The skies over the Magic Kingdom and Epcot will once again explode with fireworks starting July 1.
Before the parks closed in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney spent an estimated $50,000 or more per day on fireworks, often adding LED lights, drones and video projections to give the day’s finale even more bang for the buck.
But when the attractions reopened last July, they did so without pyrotechnics and parades to discourage big crowds from gathering.
The “Happily Ever After” show will return to the Magic Kingdom. It includes characters and music from a wide array of Disney films, along with high-tech projection mapping across Cinderella Castle. There will be fireworks launched over the newly decorated castle, which underwent a sparkly makeover this year in anticipation of Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration in October.
“Epcot Forever,” which debuted in October of 2019, will also return on July 1. It features theme songs from past attractions, a voiceover by Walt Disney and special-effects kites that light up and emit pyrotechnics as they fly across the lagoon. That show is taking up the slot before the park unveils “HarmoniUS,” a high-tech show promised as “the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park.”
Busch Gardens brought back fireworks on the weekends for its Summer Nights programming that began May 28. This week, the Tampa theme park upped the frequency, running its new end-of-night show “Spark” every night through Aug. 8.
Industry experts have observed that it’s a smart investment for the theme parks to spend thousands on nighttime spectaculars, which encourage the crowds to linger and maybe shop or grab something to eat.
The decision was the latest move by Disney to lift restrictions implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19. Just this week, face masks were made optional for visitors who are vaccinated, and the parks have eased their crowd capacity limits.
Disney World continues to require date-specific reservations for park admission. And all visitors, whether vaccinated or not, are still being required to wear face coverings on buses, monorails and the resort’s aerial gondola.
“As we continue to see more communities adjust and ease COVID-19 guidelines, there’s a new sense of optimism with many positive signs moving forward,” Disney said in a post on its official parks blog. “We’re encouraged by it too, seeing more families making travel plans, friends dining out together more often and more Americans returning to work. And at Disney theme parks, we’re gradually bringing back more of our beloved park experiences.”