Remember when we talked about Wishes ending after it’s long 14 year run? Well it’s replacement is Happily Ever After and it has started and it’s off with a bang. (Fireworks. Bang. hehe)
Happily Ever After is here and Disney fans are in love! The response has been overwhelming positive for the new show. That’s saying something since replacing a fan favorite like Wishes makes us a little biased right off the bat. I know I went into it thinking, “I’m sure it will be good but nothing can ever replace Wishes for me.” And while that’s still mostly true, Happily Ever After far surpassed my expectations. I can all ready see that given some time for us to build new memories and connections and it will be every bit as iconic as Wishes if not more so.
Why We Needed Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After is a case of giving people what they need not what they want. If you asked fans if they should replace Wishes with a new show I think it’s safe to say the majority would have said no thanks. We would have named other shows and attractions that we felt needed updating far more than something that has not only been well-loved, but had really held up over time as still feeling relevant and classic.
However, we would have been wrong. Because after seeing the new show, I realize that the technology really did need updating. The music was a bit out of date and the movies represented felt a little over-used. It’s only in comparison that I see this.
Happily Ever After uses music and scenes from more current movies but also incorporates characters and songs that are rarely represented in the parks. Seeing character fan favorites like Hunchback, Wall-E, Tiana, Merida, Tarzan, and Big Hero 6 led to huge cheers and exclamations the first night.
Add to that the advanced pyrotechnics, the spotlights, searchlights and lasers, as well as more clear and crisp projection mapping means that it feels like a massive upgrade. To see a full list of all the characters and music in the show check out the Disney wiki article here. If you aren’t worried about spoilers, you can see a video of the full show here.
Tips for Seeing Happily Ever After
There are many great places to watch the fireworks with lots of unique views. But assuming you are seeing it for the first time and you want the most ideal view you have to watch them from Main Street. Yes the crowds are intense. But it’s the best spot.
Now, where exactly should you stand for the best view? Many people stand right up next to the castle thinking it’s the best place to watch the fireworks. It’s not. The majority of the fireworks will be behind the castle and you won’t see any of them. So you have to get far enough away for the castle to not block your view. But get too far away and you won’t be able to see the projections clearly.
My general rule of thumb: No farther back than next to Casey’s, and no closer forward than the partners statue (Walt and Mickey statue). The perfect distance is about in the middle of those two points. But anywhere in that range will be a good balance between pyro, spotlights, and projections.
Right now, since the show is so new, look to get a spot about 45-60 minutes before show time depending on crowd levels.
Instagrammers Shows Lots of Love for Happily Ever After
For those that don’t want a full video of the show, you may enjoy seeing some of the best captures from some brilliant photographers. We all know firework shots are the holy grail of Disney photog goals. You have to give these folks some massive props for getting these shots. It’s getting harder and harder to get these during Disney World’s shows. The high crowd levels mean you have to stake out a spot far in advance, sometimes waiting hours before the show. A heavy-duty tripod is needed since people think nothing of walking and pushing in next to camera equipment.
I actually saw a woman (true story!) squeeze in front of us at the last-minute and try to stand in between the three legs of the tripod. The camera lens was sitting on the top of her head. We were so shocked it took the camera beginning to tilt backwards as she pushed it up (with her head!) before we jolted forward to catch it and tell her that, no, actually you can’t stand there.
Add to that the fact that you think you’ve got a brilliant spot and you wait forever in the heat for it to start and then just as the music starts, a parent in front of you places their child on their shoulders. Bye bye view. I honestly don’t know how to solve this. I get that kids need to see. I do. But it’s so frustrating for the people behind you. Anyway…. I digress. Clearly that’s a whole separate article in of itself.
I have scoured the massive Disney Instagram feeds and found my favorite pictures of Happily Ever After for you to enjoy. Check out these Instagrammers and give them a follow. They work hard to capture the magic.
(Also, if you could please not look too closely at my own fireworks shot at the top since it will look like complete crap in comparison to these guys I’d appreciate it kindly. Kthanks)