The Star Wars : A Galactic Spectacular fireworks are the perfect way to end a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; with our tips, you can watch them with the best views in the park. These fireworks debuted in Summer 2016, and should continue until Star Wars Land opens in 2019 or 2010.
UPDATE: The information that follows was written for the previous incarnation of the fireworks, called Symphony in the Stars. That show was much heavier on pyro, and did not feature projections or other effects. The new, Galactic Spectacular fireworks show is light on pyro and heavy on projections. As such, our recommendations are now dramatically different–we now highly recommend viewing the show near Grauman’s Chinese Theater/The Great Movie Ride, as much of the show is projected on that.
Location 4 is now the best spot (an ideal position just beyond the end of Hollywood Boulevard towards Great Movie Ride), with the viewpoints being worse the farther you are from Great Movie Ride. The following information is included for general reference, but has not been updated in light of the new show.
For starters, if you haven’t seen the new Star Wars fireworks, you need to make a point to watch the fireworks on your next trip. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is in a state of “transition” (to put it kindly), but even if you didn’t plan on visiting the park this year, location #5 provides an excellent vantage and does not require theme park admission.
As for the map above…isn’t it lovely? You can really tell we spared no expense in designing this thing…or that I just quickly colored in a park map scan with MS Paint (disregard the stars–they don’t mean anything). We’ll discuss the specific numbered locations in more detail below, and why each of them is good or bad. As for the general colors, think of it like a stoplight. Green is the best, yellow is okay, and red is a no-go. Areas that aren’t colored are also considered red.
We watched the Star Wars fireworks 5 times during our January 2016, and will go back to see it again on our next trip. We love it. Funny, because we wondered if we’d visit the Studios at all this year. These fireworks really pack a punch, especially for Star Wars fans. Don’t miss the show.
Now let’s talk specific locations. In no particular order…
1. Sweet Spot – Anywhere on Hollywood Boulevard is great, but my “sweet spot” for the show if you’re after photos is about a third of the way up the street, almost directly in line with the Pluto’s Palace sign. If you’re after photos, this will put fireworks both directly behind the Chinese Theater and also high in the sky–but not too high–while also giving you some of Hollywood Boulevard in the frame. If you’re not concerned with photos, move a bit closer, near Trolley Car Cafe.
2. Echo Lake – This ranks as one of my favorite spots for a couple of reasons: first, the beautiful reflections of the fireworks in Echo Lake. Second, and more important for non-photographers, it’s not nearly as crowded as Hollywood Boulevard. As of the date of this post, crowds on Hollywood Boulevard for the Star Wars fireworks are not a major issue, because it’s Walt Disney World’s slow season. However, when I’ve watched other fireworks shows at the Studios during busy seasons, Echo Lake is a nice respite from the wall-to-wall crowds of Hollywood Boulevard. Expect the same to be true this summer.
3. Crossroads of the World – This isn’t a dramatically different vantage than the “Sweet Spot”, but the benefit of watching in the general vicinity of the Crossroads of the World is that you’re right by the exit for a head-start on the crowds exiting the park after the fireworks. Also, for whatever reason, this area is pretty sparsely crowded, so it makes for a relaxed vantage. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but certainly not a bad spot, all things considered. (The above photo is from Fourth of July a couple of years ago–it’s not nearly this crowded on regular nights.)
4. Close Encounters – This is against the rope blocking the fallout zone–as close as you can get to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It’s a yellow area on the map, and that’s mostly because you’re a bit too close to see the fireworks bursts that are shot behind the park. The upside–if you like your skull rattled–is the intensity of the show from this location. You are right in the midst of the action and I swear I felt the ground shake while standing here.
5. BoardWalkWay – The walkway to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Epcot’s International Gateway is like the TTC for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Free, outside the park, and really adds to the scale of the show. The downside is that the score is quite as audible from out here, so I would first recommend viewing the show from inside the park. That is, if you plan on visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year. The nice bonus here is that you can easily walk to Epcot and make it inside the park in time for IllumiNations at 9 p.m. when the Star Wars fireworks run at 8 p.m. Check out our Best IllumiNations Viewing Spots post for our preferred locations for those fireworks.
BONUS: Anywhere Else – Although not on the map, it should be noted that you can see and hear portions of the fireworks from almost any outdoor location literally anywhere else in the park. Since there are no projections or other low-level visual elements, it’s not the end of the world if you’re stuck watching from a less-than-ideal location. You might not hear the soundtrack perfectly or see all of the fireworks, but you should be able to see some fireworks. Assuming, of course, that you’re outside. You won’t be able to see any fireworks if you’re waiting in line inside at Toy Story Mania. If you need us to explain why, you probably need more than just vacation planning help.
At present, the fireworks are shown once nightly, right at park close, and it is possible to view both Fantasmic and the fireworks in the same night. In busier months, we anticipate Fantasmic will be shown twice nightly, and the fireworks will continue to be presented at park close. If this proves true, we recommend watching the earlier showing of Fantasmic, as the later showing will likely conflict with the fireworks.
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Have you seen Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular? What did you think of the fireworks? Have a favorite viewing location? Are you planning on making a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the Star Wars fireworks or other “Star Wars Awakens” entertainment? If you have any other thoughts or questions, please post below!