Shows with fireworks are a staple event at most Walt Disney World Parks. Their bright lights and loud noises will always draw a crowd of amazed people. If you are anywhere close to the hub during the stage show, as you hear the obligatory one quick firework blast at the end, you also hear the gasp of delight from the crowd. I enjoy the fireworks as much as the next gal and the Star Wars Fireworks have already made my list – so you know that I enjoy them. But as a rule, they are not my favorite part of a day at the park. ‘Happily Ever After’ has become the exception – I absolutely love this show.
‘Happily Ever After’ delivers it all – there are pyrotechnics, projections on Cinderella’s Castle, lasers, lighting effects, Tinkerbell, and my favorite part – it is all timed perfectly to an amazing sound track. The fireworks for this show are exceptional. There are more than most any other show I remember seeing and they have new colors and shapes – there is enough variety to keep you watching for what is coming next.
I greatly enjoy the projections on Cinderella Castle – I think more so than any other projection show I have seen (and that includes Star Wars – A Galactic Spectacular that was #12 on my list). Its amazing the way they have the characters fit perfectly onto the distinct facade of the castle – it is especially cool when things like a rocket or the ‘Up’ balloons go up the turrets and they time the fireworks to make you feel they go right into the sky! The lasers and lighting effects just go hand in hand with the projections to make you feel like you are in the middle of the show – not just watching it.
Then there is Tinkerbell…she was always my favorite part of ‘Wishes’ but I think her appearance is better and more perfectly timed in the new show. I am always excited to see her fly from the castle – and I appreciate it so much when the weather allows it. But not having her at the very beginning allows the expectation for her arrival to build and I feel like it just makes it so much more exciting when she flies in this one.
As if all that I have mentioned so far isn’t enough to make a great show – my favorite part about ‘Happily Ever After’ is the sound track. They use so many songs that are popular, but they have also added some surprises that I was not expecting. Music from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, ‘Hercules’, and ‘Pinocchio’ were wonderful additions and some of my favorite songs that you do not hear very often. But even some of the classic songs – like one from ‘Frozen’– are new arrangements. (And if you are not a fan of that oft played ditty: ‘Let It Go’, no worries, it is not in there!) I cannot wait for a sound track to be released – even though I made a playlist of the general songs – it is not the same!!
A few quick tips, as it can feel daunting finding a place to see this show…
- Arrive early for a good spot. It is worth it for this show. To be able to feel the full effects, you need to have a clear view of the castle. If you are on Main Street you will be able to see the castle, but I think you feel more like part of the show if you are standing in the hub.
- Know that much of the crowd will be heading out of the park after the show. Even if the park is closing, just take some time to enjoy the atmosphere of the park at night. There is something special about staying to see the ‘Goodnight Kiss’ and walking Main Street when the park is almost empty.
- Don’t let rain deter you from this show. We were surprised after a full day of pouring rain (which is rare – usually the rain comes and goes quickly) we assumed that the fireworks show would be canceled and had not even intended on going to the front of the park. We just happened to be leaving Space Mountain and heading for Liberty Square and cut through the hub at the right time. There were some people standing in front of the castle – but honestly the park was pretty empty. We looked at a cast member and said that surely there would not be a show in this pouring rain. He said there would be – so we got a prime spot and enjoyed the show. It was incredibly cool – the lasers and lighting effects looked amazing in the rain.
- Consider the ‘Happily Ever After’ Dessert Party – especially if you are visiting with children. We decided to make it our surprise event for the kids on our vacation this past July. We had a fun day, enjoyed some great appetizers and desserts, and then just walked up to a prime viewing location a few minutes before the show began. Our kids say it was one of their favorite parts of our vacation.
- If you can’t get a primo location for the fireworks, don’t give up. On a trip last year in September, my husband took this picture from the backstage walking path they open during the fireworks on a very crowded night. The view wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it was still a great show!
Even though we won’t be enjoying the Dessert Party on our upcoming visit – I can’t wait to experience ‘Happily Ever After’ again!! It is well worth the time and effort!