On May 12th, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will debut a new nighttime fireworks show called Happily Ever After. This will take the place of the beloved Wishes, which can last be seen in Magic Kingdom on May 11th. Wishes has run for since 2003, making it one of the longest running firework show in Disney Park history (at least according to a quick Google search). You can read more of the details here, as I’ll mainly just be getting into my reaction.
Let me start off by saying that I’ll miss Wishes. I like the show well enough and think the pyro is pretty impressive. The narration from Jiminy Cricket, the Blue Fairy, and the soundtrack all make the show memorable and above-average. With that being said, the reason that I will look back on this show fondly is due to nostalgia. My wife and I saw this show the first night of our Honeymoon. That memory and a few others will stick out when I look back on Wishes and that will make me miss it. I’m glad that we have a trip planned in April so that I can bid it adieu. Still, I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go.
Wishes is good but there are other shows I’ve seen that are easily better. Remember… Dreams Come True (currently at Disneyland) and 60th anniversary-inspired Disneyland Forever are both heads and shoulders above Wishes thematically or technologically. With the recent upgrades to Magic Kingdom’s projection systems, Wishes was not capable of using that technology. Also, 14 years is a really long time for a show to run. Even though it never felt outdated, I think a new show will bring a fresh energy to the park.
That brings us to Happily Ever After. I can’t say I love the name but I am excited about some of the other details. First of all, the show length is 50 percent longer than Wishes bringing Happily Ever After to 18 minutes. That is intriguing and really gives the show a lot of time to take in different directions.
I’m also interested in some of the IP’s that they’re planning to include, most notably The Jungle Book and The Lion King. No one knows to what capacity the IP’s will be used but I’m excited to see their inclusion.
I’m also excited to see the upgraded lighting and projection being used to enhance the fireworks. This worked well with Disneyland Forever and gave my eyes no shortage of things to look at. The projections used for Once Upon A Time are crystal clear and look fantastic. Adding fireworks to those systems will really fill up the whole scene.
There are two things that worry me about Happily Ever After. The first being that Disney may cut back on some of the pyro. While I think the projections are wonderful, most people would agree that fireworks really steal the show. With recent cutbacks at Disney Parks I worry that this show may be a way to get away from the pyro-heavy Wishes. With the run time being 18 minutes, I wonder if there will be chunks of the show without many fireworks. If that is the case (purely hypothetical as of now) then there can be pacing issues. My second worry is that this will cause the new Once Upon A Time to go away. I really hope that doesn’t happen, as you can tell from my review.
Other than those two worries that could prove to be completely off-base, I find this news to be extremely positive. Magic Kingdom was due for a new fireworks show and I look forward to Happily Ever After. Not to be needy but let’s see what they can do for a nighttime parade now!
There was one more bit of news that came out today. Rivers of Light (Animal Kingdom’s nighttime show) will officially open on February 17th. The show will run basically every other night for the first few months as they continue to tweak and get things right. Come April, the show will run once or twice a night. You can read my reaction to it opening in yesterday’s post. In short, I’m excited to see what they have come up with. I would strongly encourage you to get a FastPass+ for the show if you are going. The seating space isn’t huge and I think the area will fill up fast.
What do you think of Wishes being replaced? Let us know in the comments!