This ranks the best viewing spots for the Epcot Forever fireworks at Walt Disney World. This includes info & tips about the best & worst photography locations, with a map of World Showcase listing countries with the ideal viewpoints. (Updated July 4, 2021.)
Let’s start with an update. For the first time since March of last year, fireworks have returned at Walt Disney World as of Independence Day weekend! Epcot Forever and Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom are both back for limited engagements, being shown for the next three months.
On October 1, 2021, Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration begins and Epcot Forever will end forever. In its place, the blockbuster Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular debuts on World Showcase Lagoon. (If you’re already planning for that, best & worst views should be more or less the same, but we’ll update this accordingly after seeing that several times.) In the meantime, expect crowds for fireworks to be incredibly heavy for the next 3 months…
Walt Disney World fans and locals have been missing fireworks for the last year-plus, so there’s a ton of pent-up demand between now and the end of September 2021. Not nearly as bad as for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, which is in part because of higher demand for fireworks in front of Cinderella Castle and in part because Epcot has a ton more space for guests to spread out around World Showcase Lagoon.
After that September, expect crowds for Harmonious to be incredibly heavy for the first few months, as it’s one of the most expensive nighttime spectaculars Disney has ever produced, and promises to be a huge production. Plus, anything new is always incredibly popular. Basically, there will be colossal crowds and congestion around World Showcase before and after fireworks for the remainder of 2021 and most of 2022.
I’ve watched and photographed Epcot’s fireworks way too many times and can say that not all viewing spots were created equally. For this post, I’m going to highlight my 5 favorite spots (see map below), along with some alternatives to those spots, and general discussions about choosing a spot for watching the Epcot Forever fireworks.
What we recommend doing is grabbing dinner from one of the best Epcot counter service restaurants in World Showcase or perhaps a few items from one of Epcot’s various festivals at about 8:15 pm. After that, stake out one of these spots, enjoy your meal, as well as the pre-fireworks ambiance along the promenade and in World Showcase lagoon.
Choosing a prime location for Epcot’s fireworks is actually easier said than done, as certain variables, such as the direction of the wind and where there might be fireworks dessert parties or private events that eliminate potential viewings areas as options for regular park guests change often.
Unfortunately, unlike my Best Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Spots post, which contained an easy to follow map with color coded areas of good, bad, and okay spots from which to watch Happily Ever After, the same really isn’t possible for Epcot. This is because within a span of 10 feet, you might have both an awesome and awful viewing spot, due to trees, food carts, or other obstructions.
The first thing you should do when arriving at any potential viewing spot is to survey the area above and around you to see if there are any torches, light poles, or trees blocking your view of the Lagoon. If so, and you still have the time to find a different spot, do so.
The good news is that, obstructions and weather aside, since Epcot Forever takes place in the center of World Showcase Lagoon and overhead, there’s no central focal point you need to see. Just the sky. It isn’t like Happily Ever After in this regard, as some spots that have good views of Cinderella Castle actually are poor views of the fireworks due to perspective distortion. There’s no perspective distortion with the fireworks at Epcot.
The other good news is that with IllumiNations (and its globe) gone, there’s really no longer any reason for a “front row” spot along the rails around World Showcase Lagoon. This is doubly true with the return of Epcot Forever, as the installation of Harmonious infrastructure has resulted in the jet skis and kites being cut from the show, meaning there is now absolutely nothing happening on the water during Epcot Forever. The fireworks are all overhead, so staking out a waterfront spot is really unnecessary.
That pretty much covers the basics, now let’s take a look at my favorite specific spots…
#1 – Front of the House: The best view of the show is known informally as the “Front of the House,” and is located between the two gift shops at the entrance to World Showcase. Supposedly, this is the view around which the show was designed.
Pre-closure, this was the FastPass+ viewing area or reserved seating for special events. FastPass+ and special events aren’t things right now, so this area is open. That means it’s a great, wide open view for the most part. It’s only “for the most part” because there are temporary tents set up here for Harmonious programming. Just be sure you’re not directly behind those.
I’m a huge fan of this spot not only because it’s a centered viewing but also because it doesn’t require a front row spot for a great view because of the way the area becomes ever-so-slightly elevated as you move away from the rail.
