I was talking to a friend recently, who just got back from their Disney vacation. We talked about everything she and her family did on their trip and how much they all enjoyed Disney. When I asked her what they thought of the fireworks shows, she said they had not seen them. They had gotten up each day and went to the parks as early as possible, but had “pooped out” before the fireworks were to start and went back to the resort before they began each evening. It became very important to me to make sure you all know that you should not miss this important part of a Walt Disney World trip.
If you are heading to the parks early each day, take a midday break and go to your resort for some R&R or a nap. Then, head back to the park late afternoon or early evening and stay to enjoy these spectacles of magic in the parks. Whether it is Wishes at the Magic Kingdom, Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios, or Illuminations at Epcot, they are all well worth hanging in there for and, believe it or not, they will rejuvenate your spirit. The resulting extra endorphins will give you renewed energy.
Here is a description of each of these must-do shows:
Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is the biggest, brightest fireworks extravaganza in the history of Magic Kingdom park. Hosted by Jiminy Cricket, and highlighted by Tinkerbell flying through the sky from the castle, it tells a great story.
Jiminy guides Pinocchio, Cinderella, Ariel, Peter Pan and other beloved Disney characters through a fantastic tale accompanied by a wonderful and magical musical score which plays in sync with the fireworks show. Added features of pyrotechnics and special effects make this spectacular show a Disney-style fantasy where you will discover that wishes really do come true.
The fireworks schedules vary by season, so be sure to see the Times Guide when you enter the park for exact dates and times. The show can be viewed throughout the Park, but to see Tinker Bell flying in the sky, a view from the front of Cinderella Castle is best.
Fantasmic! has been temporarily closed for refurbishment, but will be re-opening on February 13, 2012. Fantasmic! is an awesome 25-minute fireworks and water show that brings together all of your favorite Disney Characters.
The show stars Mickey Mouse, of course, as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice; as well as many other classic Disney characters from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Aladdin, Pinocchio, The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Tarzan, and more. But when the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs gathers such classic villains as Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Scar, Jafar and a larger-than-life Maleficent to turn Mickey’s dreams into a nightmare, leave it to Mickey and the power of imagination to save the day.
This show uses over one million gallons of water and 50 costumed performers. The Imagineers combine explosive pyrotechnics, shimmering laser lights and dazzling dancing water effects with beloved Disney songs and animation. This show is a musical extravaganza of sight and sound, and is full of surprises.
Fantasmic! is performed on select nights only, so be sure to check the Times Guide at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for show times. Fantasmic! is an outdoor show and, thus, is also subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Also of note is that guests sitting in the first couple of rows may get wet during the performance.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is definitely my family’s favorite. It is a mesmerizing spectacle of fireworks, lasers and water that features a rousing soundtrack. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a 14-minute, live pyrotechnic show that brings together the past, present and future of our planet and its colorful nations.
Shown atop the World Showcase Lagoon, it features breathtaking fireworks, laser-light effects, dramatic fountain barges, bursts of fire, and an awesome musical score. The highlight of this show is the appearance of the world’s first spherical video display system—the 350,000-pound Earth Globe. This is an inspirational and amazing show which tells the story of our planet in 3 acts:
Act 1: Chaos — Bear witness to the explosion at the dawn of time that brings about the creation of Earth, where you are invited to observe the Inferno Barge, a liquid-propane mechanism launching balls of fire 60 feet into the air.
Act 2: Order — Behold the glowing Earth Globe as it glides peacefully to the center of the lagoon, illuminated with—and celebrating—the famous faces and achievements of our time.
Act 3: Meaning — During this final act, the Earth Globe blossoms to reveal a torch and the glow of a thousand fireworks and laserlights that fill the night sky in a shimmering kaleidoscope of color and sound, propelling us into the future.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth can be viewed anywhere throughout the World Showcase that offers a clear view of the World Showcase Lagoon. It runs nightly, but be sure to check the Times Guide at Epcot the day of your visit for show times. An important note is that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is an outdoor show and, thus, is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. My advice is that if it should be cancelled during the night you plan to be there, attend on a different night if at all possible.
Disney has put a great deal of thought, time and money into creating these magnificent shows. They are an important part of the Disney magic and are created to be enjoyed by families spending time together in love at Disney. This is some of the best FREE time you will spend at Disney so, no matter what, don’t miss them!
Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.