We all have different opinions on how to go about a day in the Disney Parks, but I think we can all agree that ending the day with one of the nighttime shows is by far the cherry on top for what can be an exhausting day.
While not all of the shows are back, I will be including all of the ones that belong in the parks. Their ranks may change with rumors to possible changes to some of the shows. So to be 100% transparent, I haven’t seen a Disneyland nighttime show since 2019, and Hollywood Studio’s shows since 2018. I also won’t include the Rivers of Light from Animal Kingdom, since it’s believed to be closed for good (it would be last anyway). So with that let’s get to my ranks!
⁃ Honorable mention: Christmas (all parks)
I didn’t want to leave out some of the best night time experiences, but can’t justify ranking them as they are only around for a few months. The Christmas Decorations and celebrations in the parks are amazing. The short projection shows on Tower of Terror, Mickey’s Christmastime Parade, castle projections (and hopefully the Dreamlights return), and Epcot’s Candlelight Processional are all NOT to be missed during your Christmas vacation. If only they could figure out a way to bring back Osborne Family’ Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
9. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
There’s nothing personal here, but some one has to be bottom. I enjoy every show in some aspect, including this one. As a huge Star Wars fan, I was excited to see a nighttime show that had Star Wars featured. And while Galaxy’s edge is in DHS, there are also a lot of other iconic franchises represented in the park that could and should be featured in this park’s spectacular.
8. Mickey’s Mix Magic (Disneyland)
This one probably has more to do with the circumstances that I saw it in vs the actual experience. We watched the fireworks for the Esplanade one night coming out of Disney California Adventure. We could barely hear the music, but enjoyed the show from the outside. The next night, we set up shop on Main Street to watch the show with projections and Sleeping Beauty Castle as a center point. You know the whole immersive experience. But due to high winds that night (pretty common out there) the fireworks were canceled. And while the projections down Main Street were fun, we never got a full experience of the show.
7. Fantasmic (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
This is one of the shows set to return this year, and from photos from BioReconstruct on Twitter, we know that a lot of work has been done during the closure.
This show was up there for me for a long time. It was the wife and mine first Nighttime show together, so it holds a special place. But as we saw it more and more it kinda lost some of that spectacular feel. So much so that we just stopped going to the show itself. There are some iconic spots and feel good moments, but it felt aged.
6. Disney’s Enchantment (Magic Kingdom)
You want to talk about a disappointment, this was one of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun show for an average year, but this show was promoted as the show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort. You do not get that message from this show. It doesn’t help that it followed Happily Ever After and Wishes, two of the most loved shows for that park.
5. Harmonious (Epcot)
This show had some huge shoes to feel after the closure of Illuminations (we won’t talk about Epcot Forever, I never saw it and I heard nothing but negative about it). I enjoyed this show much more than Enchantment, but it still felt like it was missing something. The songs and languages go great with the park itself and the technology they are using for it is mind blowing.
The biggest downside is the way that they can’t move the barges in and out like they did for Illuminations. They are huge and ugly in the day. Not to mention that Disney stated that they would have fountains to hide, but we haven’t seen it. The show itself just ends. It’s not a big grand finale, it just kinda stops. You also have to be in the right spot to get the full effect of the “Stargate” or main barge.
4. Fantasmic (Disneyland)
Yes it is different, and it is better. The first time I ever saw this show was sitting behind a tree in the seating area of River Belle Terrace. It was a horrible spot, but I still loved the show from that view point. The feeling of transforming a part of the park to be this nighttime show with the energy of the park still going is great. A few years later, I sat down with the wife front and center and had an amazing experience with the reformatted show. Now that they have updated it to include Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean just makes it all the better.
Disneyland’s Fantasmic is set to journey through Mickey’ Imagination starting on May 28, 2022.
3. Disneyland Forever (Disneyland)
This Fireworks show will be returning soon to the parks this spring, so I figured I would include it. The show was made for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary and this is what made me have such high expectations for Enchantment. With projections down Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Fantasmic Screens, the Matterhorn, and the Small World Facade, this show can be enjoyed from just about anywhere in the park. It brings the history of the park, the rides, and the movies all together, in one great show.
Disneyland Forever is set to start illuminating the sky’s on April 22, 2022. And will on be only show on the weekends until the summer begins.
2. The Nighttime Electrical Parades ( Magic Kingdom, Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland)
I was hesitant and to include this, but these parades are a show and they bring a lot of people to the parade route hours before the parade starts to watch them. The only one confirmed to come back is the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland. But with Disney’s history of randomly bringing back a parade and putting it in different locations, I will add Paint the Night. The Main Street Electrical Parade is the original and has been back and forth from Magic Kingdom and Disneyland for years. It has even been retired countless times. Paint the Night has only made its way through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on 2 different occasions. Having the lights go out in the parks and seeing these “Millions of Sparkling Lights” come down the street is great. The music just makes you feel good. You end the night on such a high note.
Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical parade will celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 22, 2022 with two runs down Main Street USA. They have replaced the Celebrate America float with a new 50th Float that is celebrating Disney Animated Movies in the style of Disney Legend Mary Blair. The celebration begins April 22, 2022.
1. World of Color (Disney California Adventure)
By far my favorite show of the Disney Parks. While you wait for the show to begin, the sounds and light of Pixar Pier going is energizing. The game you can play on Pixar’s Pal A Round (when it works) is just old fashion fun. But as the lights go out and the fountains start to go, the vibe just changes. The classic theme song comes on, the journey begins. You are taken through the classic shows, movies, and attractions. Movies that don’t get the recognition in other shows get the moment to shine here. Enchanted, Fantasia 2000, and so many more have a spot in this show, whether in song or clips. And when the show ends, the fountains stay on, and the exit music starts, you have time to just relax as the crowds leave. A great photo opportunity for you and your family with the colors of the fountains behind you.
The fountains of World of Color will begin shooting up in the air starting April 22, 2022.