Guests at Walt Disney theme parks routinely finish off their visit at night watching colorful fireworks and light shows before exiting.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney World in Florida have offered various spectacular shows over the years that they occasionally refresh to maintain the interest of returning visitors.
Magic Kingdom Park at Disney World has had long-running fireworks shows over the years, including “Fantasy in the Sky” (1971-2003), “Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams” (2003-2017), and “Happily Ever After” (2017-March 12, 2020, then July 1, 2021-Sept. 29, 2021), according to Fandom. Finally, the park unveiled “Disney Enchantment” on Oct. 1, 2021, a 15-minute fireworks spectacular to celebrate the Disney World 50th anniversary.
Disney World’s Epcot began its fireworks shows with “Carnival de Lumiere” (1982-1983), then “A New World Fantasy” (1983-1984) and “Laserphonic Fantasy” (1984-1988).
The park introduced its “IllumiNations” fireworks show in 1988, which was revised over the years with several updated versions, including “IllumiNations 25” (1996-1999) and “IllumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth” (1999-2019) A new fireworks show, “Epcot Forever,” arrived in October 2019 and was replaced by the debut of nighttime spectacular “Harmonious” in October 2021 to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Harmonious is a 20-minute nighttime show that features floating screens, moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers on the World Showcase Lagoon.
Lighting Up the Night
Disneyland in Anaheim has also had several fireworks shows, including “Fantasy in the Sky” (1958-1996, New Year’s 2000 and 2001, 2015, September 2016-January 2017); “Believe…There’s Magic in the Stars” (2004-2004); “Imagine…Fantasy in the Sky” (June 2004-April 2005); “Remember…Dreams Come True” (various periods from 2005-2019); “Together Forever: A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” (April-September 2018); and Mickey’s Mix Magic (January-June 2019 and July 4, 2021-April 2022.)
The Anaheim park also in April launched a 50th anniversary of the Main Street Electrical Parade, which has made its third return to the theme park.
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Another nighttime fan favorite, the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular, also made its return to the park in April after debuting in 2015 for the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration at Disneyland. The fireworks show includes two original songs, “Live the Magic” and “Kiss Goodnight” written by Disney legend Richard M. Sherman.
The Anaheim Resort’s California Adventure also in April launched the World of Color water, color, and light spectacular in that park’s Paradise Bay.
Disneyland on May 28 will bring back one of its most popular nighttime shows when “Fantasmic!” returns for its 30th anniversary celebration.
Spectacular Nighttime Attraction Returns
“Fantasmic!” debuted at Disneyland in 1992 on the Rivers of America and ran for almost 11,000 shows until March 12, 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney on May 13 — the 30th anniversary of “Fantasmic!’s” opening — announced the show’s return.
“Fantasmic!” features colorful Disney-animated story scenes, choreographed to a musical score on the Rivers of America. The show centers around Mickey Mouse, who dreams he is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and faces dastardly villains, using the power of his imagination to save the day. Events and images as seen in stories like “Fantasia,” “The Jungle Book,” and more are staged with live performers, character appearances, enhanced special effects and pyrotechnics.
The show has been updated over the years, including in 2009 with digital projections and a 45-foot-tall fire-breathing Maleficent dragon and in 2017 with new scenes and songs including “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin.”