Here’s everything you need to know about watching fireworks and projections at Disneyland including when, locations, best views and more. Fireworks and Disneyland go hand in hand. The addition of projections a few years ago enhanced nighttime entertainment tremendously. Projection mapping on the front of the castle, sides of buildings down Main Street and on the It’s a Small World facade are incredible. Let’s dive into all the things you need to know to make this experience memorable!
When are fireworks at Disneyland?
One very important piece of information about fireworks at Disneyland, unlike at Walt Disney World, fireworks don’t happen every night of the year. And even when it’s on the schedule it’s not guaranteed you will see any. If the winds are too high they cancel the show. It’s only happened a few times for me, but I just like guests to be aware. The schedule for fireworks normally revolves around the busy times. For instance you can plan on fireworks nightly in the summer, during Christmas and other busy school breaks. The rest of the year there is a show with fireworks on the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights only. When planning your trip you can look at the entertainment schedule. Disney typically shares fireworks days and times about 6 weeks out. Also you can find times in the Disneyland app under entertainment on the day you’re in the parks.
Entertainment with fireworks
“Mickey’s Mix Magic” show with fireworks is the current entertainment offering. You can see it nightly throughout the summer. If you’re not familiar with this projection show it celebrates Mickey Mouse with lighting and lasers all around up and down Main Street, on the castle and over on the facade of It’s a Small World. Mickey’s Mix Magic is nightly at 9:00 pm. Be sure to double check the app when you’re there for the time. We like to watch this show from Main Street because the views of the entire show are great. Plus you can spot the hidden Mickey firework toward the end of the show in the sky to the left of the castle.
Firework shows throughout the year
There’s always a scheduled show it just depends on the time of year what you can expect to see. Usually Jan through August is the normal scheduled Mickey’s Mix Magic show. On the 4th of July they add an extra patriotic portion too. Then in the fall September through October 31st they have Halloween Screams with fireworks on the weekend. During the week with projections only. Then Disney finishes the year November and December with the holiday fireworks show and snowfall. This year in between Halloween and Christmas they will most likely show Mickey’s Mix Magic. Basically when there’s not a holiday themed show it’s MMM.
Viewing tips and locations
There are many places throughout Disneyland to view the fireworks. There are 3 viewing locations that offer projections in addition to the fireworks. I will explain where each location is at and the pros/cons for each one. See the map below for reference.
Most people like to stand in front of the castle for fireworks and projections. This is my least favorite spot because it requires holding a spot for hours before the show. If that’s where you want to watch plan ahead accordingly. And don’t stand too close to the castle or you can’t see the fireworks. Also make sure your view is not obstructed with the Partners statue in the hub or nearby trees.
I recommend watching somewhere up and down Main Street. Arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the show starts because people start sitting on Main Street waiting for the show. If you want to watch it from Main Street I suggest standing in the middle of the street next to the Penny Arcade. This spot is about half way down and gives a view of the projections all around. You have great views of the fireworks too from here.
For less people go to It’s a Small World where they display projections on the facade. You can also see the fireworks to the left above in the sky. I like this option because you don’t have to line up early you can show up just before it starts and have a great view.
Another option that’s not currently available is over along the Rivers of America. Most people don’t know there are projections plus you can see the fireworks. This option is less crowded as well. I will update when this option returns.
If you’re looking for a cool place to watch fireworks then head over to Galaxy’s Edge. The views are pretty cool from over there, but there are no projections.
Another viewing option is from the Main Street train depot. The views from here are great cause you can see the projections on Main Street, the fireworks behind the castle and the flashing beams of lights in the sky all at once. Then as soon as the show ends you’re right next to the gates. You can head out and beat the crowds. That’s why I recommend this spot for easy departure.
Secret spot at Storybook Land Canal Boats
A few years ago I happened to be in line for Storybook Land Canal Boats when the fireworks started. I noticed they stopped the ride while we were there standing in line during the fireworks show. We could hear the music and see the sky all lit up. You can’t see any projections but you are almost literally under the fireworks show it’s amazing. And if you really want an extra special experience you have to time it just right. Arrive at Storybook Land Canal Boats before the fireworks, get on the ride before the show starts. If you’re out on a boat when the fireworks start they stop your boat in the water and you watch the whole show from your boat! How magical is that!!!
Exit strategy after fireworks
If you can hold out and let the crowds die down your exit experience will be better. Everyone leaves usually after the fireworks and it’s like herding cattle. So go on another ride, mobile order some food or do some shopping. But wait about 30 minutes and then exit the park.
Options for viewing fireworks outside of Disneyland
If you don’t have a ticket to go inside Disneyland you can still see fireworks from a few locations.
In the Esplanade in between both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, no ticket required.
If you make a late night dining reservation at Catal restaurant in Downtown Disney request to be seated out on the balcony. You can see the fireworks from the balcony. For parking and other tips on Downtown Disney read more here.
There are many rooftop bars where you can see the fireworks. I have been to Parkestry at the JW Marriott and the views are amazing. Book a table through the app Open Table. Other options are at The Fifth above the Grand Legacy hotel and Blue Sky Bar on the rooftop of the Radisson Blu.
Another option to view fireworks from your hotel balcony. I love the views from the Howard Johnson across the street. Request rooms with firework views!
I hope these tips help make your fireworks experience fantastic at Disneyland. For helpful tips and information on parades see this post.