Viewing Wishes From a Different Perspective
A Walt Disney World Planning Articleby Dawn Steinfeld, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 05-21-2015
We didn't plan it, and it wasn't something we set out to do over the years.
But, on our Walt Disney World trip in 2013, while standing near the hub and watching Wishes, we realized that we had compiled a list of different places from where we had watched our favorite fireworks show through the years. If you're like our family, watching Wishes is always a priority. We watch and sing along and, for at least one member of our family (which rhymes with "schmommy"), sometimes cry, too. So, it isn't really a surprise that we have seen it from many different perspectives over the years. Some were planned and some were not, but all were magical in their own way. Here is a list of our favorite viewing locations for Wishes (in no particular order).
Wishes from the Hub
The Hub in the Magic Kingdom: First, of course, is near the hub in front of Cinderella’s castle. I mean who hasn’t braved the crowds – before and after – to get that perfect combination of fireworks and castle magic? Our favorite spot to watch near the hub was always on one of the rose paths. They were less crowded and narrow, so you didn’t end up 4 rows deep behind the latecomers. Also, the fence along the path is low and a perfect place for the little guys in our group – when they were little – to stand for an unobstructed view. I’ll be looking forward to trying the new hub paths when they open on a future trip. Another perk of watching from our spot on the rose path was the proximity to that favorite fairy Tinkerbell as she flies over your head to start the show. And although she is not a fast-flying-fairy, I can still never seem to get that clear photo of her flying above -- I always end up with a bright green blur.
California Grill: We are also fans of the fantastic Walt Disney World restaurants, and watching from California Grill is another great location. When it came time to plan dinner at California Grill on one of our family trips, I decided to have our dinner start, if possible, prior to Wishes and then to go out on the observation deck to watch the fireworks once they started. (The wait staff lets you know when Wishes is going to start so you can make your way out to the observation deck.) This is a completely different perspective, and you get a better idea of where the fireworks are actually set off. It’s surprising the first time to see that the fireworks’s proximity to the castle is not what you may think when watching them from within the Magic Kingdom. I highly recommend watching from California Grill if you get a chance -- the view and the food are fabulous!
The Beach at Disney's Polynesian Villages Resort: In 2008, I was lucky enough to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday with a family trip to Disney. We stayed at the Polynesian and were lucky enough to get a garden view room in Tokelau that gave us a “sort of” view of Wishes if we walked out onto the lanai. But, if you really want to get a great view of Wishes from the Polynesian, walk out onto the beach. We found a hammock and lounge chair and all relaxed on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon as Wishes exploded over the distant castle, with the music pumped in for us to hear. It was so relaxing and just a short walk back to our room without fighting the post-Wishes crowds at the Magic Kingdom. As a suggestion, if you’re going to watch Wishes from the Polynesian beach, get out there early and check out the long running Electrical Water Pageant as a precursor. (Editor's Note: Undergoing construction at the Polynesian may impact the view of the fireworks from the beach right now.)
From the Seven Seas Lagoon: I truly am a lucky girl, and as part of our 10th anniversary/my 40th birthday trip we decided we’d to invite our parents down for the second half of the trip. Back in 2008, when this trip took place, they still had various Grand Gathering packages you could book for parties of 8 or more. One of those was the Grand Gatherings Magical Fireworks Voyage (which is now called the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage and is not limited to large groups). As a surprise for our parents, and our boys, we booked this for our last night in Disney World. We started our adventure with a dessert and snack party at the Contemporary where we spent some time with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee before being introduced to our “pirate” guides. We were assigned to our boat and boarded at the dock and made our way around the Contemporary to the perfect location in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon. Maybe it was the fact that we played a trivia game and almost everyone in our party won something, or the fact that my husband and I danced onboard to celebrate our anniversary, or it could be my father-in-law being chosen to participate in a piratical skit (hat and Capt. Jack Sparrow dreadlocks included) that made it so magical. But, this was truly an enchanted way to watch Wishes, bobbing in the lagoon with the music playing over the boat speakers. This is a wonderful way to take in Wishes whether you are 4 or 40 (and just feel like 4).
Tomorrowland Speedway: Yes, you read that right! I must say, and this might sound strange, but I think this was my favorite place to watch Wishes. Mainly because it was completely unplanned and very unexpected. We had already seen Wishes earlier in the trip and decided to take advantage of shorter ride lines on our second day at the Magic Kingdom while the show was going on. We made our way behind the castle and into Tomorrowland where there was very little wait for the usually slow-loading speedway. Both of my boys love this ride since they are “licensed” drivers in the Magic Kingdom. I let my youngest drive me around the track and, right when we started -- “Boom!” Wishes lit up the night sky right above our heads (or at least that is what it felt like). We were all transfixed under the brightly colored explosions. It was a completely new experience and more magical for the unexpected way it came about. Again, I didn’t get much more than some blurry pictures with my camera as I was being bumped from side-to-side on the track because my driver was a bit distracted. But we kept the pedal to the metal and craned our heads this way and that to see all that was directly over our heads. Another Wishes recommendation -- hit the speedway for a very different and unexpected view.
Wishes is such an iconic part of the Magic Kingdom and a magical way to close out your day. But, if you’ve seen Wishes more times than you can count and want to try something new, take my advice and view it from a whole new perspective. Some are free, and some cost a bit more (although you can view Wishes from the Contemporary without a California Grill reservation on the 4th floor observation deck). Trust me, not one of these places will disappoint. Now I’ll need another perspective to try next trip…maybe from the second floor of the train station at the end of Main Street USA!
Wishes from California Grill
Updated 05-21-2015 - Article #1187
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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