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4th of July Disney

How to Survive 4th of July at Walt Disney World

Fourth of July is one of the most exciting, and busiest, times of the year to visit the Walt Disney World Resort! With the return of Independence Day fireworks for the first time since 2019, this year’s holiday week is likely to be extra crowded, so we’ve put together this guide packed with all there is to see and do during the festivities so you don’t miss a beat!

4th of July Fireworks

Credit: Disney

4th of July Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom

Disney’s Celebrate America: A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky is returning to the Magic Kingdom this year.

This nighttime firework show features iconic patriotic music accompanied by red, white, and blue lighting, excellent pyrotechnics, and of course, magical memories for Guests visiting Disney World for the holiday.

The favorite annual fireworks spectacular is performed on both July 4, and July 3, 2022. Disney Park reservations are already sold out for the Magic Kingdom on July 4, so if you are hoping to celebrate Independence Day by watching the fireworks inside the Park, you may want to make reservations for July 3 before they fill up.

4th of July Fireworks

Credit: Disney

What Time Are the Fireworks?

Disney’s Celebrate America Fireworks will run at 9:20 p.m. on both July 3 and July 4, 2022, in Magic Kingdom Park.

We recommend securing your viewing location early for either show, as the crowds for both dates can be intense, especially in front of Cinderella Castle.

Alternative locations to see the fireworks this 4th of July include Fantasyland behind Cinderella Castle (though you will lose the lighting on the Castle) and at nearby resorts. Note: If you plan to visit the beaches at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Cast Members often limit the viewing areas to Guests staying at those Resorts.

What About Park Hopping?

Under the current theme park reservation system, Park Hopping is only available at Walt Disney World after 2:00 p.m. While there is a chance you could Park Hop to the Magic Kingdom at that time, it is possible that Disney will restrict Park Hopping based on crowds.

As a result, making a reservation for the Magic Kingdom for July 3, is currently our best recommendation for seeing Disney’s Celebrate America fireworks from inside the theme park.

Harmonious

Credit: Paula K

Independence Day Fireworks in EPCOT

EPCOT does not host a different fireworks show for the July 4th holiday, but rather the night’s showing of Harmonious will feature a special patriotic tag just for the occasion.

The Disney Park will host its Harmonious firework show at 9:00 p.m. followed by the “Heartbeat of Freedom” tag. With special events largely canceled for the past two years at Walt Disney World, this 4th of July also marks the first year that the Heartbeat of Freedom tag will take place over World Showcase Lagoon since 2019 when it followed Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.

The Independence Day tag on EPCOT’s fireworks does not run on July 3rd. If you are hoping to see both performances while visiting Disney World, we recommend seeing the Disney fireworks at the Magic Kingdom on July 3rd and EPCOT’s on July 4th.

How to Navigate Crowds

The week of July 4th is one of the most crowded times of the year at Disney World. There is no real way to avoid crowds (unless you save your next Disney vacation package for a different date altogether) but we do have some tips to help you make the most of your 4th of July celebration even with the crowds.

Of course, regular peak season tips for avoiding crowds apply during 4th of July week. This means focusing on slower attractions, especially shows which can accommodate lots of Guests without causing long lines, and avoiding the busiest times in the Park.

The middle of the day is often the busiest, and especially at the Magic Kingdom you may want to spend the afternoon at your Resort, and return later in the evening for the fireworks.

And, you can help avoid some crowds by submitting mobile orders early for quick-service restaurants in the Parks, and by eating lunch at off times.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (as well as Disney Springs) do not host 4th of July fireworks, and as a result these locations will be just slightly less crowded than the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

sunset-boulevard-hollywood-studios

Credit: Disney Tips

Arrive Early to Any Fireworks Show You Plan to See

Disney’s 4th of July fireworks are among the most popular in the United States, so lots of Guests will certainly be in attendance. It is not uncommon for Guests to stake out their spots to see the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom upwards of an hour before the show is scheduled to start.

As with any special event, it will be worth it to arrive early if you want to ensure a place to see the fireworks in front of Cinderella Castle. EPCOT’s showing of Harmonious will be slightly less crowded than the Magic Kingdom’s show, it will still be very busy and you will want to plan accordingly.

Watch the Fireworks from Outside the Park

Watching fireworks from a nearby Resort during a special event like July 4th can be challenging as some areas will be roped off and only accessible to Guests staying at those resorts.

If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member, the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower is an incredible location to see the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. And, if you happen to score a dinner reservation around 9:00 p.m. at California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you will not be disappointed!

Otherwise, if you can get onto the beaches at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or Polynesian Village Resort, you will be in for some breathtaking views of the show. And, the Transportation and Ticket Center can actually make for a great backup option, too.

rain-rock-n-roller-hollywood

Credit: Disney Tips

July Weather at Walt Disney World

July and August are the hottest and most humid months at Walt Disney World. If you are unfamiliar with Central Florida in the summer, plan to dress for the heat and humidity and pack some extra rain gear.

Summertime in Florida, AKA hurricane season, often comes with daily afternoon thunderstorms. They are over very quickly most days, but it helps to come prepared with an umbrella or ponchos, as well as light, airy clothing as the humidity can feel more intense after the rain.

4th of July Snacks & Dining

The Disney Parks Blog released a full foodie guide for offerings at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland for the upcoming holiday, so you will be sure to find plenty of sweets and treats around Disney Parks and Resorts.

The guide includes everything from firecracker-inspired frozen cocktails to specialty cupcakes, patriotic cookies, and more. Be sure to pack your sweet tooth and enjoy!

Credit: Disney

Patriotic Characters and Photo Ops

Disney tends to not heavily advertise characters and photo ops well in advance of the holiday but based on past years, we can tell you where to keep an eye out.

In addition to Disney PhotoPass Magic Shot selections that you may stumble upon in front of Park icons, special photo ops are often available in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom and in the American Adventure pavilion in EPCOT.

In past years, character meet and greets have taken place at the American Adventure pavilion featuring Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the Fab Five dressed up in patriotic attire. Disney has not confirmed whether those meet and greets will be back for this year’s special event, but we feel confident in saying that the pavilion would be worth checking out if you are spending July 4th in EPCOT.

Be sure to pack your patience as you plan for a 4th of July getaway to Walt Disney World, and have a magical time celebrating in the Parks and Resorts!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."