We’re headed to Disneyworld soon with our 7 year old and 4 year old for their first visit. We have 6 nights and I’m wondering how many night-time spectacles we should try to see. Worried too many late nights will sacrifice happy/efficient early morning touring. I’ve currently scheduled Wishes, Illuminations, Fantasmic, and the Electric Parade but only 2-3 early mornings. What do y’all think?
I think that’s doable, you can see the parade the same night as Wishes so it’s only 3 late nights. I would take an afternoon break on those days so everyone still has some energy, and a late start the next day.
We took our kids to Disney the 1st time when they were 9 (son) and 7 (daughter). They were both a little bit shy/timid. Fantasmic frightened both of them, and we thought the storyline was a little bizarre for young kids to follow. If you have to drop one of the shows, I would suggest this one. You could easily wait for another year when they are a little older, and then they would have something new to look forward to on a future trip.
I second Frank’s advice. My kids hated Fantasmic! That’s an easy thing to eliminate. However, take whatever naps you need to make sure they see Wishes and Illuminations. The MSEP is take-it-or-leave-it, in my opinion. I’d rather let the crowds watch the parade while I enjoy short lines, but that’s a personal call.
Another consideration is the logistics of seeing the shows.
Unless you do a dinner package, seeing F! can be an ordeal; you have to get ther at least 45 min early, wait in the cattle pen, then do the crowd push for seats, and then wait for the show to start (and be forced to listed to what is arguably the worst Disney-pop music in all of WDW). Then after the show, navigating the herd to the exit. All told, it’s most of a 2 hour time investment.
If you want a “front” view of Wishes (in my opinion, a “requirement” if you really want to see “Wishes” and not just “fireworks”) you’ll need to stake out a spot 30-45 minutes in advance and then defend it against the “entitled” who will try to take it away from you.
MSEP has many good viewing locations. Especially in FrL. you can typically find a good spot 15 min prior.
IllumiNations also has many good locations (my favorite is between Mexico and Norway). You’ll need to get a spot 20-30 min prior (maybe a bit earlier if you want to be right at the rail).
I think you best bet is to find a good location on MS for MSEP, and then just keep it for Wishes; it’s an easy way to see both shows in one evening and you only have to get in place one time. The crush of people leaving after Wishes is intense; you might want to watch closer to the Train Station to ease you exit and have shorter waits for the mono or boat. The second floor of the train station is a great location for both, but it’s pretty small so you will have to get there pretty early.
Exiting EP after IllumiNations can also be pretty daunting. One benefit of watching near Mexico is that you’re ahead of all of the people on the far side of the lagoon. Personally, I hate the exit crowd, so after the show is over, I take a leisurely walk all the way around WS (it’s beautiful at night), and by the time I get back to FW, the crowds have largely dispersed.
I’ve seen all of the shows enough times, that none of them are absolute “must-dos” for me. I almost always watch IllumiNations because it’s my favorite, and it’s relatively easy to see with a minimal time investment. MSEP has a great nostalgic value to me, so I almost always watch at least part of it, usually in FrL. I just can’t handle the tight crowds and rude people associated with watching Wishes from MS, so I rarely do that (I’ll just watch the fireworks from wherever I happen to be). If I plan on eating at one of the restaurants that has the F! dining package I’ll see the show that way, but it’s not worth it to me to take the time and fight the crowds to see it otherwise. As a side note, if there are 2 F! shows, the second one is typically much less crowded; I’ve entered the arena 15 min prior to showtime and it was only 2/3 full…
As for your late night/RD question, I’m probably not the one to ask. As an adult, typically touring solo, I’m rarely in bed before midnight, and I never miss RD (usually EMH)…
When you say “soon,” will you be there during Frozen Fireworks at HS? I’d do that instead of Fantasmic. I also might consider doing one set of fireworks on arrival night (we took a long mid-day nap after arriving, and it was an easy late night for us), and then maybe a set of fireworks before departing.
I’ll echo what @manateesmom said. If you will be there for either SWW or Frozen Fireworks, I would do those instead of F! (unless you wanted to do both - which will pretty much require you to see the second F! show).