By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Review: Wishes at the Magic Kingdom



By Dave Shute

WALT DISNEY WORLD’S WISHES

Wishes is a 12 minute or so fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom.

 It combines fireworks, music, narration, colors and images projected onto Cinderella Castle, and, weather permitting, live performers, into a spectacle and a spectacular show.

Narrated by the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Crickit, the show has the theme of believing in the power of wishes, and of good triumphing over evil.

I have never met anyone who does not love the show, and it is listed as a favorite on this site’s Comprehensive Guide to Rides.

HOW OFTEN WISHES HAPPENS

Depending on the time of the year, Wishes can be shown from nightly to twice a week. Sunday night is the most certain night for it to be shown.

Check the Magic Kingdom Calendar (find your month, then click on the days of your visit) to see when it is being shown during the time you will be at Walt Disney World.

(Disney’s calendars are harder to use than they should be–see this if you need help.)

WHERE TO PLACE YOURSELF TO SEE WISHES

Returning visitors have any number of favorite spots to see Wishes:

  • Near the Tomorrowland Terrace
  • From the waiting area of the Main Street railroad station
  • From the top of the Swiss Family Treehouse
  • While riding Splash Mountain
  • From out of the park,  including the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort, the beaches at both the Polynesian and Fort Wilderness, and other spots.

First time visitors should avoid all these. 

Wishes was designed to be seen facing the Castle, with the Main Street railroad station at your back, and that is where you should position yourself.

Where in this axis you should stand depends on whether Wishes is closing the park or not. 

  • If it is closing the park, stand closer to the railroad station–for example, halfway down Main Street.  This will limit the crowds you have to deal with on exit.
  • If it is not closing the park, stand closer to the Castle–even as close as the hub in front.

See this for positioning yourself for both the evening parade and Wishes.

Seeing Wishes is in all this site’s itineraries.  Many returning visitors have made a tradition of seeing Wishes on their last night at Walt Disney World, as a fitting coda to their experience.

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33 comments

1 Nancy { 04.01.12 at 7:38 pm }

Dave,

We are staying at Bay Lake Tower, theme park view. I also have the Fireworks Dessert Party booked at Tomorrowland Terrace. Wondering if that’s a waste of my money?? Kids love the fireworks, but wondering if the view will be that much better than our room?? Any insight?

2 Dave { 04.02.12 at 8:10 am }

Nancy, the fireworks in the park itself are a completely different–and much better-experience than what you can see from BLT. You don’t need the Dessert Party to experience them in the park, but it simplifies the issue of finding a good viewing spot.

3 Nancy { 04.02.12 at 9:17 pm }

Dave,

Great, I’ll keep the party booked. You are so helpful! Love your site. Thanks for the info!!!!

4 Dave { 04.03.12 at 7:34 am }

Nancy, you’re welcome, and have a great trip!

5 Jessica { 06.12.12 at 11:13 pm }

Hi Dave, just read about the Dessert Party and wonder if we should give it a try to avoid finding good firework viewing spots with 2 kids & strollers…. What’s your view based on your expeience? Do you think it’s worth the price based on the quality of dessert and the reserved table for viewing firework? Is the reservation open 180 days prior to arrival date too? Thank you!

6 Dave { 06.13.12 at 7:25 am }

Hi Jessica, I don’t think it’s worth it. The main reason is that the view is off center, and the Magic Kingdom fireworks are best seen looking dead at the Castle from the main street side…I’m not sure what the booking window is–you can call and ask…see this for the number: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/tomorrowland-terrace-fireworks-dessert-party/

7 Kherie { 10.19.12 at 2:25 pm }

Hi Dave, we will be at Magic Kingdom for New Year’s. Do you know of any places that provide discount being as though we are on a budget?? Also, do you think we should stay at a Disney resort to get the extended hours or should we stay at a more economical hotel because the extended hours are not worth it??

