Happily Ever After, Magic Kingdom’s current firework show, is amazing, but with great popularity comes great crowds, crowds which render Main Street’s population practically immobile. Now imagine a place inside the park where you could watch Happily Ever After without being shoulder to shoulder with hot and bothered strangers, a place where you can just walk up 30 seconds before 9 p.m. and get a spot. No, this is not just a Disney utopian fantasy; such a place does exist. The catch: it’s not on Main Street.
Not watching the fireworks on Main Street? What about the castle? What about the music? What about seeing the projections? Well, I’m going to put forward a case for watching Happily Ever After in Frontierland. While it’s cool to watch from somewhere like Fantasyland and there’s plenty of places outside the park you can see the show, I much prefer the overall view from the Wild West-themed land as an alternative viewing location. I used to be a Cast Member on the International College Program and my work location was Frontierland, so I saw the fireworks from here approximately 60 times that summer, and I honestly think it’s worth a try.
Warning: If this is your first time or the only time you’ll be watching Happily Ever After on a trip, I always advise to watch it from Main Street as no one can argue that this is where you’ll get the best experience. I’d say that Frontierland is just an alternative option for those seasoned Happily Ever After goers who want to try something different.
Frontierland is way less crowded
This is the number one reason for abandoning Main Street at fireworks time. The big bonus is that it’s so much more relaxed watching it from Frontierland. It’s less hot and sticky being away from all the sweaty bodies from in the humidity, meaning you can casually see the show in a calm environment. This is perfect for those who don’t like crowds or just fancy an evening in Magic Kingdom without that hustle and bustle.
Maximize park time
If you want to get a decent spot on Main Street to watch Happily Ever After, you have to arrive anywhere from an hour to 30 minutes before show time on busy days. With Frontierland, you can literally just stop in your tracks as soon as you hear the first bang and have a good view.
Not only do you save time before the show, but as soon as you’ve finished crying from the magnificence you just witnessed, you can get straight back to hitting rides and attractions if the park stays open after the show. If you’re on Main Street and you’re wanting to get to Thunder Mountain, you’re going to be stuck in a gridlocked crowd of tired people for a good 15 minutes before you make any progress on your trek from one side of the hub to the other. A Frontierland view allows you to get immediately in line for Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain, or you have an easy access point to Adventureland attractions. So that’s a chunk of time you save before and after the show, hence maximizing your park time.
This is why out of park viewing areas (Polynesian or Grand Floridan) aren’t always the best alternatives if you want to spend as much time possible within Magic Kingdom. While I love the atmosphere of watching the fireworks from the Poly beach, you have to actually leave the park and miss out on park time.
You avoid the Main Street exiting carnage
Leading on from the point above, if you’re planning on leaving the park straight after the fireworks, by watching in Frontierland you escape that mad surge of people doing the exact same thing as you. Instead, you can take a leisurely walk through Magic Kingdom and by the time you reach Main Street, it’s quieted down a little so you can actually enjoy taking in the lights and the Main Street evening atmosphere. Why not find a PhotoPass photographer and get that empty Main Street photo for your collection?
You may not get to the front of the line for the monorail or ferry boat back to the Ticket and Transportation Centre or your hotel, but sometimes it’s quite nice enjoying the atmosphere of the park after it’s cleared out. It’s also good if you’re wanting to go in the Emporium on your way out; you’ll miss the initial stampede to the Mickey ears.
You can have a “pure” front row view
Want a front row view of Happily Ever After? Frontierland is your place.
If you stand at the front on Main Street, you won’t see the fireworks because you’re too close. So that means having to stand somewhere further back where people can stand in front of you which for kids and shorter people is an issue. It’s a real struggle to get that perfectly clear view of the castle and sky on Main Street.
In Frontierland, my favorite place to watch Happily Ever After is on the bridge that connects the main strip of the land and the “mountains” section with the two attractions. Stand right at the front and you’ll have a clear view over the Rivers of America and the castle. This removes that frustration when you think you’ve found the best view you can get down to the millimeter then someone moves an inch, and BAM, view ruined. Not to mention those who decide at the last second to hold up their phone in your face and then proceed to film the entirety of the show.
While you can see the fireworks from pretty much everywhere in Frontierland, here’s a little map showing some of the best spots:
You get a great view of the fireworks that get set off out of the park
Standing in Frontierland won’t give you a great view of the fireworks that appear much closer to the castle and launch from inside Magic Kingdom, but you do get a perfect view of all the fireworks that come from outside the park and are much higher in the sky, which is the majority of fireworks. You can see every one of these and sometimes being at a side angle actually means you see different shapes and formations, for instance, smiley face fireworks which aren’t always as clear from the front.
You still hear the music
Something that might put some off from watching the fireworks from anywhere other than Main Street, is the worry that you might not hear the all-important music that completes the show. But have no fear, the music is piped in through the Frontierland speakers so you still get the same effect. Don’t worry, you can still sing-a-long!
A few cons
Frontierland isn’t the absolute perfect spot to watch Happily Ever After. The obvious major issue is that you can’t see the projections that happen on the front of the castle which is why I say that if this is going to be your one and only time seeing the show, you should definitely embrace the crowds and go to Main Street. If you’re debating whether to continue hitting attractions or to watch the fireworks (and you’ve already seen the show a few times and know what to expect), then this Frontierland option gives you the best of both worlds. You get to see the fireworks and ride attractions for a longer period of time before and after.
What’s the first image you picture when you think of Walt Disney World? It’s the fireworks behind Cinderella Castle. So the other issue with Frontierland viewing is that you don’t get that classic Disney fireworks castle combo that’s something of an icon. You do still get the castle in view, it’s just a side angle instead.
So you just have to weigh up how much you’re willing to sacrifice for a less crowded viewing experience.
Despite these few cons, I still think that Frontierland is a good in-park alternative to Main Street and has some major bonuses. While I wouldn’t choose to watch it here if I was only going to see it once on my vacation, it’s a great place for repeat viewings. Dreams really do come true in Disney, and if it’s your dream to see Happily Ever After without a crowd from inside the park, you’ll find it in Frontierland.