June 1956 – present
Main Street USA – The fireworks are designed for the view from Main Street USA, but they don’t technically belong to any particular land. The show lights up the night sky at roughly 9:30 pm every evening, and virtually every land in the park offers at least partial views of the show.
Disneyland didn’t originally have a fireworks show. But after about a year of operation, some fireworks tests in the parking lot inspired Walt to bring a show into the park. Just months later, Disneyland’s first fireworks show debuted above Sleeping Beauty Castle. The nightly performance was an instant success, and is now the most famous Disney show in every park worldwide.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – N/A
- Duration – 15:00
Disneyland has had several different fireworks shows since 1956:
- Fantasy in the Sky (1956 – 1999)
- Believe…There’s Magic in the Sky (2000-2004)
- Imagine…A Fantasy in the Sky (2004-2005)
- Remember…Dreams Come True (2005-2014)
- Disneyland Forever (2015-2016)
And, at the end of Disneyland’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration, the fireworks show returns to its roots. Fantasy in the Sky will debut on September 6, though the show will have updated songs and visual effects.
Each iteration of the fireworks show is the same basic idea; the sky explodes in color keeping perfect time with classic Disney songs, scenes, and magical moments. Imagine and Disneyland Forever had special themes celebrating park history, since they were part of anniversary events (the 50th and 60th). But all of the shows celebrate beloved Disney moments, through song, light, and sometimes, extra effects like projections or pyrotechnics!
MY RATING: ★★★★★
I’m not someone that usually pays much attention to fireworks, but the mix of music, lighting effects, and amazing shapes in the Disneyland shows capture my attention every single time. I especially love the Halloween fireworks; the villains narrate the show and the music is much more sinister! But all of the shows are genuinely spectacular, and I’d always recommend visitors take a moment to sit back and enjoy the view, no matter where you are in the park.
The ideal place to watch the fireworks is Main Street USA; you’ll get the best view of both the lower fireworks shot from the castle and the taller fireworks shot from behind Fantasyland. But of course, this is also the most difficult place to watch the show. If you want a really great view of the fireworks, you need to stake out a spot 30-45 minutes ahead of time, and even then you might be in standing room only!
If you’re like me, wasting 45 minutes of your precious time in the park is less than ideal. A lot of people try to watch from Adventureland, which is ok, but the big trees make for very obstructed views. Instead, I’d recommend heading over to New Orleans Square or the esplanade between the two parks. You won’t be able to see the lower fireworks or hear the music, but you’ll get clear views of the show without the crazy crowds.
The fireworks launch from Mickey’s Toontown each night, which is a big reason why the land closes early.
Though Disney has never released the actual cost of each performance, a cast member in Frontierland told me the show runs a bill of about $50,000 per night.
During the Disneyland Forever show, the Matterhorn transformed into Mt. Wannahockaloogie from Finding Nemo, complete with a smoky eruption from the summit!
The Disneyland Forever show incorporated projections to immerse crowds into each scene. The buildings on Main Street became giant screens, but guests in other lands weren’t left out. The Fantasmic! water screens also displayed these projections (with the accompanying music), so that Frontierland and New Orleans Square visitors could join in the fun.