Hey, everyone! Welcome to the newly renamed series with me, Morgan. While I’ll still be doing regular Observations posts, my post about winter costumes got great feedback from you, and I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts about the fun and sometimes off-the-wall things I find out about or in the parks. I’m calling this series “In the Parks with Morgan,” and I hope you enjoy it.
Last week the stars – or the entertainment schedules, whichever – aligned, making the perfect night to try to see all three Walt Disney World fireworks shows in their entirety in one night. There are lots of avid Disney fans out there who create challenges like this for themselves, and I thought it would be fun to start with a fairly easy one to see if it was doable. I love fireworks, so with a 7:00 p.m. Fantasmic!, a 9:00 p.m. IllumiNations, and a 10:00 p.m. Wishes on the books, I bundled up my kid and joined a friend to tackle what I like to call the “Fireworks Trifecta” or the “Triple-Banger.”
Before I let you in on whether we made it or not, I should note that there’s no way you should ever attempt this on a crowded or even semi-crowded night, as it just isn’t logistically possible. I wasn’t fretting over making it from Hollywood Studios to Epcot in time for IllumiNations, but the jump from Epcot to Magic Kingdom had me worried.
We started at Hollywood Studios for the 7 p.m. Fantasmic! We lined up early for standby and were seated just a couple rows back, right of center. While I loved the location for photos, being in the spray zone is no fun when those misters start up and you find yourself cold and damp. It was in the low 40′s/upper 30′s when we tried the Triple-Banger, and our seating at Fantasmic left much to be desired. But we got the show in and got a couple of good photos (notice the winter outfits on the characters!).
After the show we walked at a very brisk pace to the boat, where we huddled together for warmth and rode all the way to Epcot. Normally, impatient as I am with some things, I would have gotten off at one of the resorts and walked the rest of the way, but my hands were pretty cold even in gloves.
We knew that getting from Epcot to Magic Kingdom after IllumiNations and in time to see Wishes was going to be tough, so we planned our Illuminations viewing strategy over cronuts and boozy hot chocolate. If you haven’t had a cronut or a hot chocolate with Godiva Caramel Liqueur, I highly recommend both. If you have no plans to run several miles in the same day and don’t want to be clinging to the ceiling, I’d try them separately. Both can be found at Refreshment Port at the entrance to Epcot’s World Showcase.
Ultimately, we decided to watch IllumiNations from the stage in front of the Fountain of Nations. The spot left something to be desired when it came to getting the narrative that IllumiNations is famous for, but it also let us beat the crowds to the monorail. I stood next to a family that had never seen the show before, and it was nice to be able to experience that first with them. Here are a few photos I took. The vantage point actually turned out to be pretty cool.
As soon as those final fireworks boomed out, so did we. We grabbed cameras and bags and speed-walked to the Epcot monorail station. We JUST missed a train and had to wait for another, putting us dangerously close to the end of our window to make it to the Magic Kingdom. But the challenge is to see the fireworks shows, and so, with time constraints on my hands, I created a loophole.
When the Epcot monorail doors opened to the Transportation and Ticket Center platform, we had about 17 minutes to get to Magic Kingdom, get through the touch points, and get into the park and set up to catch Wishes. Not only would it be a stretch, but it would be a near impossibility given the way my legs weren’t moving in the cold. I have seen photos of the Magic Kingdom from Transportation and Ticket, and I knew that it provided an incredibly unique vantage, and so I created a challenge cheat: we watched wishes from the ferry dock. What does that look like? Well, quite simply, it’s stunning.
After 33 years of coming to Walt Disney World, I love finding new ways to see things. And while technically I didn’t make all three shows INSIDE the parks that they hail from, the night was totally worth seeing Wishes from this new perspective and saying that I gave the Triple-Banger a shot. I hope you enjoyed the photos that came from our efforts and until next time, keep it magical. ~M