This post highlights the best viewing spots for the Epcot Forever fireworks at Walt Disney World, which recently replaced Illuminations. Here we will provide some general tips about the best locations, and point out the best of these on a map of World Showcase. (Updated October 13, 2019.)
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, if you pick a spot that can see the lagoon, you will be able to see Epcot Forever, including the glorious kite segment.
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.
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.
This is now the FastPass+ viewing area or reserved seating most nights–although sometimes FastPass+ moves to one side or the other if there’s a large corporate event reserving the Front of the House. 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.
In my Guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World, I cover why I don’t recommend getting an Epcot Forever FastPass+ for most guests, but I always get an Epcot Forever FastPass+ now. Other Annual Passholders and “regulars” or huge fans might similarly see the value in using a FastPass+ here.
#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 beyond pyro is the aforementioned kites, and you don’t need a front row spot to see those.
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 as huge of an advantage as it used to be when IllumiNations was Epcot’s nighttime spectacular.
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!
If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, make sure to check out our Disney Tips & Tricks page for a lot of helpful tips to outsmart the masses. Also read our dining reviews to find the best restaurants and our trip planning posts to figure out what to pack, where to buy Walt Disney World tickets to save money, which discounts to look for, and all the other ins and outs of a trip to Walt Disney World, all of which are covered extensively in our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.
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!