This Magic Kingdom fireworks viewing guide features a map of the best & worst locations to watch Happily Ever After, sample photos from each spot, and other tips for watching Walt Disney World’s most popular nighttime spectacular! (Updated June 29, 2021.)
Let’s start with an update. For the first time since March of last year, fireworks are resuming at Walt Disney World as of July 1, 2021! Happily Ever After is returning to Magic Kingdom for a limited engagement, being shown for the next three months. On October 1, 2021, Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration begins, at which point the 50th Anniversary fireworks, Disney Enchantment, will begin an 18-month run.
Expect crowds for fireworks to be incredibly heavy for the next 3 months. Happily Ever After is always popular among tourists, but Disney fans and locals have been missing fireworks for the last year-plus, so there’s a ton of pent-up demand. After that, expect crowds for fireworks to be incredibly heavy for the first few months of Disney Enchantment’s run. Anything new is always incredibly popular. Basically, there will be colossal crowds and congestion around Cinderella Castle before and after fireworks for the remainder of 2021 and most of 2022…
We’ll be reporting extensively on fireworks crowds in July 2021 and for the remainder of the year, but we can already “predict” with complete certainty that viewing areas are going to be busier than normal. As a result, you may want to plan on watching Happily Ever After or Disney Enchantment from the yellow areas on the map below, as those will be easier and more pleasant.
While green locations will offer an objectively better view, that’s also a theoretical better view. If you’re shorter or have kids, it’ll be more difficult for them to see. Even if you’re Conan O’Brien or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it might be uncomfortably congested in the green areas, especially as people try to start moving after the fireworks end and it’s essentially gridlock.
With that said, Happily Ever After can be the highlight of a trip to Walt Disney World, but finding good spots can be difficult. I’ve watched and photographed the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom over 100 times, and have gotten a good idea of the best and worst spots from which to view the fireworks.
The map below works sort of like a stoplight (with orange added). Consider yellow on the map the “stoplight” version of go, with green on the map being the cream of the crop for views (okay, that part isn’t really like a stoplight). Orange on the map is a step down from yellow, but still isn’t bad.
Red is bad–you should avoid these spots. There are numerous other “quiet” spots around the Magic Kingdom where you can see parts of the fireworks, but it’s incredibly important to know that all of the Magic Kingdom fireworks shows were designed to be viewed straight-on from Main Street, USA.
Watching from elsewhere in the park may help you avoid the crowds or enable you to have a fun experience while watching (riding Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain during the fireworks is awesome), but you absolutely will miss parts of the show.
The big addition to Happily Ever After is projections on Cinderella Castle, which Wishes (its predecessor) did not have. Wishes was a more “pure” fireworks show, and since fireworks are in the sky, you could watch from pretty much anywhere in the park and still have a good experience.
While Happily Ever After has just as much pyro as Wishes, you definitely miss a lot of the show by not being able to see the projections. It’s still beautiful to watch and can be viewed from anywhere, but we’d recommend viewing it for the first time in front of Cinderella Castle, where the projections can be seen the best.
Due to that, we haven’t included other spots in the rest of the park on this map–with one exception. If avoiding crowds is really important to you, consider one of these other locations around the park, as Main Street, USA is crowded before, during, and after the fireworks.
However, it must be noted that this map is a rough idea of the best spots. Fireworks map-making is not an exact science (I literally drew this with a brush in Photoshop!) and obviously consulting the map to the degree that you blindly stand directly behind a tree because the map lists that spot as a yellow would be foolish. Don’t pull a “Michael Scott” and drive your proverbial “fireworks car” into a lake because you’re following this post verbatim, as if it were GPS. 😉
Avoid stray trees and other obstructions, as this map doesn’t account for those except in heavily obstructed areas. If you cannot see the front of Cinderella Castle from where you’re standing without any obstructions–even if it’s a green zone–move to a spot where it is visible.
Okay, let’s look at some specific spots…
1. Front and Center – This area is now a thin band of green on the above map, which is due primarily to it being a seated spot that can be downright pleasant as compared to the yellow area behind it. However, it does come with a downside, which is that you’re so close to Cinderella Castle that it blocks some of the pyro.
To get a visual idea of how perspective distortion works for these fireworks, notice the height of the bursts above Cinderella Castle as we move farther away from the Castle. In this shot, they’re directly behind it, but they move progressively higher as we move back. If you sit this close, you will miss a good percentage of the show.
2. Partners Statue – I am a big fan of this location, as you’re far enough back to see the pyro perfectly, but not too far away for the projections and other effects.
It offers a great view, but guests often stake this location out hours in advance. Additionally, the gridlock before and immediately after the fireworks can make entering and leaving this area downright uncomfortable on busy nights.
3. Hub Grass – Pre-closure, these were FastPass+ viewing areas and less crowded spots than you’ll otherwise find on Main Street. I really like these locations.
With FastPass+ temporarily suspended, it’s unclear whether the Hub Grass will be open access, reserved for VIP guests, or something else. Walt Disney World has not yet announced the return of dessert parties, but it would make sense for them to use this space. Basically, don’t expect to be able to watch from here.
4. “The Hump” – Located between the two FastPass+ viewing locations (and a bit to the south), this spot isn’t very large. Since it’s a straight-on view, it’s incredibly popular. This location is great not just because it is the perfect distance from Cinderella Castle, but also because Main Street, USA slopes downward between here and Cinderella Castle, making this a bit of a “high point.”
