Disney and Fireworks – Two iconic images that simply go together. It’s also one of those experiences that when you have become a seasoned Disney traveler, it becomes easy to say “Seen that.” In our attempt to beat the system we tend to try to avoid the mass exodus out of the park or avoid standing amongst crowds by watching it from afar such as from California Grill or the beaches of Disney’s Polynesian. Watching Wishes away from Main Street definitely has its place. It can add more magic to a wonderful meal; it can offer an opportunity for kids who are not so wild about fireworks to enjoy without the scary booms; and it can provide a wonderful backdrop for a romantic swing on a hammock for two. But no matter how much you try to rationalize how your feet are killing you and you just want to get back to your resort, there is no denying that watching Wishes amongst the throngs of people, smack dab in front of the castle is an incredibly magical moment whether you’re a first timer or hundred timer.
On our recent trip, it took a little convincing… okay a lot of persuading, to coax my tired, complaining, “I just want to go to bed” mumbling family to push through the 15 more minutes they’d have to wait for the start of the show. A quick promise of ice cream to help with the after crowd maneuvers thankfully worked. I was happy to see my brood of teenagers as engaged as I was during the pre-fireworks show, Celebrate the Magic. This seasonally evolving display where the castle is used as a canvas to project some of Disney’s beloved characters as well as some of the best love-to-hate villains even got them shouting out names as they appeared upon the walls. A ten minute lapse between the end of Celebrate the Magic and the start of Wishes meant some of the crowd decided to disperse making it easier for us to find a little more personal space. Thankfully the complaining was minimal during the wait. I guess they figured there was no budging Mom at this point! And then it began with the dimming of the lights, a few get-your-attention rockets, the voice of Jiminy Cricket, Tinker Bell flying out from the castle as the swell of a wonderful musical score filled the air. Suddenly, the iconic moment of being with your family in front of Cinderella’s Castle watching a dazzling display in the night sky had arrived and we were actually living the dream. We were that commercial I’ve seen a hundred times on TV! And when it was over, I almost could’ve hugged the stranger I’d been bumping into the past 20 minutes because we’d both know we’d just witnessed Disney Magic together. So much magic that my kids didn’t even realize the ice cream kiosks had closed for the night. And walking down Main Street to exit the park didn’t seem so horrible when you’re with a couple hundred people who are also still buzzing from what they just saw. The shared experience of a magical, albeit exhausting day in the Disney bubble with family and friends breeds a sort of unusual sense of community. And the long ride back to our resort didn’t seem so bad.