There are many things we, as a family, love about Disney.
The rides, characters, and attractions top the list, along with incredible dining experiences and memorable Disney special events.
Among the highlights, and something we collectively look forward to during every visit, is the end-of-the-day fireworks display.
Disney’s nightly shows across its theme parks, a true spectacle of gargantuan proportions, include perfectly synchronized fireworks, pyrotechnics, lasers, projections, performances, and music.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t until one of our kids recently asked how much does Disney spend on fireworks that I gave it a thought.
All this time, we were too amazed by the presentation to think about what it must cost the company.
So, after asking some nosy questions from cast members, doing a little research, and putting it all into a complicated mathematical formula (not really), it came out that Disney spends around $40 million to $50 million on fireworks every year across its theme parks.
However, since Disney does not disclose these figures officially, remember this is a rough estimate.
How much does Disney spend a night on fireworks?
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of things.
We’ll discuss below why the cost of putting up a night show differs occasionally and across theme parks.
But on average, Disney spends $45,000 per night on fireworks.
This figure is typically for Disney’s bigger shows, with the smaller and shorter ones costing around $25,000 every night.
So, if you are wondering how much does Disney spend on fireworks at Magic Kingdom, it’s around 17 million annually.
How much does Disney spend on fireworks in the US?
Let’s focus only on Disney theme parks in the US.
In this case, the company spends nearly $95,000 daily on fireworks across its theme parks in Disney World Resort Orlando and Disneyland in California.
The per-day cost totals to about $35 million per year for fireworks.
Why do Disney fireworks shows cost so much?
The above question slightly differs from how much Disney spends on fireworks.
Again, we don’t know the exact costs, but we know that the expense per show goes up or down for the following reasons;
- The show’s scope: Disney’s nightly entertainment differ across theme parks. Thus, the number of fireworks used is also different. Some use more, while others rely heavily on pyrotechnics and lasers.
- Time: The show’s length directly affects the number of fireworks used and the overall cost. Typically, Disney’s night shows last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
- Price: Disney has to procure the fireworks from overseas, and their cost may change from time to time.
- Type of fireworks: Big, small, or custom-designed, Disney uses an array of fireworks. The total cost of the show will eventually depend on the types of fireworks.
- Quantity: Lastly, the cost of the event depends on the amount of fireworks. Nowadays, Disney is shifting toward more pyrotechnics, thus reducing fireworks consumption and cutting down costs.
Fun fact about Disney Fireworks
Disney does not use the conventional way of releasing fireworks, which includes gunpowder.
Instead, Disney uses the more environmentally-friendly, patented technology, which includes employing compressed air to launch the fireworks.
Moreover, most of the shows are computerized, which is how they manage to have flawless performances day in and day out.
How much does Disney spend on fireworks at each theme park?
We know that Disney is spending approximately $50 million on fireworks annually.
Now, in increasing order, let us look at the cost of fireworks at each theme park in the US.
There are plenty of things to do in Animal Kingdom post-sundown, including nighttime shows such as Tree of Life Awakenings.
But, were you to ask if Animal Kingdom has fireworks at night, the answer would be a no.
To not scare or disturb the animals in the theme park, Disney has consciously decided not to have any loud events or fireworks.
The night show presently at California Adventure is a 22-minute extravaganza known as World of Color.
The event occurs at Paradise Garden Park and consists of water fountains, music, pyrotechnics, projections, and lasers.
If you were paying attention, you’d notice I did not mention fireworks. Again, there are no fireworks in this show.
And if you are keeping tabs, the cost of fireworks for Disney so far is a big zero!
Disneyland showcases six different night shows throughout the year. Moreover, unlike Magic Kingdom at Disney World and as per Disney’s website, “fireworks occur on select nights only” at Disneyland.
Wondrous Journeys is the main fireworks show at the park. Other events include Mickey’s Mix Magic, Halloween Screams, 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, and “Believe… In Holiday Magic.”
Considering the shows’ limited and smaller scale, the average spend per night on fireworks at Disneyland is roughly $25,000.
Disney Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios in Orlando is truly a mega event when you realize it has a 29-minute running time.
The show involves pyrotechnics, dancing water, lights, stunt performances, and some of the most well-known Disney characters.
Other nightly events at Hollywood Studios range from Disney’s Movie Magic and Sorcery in the Sky to Wonderful World of Animation and Starts Wars: A Galactic Spectacular featuring music by the legendary John Williams.
Once again, though, Disney uses relatively fewer fireworks in these shows. As a result, the cost fluctuates between $10,000 to $25,000 per night.
The fireworks show at EPCOT takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon, so ensure your spot has a good lake view as you settle in for this visually striking performance.
Previous shows at the theme park included IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and Harmonius. Featuring fireworks and special effects, EPCOT Forever successfully ran in 2019-2020 and is now back again since April 2023.
Disney is apparently using far fewer fireworks in the show’s new avatar. Thus, the estimated per-day cost for fireworks is $20,000.
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World arguably has the world’s biggest and most stunning theme park fireworks show.
Fantasy in the Sky was the one that caught everyone’s attention. It ran from 1971 up until 2003.
Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams is possibly the most extravagant show of them all. It ran from 2003 to 2017 and included 683 fireworks during its 14-minute run time. Wondering how much Disney spent on fireworks for Wishes? It’s estimated to be $45,000 per day.
