By Erica Thomas
No matter your age, there is something magical and exhilarating about watching bursts of fireworks light up the sky. Living in a tourist capital, we have an abundance of nightly shows to choose from. Here’s a list of the best spots (inside and outside of the parks) to nestle close to your sweetie and gaze up at the wonderment of a spectacular pyrotechnic display.
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a firework show that celebrates the history of our planet and looks forward to the future. The show is narrated by Jim Cummings and includes an Inferno Barge and Earth Globe, both located in the World Showcase Lagoon.
While staking out a seat anywhere around the Lagoon will allow you to see the show, the best spot for viewing (according to TouringPlans.com) is La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico. Of course you will need to secure your seat at least 90 minutes before the show.
There are two other restaurants that have lagoon-side seating; Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom and Spice Road Table in Morocco. Some other great spots mentioned in my research were the International Gateway Island, the second-floor of Mitsukoshi Building in Japan, the Gondola Landing in Italy, the Waterfront Promenade by Germany, and the Boat Dock opposite of Germany.
For $49 per person, you can participate in the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party and watch the show from an exclusive setting while enjoying sweet treats. Reservations are strongly recommended.
More great tips: Here's a great report by Disneytouristblog.com with ideas for the best spots for viewingIllumiNations.
For show information and things to know before you go, visit the IllumiNations website.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom recently came to an end, but 2017 brought a brand new show: Happily Ever After. This new show lasts for 18 minutes and turns the Cinderella Castle into a showcase of Disney films. Be sure to grab your spot early!
Score ticketless viewing at The Grand Floridian, Polynesian Resort, Ticket & Transportation Center, or The Contemporary Resort.
Tickets to the Fireworks Dessert Party can be purchased for $59 per person plus tax and gratuity allowing not only great viewing but delightful desserts.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Imagine a show full of moments from an iconic movie series featuring projections, lighting, lasers and dazzling display of fireworks. This is what you’ll find at Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. The majority of this show is projected onto Grauman’s Chinese Theater/The Great Movie Ride so be sure to secure your spot near there for best viewing (thank you, disneytouristblog.com).
Although the pyrotechnics for this show are less than previous shows, you can watch them for free on the walkway to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Epcot’s International Gateway. For those of you who are near the Celebration area, there is a field on Celebration Boulevard that locals will watch the show from for free.
Other Amazing Vantage Points OUTSIDE of Disney Parks
- The outdoor terrace at Capa, Four Seasons Resort Orlando
- Magic Kingdom's fireworks from Disney's Polynesian Resort
- Magic Kingdom fireworks from inside the California Grill restaurant at the Contemporary Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort (best to go the resort's beach to view the Hollywood Studio fireworks)
- Narcoossees inside The Grand Floridian Resort
Similar to Epcot’s IllumiNations, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular takes place around the Lagoon at Universal. Snagging a viewing spot around the Lagoon will ensure you are able to see the entire show. Of course, there is always that “sweet spot” to enjoy the show.
Touringplans.com recommends optimal viewing at Richter’s Burger Company (located in Universal's Islands of Adventure) where you can stand overlooking the water. Be sure to arrive at this location at least 45 minutes prior to the start of the show.
Orlandoinformer.com suggests you watch the eye-pleasing show from Central Park (inside Universal Studios). Not only will this give you viewing of the entire performance but it also happens to be a romantic setting.
Universal offers a dining experience for the Cinematic Spectacular for an extra $44.99 plus tax. You are given the option of one appetizer and one entree at Lombard’s Seafood Grille. Once the show begins, you have exclusive access to a viewing area with a delicious dessert buffet. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 407-224-3663.
Animal Kingdom does not have fireworks because of the many animals housed at the park.
SeaWorld and Legoland only hold fireworks at certain times during special events throughout the year. More info here:
Know of an even better spot to watch Orlando fireworks? Don't hold out on us! Leave a comment below so we can add your idea to this post!
This information is subject to change without notice. Please be sure to check with each park's website before embarking on your evening plans.
- Feature image: Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando