So last year my attempt to see the holiday fireworks was a complete bust. For starters, we missed much of the holiday season at Disneyland due to a trip to Europe followed by blackout days, and then the one day we all went–which if I remember correctly was like the last day our passes were good–the fireworks were cancelled due to weather. Kevin did go over on a different day with Theo, but sadly, Theo was pretty much terrified and apparently cried the whole time. We were hoping a year later to have some better success.
Luckily, we did.
So Disneyland shoots off the fireworks from the backlot, which used to be convenient because you got pretty much an equal view of the show from most of the park (it didn’t really matter where you were standing) and they didn’t have to close any of the park down to do it.
Now they go off on the backlot but there are some closer, shorter special effects near and to the left of the castle and they have to close down Fantasyland to do it. They also turned it into a really elaborate show focused on the castle with some awesome castle effects and coordinated lighting and whatnot. Which is really cool…if you happen to be in front of the castle. If you’re not, you kinda miss some parts. So for the record, the very best place to view the fireworks is at the end of Main Street on the plaza slightly to the right of the castle near the entrance to Tomorrowland. And obviously, not behind any tall people, unless you happen to be quite tall yourself.
If you happen to be standing elsewhere, you can still see the show but it won’t look as coordinated or cool, and there will be down times where there’s something happening in front of the castle but you’re over in Adventureland going “What’s going on? Is it over? Why is the music still playing?”
If you can’t get to that particular location (not Adventureland–the other one) then anywhere with a clear view of the castle is a good second bet. The night we went, we stood about halfway down Main Street. We actually were right against the rope of one of those crosswalk areas they create with ropes, which was nice to not have people directly in front of us–especially if you’re short like me.
Pretty good view of the castle here, before the show
The crowd behind us
So in the middle of the above photo, I have no idea what that woman who is significantly taller than everyone else is standing on, but I’m pretty sure it’s not safe. Also, the woman in foreground looks positively panic-stricken. I don’t know why that is either.
Once the show started it was truly fabulous. Really, nobody does fireworks like Disney. I mean seriously, every other fireworks display pales in comparison, like you’re watching some small, municipal 4th of July fireworks show and thinking, “Really, people? Take a page from Disney and spend a gazillion on a DECENT display next year, okay?”
Example of castle-focused effects. Also the only decent picture of the actual fireworks I got
Taking pictures of the fireworks is difficult. Particularly if you have zero photography skills like me. I have a big fancy DSLR camera–I just can’t really use it very well. I also wanted to take a picture of Kevin and Theo, who were standing behind me, but didn’t want to be that jerk who turns around and takes a flash picture and blinds everyone, so I tried waiting until the sky was all lit up. I got several pictures much like this one:
I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!!!
Theo seemed to like the fireworks this year. He didn’t really smile, but he did emit a series of increasingly ecstatic “wow…Wow…WOW!!!”s over the course of the show. He also spent the entire show with his hand out. I don’t know if he was trying to touch the lights or catch the lights or shield himself from the lights, but it was pretty cute.
Following the fireworks, they play “White Christmas” and it snows. And by snows I mean they have these bubble machines that spit out small chunks of bubbles that look like snow, and it’s super-cool. The coolest part is the looks on all of the kids’ faces when it starts to fall.
Yes, I can take a reasonably decent picture of my husband and son. Too bad he's got his hand in his mouth.
There was snow in that picture–you can see it on Kevin’s shoulder. No, I did not specifically request that he wear black fleece in order for me to get a picture showing the snow. It just worked out that way.
And here’s a better picture of the snow and the crowd behind us (minus the freakishly tall woman and the panic-stricken woman).
Doesn't the tree look great? Also, snow!
The fireworks really are a must-see. Actually as for as the holiday goes at Disneyland, there are three things you really, really shouldn’t miss, and the fireworks are one of them.
Yes, I will tell you what the other two are: It’s A Small World Holiday (It’s A Small Holiday World? It’s A Holiday, Small World?) and the Holiday Haunted Mansion. I will post about It’s A Holiday, Small World (that’s not the actual name, but I think it’s funny), but unfortunately I didn’t do the Haunted Mansion this year. The holiday version goes up at Halloween, so I will see you next Fall on that one!