Updated March 6, 2020
For many guests, fireworks are an essential part of the Disneyland experience. I’m happy to help you find the best way to enjoy this show.
Follow me for everything you need to know about fireworks at Disneyland.
In this article
Before arriving, visit this link to check showtimes for fireworks.
Where to Watch the Show from Inside Disneyland
You have four ideal locations to watch the fireworks show. They are:
- Main Street
- In front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Near it’s a small world
- Along the Rivers of America
I’ve shared my thoughts on each of these locations here:
Rivers of America
The fireworks show will most often run nightly at 9:30pm. There are no dining packages that coordinate with this show, however, I share how to incorporate fireworks into your Fantasmic! dining package plans if it’s running on the same night.
Fantasmic! is shown on the Rivers of America. You may watch fireworks from the same viewing locations that you would watch Fantasmic! Music will play and projections will be shown onto water screens to accompany the fireworks show.
Find all about Fantasmic!, dining packages for Fantasmic!, when to set up for fireworks and more at this link.
it’s a small world
If you are not watching the show before or after Fantasmic!, I recommend watching from it’s a small world. This location is less crowded than Main Street and the area in front of the castle. It’s also the most kid-friendly space, as it has room for little ones to run around before or after the show. There are restrooms nearby (to the left of Fantasyland Theatre), snacks to purchase at kiosks along the parade path, and a Fuel Rod machine in the shop that you walk through to exit it’s a small world.
Music will play and projections will be shown onto the it’s a small world facade to accompany the show. Fireworks will shoot off to the left of the left of it’s a small world, behind Toontown. Setting up about an hour prior to the show will be sufficient.
In front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
If you insist on a castle view, Disney typically allows guests to set up 3 hours prior to showtime. If you are not ready to commit this amount of time to saving your spot, choose another location to watch. You may use a blanket to reserve your space, but you may not leave the blanket unattended. Music will play and projections will be shown on the castle to accompany the show.
If I were visiting with kids, I still wouldn’t go through the fuss of competing for a spot in this location. I really wouldn’t without kids, either. Choose it’s a small world or along the Rivers of America instead. Both of those options will incorporate the same projections that you would see shown onto the castle.
Main Street might be the easiest option, as you’ll typically be able to walk up and grab a spot to stand about 20-30 minutes before the show begins. Music will play and projections will be shown along the store fronts, so you’ll see a peripheral view with the fireworks shooting off behind the castle.
Fireworks Viewing Maps
These graphics share approximate viewing locations. Cast members may alter these locations to accommodate traffic flow for the safety of park guests.
From Inside Disneyland:
From Outside of Disneyland:
Where to Watch the Show From Outside of Disneyland
If you don’t have a park ticket to enter Disneyland or simply don’t want to deal with the crowds, consider these alternate options for watching fireworks:
- Set up 15 minutes prior to showtime in the esplanade, which is the area between Disneyland and California Adventure. A crowd gathers each night to watch from this area and it’s a fun place to see the show. Music will be played to accompany the show. You won’t be able to see the castle or the projections, but it’s a simple solution to seeing the fireworks.
- Arrive about an hour before showtime at Paradise Pier Hotel, outside, on the 3rd floor deck. This option is open to everyone, whether you’re staying at this Disneyland Resort Hotel, another, or none at all. Simply enter the lobby and take the elevator to the third floor. Walk down the hall upon exiting the elevator, through the glass doors that take you outside, to the right and then toward the edge of the outside deck. Grab a drink or snack at the Surfside Lounge in the lobby of the hotel to enjoy during the show. Sometimes, the bar just to the left of the fireworks deck is open, too. It closes promptly at showtime, however, on most nights. Visit this link to see what the view looks like from this option. To get to Paradise Pier Hotel, walk away from the parks, through Downtown Disney, past the Rainforest Cafe and the ESPN Zone, outside of the security checkpoint and then take a left. Follow the sidewalk to the circle drive. Cross it, take a left down the sidewalk toward Disneyland Drive and then take a right on Disneyland Drive. The hotel will be on your right. (You may no longer cut through the Grand Californian Hotel to get to Paradise Pier Hotel.) It will take you about 20 minutes to exit Disneyland and walk to Paradise Pier Hotel. If you have little ones, allow at least 30 minutes, as Downtown Disney can be distracting at night with music playing and activity everywhere.
(This image, above, was taken from the Rivers of America viewing location.)
Fireworks from Galaxy’s Edge
Visit this post for what you can expect on the planet of Batuu.
The One Dining Package that KIND OF Coordinates with Fireworks
Unlike Walt Disney World, Disneyland does not offer a traditional dining package that coordinates with fireworks. Disneyland is truly immersed in the city of Anaheim with houses just beyond the perimeter of the parks.
Winds can often make fireworks (and the ashes that result from them) too dangerous for the Anaheim area, causing them to be cancelled with very little notice. For that reason, Disneyland does not offer the dining packages like WDW has.
They do have one option that offers a slight view of the show, however, if the fireworks are cancelled, you won’t receive your money back. This is the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge. Think of this option as a lounge to hang out in with yummy food and sometimes a character visit that MAY INCLUDE fireworks viewing.
I share details from my experience at the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge here.
Tips on Fireworks Viewing
- Plan to see fireworks (this or any other show) at the beginning of your Disneyland visit. Unfortunately, these shows get cancelled more often than you might think due to high winds. Disneyland is immersed in the city of Anaheim, with residential neighborhoods surrounding the park. Disney takes every precaution to keep people safe – inside and outside of the parks. Because of this, the show can be cancelled at any time. Often, the winds you’re feeling at ground level won’t feel like enough to shut it down. But, it happens. With that in mind, plan to see it on the first night you’re there. If it’s cancelled, you’ll have subsequent nights to try again.
- Pack glow sticks, bubbles, sticker books or anything else that might keep your little ones busy if you choose a viewing spot that requires you to wait a while.
- If you have more than one adult in your party, trade off taking little ones to a nearby attraction or even just to walk around while waiting. Arrive back within 15 minutes of showtime so everyone can get settled for the show.
- If you’re walking through Downtown Disney, you may see glimpses of fireworks, but I don’t recommend this area for viewing. The buildings impede most of your view.
- While dining packages are not provided for fireworks at Disneyland, the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge offers a peek at the show from far above the crowds. Read all about this option at this link.