Nothing puts a damper on a day at Epcot like rain, especially if you’re looking forward to watching the Epcot Forever firework show.
Fortunately, Epcot almost always carries on with their fireworks, rain or shine. There are some exceptions though that we’ll outline for you.
Rain and Epcot Fireworks
Disney World is a well-oiled machine when it comes to executing their plans, but mother nature sometimes likes to make it difficult. While Central Florida weather makes for plenty of perfect vacations, rain and thunderstorms are always a possibility. A spring or summer visit is very likely to include at least a small amount of rain and Epcot guests will find themselves outdoors and exposed to the elements for the majority of their visit.
The Epcot Forever fireworks show recently replaced Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, as an in-between production before Disney introduces the new, official Epcot firework spectacular: HarmoniUS, coming spring 2020. It’s popular enough that guests can regularly be seen lining the walkways an hour and a half before the show starts, trying their best to get a prime spot for viewing. That popularity means that bad weather is particularly unwelcome during the time scheduled for fireworks.
Rain isn’t usually a problem for the fireworks show, but lightning is a different story.
Fireworks don’t have much problem lighting and detonating in wet weather. And even though it’s unpleasant to stand around in the pouring rain, it’s pretty safe if the rain is the only thing you have to worry about. If lightning accompanies the rain, you have a very different situation. Gathering crowds of people outdoors during a thunderstorm can be very dangerous.
However unlikely it is for a person to be struck by lightning, it’s a risk that isn’t worth taking when you have large numbers gathered outside.
Disney knows that you paid good money to get a complete experience. They believe fireworks to be a big part of that experience, so they are very reluctant to completely cancel fireworks. If lightning is a problem, fireworks may be delayed for a while instead of completely canceled.
What you should do if there is rain or lightning at the fireworks’ scheduled time.
First of all, make sure you pay attention to any instructions or information being given to you by Epcot staff. Major announcements will generally be given to you from the parks audio system, so make sure to keep your ears open for any info coming from the speakers.
If it’s just raining, you’re probably fine to carry on watching the show as you originally planned. If there is lightning, you should seek shelter and wait to see what will happen moving forward. While you’re trying to decide if it’s worth waiting for, check the local weather to see if it looks like there will be heavy lightning for a long period of time.
Again, Disney always does their best to delay shows instead of totally canceling them, but shows can still be canceled if the forecast calls for sustained lightning over a long period of time.
Insider Tips: The Best Ways to Watch Epcot Forever Fireworks in the Rain
You can’t change the weather but you can certainly make the best of it. Here’s some advice on how to still enjoy Epcot’s fireworks during bad weather.
Tip #1: Make reservations at a restaurant that has windows facing Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon.
This is the best way to stay perfectly dry while still fully enjoying the show. There are a handful of restaurants that can provide you with outstanding indoor viewing spots. Some of them are good enough spots that people prefer them even when it isn’t raining!
- The most popular table-service restaurant for viewing Epcot Forever is the Rose & Crown Dining Room. It is inside Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion. However, this option only works for fireworks if you get a table on the back patio of the restaurant. The patio backs up to the World Showcase Lagoon and offers an incredibly good view. Patio tables are extremely popular during the fireworks show. When checking in for your reservation, make sure to request a patio table. You aren’t guaranteed to get one, but it’s always worth a try. The food is also very good and includes many traditional English pub-style meals.
- Spice Road Table in the Morocco Pavilion offers good, completely indoor viewing of Epcot Forever. This one isn’t quite as popular as Rose & Crown, but it can still be very busy during fireworks hours. The back wall of Spice Road Table is directly on the water and has large glass windows. Request one of the tables on these windows for the best view.
- Tokyo Dining in the Japan Pavilion has the most unique indoor fireworks viewing location. The restaurant is located upstairs in the gigantic Japanese building. The windows are massive, making up the majority of the wall space facing the World Showcase Lagoon. You also have a head-on view of the Japanese Torii Gate in the water. It makes for a really cool backdrop for the fireworks. If the rain stops, you can also walk outside to the restaurant’s balcony. It’s one of the best fireworks viewing spots in the park and you’ll often see photographers trying to get the perfect shot here.
- La Hacienda de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion is another great fireworks spot. Most of the tables at this restaurant have good views of the fireworks, so it can be a safer option when the park is busy.
- Monsieur Paul in the France Pavilion has some of the best indoor views of the World Showcase Lagoon, but only at select tables. Most tables in this restaurant can’t easily see the fireworks, but the tables set by the windows have one of the best views available. This restaurant is expensive but has some of the best food at Disney. It’s perfect for romantic evenings and escaping the weather.
- Chefs de France in the France Pavilion has decent views from their window tables, but aren’t as good as most others on this list, since there are a few trees blocking the view.
Keep in mind that a fireworks show isn’t complete without a dessert. If you need some inspiration, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Epcot Ice Cream.
Tip #2: Find a covered spot for outdoor viewing.
- Some of the pavilions have covered outdoor tables. If there is no lightning, find one of these tables with an umbrella to shield yourself from the rain. Yorkshire County Fish & Chips Shop has tables with umbrellas and is particularly good for viewing Epcot Forever. These tables are very popular and you will often need to secure one an hour or more before the show begins.
- There aren’t many non-restaurant indoor viewing locations, but there are a few. Look around for shops with windows that face the Lagoon ahead of time, as you won’t want to be funneling into an already crowded building right before the fireworks start.
- Look for buildings with awnings. There are buildings in most pavilions that at least have some kind of awning attached to the side. Most of them aren’t any good for fireworks viewing, but there are some good options scattered around.
Tip #3: Check the weather in advance and bring clothing for rain.
- This is an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who aren’t familiar with Florida’s rapidly changing weather. Even though it may be sunny at lunchtime, a storm could be very close without the slightest indication.
- Wear some shoes you don’t mind getting soaked.
- Bring a waterproof jacket with a hood to keep your body dry. We’ve created an entire list of the best Rain Gear Options for Walt Disney World for the whole family – check it out before your trip.
Tip #4: Buy a poncho from one of the many Epcot shops.
- Almost all of the main Epcot retail stores sell ponchos. They are inexpensive and can be the difference between an enjoyable evening and a miserable, wet one.