Disney World Nighttime Entertainment

**Disclaimer: This information is going to change in early 2017 as we are expecting the opening of River of Light, the new nighttime show at Animal Kingdom. We are also awaiting the future schedule of the Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood Studios as well as a parade as the Magic Kingdom as the Main Street Electrical Parade has left Disney World. Stay tuned for further information, but for now we will let this guide you on the events that we have a historical perspective on.

One of the toughest things to plan on your itinerary is the evening entertainment that takes place at the parks. We are speaking of Wishes at the Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. The nighttime entertainment options are some of the highlights for many people on their Disney World vacation, but these can also cause some of the biggest headaches for people when it comes to an itinerary. You want to have these great moments with your family, but you also want to make sure you are rested enough to make it through these late nights. Remember, we also think you should probably have a sleep in morning scheduled the day after one of these late nights. Below we will give some things to know about each of the major nighttime events at Disney World and how you can expect to handle them within your itinerary.

Wishes

  • Wishes is the evening fireworks that is going to take place every night at the Magic Kingdom with very few exceptions.
  • A majority of guests will want to view Wishes from the hub or on Main Street USA and unlike a parade, which goes through other lands, these are the only places that have great views of the fireworks as they are designed to be viewed from head on. If you want to view Wishes from these areas you will need to move into a location a early as possible, sometimes as much as two hours ahead of time in extremely crowded times of year. If a nighttime parade returns to the Magic Kingdom that may slightly change things as most guests who were viewing the parade will just stay in their spots for Wishes, so not a ton of spots will open up prior to the fireworks, except the spots in the street itself. Just prepare yourself to be in a large crowd and have to find a spot for your family.
  • The redesign of the entire hub area has drastically improved viewing the fireworks, but we do have some spots that we recommend that may give you a good viewing location, while battling the crowds a little less. There is a path that leads from The Plaza Restaurant to Tomorrowland and this path sometimes has nice spots available a little closer to show time. You are still going to need to move into a spot on the rail and save the spot for 30 minutes, but at least with a rail there you won’t have anyone working their way in front of you. There are also some spots usually around the train station. People crowd towards the castle after the parade and usually leave some space around the train station. This is actually good as you are going to be able to get out of the exits the fastest once the fireworks are over.
  • Another option is the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party, but they’ve recently increased the price of this. This party is around $79 per adult and $47 per child, and can vary slightly during certain times of year. This party includes a reserved table at the Tomorrowland Terrace, all you can eat desserts, and a nice view of the firework, but keep in mind you most likely will still have to stand along the railing of the restaurant in order to see the full fireworks show. We wouldn’t recommend this on every trip, but if you are planning a once in a lifetime trip or want a great view without battling crowds this is a good option. Disney has also recently released a similar experience in one of the grassy areas in the hub called the Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing. You still get the dessert party at the Tomorrowland Terrace, but then you are escorted to a standing room only section of the hub. The price is $59 per adult and $35 per child.
  • FP+ is also available for Wishes in the hub area. You will need to pre-book this as it will rarely be available as a 4th FP+ option on the day of. Just make sure it is worth it for you to use a FP+ on this.
  • Finally, there are always some great locations outside of the park to watch Wishes. Around the Magic Kingdom boat docks and ferry boat station provides a pretty good view. The beach at the Polynesian Village Resort is also a popular spot, although they sometimes restrict access during busy times of year. There is also a viewing deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort or if you plan a reservation at California Grill you get access to their viewing deck on the top floor on the night of your reservation.

IlllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

  • IllumiNations at Epcot is a great show, especially for teens and adults, but all ages can enjoy it. It is set around the World Showcase lagoon making it the easiest nighttime show at any of the parks to get a great spot for without much of a wait. With that said it is sometimes tricky to find a great spot for a few reasons. First, there are small islands with trees at points in the lagoon, so make sure wherever you end up to view the show you don’t have one of those in between you and the middle of the lagoon. Second, make sure you are not downwind. This show produces a large amount of smoke and if the wind is blowing towards you not only will you be in a lot of smoke, but it makes it a little more difficult to see what is going on.
  • We recommend find a spot between 30-45 minutes before the show at most times of year if you want a spot right on the rail. If you don’t mind being a few people deep you can wait until closer to showtime, but you will have to see over people.
  • La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico), Rose and Crown (UK), and Spice Road Table (Morocco) all have lake side seating, but require a dinner reservation. Make a reservation for 75-90 minutes before the show and it is a great view. Also, La Cantina de San Angel, the counter service in Mexico, has a patio over the water that is a great view, but those spots go very early, usually 90 minutes to 2 hours before the show.
  • The Future World side of the lagoon fills up the quickest as people want to get out of the park after it is over, so the time to line up here would be much more than 30 minutes ahead of the start time. The opposite (south) side of the World Showcase lagoon usually is not near as crowded and you can usually find spots 20-30 minutes prior to showtime. Just keep in mind on that side you have more islands and trees in the way so make sure you are aware of where you end up.
  • As far as getting out of the park just know it can get very crowded at the front gate on both the monorail and the bus system. The waits can be very long, so we recommend if you have to exit that way and were on the south side of the World Showcase take your time getting out. Stop in some shops and take your time and maybe the lines will lessen a little bit on your way. If you are staying at an Epcot area resort you can exit the International Gateway and head to your resort.
  • Finally, FP+ is available for IllumiNations, but it is a tier 1 FP, which means if you book it you would not be able to use a FP on Frozen Ever After, Test Track or Soarin’ on that day. Also, the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party is available for $49 per adult and $29 for children. This party includes a viewing location in the World Showplace Plaza with desserts and wine, but there is no seating.

