UPDATE: AUGUST 21, 2017 – The Main Street Electrical Parade had an amazing 6 month run from January to August 20, 2017 after being away from Disneyland for twenty years! Since the parade just ended, many are probably wondering what is next for the rest of 2017. Click here to find out more details about entertainment for the remainder of 2017!
The current fireworks show (until Christmas fireworks start in early November) is “Remember…Dreams Come True” – one of our all-time favorites! You’ll definitely get into the Disney spirit as the show takes you on a full tour of each “land” through familiar songs, projections and of course, fireworks! Fireworks happen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, but during busy season (part of Spring Break, Summer and Holidays), they are typically scheduled every evening.
FYI – As of February 28, 2017, guests are NO LONGER able to save spots hours in advance for parades or fireworks. Spots can be claimed when crowd control ropes go up which is anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours prior to parade start time (depending on the location). You can claim a bench or set a blanket out, BUT everyone in your party has to be present and sitting on the blanket. Read on for our favorite spots to watch from!
Favorite viewing spots (please note, the second parade of the evening is typically less crowded):
- If you prefer to sit closest to where the parade starts (for less wait time for wiggly kiddos), the first parade of the evening starts by It’s a Small World and the second parade of the evening starts by the Mad Hatter on Main Street. Sitting by It’s A Small World is great because there is tons of space to let kiddos run around before show time (also lots of snack carts & restrooms nearby). Since no fireworks follow the parade on Monday-Thursday, it’s not necessary to be by the castle on those days.
- By It’s A Small World – if you want to see fireworks over the castle after the parade (fireworks only happen Friday, Saturday & Sunday), we recommend getting one of the spots we noted above or somewhere along Main Street. You CAN see fireworks over the Small World facade, but you won’t be able to see Tink’s flight over the castle – Tinker Bell flies during “Remember… Dreams Come True” fireworks. Fireworks can also be seen from the Rivers of America and projections that are on the castle and Small World facade will also be on the water of the Rivers of America! This is typically a less crowded spot to watch from if you can live without the “magic” of the castle.
- North end of Main Street near the Partners Statue – on either the curb between Plaza Inn & Main Street Photo Supply or the curb between Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe & Refreshment Corner. Another good spot on Main Street is in front of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. You can see the parade as it makes its way down Main Street and you’ll be able to see it as it exits by The Mad Hatter OR, if it starts by the Mad Hatter (for the second show of the evening), you will get to see it as it makes its way out of the gate and around the flag pole. It’s kind of a nice way to see the floats a little longer than usual!
- Right in front of the east side of the castle, sitting ON Main Street (not on the curb) behind a rope, in front of the churro cart (also the BEST spot to watch fireworks from). We’ve had to claim our spots two hours in advance for this location. For the long wait with littles, bring LOTS of snacks, lollipops, bubbles, glow sticks, coloring books, stickers & toys.
SITTING NEAR RESTROOMS/SNACKS
Something else to consider when choosing your viewing spot is where the closest restrooms/snacks are located! There are a few restrooms along the parade route and plenty of snack carts and restaurant options.
- RESTROOM LOCATIONS ALONG PARADE ROUTE – Next to Troubadour Tavern (across from It’s a Small World), next to the Alice in Wonderland ride (across from the Matterhorn), next to the Plaza Inn once you enter Tomorrowland, by Carnation Cafe on Main Street, by City Hall on Main Street, and next to Disneyana on Main Street.
- SNACKS/RESTAURANTS ALONG PARADE ROUTE – Main Street offers a few quick-service options including Refreshment Corner, Little Red Wagon Corn Dogs, and the Plaza Inn. There is also a churro cart located at the north end of Main Street as well as two popcorn carts, one at the north end in front of the Partners Statue and one across from City Hall. Food around It’s a Small World viewing location includes Edelweiss Snacks (corn-on-the-cob, turkey legs and chimichangas), pretzel cart, popcorn cart, and churro cart. You can also head up to Troubadour Tavern by the Fantasyland Theatre for baked potatoes, bratwurst and more.
See below for a map of Disneyland’s parade route & fireworks viewing spots to see where we like to sit/stand marked in red!
Parade route along Main Street – good viewing spots marked in red! Don’t claim a spot in the areas on the west side of the “Partners” statue in the hub since the parade doesn’t go around that way.
Favorite parade viewing spots by It’s a Small World marked in red.
