Walt Disney World Night Time Shows Ranked

A big part of going on holiday to Walt Disney World is the Disney World shows. I will never forget how we almost didn’t go and see Wishes when it was still on at Magic Kingdom during our first visit in 2014. We would have missed out on an amazing experience. There are a variety of evening shows, each very different and all worth seeing at least once, but which Disney night show is the best?

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Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After is the new Magic Kingdom night show, and one of the best Disney fireworks show in my opinion. Happily Ever After took over from Wishes in May 2017. I was really excited to see this during our August trip as I had heard great things about it. An 18 minute show featuring lasers, lights, fireworks and amazing songs. The show starts with a dream sharing some of the great Disney films projected onto the castle.

Happily Ever After is by far my favourite of all Walt Disney World night-time shows, and we were lucky enough to watch it inside the park, and also from Seven Seas Lagoon during a fireworks cruise.


Epcot is a favourite park of mine, Hubby doesn’t agree, but I love everything about the pavilions and the scenery on offer, as well as the great food and drink. Illuminations is my second favourite of the Walt Disney World night time shows for a couple of reasons.

As the show is in the middle of the World Show Case lagoon, you are guaranteed a good viewing spot. We like to stand between Canada and UK where there aren’t too many trees and plenty of spaces to sit down for a while before the show starts.

Illuminations is shown via lasers, lights, fireworks and pyrotechnics. showcasing stories from all the countries from the pavilions of Epcot via the Earth globe that is brought out into the centre of the lagoon.


Fantasmic showcases Sorcerer Mickey and his battle with the villains. Based at Hollywood Studios in the large amphitheatre, you are almost always guaranteed a seat during the show, however it is always best to arrive a little early.

Fantasmic fireworks are amazing. The whole show is always a great crowd pleaser, with plenty of drama, fireworks, lights to keep the whole family entertained. The only down side to Fantasmic is trying to leave the amphitheatre afterwards with the rest of the crowds. We always find it better to sit and wait until the crowds disperse a little before trying to leave.

Rivers Of Light

Rivers of Light is a Disney light show based at Animal Kingdom on the Discovery River lagoon. Launching in 2016, we were hoping to see it during our April trip, however the opening was delayed so we waited until this year to see it. The show features water mists, lights, water fountains and floats. Obviously there are no fireworks in Animal Kingdom.

The theatre is large but does get crowded. We weren’t sure what to expect, and despite the show being nice we weren’t overly impressed with the theming. The show felt very short and repeated itself, but that’s just my opinion.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

Hubby really enjoys his Star Wars so we made a big effort to get to Hollywood Studios to watch A Galactic Spectacular. I wasn’t expecting amazing things as I’m not a Star Wars fan, however I love to experience everything Walt Disney World has to offer, and I really enjoyed the Star Wars fireworks we watched during our 2016 trip.

Neither hubby nor I was ver impressed with A Galactic Spectacular, I felt it lacked something but didn’t know what. The theming was amazing, projecting off the chinese theatre, however it’s not one I would rush back to see again.

What are your favourite Disney World night shows?

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1 Comment

  1. PEGP
    April 16, 2018 / 2:26 am

    We love Fantasmic the most. While the Magic Kingdom will always have the most fireworks and the best show because of the park it’s in, Fantasmic has a story, Disney characters, a fight between good & evil, etc. It also offers an opportunity for preferred seating which we can’t get at MK. It’s also the most non-wheelchair handicapped friendly. Not everyone who’s handicapped is in a wheelchair or scooter!

    I like both MK’s and Epcot’s, but while Epcot has the opportunity to FastPass it for preferred viewing, there’s no seating. None at MK, either. As a disabled person not in a wheelchair, this makes it difficult for me. I can’t sit on the ground. I also can’t just stand in one place for a lengthy amount of time. Leaning on a cane isn’t really a solution. So we usually only see the firework show at MK if we do a dessert cruise.

    Have yet to see the Rivers of Light. When we went in 2016, I didn’t even know about it because it was so new. When we went last year, granddaughter didn’t really want to go to Animal Kingdom, so we spent our time at the other parks. But good to know about the seating. I was going to try for it this year when we go, but not if there’s not enough seating. We want to eat at Yak & Yeti this year, which isn’t on the Rivers of Light seating deal. Already did Tusker House when we went in 2016.

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