Parades and nighttime firework shows at Magic Kingdom are a definite must-see during a visit to Walt Disney World.
They are extremely popular, which means they are also very frequently crowded. But – don’t stress! We have tips to help you find the perfect spot to enjoy them.
Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about Magic Kingdom parades and fireworks.
What to expect in this guide
We love helping people maximize their time in the parks. And part of that means understanding the best ways to approach the fireworks and parades at Magic Kingdom.
First, we’ll start off with probably the most popular question we get: how to find the best spot to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks. Then, we’ll go over all the different fireworks shows that happen throughout the year at Magic Kingdom, so you can get a preview as to what you’ll see.
Then it is on to parades!
We’ll follow that same order for parades: give you our best advice on the perfect places to watch the parades, and then we will talk a bit about the different parades and cavalcades you’ll see at Magic Kingdom.
Finally, we’ll wrap it all up with some parade and firework FAQs and our favorite tips for watching the parades and fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
How to Get the Best Magic Kingdom Fireworks View
The best of the best fireworks viewing spots can go early. And during busy times of the year (like the holidays), there can be some serious competition for the prime locations.
Lots of people want to know how early you should snag a spot, and that depends on 3 things:
- How good of a spot you want. (Best? Good? Anything will do?)
- The size of your group. (It is a lot easier to get a spot with a group of 2 than with a group of 12.)
- How busy the park is. (Holidays are trickier than non-busy times of the year.)
If you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort outside the busy holiday season (or the 4th of July), 30-45 minutes early can get you a “good” fireworks viewing spot for a family of 4.
It probably won’t get you the best of the best, but it will still get you a good view for the show.
But, if you want one of the best spots or if you have a large group or are traveling during a busy time of the year, you may want to start looking closer to an hour (or more) before the show starts.
Best places to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks
When we are hunting for a spot to watch the fireworks shows, these are our go-to spots:
- Best view of both projections and fireworks: Hub area, near the reserved sections for the Dessert Party viewing.
- Best view of projections only: If you don’t care about seeing the fireworks, aim to be between the Walt “Partners” statue and the castle, right in the center.
- Best for a quick exit: If you are looking to exit the parks before the crowds, watch from the front of the park near the flagpole. You won’t be able to see the projections clearly, but you’ll avoid the swarm of people leaving as soon as the show is over.
- Best view outside Magic Kingdom: Even though many of the shows at Magic Kingdom are now projection heavy, you can still catch the fireworks portions from several places outside the park.
Things that will ruin your view
We love trees, but when it comes to viewing the nighttime shows at Magic Kingdom park, a tree that is in the wrong spot can ruin the entire effect.
Your goal is to see Cinderella Castle as clearly as possible. If trees are blocking out most of the castle (or in the case of shows that are primarily fireworks, the sky), that isn’t going to be a great view.
Buildings and other structures
The same thing can be said about the buildings and turrets that surround the castle. If the castle is blocked from your view, keep looking for a spot.
Distance & Angle
The front of the park (near the Main Street Train Station) can give you great views of the fireworks, but if you are watching a projection-heavy show (like Happily Ever After) you won’t see the details on Cinderella Castle. That may not matter to you, but if you want the full effect, that far away isn’t going to work.
And, if you’re too close to Cinderella Castle, you’ll have a great view of the projections, but you’ll not be able to see a lot of the fireworks.
As for the best angle, looking at the castle straight on is ideal because that puts the fireworks in the proper position behind the castle. You may still get a good view from the sides, but the fireworks may look off-center instead of appearing directly behind Cinderella Castle.
What time are fireworks at Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom has fireworks every night of the year. Most of the time they are free with your park admission. However, there are a few nights in the fall and winter where you’ll need a special ticket.
Show times can vary, so make sure you follow the monthly links below for the current information:
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Shows
Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After is the primary fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. Free with your park admission, we think it is a “must see” and something you should definitely make time for on your trip.
When Happily Ever After debuted, one thing quickly became apparent:
Unlike Wishes (a previous nightly fireworks show at Magic Kingdom), there aren’t as many options for “good” viewing spots.
That’s because this show is a combination of fireworks, projections onto Cinderella Castle, Main Street U.S.A., and lights.
The overall effect is spectacular, and the projections add an entirely new layer to the show. But that also means you have to be in a spot where you can clearly see the castle to get the “full” effect.
In addition to the magic in the sky, the main theme music (performed by Jordan Fisher and Angie Keilhauer) is lovely and inspiring and guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
You can check it out below (just make sure to grab some tissues first).
Fantasy in the Sky (New Year’s Eve)
This spectacular fireworks show is one of the best shown at Magic Kingdom. It is also free with your park admission.
And, unlike most of the other fireworks shows, this one is typically presented twice a night on both December 30 and December 31.
To maximize your New Year’s experience, plan to catch the fireworks here on December 30 for (slightly) fewer crowds and then spend New Year’s Eve in another park.
Celebrate America! A Fourth Of July Concert In The Sky
Of course, the Fourth of July should see some special fireworks, too.
