Welcome! This week the theme of the Destination Disney Carnival, held by Jennifer from Snapshot, is all about Walt Disney World’s fireworks shows.
Because Fantasmic!, Disney’s Hollywood Studios’s mixed-media spectacular, is such an amazing and unique show, many people consider seeing this show to be the highlight of their Walt Disney World family vacation. Parts of the show are staged on an island that sits opposite a giant amphitheater; some of it takes place on a waterway that falls in between the island and the amphitheater; and much of it is projected onto a cloud of mist which hangs in the air like a curtain near the waterway. The show, which stars Mickey Mouse who is playing his Sorcerer’s Apprentice role from the classic movie Fantasia, combines lasers, fireworks, lighting effects, and music to create an especially magical and entertaining show. Although the amphitheater holds almost 10,000 people, you should expect to arrive extra-early to secure a spot for your family. While this show is certainly a not-to-be-missed-event, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If the temperature feels chilly, try to sit or stand in the back two-thirds of the amphitheater to avoid the cool damp mist from the “curtain” which can be blown out into the amphitheater area. Families with small children should take into consideration that many of Disney’s villains make appearances during this show and the villains may frighten some children. The children will see Mickey himself fighting evil. Children who believe in Mickey may take comfort from being let in on the “secret” that Mickey comes here to the amphitheater every day to play this role and that he always wins! Children who choose to make it through seeing the villains during the show, are rewarded with a very special and happy ending including Mickey and dozens of his friends that won’t be forgotten!
IllumiNations is the nightly spectacular which takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon and lights up the sky above Epcot. During the show a massive three-story tall and twenty-eight feet wide Earth Globe, which is covered with video screens, sits in the lagoon. This Earth Globe, which was built by Walt Disney Imagineering, is the world’s first spherical video display system. It has more than 15,000 light-emitting diodes that form the shapes of the continents and it rotates on a 350-ton floating island that moves with the help of an infrared guidance system. As this hopeful story of the world unfolds, the Earth Globe itself actually opens up like a blossoming flower. Thoughts of new life and fresh hope for the future may be on the minds of many viewers. Watching IllumiNations is enhanced when an unobstructed view of the lagoon is chosen. Also, select a location that is not downwind from the lagoon, so as to avoid the smoke created by the show.
When Walt and his sister Ruth were children they once peered through a fence to see a July Fourth fireworks show. I am guessing that while they stood there they were hoping to see and hear something like what the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular is. When you watch Wishes, don’t be surprised if your inner-child comes out to play and helps you to believe in your wishes. Few people who have experienced Wishes are unaware of the specialness of this nightly fireworks spectacular. Wishes, which is the biggest spectacle ever shown in the Magic Kingdom, replaced Fantasy in the Sky which ran in the Magic Kingdom for twenty-seven years. Whether or not you find yourself believing in your wishes by this show’s end, hakuna matata [no worries], because believers and nonbelievers alike are sure to enjoy viewing this stunningly beautiful nighttime spectacular which uses Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece. If I could choose to forever remember only one memory of an event or an attraction, from one of my Walt Disney World vacations, I would pick Wishes. I would be standing halfway down Main Street, hand in hand with my family, and Cinderella Castle would be centered ahead in my line of sight. However, hopefully I will never have to make this choice, as I would be super-reluctant to lose any of my many other wonderful vacation memories! Anyone who has seen Wishes likely will agree there is truly something extra-magical to be felt. Standing in a sea of people, anticipating the beginning of Wishes, is the perfect ending to a perfect day for me. Seeing the wonder on my children’s faces and feeling the hopefulness of the show always reminds me of the reasons I brought my family to this magical place. Noticing the hundreds of happy faces on the people around me, that have joined with me to focus on the same special thing, feels awesome. I think Wishes can touch almost anyone’s heart. When the Blue Fairy calls out explaining that when stars are born they have the power to make a wish come true, it would be difficult to stop my heart from being swept clean away in the magic. A child’s voice sings the familiar rhyme, Star light, Star bright…, and seems to pull all of the longing hearts together into the magic. As if Jiminy Cricket were reading the minds of any adults who might still be trying to stop their hearts from being swept up in the magic, he tells the guests that he too didn’t always believe that wishes could come true. He continues with his hopeful story about what it was that made him believe. Then, suddenly, Tinkerbell appears on a Castle turret and proceeds to fly across the nighttime sky. When I hear the Wishes music, and the message it sends, it envelops and lifts my heart. The dazzling fireworks are perfectly synchronized to the score and embody the uplifting message of this special music. My favorite fireworks are the star-dusted ones that linger in the air over the Castle like a blanket of pixie dust sent to reach down and touch every guest. Jiminy tells us of the parade of wonderful wishes that have already been granted, almost daring the crowd to let themselves join him in believing in their own wishes. Like every other Disney story, there comes a moment when evil tries to interject itself; however, we already know that whenever things look bad, fate will step in and see us through. Predictably, the day is saved. After which, the Blue Fairy asks that we remember to believe in our wishes and that we all join our hearts together to make a wish come true. Wishes is a powerful thing!
Don’t forget that some holidays bring extra tag-ons to these regular shows, and the hard-ticketed parties in the Magic Kingdom additionally offer their own special twists, if not their own fireworks complete with unique music. Whenever you attend any of these events, it is important to take small children by the hand and to set up a meeting spot for your family in the case you become separated while exiting the area. Enjoy the show!
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