If a Walt Disney World vacation was an ice cream sundae (from Beaches & Cream, of course), then the nightly fireworks show would be the sprinkles. The pop, the sizzle. That little extra something that makes the whole thing feel special. And the same can be said for watching the nightly fireworks at Epcot.
I don’t know whether it’s the booze or food comas from all the eating and drinking around the world, or the fact that the Epcot fireworks (currently Epcot Forever) look a whole lot like pixie dust, but one thing is certain. As you ooh and ahh over the twinkling lights, you start to forget about ridiculously long lines and brutally hot temperatures for a moment and just enjoy the magic of the day.
As of July 1, 2021, Walt Disney World fireworks are back, and things are looking especially bright over at Epcot. Although some are still mourning the closing of IllumiNations on September 30, 2019 and (to a lesser extent) Harmonious (sorry not sorry) with the rest of the 50th-anniversary celebration, we love Epcot Forever, with its perfect mix of nostalgia, courtesy of a delightful revisiting of old-school Epcot tunes from the Disney songbook, and celebration of forward-thinking concepts.
Epcot fireworks are usually held every night right before the park closes. Typically, the fireworks start at 9 pm or 10 pm, depending on what time of year you visit. In other words, be sure to double-check the park hours on the My Disney Experience app before making your advance reservation so you don’t end up upset. Epcot Forever shows usually run around 14 minutes long. After that, you can join the masses on your way back to your car or resort.
While Harmonious (and IllumiNations before it) were about uniting the people of the world, Epcot Forever is a celebration of the theme park it calls home. Each act of the show is centered around a different, downright Epcotian theme: innovation, exploration, imagination, and celebration. And throughout the dazzling display, you’ll be treated to the sounds of Epcot through the years and into the future, with Disney songs from past and present Epcot attractions providing the soundtrack.
Unlike its predecessor and Harmonious, Epcot Forever is all about the fireworks and lasers. In other words, while the other shows benefit from a front-row view of the lagoon, Epcot Forever can be easily seen from throughout World Showcase and much of the rest of Epcot. That means that you can spend more time doing things you enjoy, like going on rides or trying delicious things, and less time doing things you don’t, like sitting in one spot and watching everyone else have fun. Always a win in our book. Be sure to watch Epcot Forever while you can because this temporary show will only be around for a limited time
New Epcot Fireworks Show Coming Late 2023 (To Be Named)
Although we still don’t know too much about it just yet, a new Epcot fireworks show will be debuting in the park later in 2023, unseating Epcot Forever. Making its review during the Disney100 celebration, this new nighttime spectacular will “reflect the commonality in all of us” and how we’re more alike than different, befitting its setting around World Showcase lagoon. This nighttime fireworks show will incorporate elements like laser lights, pyrotechnics and water features, including fireworks shaped like a heart. Along with an original composition, this brand-new nighttime spectacular will also feature select songs plucked from the beloved Disney songbook. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.
Where to Watch Epcot Fireworks
Hoping to snag a front-row seat to the action? Whether you’re looking for dinner with a view or your own little patch of lagoon-front property to enjoy the show, here are the best places to watch the Epcot Forever fireworks show.
Best Restaurants to Watch Epcot Fireworks
The only thing more magical than capping off your day in the parks with a killer view of the Epcot fireworks show is enjoying it over a plate and a glass of something tasty. Luckily, with a veritable world tour of Epcot restaurants with fireworks views to choose from, there’s something to suit every palate.
If you do decide to book a reservation to watch the fireworks from a sit-down Epcot restaurant, keep in mind that there’s no way for you to guarantee that you’ll have a table with a good view of Epcot Forever. While you can show up around 10 to 15 minutes early for your dining reservation and request a table with a decent view, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to accommodate you, forcing you to move to another part of the restaurant to watch the show.
If you do decide to temporarily relocate during the fireworks show, be sure to let your server know that you’re stepping out to watch the show, so they know not to clean your table. Even if you are able to snag one of those coveted seats, there’s a chance that the view may be more cramped than what you’d experience outside.
Having said that, if you’re looking for a memorable meal at Epcot with oodles of razzle-dazzle, these are it.
Rose & Crown Dining Room | United Kingdom Pavilion
Nestled along World Showcase Lagoon in the UK Pavilion, the Rose & Crown Dining Room has some of the best spots in the house, as well as cozy English classics like Bangers and Mash and Shepherd’s Pie. The restaurant’s prime fireworks viewing is on the outdoor patio overlooking the lagoon. And don’t stress if you get to the restaurant and aren’t able to secure seats outside. Just head outside to the private viewing area exclusively for restaurant guests to watch the show instead.
Spice Road Table | Morocco Pavilion
A Walt Disney World bar with an incredible view, the Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Road Table is an excellent place to soak up the pageantry with a drink in hand. With an open-air patio outside and large picture windows overlooking the lagoon inside, the opportunities for a good view here are great. Best of all, as a lounge, no reservations are accepted. So, be sure to keep an eye on the walk-up list while you’re in the park. While you’re there, be sure to munch on some of the House-made Hummus Fries and a Dessert Platter over a glass of Spanish wine or a specialty cocktail.