8 Dave { 10.19.12 at 2:48 pm }

Hi Kherie, if you mean literally New Years, there won’t be any discounts as it is such a wildly popular and crowded time. I’d stay on site as the parks close to off-site visitors at times then because of this massive crowding–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/11/30/park-closings-at-walt-disney-world/

If you mean “just a little after New Years” then there’s already deals out for arrivals beginning Jan 2–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/11/new-disney-world-package-deal-early-2013-not-free-dining-but-not-nothin-neither/

9 Megan { 12.28.12 at 9:23 pm }

Ok, I am absolutely crazy for forgetting to make dinner reservations in the magic kingdom, but I totally forget and we will be there for New Year’s Eve…should we not even bother going? Or can we grab a bite down town disney and go back later? I also heard, once we leve we cannot re enter the park s that true?
Thanks so much….

10 Dave { 12.29.12 at 9:41 am }

Hiya Megan. Yes, you are a crazy woman. But Downtown Disney will be just as mobbed. If you go to MK–and NYE is the worst day of the year there–you’ll need to grab something at a quick service restaurant–and lines for them may be an hour long…

In general you can leave and then come back. But the park often closes on NYE, so you may in fact not be able to get back in that day. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/11/30/park-closings-at-walt-disney-world/

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11 KEITH { 04.28.13 at 3:06 am }

Hi Dave,
Is their calendar not complete for October this far out? Checked a few days and saw nothing at all until 3pm, and no Wishes or Fantasmic.
Thanks!

12 Dave { 04.28.13 at 11:50 am }

Hi Keith–I just looked, and yup, it’s weird. I’m sure they’ll get aournd to updating it one of these days. IN them meanitme, you can use this for the basics: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_oct.pdf

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13 Christine { 09.02.13 at 10:43 am }

Hi Dave, honestly I need so much help with my trip and it seems as tho you know so much that would be beneficial to me and my family. I’ve never been anywhere on a plane let alone Disney World. After reading your site, I’ve came to the conclusion that I DO NOT want to go during actual Christmas Day. I would like to go earlier, maybe December 12th -16th. I would like for my children to experience as much as possible. Even if that means we have an schedule in-hand for our entire stay, just so we won’t miss anything. My questions are what are the most exciting and interesting things to do while we’re there? Will the fireworks and parade be out during my chosen dates? Typically, will it be wildly crowded? And to get the best deals, hotel stay, park tickets, and shows what travel agency should I go with that had these. I know it’s alot to answer but please answer what u can and please make all of the referrals u possibly can. Thank you so much for your help and I love your helpful site by the way. It saved me alot of irritation and confusion for when I visit.

14 Dave { 09.03.13 at 6:53 am }

Hi Christine, I can help–but first, tell me how old the kids are?

15 Jennifer M { 01.10.14 at 6:33 pm }

Is being right in front of the Castle a good place to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes? I was hoping to end our day by seeing the parade first, then Wishes, then heading out of the park. Suggestions?

16 Dave { 01.11.14 at 9:07 am }

Jennifer, that’s a great spot, as you can see not just the fireworks and parade but also the castle show. It’s hard to get without a lot of waiting unless you get a FP+ for the parade–and then just stay put.

17 Jennifer M { 01.14.14 at 4:49 pm }

Is there a certain time of day or week that a fastpass will be offered for the parade? I’ve checked multiple times and it only has ride options for fast pass+ times.

18 Dave { 01.15.14 at 7:26 am }

Jennifer, I don’t have a good explanation for when the parades and fireworks are offered. Word is they become increasingly available as your dates get nearer, then get snapped up and disappear again…moreover–and I’m sorry for not remembering when you are going!! the parade is not on every night in the slower times of the year…

19 Jennifer M { 01.21.14 at 11:32 am }

Hi Dave, I check almost everyday to see. Still nothing, but I would really just like to book the fast pass+ for the electrical parade. We will be there in 39 days!! (super excited, can’t you tell). Feb 28-Mar 9. Hopefully March 5 will have something. Other wise, I think we will just go hang out around the castle to see everything.

