireworks in Disney World. If you’ve seen them before, consider stepping away to check out some of the attractions with super short lines — or even get a more unique view of the show!
Want to see a more unique way to watch the fireworks? Watch our video here!
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Do you skip the fireworks or watch them every time?