La Hacienda de San Angel | Mexico Pavilion
La Hacienda de San Angel is the second table-service restaurant at the Mexico Pavilion and one of the pavilion’s two dining options with views of the fireworks show. With its soft lighting, charming interior, waterfront views, and shareable plates inspired by the cuisine of Southern Mexico, it’s the perfect choice for couples hoping for an especially romantic setting to enjoy Epcot Forever.
La Cantina de San Angel | Mexico Pavilion
Located just next door to La Hacienda de San Angel, La Cantina de San Angel is the Mexico Pavilion’s quick-service dining outlet. Not only does this tasty spot offer south-of-the-border favorites like Pollo Cascabel and Tacos de Pescado at affordable prices, but it also boasts unbeatable on-the-water seating. Keep in mind that as no advance reservations are required here, you will need to arrive extra early here to claim (and keep) your table. Plus, once you’re there, you may be forced to contend with usurpers who would like to move in on your real estate.
Shiki-Sai | Japan Pavilion (Coming Summer 2023)
Just like its predecessor, Tokyo Dining, the forthcoming Shiki-Sai offers up Japanese cuisine and slightly obscured views of World Showcase Lagoon. While you will find better spots to catch the Epcot fireworks show, it is a decent place to try for Asian food fans looking for a memorable view of the show. With really only one large window overlooking the water which gets further muddled by guests standing in front of it outside during the fireworks, getting a wide-open view of the nighttime spectacular is iffy here at best. If you don’t get lucky, you can let your server know right before it starts that you’re heading outside for the who and will return after it’s done to finish eating.
Monsieur Paul | France Pavilion
If you’re hoping to impress, look no further than Monsieur Paul at the France Pavilion. A truly elevated experience, this second-floor restaurant dishes up gourmet French cuisine in an elegant setting. A dress code is required, so don’t expect to go walking in off the streets of Epcot in your flip-flops and cut-off shorts. The windows here are small, and there aren’t too many tables right next to windows overlooking the lagoon. So, keep in mind that no matter where you end up sitting, your view won’t be as expansive as it would be outside. Having said that, nothing sounds more enchanting than cracking into a chocolatey sphere filled with ice cream or noshing on escargot as the fireworks go off.
Best Places to Watch Fireworks at Epcot’s World Showcase
Not able to snag an advance reservation? Rather not spend a couple of hours defending your table at La Cantina de San Angel from the jealous hordes? These Epcot fireworks viewing locations around World Showcase offer close-up, largely unobstructed views of World Showcase Lagoon.
Inspired by the canals filled with gondolas that crisscross Venice, the Italy Isola is an excellent place to watch Epcot Forever. With its unobstructed, panoramic views of the lagoon, this is one of the best spots to see the show in the park. A view like this is hard to come by, so be sure to arrive early to stake your claim on a spot along the railing. However, as Disney is also in on the secret (they built it after all), this is a popular location for private parties during the fireworks.
Japan’s Balcony Above the Mitsukoshi Department Store
Remember those people we mentioned earlier who were blocking the views of all the poor guests at Tokyo Dining? They’re standing here. That’s right, while folks eating at the Japan Pavilion may not be able to catch each and every dazzling second, those standing on the 2nd-floor balcony over the Mitsukoshi Department Store sure will. Its covered deck makes it a popular choice when it’s misting outside. Plus, having been in business since 1673, Mitsukoshi has quite the storied history, so be sure to spend some time looking around before the show.
The Bridge Between the United Kingdom and France Pavilions
Neighboring International Gateway, the bridge connecting the UK Pavilion to the France Pavilion is just as good of a spot for watching the Epcot fireworks as it is for snapping that perfect photo of Epcot’s Eiffel Tower. This is also where the private fireworks cruises park to watch the show, so you know it’s good. Although, it’s an especially ideal viewing location for those staying in the Epcot Resort Area, particularly the BoardWalk Inn or Yacht and Beach Clubs. We also suggest it for guests of the Art of Animation, Pop Century, Riviera, and Caribbean Beach resorts thanks to its location along the Disney Skyliner.
World Showcase Plaza
Situated in between Disney Traders and Port of Entry, the twin gift shops at the front of World Showcase directly opposite The American Adventure, World Showcase Plaza offers front-and-center views of Epcot Forever. Typically, much of the area is reserved for the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party, though there are some areas on the outskirts of the event that do still provide a good view.
Boat Dock Near Mexico Pavilion
If you aren’t able to find a seat at La Cantina de San Angel, make a pit stop at Choza de Margarita to pick up a refreshing margarita and some elote to snack on before heading back towards Future World. The bridge near Mexico as well as the areas around the boat dock closest to the pavilion are great places to take in the fireworks. If you’re lucky, you might even get invited down onto the boat dock to watch.
Between Mexico and Norway Pavilions
This little slice of the World Showcase promenade features a largely unobstructed view of the lagoon and an enviable location in between two of the theme park’s foodie destinations. If you plan your evening in advance, you can even grab a margarita from La Cava del Tequila, Mexico’s popular tequila bar, or some School Bread and Lefse from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway’s bakery, to enjoy during the show.
