3 Ways to Manage Fear of Fireworks at Disney World. Background photo of Cinderella Castle with fireworks.

3 Ways to Manage Fear of Fireworks at Disney World

Do you have a family member who has a fear of fireworks, AND you’re headed to Disney World? Let’s talk about 3 ways you can manage fear of fireworks at Disney World!

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Being scared of fireworks isn’t uncommon at all. In fact, I would say the majority of highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, and anxious kids have been fearful of fireworks at some point in their lives. The loud popping noises. The bright colors across the sky. The rumble of the “boom” that you feel in your body. Lots of hazy smoke and the smell that might come from it. So many people crowded together. All of this can be sensory overload for ANYONE. But it can be even more so for those who are already sensitive and anxious to begin with.

Our Personal Experience with Fear of Fireworks at Disney
My firstborn at the Magic Kingdom fireworks show sitting in the stroller with her noise canceling headphones on.

We’ve dealt with this in our own family as my firstborn was VERY afraid of fireworks. 4th of July was an issue every year because of all the explosions we could hear in our neighborhood. 

During our first ever trip to Disney World when she was 4.5 years old, we didn’t do any nighttime shows. We were that family that was racing out of the park before the fireworks started, while the crowds poured in to stake out their ideal spot.

When she was 5 years old, we did our first stay at Disney World as DVC members and we splurged our points to stay at Bay Lake Tower of the Contemporary Resort. We got to watch the fireworks from the comfort of our hotel room 

At almost 6 years old, I was able to convince her to try sticking around the park for Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After. She was reluctant but tolerated the experience by hiding out in our double stroller with the canopy covering her while wearing noise canceling headphones. I didn’t pressure her, but she decided to crawl out during the last few minutes and caught the finale of the show. 

After not returning to Walt Disney World for several years due to the pandemic, we finally got to visit again in 2022 when she was 8.5 years old. We watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the hub. And she did it too—with no tears, no meltdown, and she didn’t even ask for her noise canceling headphones! 

Will this be the outcome for every child? No, because everyone is different and we can’t expect every child to outgrow their fears! But I share this story to validate your very real struggle. And to give light to the possibility that your sensitive kids could be able to tolerate or even enjoy something that was once hard for them. 

Before we get into the 3 ways you can manage fear of fireworks at Disney World, let’s overview what to expect in terms of fireworks and nighttime shows at each of the Disney World theme parks. 

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Photo by Igor Menezes on Unsplash

The iconic image of fireworks bursting behind the castle is always associated with what people think of as “Disney”. And Magic Kingdom is exactly where you’ll find it. Magic Kingdom has a nightly fireworks show that also includes projections on Cinderella Castle and down Main Street U.S.A. 

Disney’s Enchantment will be running until April 2, 2023. After that, it will transition back to a revamped version of Happily Ever After. There are also special firework shows during holiday specific ticketed parties (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party). 

There are a few instances of daytime fireworks to be mindful as well, which isn’t mentioned often enough! The opening show in front of the castle is called Let the Magic Begin. Guests are allowed to enter the park and gather in front of the castle one hour before opening.  At the end of this short and adorable show (featuring Mickey!), there will be a little pop of fireworks to signal the start of the day! 

There is also a stage show called Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire which runs several times a day. It features many of your favorite Disney characters with lots of songs and dance. Again, this show ends with a small blast of fireworks. Nothing extensive by any means. But if you have someone in your travel party who is scared of fireworks, make sure to be aware of all these shows that involve fireworks. 

EPCOT Fireworks

EPCOT has a nightly fireworks show, which is displayed on the water in the World Showcase section of the park. The show Harmonius will run until April 2, 2023. They will then bring back EPCOT Forever for a limited time while Imagineers work on a more permanent show. There are no other times when fireworks are used throughout the day. 

Hollywood Studios Fireworks

There are two nighttime fireworks/projection shows at Hollywood Studios. The first is Fantasmic! which you can find at the very end of Sunset Boulevard. This nighttime spectacular takes place in an open air theater with limited seats. The shorter and lesser known show is the the Wonderful World of Imagination, which involves projections and fireworks in front of the Chinese Theater.  

Animal Kingdom Fireworks

Animal Kingdom Theme Park

The ONLY Disney theme park where you won’t experience any fireworks is Animal Kingdom. Due to the numerous animals who call Animal Kingdom home, Disney makes sure to protect and ensure their well-being. And this means no loud explosions to startle them at night!

There is a nighttime projection show on the Tree of Life every night, and the land of Pandora also lights up beautifully. But there will be no colorful booms across the sky here, and it’s unlikely for that to ever change. 

So now that we know about where you’ll find fireworks throughout Disney World, let’s get into the nitty gritty of HOW we can help manage the fear of fireworks for our sensitive and anxious children (or adult family members too!).