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The Disneyland fireworks are a fun part of the experience.
For many holidays, including Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year's Eve, a seasonally themed fireworks display replaces "Remember." And just for folks who come to Mickey's Halloween Party, there's a special Halloween version, too.
Here's the sad part: I have talked to way too many people who say they have never seen the fireworks because they got tired and went home early. To keep that from happening to you, take a break in the afternoon. Take a nap. Go for a swim. Watch a movie. Do anything that gets you rested enough to stay until the fireworks are over. You won't regret it.
What You Need to Know About the Disneyland Fireworks
- Rating: ★★★★★
- Location: Fireworks go off over the castle. You can see them well from anyplace that has a clear view of it. To get a widescreen experience, choose a spot along Main Street U.S.A. as close to the castle as you can
- Show Time: Lasts about 20 minutes. Showtimes vary... by season. You can get the schedule at the Disneyland website, on their app or most other Disneyland apps.
- Recommended for: Most people love the fireworks, but loud noises may scare some children. We even know a few adults who put their hands over their ears during the loudest parts.
- Fun Factor: High if you like fireworks
- Wait Factor: How long you wait depends on how well you want to see the show. Allow an hour or more for the most popular viewing spots on busy days.
Best Places to Watch the Disneyland Fireworks
These are a few of the best places to position yourself to watch the Disneyland fireworks.
In Front of the Castle: The best place to see the fireworks is right next to the rope in front of the castle, where it feels like the show is just for you. The "safety line" (closest you can be during the show) can be as close as the top of the compass and as far back as the hub itself. Stake out your spot too early and too close and you may have to move. As you settle down, ask a cast member if you'll be able to stay there during the show.
The Hub: By "the hub," I mean the area between the end of the Main Street buildings and the castle. Views will be good, but buildings and trees can get in your way. If you can see the castle and the Matterhorn, you'll have an unobstructed view. If you're tired and hungry around fireworks time, snag a table at the Jolly Holiday Bakery. Sit near the outer railing in a spot with a good view, then send your companions to grab something to eat while you hold the seats.
Another good spot at the hub is directly behind the statue of Walt and Mickey. If fills up a little later than other spots (probably because people wrongly assume that the statue will block their view), but it actually offers a great view without obstructions because the fireworks go off high enough that the statue doesn't get in the way.
Main Street: You can stand anywhere along Main Street that Cast Members allow. You'll be close to the exit if you're leaving the park afterward, but your view will be a little restricted by the buildings. If you want to see more of the fireworks, just be sure you can see the castle clearly.
Main Street Railroad Station: The elevation gives a nice overview and it's close to the exit so you can leave as soon as the show ends.
it's a small world Corridor: A less-crowded place to watch the fireworks is along the corridor that leads toward Toontown, past it's a small world. From there, you can get back into Fantasyland as soon as it re-opens.
Balcony of the Tomorrowland Expo Center: Go inside and up to the exit or bravely march directly up the exit ramp, then stand close to the triangular pylon. You won't be able to see everything, but it's uncrowded and you can get onto the Monorail as soon as it starts running after the show and zip right out to Downtown Disney.
Rooms With a View: Some rooms at the Disney-owned hotels have great views of the fireworks, especially the Disneyland Hotel's Adventure Tower and some rooms at the Grand Californian. And their televisions have a channel the plays the music.
From California Adventure: I know, it sounds weird, but one of the best places to watch the Disneyland fireworks is from the Carthay Circle restaurant in California Adventure. Make your reservation early and request seating on the outdoor patio where you have a view. They even pipe in the music.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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How to Have More Fun Watching the Disneyland Fireworks
- For visitor safety, Fantasyland and Toontown close during the fireworks and the monorail stops running. Toontown will stay closed afterward, but Fantasyland may open again.
- Disney's fireworks permit allows for 200-plus shows per year. Fireworks happen on weekends only during less-busy times.
- If you don't like loud noises, the Mickey and Friends parking garage roof is far enough away that you won't hear the ka-booms, but you can still see the show. Take the Mickey and Friends tram from Downtown Disney, leaving at least 30 minutes before starting time. Take the escalator to the top level of the garage and watch from there.
- On a moderately busy day, choose your viewing spot least 30 minutes before the fireworks start. Make that an hour ahead of time if you want to be just in front of the castle.
You can watch from anywhere you can park your wheelchair or ECV, but try to find a spot where no one can stand in front of you.
Disney also sets aside a few roped-off areas for... wheelchairs and ECVs. If you choose to use one of them, try to park in the center of the area. I was once temporarily in need of an ECV and parked it at the edge of the ropes, only to find that the crowd just outside those ropes completely ignored my presence and in fact, nearly knocked me off my seat.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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Fun Facts About the Disneyland Fireworks
Disneyland developed an air-powered technology to launch their fireworks, which reduces the smoke they create and also allows effects that were not possible before.
Disneyland reworks its fireworks display every few years. For their 60th diamond anniversary, the display was named "Disneyland Forever." It included eye-popping aerial pyrotechnics, but that was only a starter. Simultaneously, Main Street USA buildings and nearby rides became projection screens for scenes from dozens of beloved Disney films, timed to coordinate with the fireworks bursts. It was my favorite fireworks show ever, and I hope they'll bring it back sometime. You can get a look at them in this YouTube video.