The main event at Magic Kingdom for Independence Day is the “Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” fireworks display.
This is a free fireworks show, and to be honest, one of the best shows we’ve ever seen.
Like the fantastic fireworks shown for New Year’s Eve, these are also typically performed for 2 nights: July 3 & July 4th.
Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party)
Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (Fireworks Extravaganza) is held on select nights with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Note: because this show is part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you will have to purchase a party ticket if you want to see it.
Replacing the much beloved HalloWishes (which made its final appearance in 2018), this nighttime show debuted in 2019. It features Jack Skellington as host and includes projections, lasers, special lightning effects, and of course – lots and lots of fireworks.
Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy join in on the adventure as Jack tells the story of “how anything can happen on Halloween Night.”
Because of the use of projections, much like Happily Ever After, the best views will be close to the castle.
Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (fireworks extravaganza) typically takes place at 10:15 p.m. on party nights.
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)
Another crowd favorite is the special fireworks that are shown during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Like many of the other fireworks shows, this one also features a combination of projections and fireworks.
Note: For most of November and December, this show can be seen during a specially ticketed event. But if you are traveling closer to Christmas, you can see it for free since Disney typically shows it nightly during the last week before the holiday.
For the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney rolled out a new nighttime extravaganza at Magic Kingdom – complete with lights, fireworks, and projections (all the way down Main Street).
We expected this show to be around for a bit longer, but Disney announced in the fall of 2022 that it would be retired at the end of the 50th Celebration, to be replaced with the return of Happily Ever After.
Which is why, then, we were all very surprised when Disney brought it back from the dead, announcing it would be shown during the 2024 dates of Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom.
Parades and Cavalcades
Magic Kingdom has a couple of cavalcades and at least 1 parade daily. In addition to the regular parades, there are also a couple of specialty parades that are seasonal. Let’s talk about the regular parades first.
What is a Cavalcade?
Cavalcades are kind of like a mini parade. They typically have 1 float and some characters or Cast Members on foot or horseback.
Best Places to Watch Magic Kingdom Parades
The routes for both parades and cavalcades are the same.
Here’s our favorite spots:
- Best for fewer crowds: Frontierland because it tends to be less crowded (and there are even a few places where you can sit)
- Best for photographs: For daytime parades, in the Hub (right side when facing Cinderella Castle), on the outside of the circle because you can get some really great pictures with the castle in the background. For the parades during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, by the flag pole so you can get all of Main Street in the pics, too.
- Best for shade and/or a quick escape: At the front of the park, under the Main Street U.S.A. Train Station in the shade. Also, since you are at the front of the park, it is easy to leave
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Boo To You Parade (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party)
Once Upon A Christmastime Parade (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)
Magic Kingdom Parade and Fireworks FAQs
What happens if it rains?
Rain happens quite frequently in Central Florida. If it is raining, parades are likely to be delayed or cancelled because the wet pavement is too slick for the performers. If it is during the daytime, the Rainy Day Cavalcade will likely be shown in its place.
As for fireworks, it kind of depends. They are much more likely to happen as long as there isn’t dangerous lightning or winds accompanying the rain.
Can you save spots for parades and fireworks at Magic Kingdom?
While we don’t recommend you try to save large areas, it is generally not too difficult to save a spot or 2. Just make sure that you don’t wait too long for your party to join you, or you’ll risk having your spot be squished in as more people claim their areas.
Does Magic Kingdom have fireworks every night?
Magic Kingdom does have fireworks nearly every night. However, keep in mind that on party nights, you’ll need a special ticket to get inside to watch the fireworks. There are also a couple of days during the year when the park is reserved for a special party or event. On those nights, fireworks may not be shown.
Can you get into Magic Kingdom just to watch the fireworks?
Yes, you can – but only with a valid ticket.
Are the parades and fireworks worth it?
Yes! Absolutely. Especially the fireworks and the seasonal parades shown during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Tips for Watching Parades and Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
- You can catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from outside the park, too. This is a great option for people who don’t like crowds or for anyone who dislikes the loud noises from the shows. Check out our favorite places to watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from outside the park.
- For a special treat, consider booking a Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party. Not only do you get all-you-care-to-enjoy snacks, but you’ll also get a reserved spot for watching the fireworks show.
- While we love the Festival of Fantasy Parade, it is often held during the hottest part of the day. We have had the most luck with shade by standing under the train station on Main Street U.S.A.
- If you’d like to sit while watching the Festival of Fantasy parade, consider booking a reservation at Tony’s Town Square restaurant for about 30 minutes before the parade is scheduled to begin. When you arrive, let them know you’d like to sit outdoors. You won’t get the benefits of air conditioning, but you will be able to sit in the shade while you watch the parade.
- There are a few nearby restaurants just outside Magic Kingdom that offer views of the fireworks shows, too. Keep in mind that these spots aren’t going to give you the best views, but they will provide a nice backdrop to a meal.
- The larger your group, the earlier you’ll need to find a spot to view the parades and/or fireworks.