Between China and Germany Pavilions
There’s roughly 90 feet of lagoon-side sidewalk on the stretch between the Germany and China pavilions, much of it with unhindered views. Add in the short walk to get a beer and some sweets from Germany’s Karamell-Küche for the show and you’ve got an ideal place to watch Epcot Forever. You may even get an invitation to enjoy the fireworks from the boat dock nearby.
With its lengthy swathes of unobstructed viewing, some of it elevated, the Canada Pavilion is another decent place to enjoy the nighttime spectacular. And while you can’t hold a spot on the stairs before the show, you may be able to swoop in and grab one as the lights go down.
Special Epcot Forever Viewing Events
Would you rather spend a little cash for an extra special experience or to avoid having to save a spot to watch the fireworks altogether? Then consider booking a unique Epcot fireworks viewing experience instead.
Private Epcot Fireworks Cruise
For those looking for the ultimate Disney fireworks viewing experience, look no further than a private Epcot fireworks cruise. Departing from Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort, your private Disney fireworks cruise will set sail for World Showcase Lagoon roughly an hour before the show begins. Onboard, you’ll have access to Disney snacks, drinks, and your very own captain.
After your relaxing ride over, you’ll park under the bridge between France and the United Kingdom for what is arguably the best place to watch the Epcot fireworks in the entire park. Does this special experience cost a pricey $399 plus tax? Sure, but with a capacity for up to 10 people, an unbeatable view, and the ability to skip out on the Epcot crowds at the end of the show, we think it’s definitely a doable splurge if you split it between friends and family.
Tips for Choosing a Place to Watch the Fireworks at Epcot
For those of you who’d rather keep things spontaneous or still have some concerns, here are our top tips for watching the fireworks at Epcot.
1. Look for a spot with an unobstructed view of the lagoon.
Epcot Forever consists mostly of fireworks and laser lights, so this doesn’t necessarily apply. However, for the best pictures, you will need to make sure you secure a seat with an open view in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll end up missing some of the fountains and projections that are set to make up a considerable part of the show.
2. Stake out a spot early for the best view possible.
Believe it or not, but people start scoping out a spot to watch the fireworks early. So, if you want the best spot possible somewhere along the railing, you’ll need to make sure you save yours before everyone else does. Plan to snag your seat about 60 to 90 minutes before the show is set to start—check the My Disney Experience app for the showtime that day—for the best chance at getting the view you want. To help pass the time, grab something to eat from one of Epcot’s many food-and-drink stands.
3. Keep an eye out for smoke and fireworks fallout.
While the Magic Kingdom fireworks are set off from relatively far away, some of Epcot’s pyrotechnics get launched from right there on the lagoon. Although this makes for exciting views of the show, it also means that guests are frequently in the path of fallout from the fireworks. If you sense that the wind is blowing in your direction, you may want to consider relocating – or be prepared for a headful of ash and soot.
4. Try taking a step back from the railing.
Everyone wants to watch Epcot Forever from right alongside the lagoon. Trust us, we get it. It’s a really good view, plus you have something to lean on as you watch as a bonus. But, if you consider standing a little further back into the pavilions instead, not only will you get away from the crowds, but you’ll also have a more unique view of the fireworks. This is a great option if you’re hoping to take some interesting fireworks photos.
5. Have a backup plan.
Things happen. Weather, crowds, bad timing. Rather than getting your hopes up, it’s better to have an alternative for if your plan happens to fall through. As you’re going about your day, scope out a few different spots near each other where you’d like to catch the fireworks show. That way, if the location is already taken by the time it gets back, you can simply move on to the next one you had in mind rather than frantically scrambling.
6. Keep your exit strategy in mind.
Fleeing the Epcot crowds at once the fireworks have finished can be a real pain. Everyone is making a mad dash to their cars at once, making for bottlenecks leaving both the park and the parking lot. In short, it’s a mess. Avoid the teeming masses as much as you can by choosing your fireworks viewing location carefully. Staying in the Epcot Resort Area? Select a seat near International Gateway for a quick and easy retreat to Disney’s BoardWalk. Wanting a speedy exit from the parking lot? Stake out a spot closer to World Showcase Plaza. Or consider watching from further back in Future World for a unique and blissfully crowd-free view.
Well Epcot lovers, that wraps up our guide to the best places to watch the Epcot fireworks show. Whether you’re hoping for a magical meal with a sweet ending, an unbeatable view, or a special experience, you’ll find the perfect spot to soak it all in right here on this list.
Worried that you won’t have enough time to watch the fireworks show? Save some minutes – and cross everything off your theme park to-do list – with our Epcot 1-day plan. Trying to squeeze some space in the budget for that Disney fireworks cruise? Save some cents instead with our discount Disney World tickets.
Are you an Epcot Forever fanatic? Where is your go-to spot for watching fireworks at Epcot? Are you still missing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth or Harmonious? Let us know in the comments!