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Complete Guide to Magic Kingdom Parades and Fireworks (Best Views, Tips, and Maps)

Complete Guide to Magic Kingdom Parades and Fireworks (Best Views, Tips, and Maps)

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:

  1. How good of a spot you want. (Best? Good? Anything will do?)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
magic kingdom dessert parties

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.

Castle turrets

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.

Castle fireworks projections

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.

Magic Kingdom fireworks

Show times can vary, so make sure you follow the monthly links below for the current information:

  • Happily Ever After – Shown every night except for the nights one of the specialty shows listed below are scheduled. The start time for this show typically ranges from around 8:00 pm (in the winter) to 10 pm (in the summer).
  • Fantasy in the Sky (New Years Eve) – Typically shown twice nightly at 6:30 and 11:50 pm on December 30th and December 31st.
  • Celebrate America! (Fourth of July) – Typically starts at 9:15 pm on both July 3rd & 4th.
  • Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party) – Typically takes place at 10:15 pm on party nights. Note: Special ticket required.
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) – Typically shown at 10:00 pm on party nights. After the final Christmas Party of the year, this show replaces Happily Ever After until December 30. Note: Special ticket required for party nights.
  • Disney Enchantment (Disney After Hours – Magic Kingdom) – Shown once a night during Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom, time TBD. Note: Special ticket required.

You can find exact show times for each month in the links below:

Magic Kingdom Fireworks Shows

Magic Kingdom has several nighttime spectaculars and fireworks shows that are shown throughout the year.

Here’s a bit about each of them:

Happily Ever After

  • Shown nightly except on party nights or select holidays
  • Show Length: 18 minutes
  • Music: Mix of popular Disney tunes from its animated movies with an original song titled “Happily Ever After” performed by Angie Keilhauer and Jordan Fisher
  • Summary: Happily Ever After replaced Wishes in 2017 and quickly became a fan favorite. The show encourages all dreamers to find their own “Happily Ever After” by taking them on a storytelling journey spanning 7 chapters: Wish, Adventure, Friendship, Love, Adversity, Heroes Fight Back, and Peace Restored. It was temporarily replaced by Disney Enchantment during the 50th Anniversary Celebration, but returned in April 2023

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.

Happily Ever After

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)

  • Shown twice a night on December 30 & 31 typically at 6:30 PM and 11:50 PM
  • Show Length: 10 minutes
  • Music: Mix of popular Disney tunes from its animated movies ending with a countdown to the New Year hosted by Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy and ending with Auld Lang Syne
  • Summary: Fantasy in the Sky is a fireworks show that has undergone many transformations. Once the nightly fireworks show, the current version is only shown 4 times per year and while there is definitely Disney music involved in this show, the main centerpiece are the fireworks which are some of the best we’ve ever seen.

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

Celebrate America
  • Shown once a night on July 3 and July 4
  • Show Length: 15 minutes
  • Music: Mix of American folk songs (like America the Beautiful, Home on the Range, etc.) and patriotic tunes like God Bless America, Stars and Stripes Forever, and You’re a Grand Old Flag
  • Summary: Celebrate America is Disney’s take on a Fourth of July, with the only problem being that once you’ve seen it, your local fireworks show just won’t do. It is a HUGE production, with patriotic tunes and tons of pyrotechnics shot off all around the perimeter of Magic Kingdom.

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)

not so spooky spectacular
  • Shown only during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
  • Show Length: 13 minutes
  • Music: Mix of Disney Halloween music (like This is Halloween, songs themed around villains (such as Poor Unfortunate Souls) and songs around dancing (like Step in Time, The Skeleton Dance, and Beauty and the Beast).
  • Summary: Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is a family-friendly Halloween-themed fireworks show. Like all of the newer fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom, it utilizes a combination of projection mapping, lighting, and fireworks, all choreographed with music.

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.”

