The wishes of so many Walt Disney World fans came true last Thursday when Happily Ever After fireworks returned to the Magic Kingdom. But, since this is the first time in forever that we guests have been able to gather at the foot of Cinderella Castle and watch the nighttime spectacular, I figured that a refresher on just a few Disney fireworks-viewing items might be a good thing. Here are four things to keep in mind if viewing Happily Ever After is on your must-do list for an upcoming Disney trip.
Rain (and lightning) go away, we want to watch Happily Ever After today!
Into each Florida summer day a little rain must fall. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in the summer, odds are good that you’ll experience a rainstorm here and there. And while some of these storms come and go rather quickly, some of them decide to hang around and stay for quite a bit. Such was the case on Happily Ever After's opening evening. Rain came in the afternoon and decided to stay for the entirety of the evening. While it slowed and tapered slightly from time to time, it was a constant nuisance and had guests asking cast members right and left if the fireworks would actually take place.
A great thing to keep in mind is that it’s not necessarily rain that cancels fireworks at Walt Disney World, it’s lightning. If radar shows that lightning is within a close proximity of the park, odds are greater that the fireworks will be delayed and/or canceled. If you have the flexibility to have a back-up evening slated during your vacation just in case your first evening in the Magic Kingdom is fireworks-less, it’s a great thing. I understand that not all of us have such flexibility, so it’s good just to keep in mind that as long as lightning isn't in the area, those fireworks will likely take place. On its own, a little rain won’t shut things down.
If camping out for the perfect spot isn’t your thing, shorter attraction lines are waiting for you.
If you’re not concerned about claiming a spot hours in advance of the fireworks, you can enjoy reduced wait times at some of your favorite attractions. Yes, I understand that this is something that we’ve talked about in the past ad nauseam, but perhaps a refresher is needed. It’s been a while since we’ve all been in fireworks mode, and it was a delight to be able to ride Haunted Mansion with a posted wait time of 20 minutes that actually turned out to be only 10. While some guests were starting to pick the perfect Hub viewing spot, my hubby and I took advantage of lower wait times and jumped on a couple of attractions. If you’re a-okay with waiting and viewing fireworks from wherever you're able to find a spot, you just might be able to squeeze in a few additional rides before the fireworks begin.
One hour before the fireworks were to start, there were plenty of spots left in the Hub for prime fireworks viewing. That might not be the case on the evening that you're slated to be in the Magic Kingdom, but it’s good to know that anything is possible, even on the first night of the return of fireworks.
Umbrellas can be your best friend. Until it’s showtime, that is.
I thankfully brought my umbrella with me for the first evening of Happily Ever After. I know that there’s always a debate between Disney World park guests as to whether ponchos or umbrellas are the best rainy weather gear for touring the parks, but if umbrellas are your go-to, there’s a little something that we need to keep in mind when it comes to viewing fireworks. By all means, umbrellas are fantastic when you’re standing in the Hub during a steady bit of rain trying to hold a spot. They, of course, give you a respite from the incessant rain, and, in the current times in which we find ourselves, they also offer a bubble of personal space. But when it comes time for the show, and the lights are dimmed and things are ready to begin, it’s time to put that handy-dandy umbrella away. Rain or not.
Believe me, I was tempted to keep my umbrella up during the first night of fireworks. I’m all of 5’ 2 1/2, so I know that I’m not going to block the large majority of park guests' view of what’s exploding in the sky above. That being said, there are little ones everywhere. And there are park guests of all abilities, so, for the good of everyone gathered together to experience something magical, it’s best that umbrellas are simply folded up and put away when the lights are dimmed. Yes, you’ll get a little wet, but you won’t be standing in the way of a fellow guest’s enjoyment of the show.
Sometimes, for safety’s sake, everyone’s favorite pixie doesn’t fly.
You know that part of Happily Ever After: “…just look up and reach to the sky...we all have the courage to fly... you can fly, you can fly, you can fly...." as everyone waits with bated breath and iPhones in hand for Tinker Bell to glide across the nighttime sky? It’s the ultimate crescendo to a show that’s certain to pluck every heartstring in the house. But, if it’s a rainy evening, it’s good to keep in mind that Safety is the first Disney Key. If it’s not safe for Tink to fly, she won’t. And it won’t be announced ahead of time and there really won’t be much of an indication in advance. It just won’t happen. And while it certainly is disappointing, it’s completely understandable.
There was a constant light rain throughout the show on Thursday evening, and it just wasn’t safe to send Tinker Bell on her way. The Key of Safety comes before the Key of Show for a reason, and safety won't be compromised just because it'd make for a good show. If you or others in your traveling party have a heart set on witnessing this magical moment, it’s good to keep in mind going into it that, for whatever reason, it just may not happen. Managing expectations is the best thing.
Even though it was rainy, Tinker Bell didn’t fly, and I was absolutely soaked to the bone by the time everything was said and done, it was so very good to see Happily Ever After again. And the portion of the show with the light and lilting rendition of “Love is an Open Door?” It was totally tear-inducing. Somehow, after the past year plus, “...say goodbye to the pain of the past...we don’t have to feel it anymore…” took on a new and deeper meaning.
Welcome back, Happily Ever After. We missed you.
Do you have an additional piece or two of fireworks-viewing advice? Please share them in the comments section below!