Disney has announced the return of fireworks in July 2021 at Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida, and at Disneyland in California. Here are the full details as announced by the company! (Updated June 16, 2021 with commentary & FAQ by Tom.)
As Disney continues to ease health safety rules and the situation improves, there’s a new sense of optimism with many positive signs moving forward.
More families are making travel plans, friends are dining out together, and more Americans returning to work. For its part, Disney Parks is gradually bringing back more beloved experiences.
A tradition since 1957, fireworks shows are what Walt Disney called the perfect “kiss goodnight” at the close of a magical day, and this summer the skies above Disney theme parks will sparkle with color once more.
Beginning in July, just in time for the nation’s Independence Day celebrations, the incredibly popular nighttime fireworks spectaculars are returning to Disneyland and two parks at Walt Disney World!
July 1, 2021 marks the start of nightly fireworks performances at Walt Disney World!
At Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After will transform Cinderella Castle with lights, projections and pyrotechnics, as moments from favorite Disney stories encourage you to grab hold of your dreams and make them come true.
As part of the ongoing transformation of EPCOT, “EPCOT Forever” will produce a spectacle of fireworks, music and lighting effects over World Showcase Lagoon, highlighting the themes of innovation, exploration, imagination and celebration at the core of the park’s past, present and future.
No word yet on when Harmonious will debut, but it has been testing and is still expected later this year.
As Disneyland welcomes back out of state guests in addition to Californians, the fun starts July 4, 2021 with “Mickey’s Mix Magic” presented nightly throughout the summer.
State-of-the-art projections, show lighting and lasers will transform Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle and the faÃ§ade of “it’s a small world” into a dazzling, family fun dance party that goes sky high with fireworks to celebrate the leader of the club, Mickey Mouse.
Commentary & Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
What does this mean for Disney After Hours Boo Bash nights?
As we’ve stressed repeatedly, one of the advantages of the Disney After Hours line of events is that it occurs, as the name suggests, after normal operating hours. Unlike Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the park will not close early on nights when Boo Bash is scheduled. In the past, this has meant that fireworks are not put behind the “paywall” of a hard ticket event, and day guests are able to see them.
This is critically important to crowd distribution, especially in October during the kickoff of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Normally, the Halloween Party would really mess with crowds over the course of the entire week. On a MNSSHP night, there would be no fireworks or nighttime entertainment for day guests, the park would close at 6 pm, and crowds would be miserable on non-party nights.
Disney After Hours Boo Bash was planned with the return of fireworks in mind; this is one of the many reasons this event is running instead of the Halloween party in what’s sure to be a busy fall.
What about the return of Fantasmic?
There was a point when a heavily-modified Fantasmic was rumored to be the first nighttime spectacular to return to Walt Disney World. That was several months ago, and I have not heard anything credible since. It seems as if Disney opted to undertake a fairly significant refurbishment project to the amphitheater and its infrastructure instead.
Given the performer-heavy nature of Fantasmic, it’s likely we’ll have pretty decent advance notice of when it’s going to return. My guess would be this fall, but that’s a complete guess. I don’t have any more or better info than you at this point. I’d expect a projection show on Grauman’s before then.
What about Rivers of Light?
Rivers of Light has been permanently retired. It wouldn’t surprise me if the concept is reborn under a different name, but perhaps not. None of its incarnations were hits with guests.
Has Walt Disney World released fireworks showtimes?
Happily Ever After will start at 9:15 pm and Epcot Forever will start at 10 pm in the month of July 2021. Expect that schedule to change in August to accommodate Disney After Hours Boo Bash and the slightly earlier sunset time. (Additionally, Epcot’s hours will likely be extended.)
Any word on dessert parties?
Haven’t heard anything whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean Walt Disney World isn’t working on their return. Despite prices increasing just before the parks closed, those were as popular as ever. Our guess is that they’re back by October.
What does this mean for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
This might seem like an odd question given the topic, but it’s presumably coming up because fireworks = entertainment = Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. (I follow the logic!)
Here as with Fantasmic, I have heard zero credible rumors. My gut puts it at about 50/50, with the main reason for not having it being the havoc wreaked on Magic Kingdom crowd levels at a time that will undoubtedly have unprecedented attendance. Magic Kingdom having a full schedule of operating hours from October through January is pretty critical to managing attendance levels.
With that said, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an incredibly lucrative event for Walt Disney World–more profitable than After Hours even at significantly lower price points–so perhaps Disney will find a way to make it work.
What about World of Color?
What now feels like an eternity ago by virtue of how much has changed since then, I heard that World of Color was likely not returning until 2022.
However, reopening plans and the pace thereof–especially at Disneyland–have accelerated dramatically since then. What was true even a month ago may no longer be the case, with internal timelines potentially looking better. That’s true not just for World of Color and not just at Disneyland, either. It’s probably a generalized good note to end this. There are still some practical impediments to some evening entertainment returning, but no announcements would surprise me at this point.
What do you think of the news that fireworks will soon return to Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Any predictions about Fantasmic, World of Color, or other evening entertainment that’s still on hiatus? 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!