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Posts tagged as “Disney Historian”

The History of Magic Kingdom’s Nighttime Spectaculars

Have you ever heard of the phrase “rope drop to fireworks?” When someone says this, they are referring to how long they plan to stay at Magic Kingdom — from rope drop at park opening to the fireworks show at park close. After all, no Disney day is complete without watching fireworks light up the night sky at Disney! We’ve received a lot of recent news about fireworks shows and nighttime spectaculars at Walt Disney World over the past few weeks, so I thought it would be fun to take a trip through the history of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks shows.   Fantasy in the Sky (1971-2003) Fantasy in the Sky was a fireworks show that was originally created for Disneyland back in 1956. Being Disneyland’s first-ever fireworks show, it only makes sense that its legacy would live on with the same title for the east coast park when Walt Disney World opened in 1971. The original Magic Kingdom version of this show was about five minutes long, short and sweet. It featured classic Disney songs like “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Hear Makes,” and “Mickey Mouse March” — just to name a few. For the 25th anniversary, Magic Kingdom’s version of Fantasy in the Sky featured “When You Wish Upon A Star” at the beginning and “Remember the Magic” as the encore. After the anniversary celebration ended, the music went back to its original score until the show saw a change in music in 1999. From 1999 until its farewell in 2003, Fantasy in the Sky featured songs related to the attractions and some of the company’s most popular films at the time, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.  Fantasy in the Sky has a special New Years Version that takes place on New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom! (With the exception of last year due to COVID-19.) <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>  Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams (2003-2017) On October 9, 2003, Magic Kingdom’s second fireworks show made its debut. Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams was designed by Steve Davison, Lead Creative Executive of Parades and Spectaculars at Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. This show was hosted by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy from Pinnochio. Guests would watch Tinker Bell fly, over 650 fireworks take off, and a special “wishing star” firework that would appear several times throughout the show. Several versions of this show were created over its almost 15-year run including Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghost Spooktacular in the Sky, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, Disney’s Celebrate America, Magic, Music, and Mayhem, Summer Nightastic!, and Fantasy in the Sky: New Year’s Eve Countdown. Both HalloWishes and Holiday Wishes would take place during the holidays’ special ticketed events until 2018. Wishes became a staple of ending a day at the Magic Kingdom, so when its farewell finally happened on May 11, 2017, there was a live stream from the Disney Parks Blog, Farewell Wishes merchandise for sale, and thousands of Disney fans still singing its praises years later.   Happily Ever After (2017-Present) Magic Kingdom’s newest nighttime spectacular is the most magical one yet. From its debut on May 12, 2017, it has left guests feeling mesmerized and inspired all at once. From the powerful soundtrack and stunning projections to the breathtaking display of fireworks lighting up the sky, this is a nighttime spectacular that every Disney fan needs to experience in person. The show’s main theme song shares the same title — “Happily Ever After” and it’s sung by Jordan Fischer & Angie Keilhauer. Happily Ever After covers seven segments through popular Disney songs and corresponding scenes from the films projected on the castle. The featured segments are Wish, Adventure, Friendship, Love, Adversity, Heroes Fight Back, and Peace Restored. March 12, 2021 made one year since any guests have experienced this show in person. On July 1, 2021, Happily Ever After will light up Magic Kingdom’s night sky once again!   What’s Next? Since Disney’s recent announcement about “Disney Enchantment” debuting for the 50th-anniversary celebration, there has been a lot of worry among Disney fans that this is the end for Happily Ever After. While we don’t have a confirmed “yes” or “no” just yet, I ask you to keep the following factors in mind before panicking: With past nighttime spectacular closing dates (Wishes and Illuminations) we were given advanced notice and Farewell merchandise available for purchase. (We aren’t to this point just yet, so stay calm!) When Disneyland celebrated its 60th Anniversary back in 2015, there was a special fireworks show created for the event called Disneyland Forever. Once the event ended, Disneyland went back to its previous nighttime spectacular, which just happened to be Fantasy in the Sky! Magic Kingdom’s other two nighttime spectaculars lasted in the parks for well over a decade. (Fantasy in the Sky lasted for over three decades!) Happily Ever After has only been around for four years, and we lost one to the global pandemic. I’m going to go ahead and assume they’re going to want to get their longevity out of this spectacular as well! While I don’t have any idea what’s actually going down and I don’t speak for the company, I just thought I’d share that food for thought based on the park’s firework history! I’m personally very excited for a new nighttime spectacular for the 18-month anniversary celebration. This will be Magic Kingdom’s first nighttime show with projections stretched all the way to Main Street U.S.A. You can read all about the 50th anniversary announcements from earlier this week here! It’s hard to believe that Magic Kingdom turns 50 in less than 100 days. Year after year and night after night, guests gather under the stars to experience fireworks, powerful soundtracks, and a certain kind of magic you’ll only find there. Even after five decades, fireworks on Main Street U.S.A. is still the best way to end a Disney day. Which Magic Kingdom nighttime spectacular is […]

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