We’re not sure what we miss the most from the pre-closure days of Disney World, but fireworks are definitely up there on our list.
Disney World reopened in early July with a lot of changes to help keep guests and Cast Members safe. One of the most high-profile changes was the suspension of nightly fireworks and nighttime spectaculars — and they remain suspended even now. How long until we’ll see the sky above Disney World light up with fireworks again? Here’s what we know.
The reasoning behind such a drastic decision was to keep guests and Cast Members safe during the reopening phases of Disney World. And since fireworks tend to draw a SUPER large crowd (if you’ve ever been stuck in the mass exodus after Happily Ever After you KNOW what we mean!), it’s hard to maintain social distancing, which is extremely important in current times.
Getting rid of fireworks means it’s easier to keep guests distanced and safe. Disney isn’t the only place in Florida to cancel summer fireworks. For instance, the Orlando mayor opted to cancel the city’s 4th of July fireworks display in the interest of protecting folks from the global health crisis.
Still, it’s been months since the reopening, and Florida has seen some positive trends in the number of cases in the state. So, what clues do we have about the return of fireworks? Let’s take a look.
First off, we’ve seen some construction on the fireworks barges going on in EPCOT in Disney World! If that work is being done, it means that the fireworks are still moving forward (albeit slowly!) and will be fired off for guests at…some point!
We’ve seen a permit that was filed for work on the Fireworks Bunker in Magic Kingdom, multiple permits for work on the various structures for EPCOT fireworks, and we even saw crews doing some work out on the barges in EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon! Needless to say, work is definitely being done on the fireworks to get them ready — we’re just not sure WHEN they will be ready!
And the BIGGEST step forward in fireworks returning to Disney World is the fireworks TESTING that’s been happening this week in EPCOT! Guests staying at nearby resorts were warned of fireworks testing…and the resulting noise!
So…we’re thinking the upcoming EPCOT nighttime spectacular, Harmonious, is definitely moving FORWARD!
The Return of (Some) Pyrotechnics in the Magic Kingdom
Our team was SUPER surprised when we caught a glimpse of some (we’re talking real small here) flares and fireworks during a recent visit to Magic Kingdom! Cinderella Castle’s new holiday look includes festive rotating projections this year, and various fireworks are now briefly illuminating the sky between each change!
These magical little bursts are the first fireworks guests have seen in Disney World since its closure back in March. While they are set to run throughout the remainder of the holiday season, we aren’t sure if anything similar will replace them once the season ends.
What We Can Learn from Upcoming Events
There are some things we can glean from how Disney is handling upcoming events. Speaking of Harmonious, it was originally set to debut in Spring 2020, but has since been met with delays due to the park closures.
A revised date has not yet been announced, so we’re wondering if — based on the testing — ASAP (AKA, still in 2020) is the plan for the debut of the new fireworks show. If so, that means that Disney would need to resume fireworks by the end of the year, if not before.
On the other hand, though, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which typically runs on select nights from mid-August to early November, was canceled completely due to some key parts of the parties — including fireworks — being suspended. Shortly after, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which typically runs through the end of December, followed suit.
If the inability to display nighttime spectaculars like fireworks was a major driver for this decision, Disney may be anticipating that fireworks won’t be possible through the fall, or even through the rest of 2020.
That said, we’ve rarely experienced fireworks testing in Disney World without the upcoming show being imminently debuted. Why disturb guests in surrounding hotels if you don’t intend to run the show soon?
The Return of Fireworks in Shanghai and Tokyo
Finally, we can take a look at the fact that fireworks have returned to both Shanghai Disney Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort. The timelines for these reopenings might give us a clue as to how things could play out for Disney World.
Shanghai Disney closed on January 25th and reopened on May 11th. Tokyo Disney followed suit with the parks closing on February 29th and reopening on July 1st. Both closures lasted roughly four months, with the Shanghai closure being a few days shorter than Disney World, and the Tokyo closure being a few days longer.
Tests were spotted with the Shanghai fireworks in late April, but the displays did not come back when the park first reopened. Instead, trial runs began in Shanghai in late July (roughly three months after opening), and fireworks returned to Tokyo Disney in early September (two months after opening). It’s possible that Disney World could follow a similar timeline.
So, when will fireworks return?
With the fireworks testing we’re seeing, it seems that Disney World could be following a similar timeline to Shanghai Disney and Tokyo Disney Resort. This gives Harmonious a few months to still meet the 2020 deadline, and would explain why Disney did not want to run the holiday party fireworks shows — they would get in the way of not only ensuring the safety of guests but also with starting up trial runs of the regularly scheduled nighttime shows.
Ultimately, though, it’s still totally up in the air (no pun intended!). If Disney knows the plan, they sure aren’t sharing that info with anyone! Keep in mind that Disney World may NOT follow the same timeline as Tokyo and Shanghai, and the current fireworks testing could just be a step on the path to Harmonious debuting at a much later date. Any number of things could affect the return of fireworks — especially changes in the global health crisis. So, stay tuned to DFB for the latest updates. You’ll know the fireworks are coming back as soon as we do!
When do YOU think fireworks will come back to Disney World? Tell us in the comments!