Fantasmic!

  • Fantasmic! is one of the best nighttime shows for the ultra-immersive environment that it puts guests into. This show, located in an amphitheater off of Sunset Boulevard, uses live actors, pyrotechnics, water screens, and floats to create a very memorable show. Being in an amphitheater though means seating is limited and it can be very hard to get into and out of due to the thousands of people trying to do the same thing at the same time.
  • Fantasmic! is presented nightly for most of the year, although there are a few less crowded times when it may only be 3-4 nights per week. Also, Disney adds a 2nd showing at crowded times and just like other nighttime events the 2nd showing is always less crowded and easier to get into if you can handle staying up later into the night.
  • FP+ is available for Fantasmic!, but it is not all that useful as you still have to arrive 30-45 minutes early to get a seat and the seats are not that great as they are off to one end of the amphitheater.
  • The Fantasmic! Dinner Package, at Mama Melrose, Hollywood Brown Derby, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a good deal. With your dinner you get reserved seating at Fantasmic! Like the FP+ you still need to arrive early, although not as much in advance, from 25-35 minutes for this and the seats for the dinner packages are right in the middle of the amphitheater.
  • If you are not using the dinner package or a FP+ you need to get in line for Fantasmic! at least an hour in advance and more at very crowded times of year. The line will run almost the entire length of Hollywood Boulevard, so jump in line early and be ready for a hectic entry into the amphitheater. If using the 2nd show time you should enter the theater as soon as you can after the previous show ends. This is probably be around 30 minutes before the 2nd show, although a line may still form on Hollywood Boulevard so make sure you keep an eye on that area.

Let us know if you can think of any other questions about nighttime entertainment that we didn’t answer above and we’ll be happy to help you out.

River’s of Light Open for Cast Member Previews

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom at NightThe opening Rivers of Light appears as though it may actually happen in the not so distant future. This past weekend Disney World previewed the show to their own cast members, which is most typically the first step in the opening of a new attraction or show. No further information is known at this time, but everything points to the opening of Rivers of Light happening pretty quickly. Let us know your thoughts below!

Disney News & Listener Questions from 11/6/2016 – Episode 14

cropped-NEW-Icon-Edit-A.jpgIn this week’s episode, for November 6, 2016, Jon and Lysa will be discussing news and current events at Disney Destinations around the world as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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‘Once Upon a Time’ Projection Show Coming to Magic Kingdom

once-upon-a-time-showDisney World will be home to a new castle projection show, ‘Once Upon a Time’, beginning on November 4, 2016. The show will replace the current show, “Celebrate the Magic”, and will play in it’s predecessor’s spot prior to and after the fireworks show most nights.

‘Once Upon a Time’ will be hosted by Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast as she will be sharing bedtime stories with Chip. As the stories are told the guests will be able to go along with them on a magical trip that will visit some of Disney’s greatest films like “Peter Pan”, “Cinderella”, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. Disney has announced that some very famous scenes from those movies will be included including Peter Pan’s flight from London to Neverland, a tea party with the Mad Hatter, and a dual between Gaston and Beast.

once-upon-a-time-show-bThis show was inspired by a new show that has debuted at Tokyo Disneyland Park which has a similar name and uses projection mapping technology to complete cover Cinderella Castle in the images. Let us know your thoughts on this upcoming show by posting a comment below or visiting us on Facebook.

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Main Street Electrical Parade Leaving Disney World, Heading to Disneyland

MSEPAfter news not too long ago that the Paint the Night Parade was ending at Disneyland in September, Disney World has now announced that their Magic Kingdom nighttime parade, the historic Main Street Electrical Parade, will end its run on October 9, 2016. This parade, which started in 1972 at Disney Parks, returned to the Magic Kingdom in 2010 for what was called a “limited engagement”, but has been around for six years.

After this news came out it was also confirmed that the Main Street Electrical Parade will be traveling across the country and finding a new home at the Disneyland Park in what is again being called a “limited time engagement”.

The popular Paint the Night parade at Disneyland, which is closing on September 5th, now appears to be returning for select nights during the 2016 Holiday season before being completely replaced by the Main Street Electrical Parade. It remains to be seen if Paint the Night will head to Disney World, as rumored, after that time.