Except for a short gap from the end of 2021 to early 2023, when Disney Enchantment was the night entertainment, Happily Ever After has dazzled visitors at Magic Kingdom every night.
As for the per-night cost of Disney fireworks for Happily Ever After? It’s a little less than Wishes but still significant at $40,000.
I’ve also written more tips on how to enjoy Happily Ever After to the max!
Besides the daily fireworks at Disney, one can enjoy celebratory events on select nights. Some require an extra paid ticket, but the fireworks are typically a part of the package.
- Fourth of July Fireworks – EPCOT & Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular – Magic Kingdom
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – Magic Kingdom
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Magic Kingdom & EPCOT.
Why does Disney do fireworks?
For a brief moment, let us shift our attention to the business side of Disney.
We know that Disney World spends an astronomical amount on hosting fireworks every night.
I thought about it, and these are the reasons that came to mind;
- Entertainment Value: A spectacle, such as the nighttime show, adds to the entertainment value of the ticket for visitors.
- Branding: The fireworks display is something unique that adds to the brand value of Disney. You can even see fireworks around Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disney’s opening movie credits for films like Pirates of the Caribbean, The Santa Clause, Enchanted, Maleficent, and more.
- Sales: Most importantly, Disney fireworks lead to extra sales opportunities for the company. As people stay longer in the theme park, they spend more on food. Additionally, Disney has many unique nighttime souvenirs ranging from light-up merchandise to pins. And Disney also makes money by offering exclusive spots and VIP viewing experiences centered around the fireworks.
Who pays for Disney fireworks?
Good questions, right? Of course, the money isn’t coming out of Disney’s pockets.
So, one way or another, the visitors pay for the fireworks. How exactly Disney balances the costs is information not privy to us.
It’s worth noting, though, that the night show is a part of your park admission ticket.
Similarly, the fireworks during special events such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween are included in the ticket price.
If we were to speculate, there are three possible ways Disney pays for fireworks;
- They factor a percentage of their fireworks cost into the admission ticket price.
- Some believe that the money Disney earns from parking is what they equate to the expense of the night entertainment.
- Of course, the revenue from all the sales due to the fireworks also helps pay for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions about Disney fireworks that we get asked often.
When did the fireworks start at Disney?
The first time Disney had fireworks was in 1956 on the instructions of Walt Disney, who wanted a nightly entertainment event around the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
However, the first proper fireworks show was Fantasy in the Sky, held in 1958 at Disneyland, California.
Who creates the fireworks shows at Disney?
A division known as Walt Disney Imagineering is responsible for creative entertainment such as developing show ideas and often blueprinting the fireworks and pyrotechnics.
Does Disney make their own fireworks?
No! Disney purchases them from overseas.
Moreover, Disney is the USA’s second biggest importer of explosives, just under the Department of Defense.
At the same time, Disney is the largest user of fireworks in the country. It’s very much plausible since Disney holds fireworks shows every night.
Does Magic Kingdom have fireworks every night?
Yes! Disney hardly ever cancels their fireworks.
It’s only if there are strong winds or the weather is really bad. Even in the rain, Disney will go ahead and have the show.
From where does Disney shoot the fireworks?
The fireworks are in different locations that, due to safety and security reasons, are not accessible to the public. At Magic Kingdom, most fireworks are behind the castle, out of sight.
What time do the fireworks start at Disney?
The timing for the fireworks changes from one season to another. For maximum effect, the show takes place once it is appropriately dark.
For instance, Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom usually begins between 9:00-9:20 PM during the summertime.
Still, to know the exact time, check the Fireworks & Nighttime Entertainment section on their website or the Disney guide for the park you are in.
How many fireworks does Disney World use a day?
The total number of fireworks depends on the show. To give you an idea, Wishes in Magic Kingdom used 683 firework shells. At the same time, Happily Ever After consists of 640 smaller fireworks shots.
Where can I see Disney World fireworks for free?
Technically, it is not free, but you can see Disney fireworks without paying for a park ticket if residing in or dining at any of the nearby resorts.
To view the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks, the best places on the outside are Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
What is the best way to see Disney fireworks?
There are several options to view Disney fireworks from inside and outside the parks.
We always ask a cast member to find the best spots.
For Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA or the hub in front of the Cinderella Castle are the best places to be.
Or else book yourself a table at the rooftop California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which promises a stunning view of the event.
From our experience, one of the best ways to see Disney World’s nighttime show is on a private fireworks cruise. The view of the castle from Seven Seas Lagoon is unbelievably spectacular.
It was actually during one such activity that a cast member unofficially shared with us how much Disney spends on fireworks daily. And yes, it’s around $40,000.
Are Disney fireworks worth it?
Everyone has a certain expectation when it comes to Disney fireworks. For some, the event lives to it; for others, it might not.
I asked everyone in the family individually this question, and we all shared a common answer: Yes!
The fact remains that even after visiting Disney many times and having watched the fireworks pretty much every time, we still love the shows.
The ambiance at the time is infectiously celebratory. The joyous anticipation before the show begins is a feeling you can only experience at Disney World.
Most importantly, the nighttime entertainment and fireworks epitomize the magical grandeur of Disney that we all love!