Not So Spooky Spectacular

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)

  • Shown during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party until after the last party, then it is shown daily until December 29 (New Year’s Eve fireworks begin on December 30)
  • Show Length: 13 minutes
  • Music: Christmas music (most of which is instrumental, except for the song When We’re Together from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
  • Summary: Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks is a Christmas-themed fireworks show. In addition to the music and fireworks, the holiday themed projections for this show are some of our most favorite. They are primarily fun, Christmas-themed patterns that totally transform Cinderella Castle.

Another crowd favorite is the special fireworks that are shown during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Minnie's Fireworks

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.

Disney Enchantment

disney enchantment
  • October 1, 2021 – April 2, 2023 (after which it was retired from nightly shows)
  • 2024 During Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom
  • Show Length: 18 minutes
  • Music: Mix of popular Disney tunes from its animated movies with an original song titled “You Are the Magic” performed by Kayla Alvarez and Phillip Lawrence
  • Summary: Created for the 50th Anniversary, Disney Enchantment takes you on a journey where “favorite Disney Characters like Raya, Moana and Joe Gardner from Soul will join as you explore a world of wonder filled with friendship, love and fun. And if darkness tries to hold you back, you’ll discover you only have to look within to find the power to believe and make your dreams come true. The magic has been inside you all along.

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.

disney adventure friends cavalcade - the incredibles

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
magic kingdom parade route map
Festival of Fantasy parade
  • Location: Standard parade route – Magic Kingdom
  • Type of character experience: Parade
  • Lightning Lane available: Yes, included with Genie+
  • Costumes: Traditional
  • Performers include: Alice, The White Rabbit, Anna and Elsa, Ariel, Beast, Belle, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Peter Pan, Chip ‘n Dale, Daisy and Donald Duck, Snow White, the 7 Dwarfs, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, Flynn Rider and Rapunzel, Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio, Tinker Bell, Mad Hatter, Alice, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tiana and Prince Naveen, Pluto, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Prince Philip and Aurora,
  • Tip(s): After the final Christmas Party of the year, this parade is replaced with the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.

Boo To You Parade (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party)

boo to you sign
  • Location: Standard parade route – Magic Kingdom
  • Times: 9:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.
  • Costumes: Halloween themed
  • Summary: The Boo-To-You Parade is a must-see parade shown only during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. As you can tell by the name, it is Halloween-themed and packed with all your favorite characters (and villains!).
  • Tip: Catch the 2nd Boo-To-You parade for (slightly) fewer crowds
Boo to You parade map

Once Upon A Christmastime Parade (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)

once upon a christmastime
  • Location: Standard parade route – Magic Kingdom
  • Times: 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • Costumes: Christmas themed
  • Summary: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is shown twice a night during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and includes floats that not only look good, but also SMELL great!
  • Tip: After the final party and until New Years, you can see this parade daily in the Magic Kingdom
where to watch once upon a christmastime parade

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.

Rainy day cavalcade

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

  • 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.
  • The larger your group, the earlier you’ll need to find a spot to view the parades and/or fireworks.


Friday 17th of May 2024

Are there other places inside the park we can watch the fireworks if we don't mind not seeing the projections on the castle?

kathryn rodriguez

Thursday 16th of November 2023

how long do fire works last at magic kingdom


Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hi, trying to decide which shows to catch over Xmas and new year. Do you think it’s worth trying to see all 3 of Minnie’s Xmas fireworks, magic in the sky and happily ever after? I have December 29-jan 1 primarily for MK so would have to do them almost back to back each day with Epcot on dec 31. HEA on jan 1 and then dec 29-30 for the others. Alternatively I’d skip one and spend a day at universal and catch the Xmas castle show there on one of the days. Which one would you skip and is universal Xmas worth it vs just catching that in jan? Thanks!

Shannon Albert

Friday 17th of November 2023

All of those fireworks shows are SO good, with Magic in the Sky and HEA probably being the best.