If you’re along Main Street for the FIRST parade of the night, all guests will be advised to move to the center of the street after the parade on Friday, Saturday & Sunday for fireworks (standing room only). This is when getting a parade viewing spot in front of the castle (like we described above) is a good idea because then you’re front & center for fireworks after the parade! See below for firework viewing spots highlighted in red on the Disneyland map.
Prime fireworks viewing spot (best spot in our opinion) on Main Street marked in red, right in front of the castle!
Fireworks viewing spot by It’s a Small World marked in red.
This isn’t our favorite spot, but if you can’t find a spot on Main Street or by It’s a Small World, you can also view fireworks from the areas along Rivers of America! It’s typically less crowded, which is nice. You’ll see the fireworks over Big Thunder Mountain Railroad & the projections from the show even show up on the water!
Watching the Main Street Electrical Parade from the Teacups! This is actually SUCH a fun way to get to experience both rides and the parade! Our kids love the Teacups, so sometimes, we will just ride them over and over while the parade is happening and they get the best of both worlds! HA! Teacups is the only ride along the parade route where you don’t go inside or won’t be able to see the parade at a certain point – it’s outside the whole time and stays in one area. Also, the lines during parades are typically shorter, so it’s always fun to see a little bit of the show, then head into Fantasyland to enjoy other attractions with minimal waits!
Attraction closures during fireworks
- It’s a Small World closes SOMETIMES – can depend on wind/safety (feel free to ask a Cast Member while you’re at the park). If you’re already on the attraction when fireworks start, they won’t make you get off.
- King Arthur’s Carousel
- Peter Pan’s Flight (be on the lookout for the line queue that appears for this ride before fireworks are over – typically near the teacups)
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough close about 30 minutes (or so) prior.
- Dumbo is SOMETIMES still running.
- Casey Junior Train is also sometimes still running (depends on wind/safety, etc)
- Storybook Land Canal Boats stay open, BUT usually only takes guests that are already in the boats through the canals when the show starts (guests in line won’t be getting on the attraction until fireworks end). Cast Members will stop the boats along the canals for guests to see fireworks.
- The Monorail – closes & re-opens after the show
- Toontown – closes in the early evening & STAYS closed the rest of the night.
- Disneyland Railroad is not currently running & wont be until Summer 2017, but it closes before fireworks & opens back up after the show.
Attractions that close during parades
- Storybook Land Canal Boats closes before parades, but re-opens a few minutes after the parade ends.
Parade Dining Packages
There are currently no parade dining packages offered, but typically, when a nighttime parade returns (example: when the Main Street Electrical Parade returned earlier this year), there are dining packages with reserved seating available. You can check Disneyland’s website during or before your visit to see if any parade dining packages will be offered. Reservations recommended for dining packages – can be made up to 60 days in advance.
Photos of the Main Street Electrical Parade taken across from It’s a Small World.
Fireworks photo from just behind the Main Street Cinema.
Photo taken right in front of the castle, next to the Churro Cart on Main Street.
Photo taken right in front of the castle, next to the Churro Cart on Main Street.
Soundsational is Disneyland’s daytime parade! This is a great option if you have littles who can’t stay awake for the evening parades. It’s a lot of fun and it typically doesn’t require saving a spot too far in advance. The Soundsational Parade is returning to Disneyland starting March 24, 2017. Be sure to download the Disneyland App to check showtimes or grab an entertainment schedule pamphlet upon park entry!
Paint the Night Parade
The Paint the Night Parade is definitely the best parade we’ve seen at the parks. It was so popular after its debut during the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration that they brought it back for a short run after it had “ended!” The exciting news is, the Paint the Night Parade will be returning on April 13, 2018, but this time, to California Adventure! California Adventure offers one of the longest parade routes out of any Disney park, which usually means it’s pretty easy to find a spot to watch the parade from without waiting hours in advance! When the parade returns, it will likely be on the top of many guests’ priority lists, so even though the parade route is long, and it may be easy to find a spot to view from, we recommend scoping out a place to sit about an hour in advance, just to be safe.
Best Parade Viewing Locations in California Adventure:
We like the viewing areas through Hollywood Land or across from Cars Land in front of Wine Country Trattoria, if you can snag a bench before others do! Paradise Pier (near the Little Mermaid ride, Golden Zephyr or Paradise Gardens) also offers some great viewing spots.
See below for some photos of the Paint the Night Parade.