Wheelchair Firework & Parade Viewing at Walt Disney World is a topic I get a lot of questions about. Here is a breakdown of what to expect in each park. Plus a few of our favorite viewing spots and tips.
Magic Kingdom Park
Festival of Fantasy Parade
The 3:00 parade at Magic Kingdom offers wheelchair viewing in three spots. You can find them at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A near the Fire Station, next to the Partners Statue in front of Cinderella Castle, and in Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents.
These spots tend to fill up so make sure to get there early. It the park is busy your family may have to stand behind you but any small children can sit in front of the wheelchair so they can see as well. If these spots are full I recommend looking for a spot in Frontierland. Main Street tends to fill up and I have found last minute spots in Frontierland and had a great view.
Happily Ever After
The nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom is Happily Ever After. The show combines projections and fireworks to take you on a journey through several Disney movies. It is a really impressive show! It does not however have designated seating for wheelchair users. And since this show is so popular it can be a little frustrating to find a spot where you can see.
My biggest tip is arrive early. If I really want to see the entire show we get there at least an hour before it starts. Find one of the areas that are fenced and have fountains. Park your wheelchair right next to the back part of this area. It’s not a perfect view but it will keep people from standing right in front of you.
If you just want to see the pyro and are okay not seeing the projections, I would head back to Fantasyland. Get behind the castle or head over to the bridge in front of Gaston’s Tavern. You can hear the music and see most of the fireworks. It’s less stressful and the option we choose most often.
Fireworks Dessert Party
One last option is the Fireworks Dessert Party. They are two options. The first is at Tomorrowland Terrace. You can enjoy desserts and you have your own private table to view the fireworks. The other option is the dessert party with Plaza Garden Viewing. You enjoy dessert at Tomorrowland Terrace and then head out to the plaza to enjoy the fireworks in a gated area. It’s also a little cheaper than the Tomorroland Terrace seating.
We attended the party and did the Plaza Garden view. I’m not much of a dessert person so we mostly just did it for the convenience of the seating. We headed out to the viewing area a little early and I’m glad we did. It’s the same situation for wheelchair users just in a smaller setting. You need to find a spot where someone won’t stand directly in front of you. Luckily it’s not completely full so it makes it easier. We sat behind a planter and most guests sat during the fireworks which was great. Another option would be to sit along the fence in the back of the seating area.
There are special fireworks during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Same viewing spots are recommended for these shows. You can also book dessert parties.
Frozen Holiday Wish also takes place during the Holiday season on the Cinderella Castle stage. Elsa will transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace. The castle looks amazing lit up for the holidays! We usually get a good spot for this show and then just camp out until the fireworks start. We make an entire night of it, have snacks, and just hang out since it is a few hours of time. But of course if you have multiple nights you can watch this show one night and then come back for the fireworks.
Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time is a projection show that follows the fireworks on most nights. (Make sure to check the times guide or your My Disney Experience App.) The same viewing rules apply. You have to be in front of Cinderella Castle to see so just try to find the best spot you can if you aren’t already in a good one.
Cinderella Castle Stage
There are two shows during the day on the Cinderella Castle stage. Let the Magic Begin is the show that takes place just before the park opens. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire is a really cute show that has a ton of different characters. It takes place several times during the day.
Neither has wheelchair seating but if you get there early you can sit right up front and have a pretty good view. I like to head over to one of the turrets on the side. You can actually see more than if you are directly in front of the stage. And most of the time it’s not crowded there and you can get a last minute spot.
My favorite nighttime spectacular is IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The music is amazing and there are so many great spots to see it from a wheelchair. There are four designated wheelchair viewing areas. You can find two in Showcase Plaza on the Future World side of the park. The other two are located in the Germany Pavilion and the UK Pavilion. There are ropes with flags that show where they are and when showtime gets close there will be Cast Members to assist you.
Another option is to use one of your Fastpasses for Illuminations. I don’t recommend doing this though. You use up one of your Fastpasses for something that doesn’t happen until the evening. I would only grab one if you are only planning on being there the later half of the day or if it’s available later after you use your initial three Fastpasses.
IllumiNations is the least stressful fireworks view situation for me. There are lots of great spots along the World Showcase Lagoon. If the park is busy I would pick a spot at least an hour in advance. If watching the fireworks aren’t high on your list just enjoy yourself and check them out where ever you are. We’ve watched them next to the fountain in France, in the Japan Pavilion near the quick service restaurant, and in the Morocco Pavilion.
During the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays there is a special ending to IllumiNations. It’s amazing so make sure to check out if you are visiting between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Several of the table service restaurants have fireworks viewing. It can be hit or miss depending on where you are seated. You also tend to have to make a reservation around 7:00 or so to get a fireworks table. You may have to wait a while or buy a lot of food while you wait (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
Frozen Ever After Dessert Party
You can also attend the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party. You can enjoy desserts, small bites, and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) while you wait for the show to start. An added bonus is a ride on Frozen Ever After with no wait after IllumiNations is over.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Edit: Several readers have let me know that there is now a wheelchair section. Check out the comments for their experiences. And thanks for letting me know everyone!
This is one park that I definitely recommend attending the dessert party. Both fireworks shows offer one and it gives you a reserved spot for wheelchair viewing. Wheelchairs are place in the front. There is a walkway between you and everyone else that is standing so it makes the view a little better. You also don’t have to worry about other people hitting your wheelchair or running into you while you watch.
The Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party takes place in Star Wars Launch Bay. You will be led out to the viewing area 15 minutes before the show starts. But you can head out earlier to make sure you get a good spot. The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party is outdoors in front of the Chinese Theater. If it rains the dessert party will be moved to an alternate location.
Disney Movie Magic
Disney Movie Magic is a projection show. It lasts 10 minutes and runs before the fireworks show year round. If you have a good spot for the fireworks you’ll have a great spot for this show too.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
There aren’t any fireworks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The animals would not be a fan of that! Luckily they have added a few nighttime experiences that makes it a full day park.
Tree of Life Awakenings
After dark, the beautiful carvings on the Tree of Life come to life during Tree of Life Awakenings. It’s a beautiful projection show that starts every 10 minutes until the park closes. There are several sequences so you will want to stick around and check out a few of them. There is no wheelchair seating but it’s pretty easy to find a good spot. People tend to move around a leave so you can always change spots.
Rivers of Light
Rivers of Light is a beautiful show that takes place in its own outdoor theater. Wheelchair seating is available in several spots along the top and the bottom of the theater. We sat down front and had a great view. There are designated spots that a Cast Member will take you to. Your party can sit with you but if you a in a big group some of them will have to sit behind you. If you want to make a quick exit after the show is over, you definitely want to sit at the top.
There is limited seating but there are ways to secure a spot. You can use one of your Fastpasses or book a dining package. If you are planning on eating at Tiffin’s or Tusker House anyway it’s a good option. Standby is an option but you may not get a spot if the wheelchair section. You will also want to keep an eye on the standby line because people tend to line up early.
I hope this makes your trip planning a little easier. If you have any questions or advice you want to share, just leave a comment below! You can find more wheelchair accessibility information here.