Ah, the Fourth of July. Hot dogs, fireworks, patriotism, celebrities taking selfies in American flag bikinis – what’s not to love about celebrating our nation’s independence? The Fourth of July has historically been looked at as a less-than-favorable time to visit Walt Disney World, due to horror stories of parks reaching crowd capacity and sweltering heat. David and I decided to brave it this past week though, giving into the siren call of Disney Holiday decorations and the promise of 360 degree fireworks. We were pleasantly surprised with our findings and decided to share with you what you will (really) find at Walt Disney World during the Fourth of July.
1. The Best Fireworks of the Year
This is not an exaggeration – the Magic Kingdom does a Fourth of July show on the 3rd and 4th that is better than Hallowishes and Holiday Wishes. The show was worth the two hours that we stood in the rain, waiting for the delayed show to take place. Trust me – it will make you feel as patriotic as the last ten minutes of Hall of Presidents. This is where the famed 360 fireworks take place. Epcot and Hollywood Studios also put on impressive displays, albeit significantly less so than the Magic Kingdom.
2. Heavy, but Manageable Crowds
Let me preface this thought by saying that I don’t think that the crowds of 4th of July weekend would be enjoyable for either a first time Disney guest, or a family with small children. But for those like David and me, who are blessed to have traveled to Disney often, the crowds were easily manageable by utilizing nighttime extra-magic hours. We booked FastPass+, stayed in the parks until sometimes later than 2 am, and slept in the next day, which worked well for us, because we rarely encountered massive crowds. We are fully aware that this plan would only work for a young couple or parents with older teenagers.
3. Hot days, Rainy afternoons, Cool evenings
We went in expecting the worst as far as heat goes – and we were again pleasantly surprised. The heat and humidity would build during the day until around 2 pm, when clouds would usher in storms for several hours, leading to cool, breezy evenings.
4. Decorations, Merchandise, and Specialty Food
In true Disney form – everything from the resorts to the parks to the buses were getting in on the Fourth of July fun. Resorts set up games and barbecues, parks put up festive decorations, and stores carried specialty merchandise. We even saw a bus decked out inside with flags and red, white, and blue. This special Disney touch always makes whatever holiday or special event that’s going on feel even more festive and magical.
All in all, we loved our visit during the popular, crowded, hot weekend – so much so that we are already planning our return trip for the same time next year!