 

Disney News & Listener Questions from 8/7/2016 – Episode 12

In this week’s episode, for August 7, 2016, Jon and Lysa will be discussing news and current events at Disney Destinations around the world as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

Show Notes
PizzeRizzo Opening This Fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
My Disney Experience App Getting a Navigation Feature
Disney World Announced New Water Ride “Miss Fortune Falls”
“Frozen: A Musical Spectacular” Coming to Disney Cruise Line
Disneyland Confirms All Three Nighttime Spectaculars Are Closing…Even Paint the Night
New Details of Star Wars Land at Disneyland
Disneyland Announced Week Long Photopass Services
Guardians of the Galaxy Themed Ride to Replace Tower of Terror at Disneyland

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Disneyland Confirms All Three Nighttime Spectaculars Are Closing…Even Paint the Night

World of ColorDisneyland confirmed news most fans did not want to hear yesterday. Paint the Night, the parade at Disneyland Park, will be closing on September 5 as the Diamond Celebration comes to an end. In the last few days Disneyland has announced that both World of Color – Celebrate! and the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks would be ending around the same time, but nothing had been said until yesterday about Paint the Night.

World of Color – Celebrate and Fantasy in the Sky were both shows that were probably slightly underwhelming. The original World of Color (which is returning) is widely thought of as a better show compared to the newer version of the last couple of years. Furthermore, the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks did bring some unique aspects with the projection technology and other elements the fireworks show itself was not quite as impressive to most guests at earlier shows in that park.

The big disappointment from fans though will come with the lost of Paint the Night. This parade has become a beloved show after having just been present in the park since the start of the Diamond Celebration. Now, it too will be going dark leaving a lot of questions as to what is coming as far as nighttime entertainment at Disneyland, especially with Fantasmic! down for refurbishment of the Rivers of America section of the park. We do know that World of Color is coming back in something close to its original form, but nothing else has been announced as nighttime entertainment. So, it remains to be seen what parades and fireworks will show up next at the Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland is Bringing Back the Original World of Color Show

World of ColorDisneyland announced today that the original World of Color show will be returning to Disney’s California Adventure Park this September. The original version of the show had been replaced by World of Color – Celebrate! which has been in its current state since the Diamond Anniversary Celebration began last year. Despite the new show many still felt the original World of Color was a better fit for Disneyland and on September 6, the original show will return. The final show for World of Color – Celebrate! will be September 5.

A Little Disney Magic and A Surprise Trip to Fantasmic!

Trip Review SaturdayOne of the reasons people like us keep going back to Disney over and over and over is because of the “Magic” that we feel and experience while we are there. For today’s Saturday review article I wanted to write about one of these instances from a recent trip when we experienced a piece of “Disney Magic”. Back in the days of the original FastPass system if you were like me you loved leaving the parks and being able to give away any unused FastPasses to another family that could use them. You were able to spread some “Disney Magic” yourself. Well, with the FastPass+ system now in use we can’t pay it forward like that anymore, but we were the recipients of something similar one day in Hollywood Studios.

As we were returning to Hollywood Studios after a mid-day break we were approached by a lady on Hollywood Boulevard who asked if we were staying for Fantasmic. We had not decided whether we were staying or not at the time and that is when she offered us one of these:

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Her family had done a Fastasmic! Dinner Package, but had decided they were not wanting to stay around for the show. We decided pretty quickly that with this reserved seating voucher we would go ahead and try and see Fantasmic! It was almost too good for us to pass up and we certainly did not want to let the “Disney Magic” go to waste.

With the reserved seating pass in hand we headed into the stadium about 20 minutes before the show as that stadium can seem extremely hot in the summer while waiting for the show to start. For some reason there just does not seem to be much of a breeze in the amphitheater. We did make it into the reserved seating section fairly easily, but the stadium was pretty crowded at this point.

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We purposefully wanted to be kind of near the back of the seating area as we had a three year old with us at the time and we thought the show might be a little intense for him. Not to mention this stadium is very difficult to get out of after the show, so that is another positive to being near the top of the amphitheater, it allows for a quick exit.

The show was good as it usually is, and our three year old did make it through. He only got scared one time and covered his ears, but he enjoyed much of the show as well. He especially enjoyed the boat of characters.

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Overall we were extremely excited to be the recipients of this round of “Disney Magic” and will certainly do our best to pay it forward some time in the future when we have the opportunity.

Star Wars Fireworks Dessert Party Moved to a New Location

Star Wars Launch Bay (CC)Disney has recently announced that the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is changing locations beginning today, July 10, 2016. The location of the dessert party will now be taking place at the Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. The dessert party is currently available for booking through August, but future dates will most likely be released at some point.

There will be a check in area at the entrance to the Launch Bay area for guests with reservations to the dessert party. The Launch Bay is going to remain open to other park guests, but there will be a reserved section inside for the dessert party. Inside the Launch Bay party guests will be able to see exhibits, take part in character meet and greets, as well as visit the rest of the experiences in the area. The desserts will include both R2-D2 and Darth Vadar cupcakes, other Star Wars themed desserts, as well as flatbreads and dips. Finally, guests will receive a souvenir Chewbacca stein.

Once the dessert party is over guests will be taken from the Launch Bay to the private viewing area for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.

The cost of the party is $69 for adults ages 10 and up and $39 for children under 10.