Is Walt Disney World's New Fireworks Show Better, or Worse?

October 2, 2021, 1:18 PM · Now that Walt Disney World has debuted its new Disney Enchantment fireworks show for guests at the Magic Kingdom, let's ask the big question on many fans' minds. Is this new show better or worse than Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever After replaced Wishes in 2017. It added projection mapping on Cinderella Castle to the traditional fireworks, creating new opportunities for visual storytelling during the production.

The downside? You needed to watch the show from the hub in order to see the detail in the castle projections. With traditional fireworks, you could watch from pretty much anywhere in the park, dispersing the crowd. But Happily Ever After concentrated the crowd into one location.

Disney remodeled the hub in the years leading up to Happily Ever After's debut in order to create more viewing space, but the show's popularity created ongoing crowding problems, as everyone tried to cram in front of the castle for the performance.

With Disney Enchantment, Walt Disney World has extended the projections all the way down Main Street USA. Ideally, that should encourage more people to step back from the hub and to watch the show from Main Street, where they will be closer to the projections and feel more immersed in the production. (Try watching from in front of the Main Street Bakery.)

Watching the fireworks from Main Street always has given guests a head start on beating the rush to the monorail and ferry after the show, but with Disney Enchantment, those fans don't have to miss any of the show's projection details while they watch.

That extension of the projections should give Disney Enchantment an advantage, but that's hardly the only difference between these productions. With a new line-up of songs and a change in narrative, Disney Enchantment truly is something new and different for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary "The World's Most Magical Celebration."

But is it better than what the Magic Kingdom offered before? Let's look. Here is the video for Disney Enchantment.

And here was Happily Ever After.

Please tell us your thoughts about these shows, in the comments.

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Replies (15)

October 2, 2021 at 2:53 PM

I don't dislike Enchantment, but for Disney, it's pretty average. Which still puts it ahead of most other fireworks shows at other places.

But...I watched this after watching Harmonious, which was absolutely terrible in every way. I even gave it a second watch to try to see if I had overreacted to the first viewing, and found that I had UNDERREACTED to how terrible it is. So maybe Enchantment gets bonus points for not being AS awful as the new Epcot "spectacular failure "(and trust me, I thought it was unfairly panned based on the barges by people who hadn't seen the show, and I really WANTED to like it despite complaints about the barges, but...well, now I've seen the show and it was pretty awful).

Disney usually does nighttime spectaculars...well, spectacularly. But they dropped the ball. And they didn't just drop the ball, but they did so for a HUGE milestone celebration. I don't make a habit of slamming Disney for stuff like this, but Harmonious was just SO BAD. And I say this as one of the few people who actually liked Light Magic at Disneyland when so many others hated it. But there is just zero redeeming quality to Harmonious.

As for Enchantment, I don't hate it, but I definitely don't love it. It's very much a "meh" experience for me, and I'd be taking advantage of those foolish enough to watch it by waiting in shorter lines for attractions during the show rather than actually watching it again.

And projection mapping has been SO overdone by Disney over the last several years, and I'm sick of it.

October 2, 2021 at 3:16 PM

A suggestion for the next TPI survey question. "Disney did something. Without specifying what they did, do you like it or hate it?"

It's not that tough to predict how the TPI crowd would vote.

October 2, 2021 at 8:36 PM

So, not having watched the HarmoniUs video yet, i pose the following query: what would the good faithful here do to “fix” the show, with the sole caveat being that the barges must remain? Or hell, Robert, throw it up to a poll of you wish…

October 2, 2021 at 9:00 PM

Is there any official word why Disney has decided to just not bring back Happily Ever After after the 50th ends?

That would seem to be the most logical choice - market Disney Enchantment as a limited time must see 50th exclusive - then bring back Happily Ever After and enhance it with the Main Street Projection Mapping.

It would be a win-win for Disney and the fans.

October 2, 2021 at 10:01 PM

fattyakin, a livestream of DAK’s KiteTails shown on the screens of the barges would be an improvement over Harmonious.

October 3, 2021 at 1:31 AM

Under Iger, the parks took vast strides and saw wonderful improvements, in my opinion. But after the new rides open, I'm not very optimistic. Seems Disney is in permanent cost-cutting mode under the new CEO.

October 3, 2021 at 7:32 AM

Still a Fan: "Seems Disney is in permanent cost-cutting mode under the new CEO."

Me: Disney has always been in "cost cutting mode."

October 3, 2021 at 9:20 AM

Enchantment is a great show, just not as fantastic as Happily Ever After. And it looks as though some cost cutting measures were taken with Enchantment (less show/more space/more narration and less fireworks). Though the projections and the lasers are very much improved with Enchantment. It’s definitely a must do at the end of the day at The Magic Kingdom.

As for Disney, they are not completely off. WDW is in a better place than where it was 10 years ago. The upgrades at MK, DHS, DAK and EPCOT and their resort hotels have been for the most part very good so far, but Harmonious SUCKS! The lousy show does not warrant the eyesore barges. Too bad, TH.


October 3, 2021 at 9:28 AM

Actually it's "NEXT!" ... All caps.

October 3, 2021 at 11:13 AM

By the way, I do question Disney's decision to put Charlie Brown in charge of the kite show.

October 3, 2021 at 12:24 PM

Talk about a rough start for the 50th. Kites are crashing, the center water screen for Harmonious goes down on the day of the official debut, the resort-wide Wi-Fi is overloaded and shut down.

And we're only at Day 3.

October 3, 2021 at 5:15 PM

Enchantment is probably on par to happily ever after but I think the main street projection is better than Disneylands. It looked more subtle and used the facades in a better design instead of just vomiting images all over. But if there was one fireworks show that I still like to this day, it would be Disneyland's 50th aniversery show. It was just a nice show to wrap up the end of your day using music from rides, shows and attractions around the park.

October 3, 2021 at 9:45 PM

Under Iger, Disney reinvested many billions in the parks, starting with DCA 2.0, and adding several new lands to WDW. How is that "cost cutting"?

TH, while you've been busy typing your drivel, we've actually been visiting and experiencing WDW --- ten times since 2007. We actually saw and experienced the vast improvements to the parks. We actually visited all the new lands. See, that's how you actually get to know what you're talking about; experiencing, not watching videos and hiding behind your keyboard.

October 4, 2021 at 8:41 AM

I’m a big Disney fan, but these two shows are terrible. They both look like Disney threw them together and will blame Covid. I mean, this company survived the Great Depression and WWII with quality products, but can’t figure out how to do things virtually with all the technology they have at their fingertips.

Disney is taking a gamble on new guests not knowing the difference and dumbing everything down for them. They think regulars are going to keep coming (maybe true) and we are just going to aim for the rich “once in a lifetime” clientele

October 4, 2021 at 12:18 PM

Enchantment is great too, not as good on the fireworks but projection is superb. Agreed, Harmonious is chaotic and ambitious but missed the mark for the investment.

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