Magic Kingdom

Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

(October 8, 2003 - present)

 

History and photos of the Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

The concept of firework shows at Disney theme parks dates back to 1958 and Walt Disney's idea of a way to help keep guests inside of Disneyland at night.  Using the backdrop of Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show was a hit.  It was natural for the show to be duplicated and added to the Magic Kingdom when it opened at Walt Disney World in 1971.

Debuting with the rest of the Magic Kingdom in 1971, the Florida version of Fantasy in the Sky was bigger and better than the original version of the show at Disneyland.  In the Magic Kingdom, Fantasy in the Sky had a larger budget, a bigger area to perform, and Cinderella Castle was a much grander castle to use as a backdrop for the show.

The only problem for Fantasy in the Sky was the passage of time.  While the fireworks show was initially a hit with the guests, and it still had a draw for new visitors, the repeated guests in the Magic Kingdom were no longer showing it the attention that it deserved.  Fantasy in the Sky was "just another fireworks show," something that could easily be skipped.  It was time to follow the example in Disneyland, and Fantasy in the Sky ended its performances in 2003 to make way for a new fireworks show.

On October 8, 2003, Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams (a.k.a. Wishes) made its first performance in the Magic Kingdom.

Hosted by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy, Wishes tells a story of famous Disney characters, good and bad, and the wishes that they make.  The lights on Cinderella Castle change according to which character is currently speaking / wishing.  Each time a character makes a wish, a special "wishing star" shoots across the sky and over the top of the castle.  One of the highlights of Wishes is when Tinker Bell "flies" from the tallest spire of Cinderella Castle.

Wishes has been a hit with the crowds since its debut in 2003.  Depending when you visit the Magic Kingdom, you may get to see an alternate version of the fireworks show.

Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghost Spooktacular in the Sky is an alternate version of Wishes that takes place during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the fall.

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate The Spirit of the Season takes place during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and also during the park's regular operating days near Christmas Day.

The grandest fireworks show of the year takes place on New Year's Eve when Wishes is supplemented by a special presentation of Fantasy in the Sky called Fantasy in the Sky: New Years Eve Countdown.

If it's your first time viewing Wishes, the best place to see it is when standing on Main Street, USA.  This is where the show is meant to be viewed with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop.  Just be cautioned that the area will be extremely busy and packed with people.  Otherwise, the fireworks themselves can be viewed from other places inside of the Magic Kingdom including Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and along the riverfront in Frontierland.  The only trick is finding a viewing spot not obstructed by trees or structures.

TIP You do NOT need to be inside of the Magic Kingdom to enjoy Wishes.  One of the better views of the firework show is from the balcony on the Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney's Contemporary Resort.  The balcony even has speakers that play the music from the show, so you won't miss a thing!
TRIVIA Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams lasts for 12 minutes and uses a total of 683 fireworks.

 

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Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams fireworks show (viewed from Disney's Contemporary Resort):