Disney World’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom is a show that I can watch over and over again. I’ve had a perfect view at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. just behind the Hub. I’ve had great views from other various spots along Main Street, U.S.A. and from the upper balcony of the Walt Disney Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station. I’ve watched it from Fantasyland near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and at assorted spots on the path leading to Beast’s Castle with the fireworks exploding in all directions.
I’ve watched the fireworks bursting above me near Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and have seen them from the Tomorrowland bridge. I’ve also watched from parts of the park that afford only glimpses of the action but where the fireworks still give me that feeling of magic.
To be sure, there are many spots with a view of Wishes in Magic Kingdom. But there is another memorable way to watch the show from inside the park that doesn’t involve finding one great spot. Rather, how about experiencing Wishes from a different perspective by riding an attraction with a view.
Before we get into the details about experiencing Wishes as you ride, there is one big caveat—it’s definitely better to see Wishes for the first time with a direct view, with Cinderella Castle in front of you. Specifically, watching somewhere from the end of Main Street, U.S.A. up to about the Walt and Mickey Partner’s Statue in the Hub provides a great view of the entire show, including the fireworks, storytelling by the characters, and the music. (Note that some of the best areas of the Hub are now reserved for FastPass+ viewing.) Also, you don’t want to miss out on Tinker Bell’s Flight from the top of the castle in the first few minutes. And Wishes is immediately preceded by the Celebrate the Magic show, which is projected onto the front of Cinderella Castle and features scenes and characters from Disney movies.
Have you had the full Wishes experience in front of the castle and are ready to try something new? If so, there are several factors to keep in mind when planning to experience an attraction during Wishes.
Of these factors, timing is the most difficult. The first aspect of timing to consider is the timing of the Wishes fireworks. Wishes is a 12-minute show and the fireworks activity for the first few minutes is limited. There are just a few fireworks launched in the first 1.5 minutes, followed by a high around the 3.5-minute mark and then short lulls and longer highs before building toward the finale starting around minute 8.
Besides timing of the fireworks, impact of wait time and ride duration should be considered. For impact on wait time, you can use TouringPlans.com data to help you determine how much you should factor in waiting in line at the time of Wishes. For example, here are projected wait times for October 29, 2016, when Wishes is scheduled at 10 PM (clicking on the names of the individual attractions on this page will show a by-hour wait time forecast from park opening to closing). Of course, you can also check wait times on the Touring Plans Lines app and the estimated wait time at the ride itself on the day you plan to ride.
Although lines are generally shorter during Wishes, getting a FastPass+ could be extra insurance for timing your ride, especially for attractions that tend to still have relatively long wait times during Wishes.
The following table shows other factors to consider, including how well Wishes can be seen from each attraction queue (in case you don’t quite get the timing right or the show starts when you’re in line) and how much actual opportunity there is to see the fireworks during the ride. The attractions are listed in a very rough order of preference. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is likely the most popular of these to ride during Wishes, but the choice for many of the others will be based on considerations like whether you like spinning rides, height restrictions for your party, or just how much you like the attractions themselves.
|Ride Duration*||View from the Queue Before Wishes||Viewing Opportunity During Ride||Other Considerations|
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||3.5 minutes||Minimal to no view; may spend most time on indoor ramp down to the train platform||Fireworks visible during most of ride, especially impressive when on hills||If you are off the ride during the finale, there’s a great view from the exit area; closed for refurbishment until November 19, 2016|
|Seven Dwarfs Mine Train||
|Minimal to no view; outside part of queue has some tree cover; likely to spend most time in indoor portion of queue||Fireworks visible in direction of both Cinderella Castle and Beast’s Castle during about 50% of ride that is outdoors|
|Astro Orbiter||1.5 minutes||Mostly obstructed by ride structure||Fireworks visible during entire ride; views of Cinderella Castle, and Tinker Bell’s Flight||Spinning|
|Obstructed; indoor part of queue likely walkthrough, but view from outdoor part of queue obstructed||Clear view during entire ride||Spinning|
|None||Short but nice view, especially in first few minutes from outdoor upper area||You could get wet|
|Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover||
|No wait, so not a factor||Glimpses of fireworks, obstructed by structure, during outdoor portions of ride|
|Visible from outdoor queue||Extremely short-lived but clear view|
|Obstructed in covered part of queue||Clear view during parts when facing fireworks||Noisy cars|
*In addition to ride duration, impact of wait time can be considered for each ride. As previously mentioned, TouringPlans.com provides specific wait time projections for each ride by hour.
Have you been lucky enough to get the timing right and watch Wishes as you ride a favorite attraction? If not, it may be time to plan to do so. Seeing Wishes this way can easily be a highlight of a Disney World trip.