It feels like Disney has put us Happily Ever After fans on an emotional roller coaster over the past few years. The show debuted in May of 2017 and stole many of our hearts even though we missed Wishes dearly. Of course, when Disney closed the parks due to the pandemic, we knew it would be a while until we saw the beloved fireworks spectacular again.
Once the parks reopened, the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World was quickly approaching, and we all waited to hear what kind of fun would be coming to the parks. During this time, we learned that we’d be getting a new nighttime spectacular, Disney Enchantment and that Happily Ever After would be no more. Disney said that HEA would sparkle into Disney history, making it seem like we’d never see it again. Clearly, we fans made enough noise because, at D23, it was announced that it would return once The Most Magical Celebration on Earth ended. The 50th anniversary is finally over, so our show is back.
The History of Happily Ever After
Before we jump into the show being back and how I felt finally seeing again, let’s look at the show’s timeline.
- Opening day: May 12th, 2017
- Last show before park closure: March 15th, 2020
- Return from closure: July 1st, 2021
- Closing date to make way for the new show: September 29th, 2021
- Return date: April 3rd, 2023
My Experience at the First Show Back
When they announced the return date of Happily Ever After, I cried and immediately made a park reservation for April 3rd, 2023. I got to Magic Kingdom around 4 PM, and the show started at 9 PM. I started saving my spot at around 6 PM, which meant I waited 3 hours. The crowds continued to grow, which didn’t surprise me, but I thought it might be just a tad less because two tiers of the annual passes, the Pirate and Pixie, are blocked out right now.
It was hard to pick a spot because I wanted to be able to see the new projections on Main Street, U.S.A., but I also wanted to be close to Cinderella Castle because I love watching the projections there. After scanning the area, I finally sat at the same spot where I saw the “last” showing of Happily Ever After back in 2021.
The energy in the crowd was amazing. Everyone was equally excited about this. The best part was that some people had no idea what was happening, and it made their day when they found out. The last time I did this, I got food from Casey’s Corner and brought it to my spot, but this time I didn’t do that. I saw so many people squeezing through with trays and performing a balancing act, trying to find a place to sit, so I’m glad I didn’t get food this time.
When we were less than a minute away from showtime, the crowd started to count down and cheer as the show began. I was immediately covered in chills, and of course, my eyes filled with tears. I’d be lying if I told you I only cried a little bit. I cried from start to finish. The projections seemed even clearer than before, and maybe that’s because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the show, and that’s just how I perceived it, or they worked on them and made it even better. I also feel like more fireworks were added to the show. Again maybe I feel that way because it’s been a while.
I didn’t see the projections down Main Street, U.S.A., but I did turn periodically to take a peek down the street, and they looked fantastic. Next time I watch the show, I’ll have to stand there and see what type of experience that is.
I am extremely happy. When the show was starting, it almost didn’t feel real. I felt like I was dreaming. Happily Ever After means the world to me. It’s a show that makes me feel like my journey in life is worth every twist and turn because it will lead me to where I am meant to be. Seeing some of my favorite characters showcasing their journeys on the castle paired with the soundtrack gets me every time.
This might sound dumb to some people, but seeing the show again was a healing experience. Something about the crowd, the emotions, and seeing the show back in the Magic Kingdom really moved me. I can’t even put into words how happy I am. Are you glad that this fireworks spectacular is back? Or did you love Disney Enchantment?
Other Articles About Happily Ever After
- Why the Message of ‘Happily Ever After’ Is so Important
- What it was Like to Watch the Final Performance of Happily Ever After
- A Return Date has Been Announced for Disney’s Happily Ever After and EPCOT Forever
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.