End of an Era: Disney Confirms Shock Closure of Beloved Fireworks Show This Month

in Disney Parks

Fireworks explode and fan out above Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris

Credit: Disney

Disney is officially axing one of its most popular fireworks displays – and its last performance is in just three weeks.

Every great Disney day ends with fireworks, as has been the tradition since Fantasy in the Sky first lit up the night over Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in 1958.

Wondrous Journeys intro scene at Disneyland
Credit: Dominick Tabon / Flickr

Related: Will Disney Axe All Fireworks Soon?

These shows have changed dramatically in the years since. Today, every Disney castle park around the world boasts its own fireworks show, with most integrating newer technology such as drones and projection mapping that make the experience even more immersive – and possibly even replace fireworks one day.

The best of the best – such as Wondrous Journeys at Disneyland Resort (RIP) and Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom – have garnered massive fanbases, thanks in no small part to their ability to seamlessly weave IP with emotional, nostalgic storytelling (and, of course, a killer soundtrack).

Disney Enchantment fireworks at Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

However, others have failed to strike the right chord with parkgoers. Disney Enchantment, for example, proved itself to be an overwhelming disappointment when it temporarily premiered in Happily Ever After’s place for Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration in 2021, with Disney soon reviving its predecessor once the celebration wrapped up in 2023.

This week, history is repeating itself because Disney is once again swapping out a beloved fireworks display for a notably more mediocre replacement.

Disney Dreams! lights up the sky with fireworks behind Sleeping Beauty Castle
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Park Introduces Another Unpopular Paywall, Starting This Month

Yesterday, Disneyland Paris updated its official website to notify guests that it will host the final performance of Disney Dreams! on May 30.

It’s official, Disney Dreams! will play its last show on May 30th before Disney Illuminations! returns of May 31st! ✨

The very next day, it will premiere its replacement: Disney Illuminations.

Don’t get excited because this isn’t the same as the EPCOT classic (which is technically IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, not Illuminations). Disney Illuminations ran from 2017 to April 2023, when it was replaced by Disney Dreams! at Disneyland Paris. Ironically, it was originally introduced as the replacement for Disney Dreams! for the park’s 25th anniversary in 2017.

Disney Illuminations isn’t bad, per se. It’s just no Disney Dreams!

Elsa in Disneyland Paris 'Illuminations'
Credit: Disney

The biggest flaw of Disney Illuminations is that it just doesn’t gel. For example, the show has an entire section based on the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (1991), which made sense when it premiered in 2017 (the year the remake was released) but doesn’t make sense seven years later.

If the show returns unchanged, it’ll also feature a segment heavily based on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) – which, again, made much more sense in 2017 than it does today – and an extremely long Frozen (2013) segment that features three (yes, three) songs.

The news of Disney Illuminations’ return isn’t totally out of the blue. As Inside the Magic previously reported, May 30th had floated around the internet as a rumored end date for Disney Dreams! just weeks ago – as did rumors that the show will get some kind of upgrade.

One thing that will remain the same is the Main Street Electrical Sky Parade. This innovative drone show, inspired by the Disneyland classic Main Street Electrical Parade, acts as a pre-show for the fireworks and has brought some guests to tears with its emotive callbacks to its namesake.

Interestingly, Disneyland Paris promptly removed the notice that Disney Dreams! was ending from the website not long after it was first posted. While we seriously doubt this means they had a change of heart (although we can dream), it’s still curious why they don’t have enough faith in Disney Illuminations 2.0 to start promoting the change with three weeks to go.

This isn’t the only theme park news to drop in recent weeks. Tokyo Disney Resort has revealed that its parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, will go totally fireworks-free as Sky Full of Colors is paused over the summer. Its new show (which is still unnamed) will premiere on September 20, 2024.

What’s your favorite Disney fireworks show? Let us know in the comments!

Be the first to comment!