Happily Ever After—A Breathtaking Nighttime Show

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The new show at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is a combination of breathtaking fireworks, lasers, and incredibly vibrant and rich digital mapping projection on Cinderella Castle. In previous projection shows, the film clips were played directly onto to the castle, essentially using it as a giant movie screen. In Happily Ever After, however, it looks like Disney edited the film scenes so they fit into architecturally correct parts of the castle.

Along with that, Disney seems to have added firefly-like laser light effects to the trees around the Magic Kingdom central hub, plus landscape lighting surrounding the castle that’s color-matched to the  show scenes. It’s far more ambitious than anything Disney’s done at the park, and it all seems to work, both technically and artistically.

The 18-minute Happily Ever After show combines memorable vignettes from animated films with a stellar fireworks display and replaces Wishes, the popular fireworks spectacular that ran at the Magic Kingdom from October 2003 through May 2017. Dazzling scenes from Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and Aladdin to modern blockbusters BraveMoana, and Zootopia are projected on Cinderella Castle. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty envelops the castle in her signature green flames and there are, of course, scenes from Frozen.

Towards the end of the show, and much to the delight of the audience, Tinker Bell takes flight across the night sky, spreading faith, trust, and pixie dust.

A New Theme Song
Composed by Adam Watts, Melissa Pierce, and Andrew Dodd, the catchy theme song, “Happily Ever After,” is performed by country music artist Angie Keilhauer and singer Jordan Fisher, a cast member of Broadway’s Hamilton. Keilhauer and Fisher are accompanied by a full orchestra and 90-voice gospel choir! The narrator of the show is Tony- and Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons. Jones is also the voice behind Scar in The Lion King movie and (prior to Dame Judi Dench) narrator of Spaceship Earth.

Where to Watch Happily Ever After
In view to enjoy the projections on the castle, it is best to find a spot facing the Cinderella Castle. The bridge walking towards the castle hub also works. Locations like the Tomorrowland bridge, Fantasyland, and the beaches of the Magic Kingdom Resorts are less popular. Remember, though, that the hub is going to be packed, so arrive early.

This being said, the new show has about twice as many fireworks than Wishes and that alone should still make it worth seeing them from locations such as the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or the Grand Floridian.

Happily Ever After Dessert Party
Held at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, the dessert party buffet offers seasonal fruits, cheeses, and an array of sweets, including chocolate-dipped strawberries, Disney character-themed desserts, ice cream, and cookies. The drink selection includes sparkling cider, hot chocolate, lemonade, coffee, and tea.

The Dessert Party begins one hour before the nighttime fireworks. As showtime nears, Cast Members will escort guests to a prime location in the Plaza Garden (the former FastPass+ viewing area for Wishes) for priority viewing of the nighttime fireworks spectacular. Prices are $59 per adult and $35 per child (ages 3 to 9), including tax. A valid Magic Kingdom park admission is required. For reservations call 407-WDW-DINE.

If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. For more information on all there is to see and do at Disney’s Magic Kingdom check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.

 

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