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A Go-to Guide for Disney World's Fireworks and Parades

While I love the many rides and live shows that Disney has to offer, some of my most treasured memories of trips to Disney World, both as a child and as an adult, have happened while sitting on the curb with an ice cream cone in hand watching a parade go by.

There’s nothing like taking a break from the hustle of trekking all over the park from ride to ride to sit in one place and let the entertainment come to you. Equally delightful are memories of a night sky lit by a dazzling display of fireworks.

I know you will want to be sure to catch all the parades and firework shows Disney World has to offer on your next trip and so I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorites:

Magic Kingdom

  • Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade – Featuring classic Disney characters such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Aladdin, Pinocchio, and, of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, this one is sure to entertain and delight your children while inspiring you to remember some of the magic in the characters and stories from your own childhood. This is typically the first parade of the day, beginning in the afternoon around 3 pm.
  • Disney Wishes – When you picture that magical moment shared with your family, watching fireworks explode over Cinderella’s castle, you are imagining yourself watching the Disney Wishes fireworks extravaganza. The display is set to music and hosted by Jiminy Cricket. It’s experience that cannot be rivaled by any 4th of July display. Don’t miss it.
  • Main Street Electrical Parade – This is, hands down, my favorite parade at Disney World. I have loved it since the first time I watched it as a child and that love continued on into adulthood when I shared the experience with my children on our first trip to Disney. You will want to get there early, grab some snacks, and stake out a prime piece of curb real estate. This one draws big crowds. Held after dark, the floats are lit up and the effect is spectacular. There’s no other parade on Earth like it.

Epcot

  •  IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – This spectacular nighttime show combines lasers, fireworks, and water to create a mesmerizing show that plays out in three acts — chaos, order, and meaning — that tell the story of our planet. You can watch atop the World Showcase Lagoon and I promise it will take your breath away.

Hollywood Studios

  • Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun – If you have a Pixar obsessed little one, this parade will be the highlight of your trip. Featuring the cast of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Up, The Incredibles, and more singing popular songs, dancing, and waving to the crowd, you will want to take a little time-out in the afternoon to rest on Hollywood Boulevard and let the fun come to you.
  • Fantasmic! – This 25-minute fireworks and water show stars many classic characters from the Disney line up. From villains to princesses, this musical extravaganza is a treat for the whole family. I will say, this one can be a bit dark for the very young or easily frightened so if you have a child on the sensitive side be cautious.

Animal Kingdom

  • Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade – Rafiki of the classic film The Lion King leads this high-energy procession throughout the park. You will love this one for the bright colors, the stiltwalkers, the drummers, and the giant Party Animals encouraging you to sing along. You will find yourself dancing in the streets by the parade’s end.

While you can admire all the characters from afar during each park’s spectacular parades and firework displays, your kids will want to meet their favorite characters and give them a squeeze. Download Verizon’s Disney Mobile Magic app to locate characters around the park or even check out the wait times for popular rides.

What’s your favorite Disney parade?

A big thanks to Verizon for sponsoring this campaign. Data rates may apply for app download/use. Click here to see more of the discussion.

More from Amber:
12 Tips and Ideas for Your Child’s First Day of School Photo
7 Tips for Selecting an Ergonomic Backpack for Your Grade-schooler
On Depression, Motherhood, and Seeking Treatment

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