You can see this in the photo, as the heads in front of me are clearly lower than me (and I’m not tall at all). Cast Members often prevent guests from lingering in this area before Happily Ever After (they’re usually directing traffic), so it can be pretty easy to snag this location 15 minutes before the fireworks, depending upon when you visit. This is also a pretty good location for the Cinderella Castle projection show.
5. Happily Ever After Dessert Party (Tomorrowland Terrace) – Since Disney annexed this area for the Fireworks Dessert Parties a few years ago, I’ve heard multiple people refer to this as the best place to view the fireworks. This is absolutely not true. I think people might just assume it’s a great spot because it’s now private, and it stands to reason that Disney would have chosen the best spot for their private viewing area.
In reality, there weren’t any other feasible alternatives…not like you can rope off the middle of Main Street for a dessert party. Most of the views from the Dessert Party area obstruct the lower part of Cinderella Castle, and all of them are pretty far off-center. To make matters worse, the roof on the Terrace can obstruct your view if you aren’t able to grab a “front row” table by the water. This area borders on being a yellow location if you sit as close to the Main Street side (rather than the Tomorrowland side) of the Terrace as possible.
6. End of Main Street – This location offers all of the same advantages as “The Hump,” except there is no hump here to give you an elevated view. All it takes is one shoulder-kid in front of you and you’ve got an obstructed view. If you’re tall or you don’t end up with anyone tall in front of you, this location is still superb. Although there are still good views all the way down Main Street, this is typically as far back as I’ll go unless I go all the way to the Train Station.
Views farther back on Main Street are more or less the same as this for the fireworks, but I find that the buildings creeping into your field of view as you move back from here make the fireworks less immersive. If you’re watching one of the hard ticket events’ fireworks (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) these buildings can actually block out the 180-degree perimeter fireworks bursts that occur during those shows.
Perimeter bursts are also a part of the Fourth of July and New Year’s shows, so avoid being in the part of Main Street with buildings then, too. If you do end up in this area, here is the view you can expect during a regular show. Not too bad, right?
7. Main Street, USA Train Station – This location is yellow, but like the Partners location, it’s a mixed bag. On the plus side, you can grab a seat here and have a spot to view Happily Ever After and Once Upon a Time.
On the negative side, there is normally a flagpole obstructing your view of the fireworks and it can be difficult to see the projections. Also, people stake out these seats hours in advance, and the ambiance isn’t the best (the Train Station lights remain on and the soundtrack isn’t as loud here as elsewhere).
Personally, I only go up here when the flagpole is out, and even then, it’s only for photos. However, if you want to relax and soak up the ambiance of Main Street for a couple hours, staking out a spot here can be a good way to do it…and it keeps you away from crowds.
8. Ticket & Transportation Center Dock – This location is denoted by the green arrow on the bottom of the map. It’s green for a reason, and that’s because this is one of the two best spots for viewing the Magic Kingdom fireworks shows. Comparing the photo from this location to the first location should be a good indication of perspective distortion in action. Those bursts in the first photo that are behind Cinderella Castle are the same bursts that in this photo appear to be way above the Castle!
The pros for watching the fireworks from here are that you don’t need park admission, it’s rarely crowded, the music is played, and the view is straight-on and spectacular. On nights when we don’t have tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we sometimes watch the fireworks from this location.
9. New Fantasyland Walls – Cinderella Castle the centerpiece of Happily Ever After, and the fireworks lose their emotional impact without the Castle. However, there’s one location in the park, but outside of Main Street where you don’t lose that emotional impact. Directly behind Cinderella Castle!
It’s a totally different perspective of the show, and much less crowded back there. This is our favorite “secret spot” (to the extent that Magic Kingdom’s most popular land can be a secret) because it feels like you’re in the midst of the fireworks, with bursts both in front of and behind you. You’ll also enjoy pyro over Beast’s Castle above Be Our Guest Restaurant, which is cool. I still prefer viewing from the front of Cinderella Castle as you do lose a bit back here, but once you’ve seen it once from the front, going back between the New Fantasyland walls is a great place to watch for a second-viewing.
10. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – There are several attractions from which you can see the Happily Ever After fireworks. The most memorable ones are probably Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. However, timing is difficult due to wait times and glimpses of pyro will be brief.
The easiest, best, and most prolonged view will be aboard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, which includes several outdoor segments with direct views of Cinderella Castle. This is another one for your second or third viewing of Happily Ever After. In terms of “secret spots,” it’s very under the radar–there will likely be no line for the PeopleMover during the fireworks and you can potentially re-ride without getting off the attraction!
BONUS: Resort Views – Once you get outside Magic Kingdom, the scope and scale of the pyro is amazing. Sure, you miss the projections and it’s not as immersive, but that’s made up for in other ways.
The beach of Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower, and various restaurants around the monorail resorts are all other popular “free” fireworks viewing locations. See Best Restaurants for Magic Kingdom Fireworks Views for additional recommendations.
So there you have my “review” of some fireworks viewing spots around the Magic Kingdom (and outside it!), along with some photos to back me up. While it should be clear that there are some spots that are better than others, you really can’t screw up too badly if you can see the face of Cinderella Castle.
If you are trying to find the best fireworks spots for other parks, check out our Best Epcot Forever Viewing Spots (for Epcot) and Best Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fireworks Viewing Spots posts.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Where is your favorite spot to watch Happily Ever After? Do you like to go for a traditional Main Street location, or do you opt to avoid the crowds and watch from elsewhere? Any attractions that you think are enhanced during the 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!