Watching fireworks and parades are one of my family’s favorite things to do at Walt Disney World.
That being said our eldest shed a few tears during our last visit even though she had seen them several times before. Miss L is at the stage where loud noises and not knowing what to expect next is scary for her.
Theme parks can be overwhelming for young children – there’s music playing 24/7, parades passing by several times a day, and firework shows almost every night.
Here are some of my top tips for watching the parades and fireworks at Walt Disney World with little ones:
1. Check the Schedule
Make sure to check the park calendars online or the Times Guide when you enter each of the parks. If you are at a park with evening Extra Magic Hours, fireworks may not be at their regular time so double check when you arrive.
2. Bring Ear Plugs or Noise Reducing/Cancelling Headphones
We did not have these on our previous visit and holding our hands up to Miss L’s ears didn’t cut it. We tried to watch the fireworks or the parade from a distance. There were several instances on our last trip we had to exit the park just because it was too much for her to handle.
Since that visit we have purchased noise reducing headphones for her to use during loud shows and performances. She’s been traveling with a pair of BANZ Kids Headphones – Adjustable Hearing Protection Earmuffs For Children since she was 3 years old. She loves it and now shares it with her brother as she’s getting more used to loud noises.
3. Get There Early
The closer you want to get to the action, the louder and more crowded it will be. You will have to arrive extra early (sometimes as early as 30-45 minutes before the start of the show) to get a good seat.
Younger kids may need to have little toys or activities to keep them entertained before the show.
4. Know What to Expect Afterwards
Getting out of the park after fireworks and night time parades will take a long time. Everyone wants out.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney Resort and rely on Disney transportation to get you there, be prepared to either wait for several buses to pass before you’re able to board.
When my husband and I saw The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights a few years ago (pre kids), it took us about 45 minutes just to exit Hollywood Studios. This was on top of the 1 hour wait and bus ride back to our resort. We were pooped by the time to got into the room.
5. Consider Viewing From Afar
Parades are very loud regardless of whether it is during the day or night. Although our kids wanted to be up close but it was just too scary for them to be where many other families were. Instead we took them into restaurants or souvenir shops to watch from a distance.
Watching fireworks from afar (either near the entrance of the park or a resort near by) works better with younger kids – the noise level is a lot less frightening.
I would highly recommend heading to Polynesian Resort’s beach or California Grill (you will need a dining reservation to go up) located inside Contemporary Resort to view Magic Kingdom fireworks. Both hotels are on the monorail line so it’s easy to get to from Magic Kingdom. You can purchase a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai at Polynesian Village Resort too if you want a snack during the show.
Whatever you do, try to catch at least one parade or fireworks show. The fireworks are stunning and the parades are a lot of fun for kids.
Do you have any tips on how to make fireworks and parade viewing easier for young children?