I like to go into new entertainment events (movies, fireworks shows, rides, land openings, etc.) with zero expectations. This means no trailers, previews, or reviews. Personally, I tend to appreciate something more if I haven’t been intensely absorbing the opinions of others beforehand. If you operate similarly, skip the Thoughts and Feels section below and head straight for Viewing Suggestions.
Thoughts and Feels
Ah, yes. Happily Ever After is here, and I love it. LOOOOVE it. Every aspect was so far beyond my expectations.
In my humble opinion, it blows Wishes out of the water. Yes, I enjoyed Wishes and will remember it fondly… but Happily Ever After is just so much MORE.
Expect fireworks, stunning projections, lasers, unfathomably intense lighting, and amazing music, plus lines from movies that have literally shaped our lives. Happily Ever After has its own original song, too, and it’s gorgeous.
The narrator’s voice is delightfully rich and elegant; in fact, it reminds me of a king reading a bedtime story to his beloved daughter. The overarching message of dreams, perseverance, being true to oneself, and persisting despite the inevitable setbacks definitely spoke to me.
I was so stunned and pleasantly surprised to see a bit from nearly every favorite Disney film from my childhood and the present day, including a few that are a little less popularly celebrated than others. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Hercules were featured, along with more recent hits like Tangled, Brave, Moana, and Frozen. Unfortunately, I didn’t glimpse any Atlantis or Emperor’s New Groove.
Okay, I’ll say it: I don’t think you can get the most accurate representation having viewed only the live feed. You need to be present to really get a feel for the show. If you’re not visiting anytime soon then fine, watch away online. But it’s not really fair or accurate to compare one online viewing with over a decade of in-person Wishes watching.
For your first live viewing of HEA, I recommend picking a spot with the front of Cinderella Castle in view. That way, you’ll get to see all of the show’s elements in their utmost glory. If you’re too close to the castle, you may not see the full scope of fireworks. The pathways along the gardens near Casey’s Corner remain the best viewing spots, just as with Wishes.
Some other viewing areas I’ve enjoyed in the past include Liberty Square and Gaston’s Tavern in New Fantasyland. You don’t see the front of the castle, of course, but you should be able to enjoy the fireworks, music, and lighting effects.
When Magic Kingdom ran tests of show elements in the weeks prior to opening, some people loudly complained that this wouldn’t be a fireworks show. Well… they were wrong. HEA is nearly twice as long as Wishes and actually has more fireworks.
I’m so very thankful to have had the opportunity to watch the HEA premiere in the perfect spot, surrounded by my favorite people. The magnificent show, combined with the gasps, squeals, and sniffles from the crowd, served as a poignant reminder of how the Disney magic we experience as children can truly stay with us into adulthood.
Happily Ever After happens once per night, usually either at 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM. Check your My Disney Experience app to confirm.