#2 – Mitsukoshi Department Store: This spot is a great combination of great and unique views. This view is available from the second story of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion, right outside the Tokyo Dining windows (contrary to popular belief, Tokyo Dining is not a great spot for watching the fireworks).
The Torii Gate at the edge of the water in Japan does obstruct the view a bit, but it also makes for more interesting photos, as does the elevated perspective. Word has really gotten out about this location (and it’s incredibly popular with photographers), so even though it’s off the beaten path, don’t expect to be able to show up here at the last minute.
This location in Japan often fills up 45 minutes before the fireworks, so it does require a bit of a commitment–and one that may not be entirely necessary unless you want the perfect elevated vantage for photos of Epcot Forever.
Alternatively, ground level back deeper in Japan anywhere between the pagoda and department store provides a great view, with the torii gate in the foreground as an interesting photo-framing element. This is our new go-to last minute spot, and we typically snag somewhere here at the very last minute right after dining at Katsura Grill.
We love doing this because there’s rarely anyone else within 10 feet of us, and since Epcot Forever doesn’t have anything on the water that is necessary to see during the fireworks, it’s a perfect and somewhat secluded spot that requires minimal effort to snag. Above is the approximate view from this area, which we think is pretty good!
#3 – France Bridge: The bridge between the United Kingdom and France is one of my favorite spots, although on paper, it doesn’t quite stack up. First, its location is a bit farther back than any of the other waterfront spots, making you feel a little less like you’re a part of the action.
However, the France Bridge is a really good spot because it provides a bit of elevation plus great views of each of the pavilions as they light up during the show. The only downside is that it’s often packed, and arguably not worth the wait or crowds on busier nights in Epcot.
Alternatively, try for the the Lagoon seating area behind the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom pavilion for stellar waterfront seating (albeit seating that’s often not available due to private events).
#4 – Mexico: This isn’t nearly as specific as the other recommendations on this list, but that’s because there is no single spot in Mexico that stands out. Rather, there are several really good spots, plus the entire area between Norway and Mexico, as it has little in the way of obstructions.
The best spots in Mexico are La Hacienda (the restaurant with the best view in World Showcase) and near the boat dock (if you’re lucky, you may actually be able to watch from the boat dock, as some guests are selected to sit out there each night).
#5 – Italy Isola – One of my absolute favorite spots for Epcot’s fireworks is the Italy Isola, which is the raised part of the Italy pavilion near World Showcase Lagoon that juts out towards the water. However, it is used for private dessert parties so regularly now that it falls to the #5 slot since it’s almost never available.
It’s a very immersive location that feels close to the action. The photo above demonstrates the immersion of this area, but not really how great of a view it is. The first actual photo in this post was shot from the Italy Isola…that should give you a much better idea of the view quality.
If you’re wanting to shoot from this area but a dessert party is taking place, typically there will be some room between Italy and the American Adventure that has nearly as good of a view.
There are other great locations all around World Showcase Lagoon, and really anywhere that offers a reasonably clear view to the center of World Showcase Lagoon is going to be perfectly fine. With Epcot Forever, the only thing to see is pyro–there are no projections or anything on the water.
Other large areas of unobstructed viewing include Canada–even the elevated area in Canada isn’t half bad, Rose & Crown’s seating area, and portions of the waterfront between China and the Outpost.
One final bonus “spot” is really not a single spot at all, but rather, anywhere deeper in the World Showcase pavilions. If you step away from the rail at the edge of World Showcase Lagoon, you’ll get away from crowds and can have some potentially interesting photos of different parts of the world with fireworks exploding overhead.
With a lot of these spots, you’ll have far more breathing room and enjoy the show in a more intimate setting, and don’t really compromise much in terms of what you can see. Most guests flock to the railings, but this is really no longer necessary with Epcot Forever. The railings definitely offer a better view, but it’s not a huge advantage as nothing is happening on the water.
Same goes for Future World, but it’s even riskier. I’ve seen some pretty cool photos from near the Fountain of Nations, Journey into Imagination’s upside-down waterfall, and various topiaries and other decorations.
Personally, I don’t try these off-the-beaten-path spots very often as I want to enjoy the full show (and photograph it in more “classic” ways), but it’s sometimes fun to try something new…and get away from the crowds!
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Have you watched Epcot Forever from one of these spots? What did you think? Any favorite spots of your own to add? Any questions you have about viewing Epcot’s fireworks? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!