20 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:29 am }

Good luck, Jennifer!

21 Denise { 05.12.14 at 12:08 am }

Dave – Awesome site – thanks so much!
Looking at how to plan Wishes and Magic. Can you do them the same night? Best spot for Wishes in Main street right? What about for Magic?
I’ve also heard that you can see the fireworks from inside Cinderellas Royal Table. Is this a good vantage point? Seems to me like it couldn’t be. If yes, which show are we talking – wishes or magic?
Thanks!

22 Dave { 05.12.14 at 7:50 am }

Denise. I’m sorry, what is “Magic”? You can’t see anything from inside Cinderella’s Royal Table…

23 Denise { 05.14.14 at 11:14 pm }

Dave, Sorry for the confusion…Maybe these are the same show?
Example 8/23/14 – at the MK at 9:45 is “Celebrate the Magic” – nighttime spectacular. Then at 10:00 is “Wishes” Nighttime spectacular.
Is this just a repeat show? Or two different shows – looks like fireworks to me in both. Thanks!

24 Dave { 05.15.14 at 11:35 am }

Denise, they are two completely different shows. The best place to see Wishes is written on this page. For Celebrate the Magic and advice on seeing both, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/01/16/review-celebrate-magic-magic-kingdom/

25 Sherrie { 12.22.14 at 10:49 pm }

We are staying at the weston vacation villas
Will we be able to see the fireworks from there. .? I have a two year old and should we go to parks on new years eve ? Will there be anything different that day than Jan1st?

26 Dave { 12.23.14 at 6:41 am }

Sherrie, without an address I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it very much. I would never advise going to Disney on NYE, it’s just too crowded. The biggest difference is better fireworks on NYE than Jan 1, but the Jan 1 “normal” fireworks are still great.

27 Jane { 05.18.15 at 11:22 pm }

Hi Dave, do they do the special Xmas things in the Wishes only starting the day after Thanksgiving, or would they be doing it earlier in Thanksgiving week as well? Thanks!

28 Dave { 05.19.15 at 1:38 pm }

Hi Jane! The short answer is no.

The long answer is that the Christmas fireworks are only during MVMCP, which is not on during Thanksgiving week, except they are shown in late December after MVMCP has ended–beginning December 19 in 2015

29 Jane { 05.19.15 at 4:41 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks! I did see Wishes on Black Friday last year and they did have a short segment of Xmas stuff, maybe 30 seconds worth. I wish they offered the Xmas party during Tgiving week, but I see why they don’t, b/c they don’t want to block off the park for that much time when it’s so busy.

30 Dave { 05.19.15 at 6:20 pm }

Sorry, Jane, I was thinking of the full-bang Xmas party fireworks! Yeah, they’d be shot if they closed MK at 7p Thanksgiving week…

31 Not Eric { 03.28.17 at 1:49 pm }

Hi Dave. Now that you’ve seen Rivers of Light, and assuming the new MK Fireworks is of similar fanfare to Wishes, please rank, in your opinion, Wishes, IllumiNations, Fantasmic, & ROL.
Does that differ from how you think a 5 year old would rank it?

32 Dave { 03.29.17 at 9:51 am }

Are So Eric: my personal ranking: Wishes, Fantasmic, Rivers of Light, IllumiNations, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

The average visitor would put IllumiNations higher, and the appeal of Star Wars is greatly heightened if you are a fan boy.

There’s two tricky factors for five year olds: are they afraid of fireworks (some are), and do the villains in Fantasmic freak them out (many are freaked). If yes to both, then ROL is the only appropriate show. If no to both, then they likely will find ROL too subtle and hence dull.

33 Maybe Eric { 03.29.17 at 4:47 pm }

Thanks Dave! This is perfect. Each night will be game-time decision whether to stay or if a melt down is near (also have a 3 yr old) so at least we can gage the risk/reward.

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