Park entry fees not required.

By Lindsey Olander
December 27, 2015
Credit: Getty Images

Witnessing Walt Disney World’s spectacular nighttime fireworks displays is at the top of almost every visitor’s list. And why not? Each show is a magical moment to pause and be dazzled after long hours in the park. But competing with crowds and strollers for space and a view can be one of the most dreaded items on the day’s agenda. If you’d rather a more relaxing, romantic, and roomy experience, these seven locations offer unique vantage points—without the need to shell out for a park ticket.

The promenade at Disney’s BoardWalk

Doubling as a hotel and entertainment complex, the BoardWalk sits right next door to Epcot, and features a bridge on one end that looks out toward the World Showcase Lagoon, where IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth begins every night at 9 p.m. Although you will not be able to see any of the show’s low-level effects (such as the spinning globe and water displays), you’ll still have a front-row seat for a majority of the fireworks.

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Capa at the Four Seasons Orlando

Not only is the rooftop steakhouse and bar at the Four Seasons great for winding down with tapas and craft cocktails—it also affords fabulous panoramas of all four parks from its outdoor patio, where diners can enjoy setback views of both Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular and Epcot’s IllumiNations. And those who stay in one of the hotel’s Park View rooms will be able to see Magic Kingdom’s nightly display from the comfort of their own balconies. (And be sure not to miss the fireworks-inspired chandelier in the hotel’s main foyer!)

The marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The right side of the hotel’s U-shaped marina, just outside the arcade, is the place to stand for prime views of the Electrical Water Pageant, a parade of lit-up sea creatures that floats across the lagoon here at 9:15 p.m. before Wishes Nighttime Spectacular begins at 10 p.m. If you listen closely, you might even be able to catch a snippet or two of the fireworks music being piped into nearby Gasparilla Island Grill.

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Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Grand Floridian’s signature restaurant serves some of the best seafood in Orlando. What’s more, Disney pipes in the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular music and accompanying narration so you feel like you’re part of the show. The tables are located on separate levels to ensure the best views possible, but request a window table at check-in just to be safe. There’s also a wraparound deck where guests can stand during or after their meal.

Private Cruise

Looking to splurge? Charter a private boat tour for an unforgettable evening on the Seven Seas Lagoon outside Magic Kingdom or Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon that begins with snacks and sodas and ends with fireworks thundering above you. There are a few options to choose from, including a smaller pontoon boat and the ultra-luxurious 52-foot Grand 1 Yacht, which departs from the Grand Floridian’s marina.

The beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

You’ll forgive the sand in your shoes once you discover that the angle from the Polynesian’s resort beach is a dead-on view of Wishes Nighttime Spectacular much like you’d find on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street. Because the resort pipes in the music, you’ll feel like you’re right where you need to be.

2009 MCT
| Credit: Joe Burbank/ Getty Images

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Shelling out for dinner here is worth every penny. Once Magic Kingdom’s fireworks begin, the 15th-floor restaurant dims its lights and pipes the music and show narration into the dining room, lounge, and viewing platform outside—so you’ll have the full experience, no matter where you are.

Eleven at Reunion Resort

Despite not being on Disney property, Reunion Resort revels in the spoils. Head up to its 11th-floor rooftop restaurant and lounge for a drink—or even dinner—and you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree patio views that include Magic Kingdom and its fireworks display.