Non-Park Days: Magic Kingdom Fireworks
A must-do for our trips are the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. We’ve loved watching Wishes from a number of different of view points and now love to watch Happily Ever After. You don’t have to pay park admission to watch these spectacular fireworks. There are a number of locations where you can enjoy the lights in the sky accompanied by the soundtrack. Head to three of the Magic Kingdom resorts and find a number of different places to sit, stand or lie back and marvel at the magic of Disney.
Although you could stand in the parking lot of the Contemporary Resort and watch the fireworks there are a few locations that are specifically primed to enjoy Happily Ever After.
Get a reservation at this signature resort table service restaurant during the fireworks and watch them light up the sky. You can either stay seated at your table and watch out the windows or you can head out to the patio where you can hear and see the firework show. If you can’t get a reservation try your hand at the lounge and enjoy a beverage before the fireworks show, or after. This is a beautiful location because you really have a clear view of the fireworks. There are no buildings in front of you and the building is high enough that you almost have an aerial view. Happily Ever After is typically offered at 9pm. If you are visiting during the Halloween or Christmas season you may get to enjoy these fireworks instead.
Located on the fourth floor of the Contemporary is an area that is reserved for smokers but is ideal for watching the fireworks. There are speakers so the fireworks music is played and there’s seating as well. It’s dated and not very comfortable but it’s seating. In this location it’s almost better to stand. The view is not as prime as California Grill’s but it’s a view none the less. There’s the side of the building that’s in your line of sight but it only provides as a border in your vision. Since this location is on the fourth floor the activity on the ground can also be a little distracting. The monorail coming and going also creates noise that can take away from your enjoyment. This area is buggy during different seasons so be sure to wear bug spray.
Sky Way Bridge
Between the Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower is the Sky Way Bridge. You can find the entrance on the fourth floor of the Contemporary Resort and the fifth floor of Bay Lake Tower. On the bridge you can get a clear view of the Magic Kingdom skyline. The lights will dim when the fireworks begin giving you a good view of the 18 minute firework show. There’s no seating in this area so be prepared to stand during the fireworks display.
Park yourself outside the Contemporary Resort, either in front of the skyway bridge, in front of Bay Lake Tower. Basically head anywhere that you can see the Magic Kingdom skyline. This will give you a decent view of the fireworks.
Top of the World Lounge
If you’re a Disney Vacation Club member you have access to the Top of the World lounge, which is located on the top floor of Bay Lake Tower. When the fireworks begin the outside lounge gets crowded but there’s plenty of room for everyone to see and experience the fireworks along with the soundtrack. Because Bay Lake Tower is stationed a bit to the east of the Magic Kingdom, you’re not going to see the fireworks choreography you would get from witnessing them on Main Street U.S.A. But it’s a unique way to see the fireworks without paying admission.
Polynesian Village Resort
Make an evening reservation at O’Hana, a buffet/family style restaurant, for 8:30pm. With the fireworks at 9pm you should be seated and have a drink by the time the fireworks begin. The lights will dim and the soundtrack of the fireworks will play in the restaurant. Because you’re inside the building and on the second floor it’s not as good as being outside. But the Polynesian is far enough away that you get a very good central viewpoint.
Pull up a lounger on the beach to relax and watch the fireworks play out in the night sky. If all the loungers are taken you can sit right in the sand. Watch as you have a front row seat to the fireworks. From this vantage point you see how high up these fireworks go. Last year Disney Parks live shot the Fourth of July fireworks from outside the Polynesian resort, so you know if they’re using this point of view it must be a money shot.
Barefoot Pool Bar
Even though Barefoot Pool Bar closes at 9pm you can sit down at 8:30 and grab a drink before the fireworks start. Once the fireworks begin you’ve got a great seat and if you don’t consume to quickly a relaxing drink to accompany it. Located beside the Lava Pool, this pool bar has plenty of seating at the bar. With tables and chairs or bar height chairs. This location wouldn’t be the best place for kids at this hour, with the pool close by. This is a spot for an adult only evening.
The Polynesian’s boat launch is located at the end of the beach. The launch is on the water with nothing in front of it. The boat coming and going could be a little distracting but it’s a beautiful serene place to watch the magic in the sky.
I have to mention this one first at the Grand Floridian because this is where we first discovered that many locations in the Magic Kingdom resort area cater to watching the fireworks away from the park. We were enjoying a meal here on the last night of our honeymoon, the time of the fireworks arrived and the lights were dimmed and the soundtrack to Wishes played as we watched the fireworks from the comfort of our table. It was a beautiful unexpected moment. To be able to watch the fireworks display make sure to have a reservation between 8:00pm and 8:45pm. You can also go onto the deck of Narcossee’s without a reservation. There are no tables and chairs and it’s also one of the resorts smoking areas which can be a bit of a nuisance but all those things put aside you have a beautiful view of Happily Ever After. Because this is a one level restaurant you have a clear view of the nighttime spectacular.
Another signature dining experience at the Grand Floridian with some okay views of the fireworks. It’s not comparable to any of the other ones mentioned but if you want to dine while watching the fireworks and Narcossee’s, California Grill or O’Hana aren’t available then this would be a choice. If you can get a table by the window then that will increase your chances of having an okay view of the fireworks. This spot would be great if you didn’t expect to be able to see the fireworks, and were pleasantly surprised. If you go expecting to see the fireworks you’ll be disappointed.
Located on the northern part of the Grand Floridian resort, come out here to watch the fireworks. The boats will be coming and going which will be a nuisance but if you’ve eaten a meal at the Grand Floridian and are sticking around to see fireworks this is a good spot. There’s nothing in front of you but the Magic Kingdom itself.
This is a beautiful way to end a Non-Park day. Whether you’ve enjoyed the fireworks already on your Disney vacation or will enjoy them in a couple of days seeing the fireworks from another perspective can be really cool. Also, if you’re not planning to enjoy Magic Kingdom’s Halloween Party or Christmas Party head to one of these locations on the party nights to witness the special fireworks displays. Seeing the fireworks outside of the park also gives you more freedom, to not be shoulder to shoulder with strangers, not rushing out after they’re over. If you’re staying at any of these resorts it’s a simple hop on the monorail to the view point of your choice. If you’re staying elsewhere then hop onto the monorail and hitch a ride back to your resort from the Magic Kingdom bus stops.