Is July 4th at Magic Kingdom Worth It?
July 4th is one of our favorite holidays no matter where we spend it. We always try to make fireworks a part of our families plan during our Independence Day celebration…then why not celebrate at the best place for a magical fireworks display? Disney World is world-class on many levels but especially fireworks and magic.
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A Day That Starts Just Like Any Other.
The wonderful thing about July 4th at Disney World is it ISN?T a special ticketed event. You can get in and enjoy all the day has to offer without the cost of any ?extra? add-on tickets. This is in stark contrast with how other holidays work at Disney World, where you pay an additional fee to stay in the park past a certain time.
The day starts much like any other day. You?ll enjoy your normal, awesome family fun and good food until the sun goes down and you?ll notice the park begins to transform a bit from its normal end-of-the-day routine.
We?ll cover our MK plan down towards the end of this post.
A few things to know about July 4th at Magic Kingdom.
- July 3rd and July 4th are both dedicated to the Independence Day celebration and the special fireworks show.
- Magic Kingdom isn?t the only Disney park to join in on the special day of celebration. Epcot also has a fireworks show that features a special USA add-on to the end of Illuminations (while Illuminations is still going that is).
- There are no special ticket fees to worry about.
- You can watch the fireworks show from many places in the park, not just the usual spots. Don?t worry there are designated areas throughout to help you find a good place. We?ll discuss where we watched from later in this post.
- The day is like any other normal day. Plan accordingly.
- The park has been known to reach capacity by midday. This means get in early to ensure you?ll get in. They will start turning people away if the park gets too full. Your chances are increased by being a passholder or by staying onsite at a Disney resort. But NOTHING is guaranteed.
Crowds have been lower over the last few summers.
Disney has become a master of crowd control by redistributing the heavier crowds and bolstering the leaner crowds with special offers like free dining, resort savings, etc. It is likely that you have already found a crowd calendar to see what days are predicted to be crowded and which aren?t. While there are definitely busier times and less busy times, the crowds we?ve experienced over the last few summers have been far less busy than expected. We can also predict that with Star Wars Galaxy?s Edge opening in late summer, the parks will be less crowded in mid-summer than later in the year. Many fans and families will be waiting for Star Wars Galaxy?s Edge to open before going to Disney.
July 3rd or July 4th
There is no difference between what happens in Magic Kingdom on these days. If we had to guess we would say July 4th is the busier of the two days at the Magic Kingdom. For that reason Epcot is the choice for July 4th as that is the only day the additional patriotic fireworks are added to the regular night time fireworks.
A Special Fireworks Show
The firework show is quite amazing! If you?ve ever seen the special fireworks show you get during Mickey?s Very Merry Christmas Party or during the Mickey?s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it is quite like that. With lots of extras in terms of the fireworks and how ?wide? the show becomes (fireworks coming from all over the park). The castle also gets special projections throughout the night.
Where to watch the fireworks from.
The hub in front of the castle started filling up quite early (2+ hours ahead of showtime) and we knew we didn?t want to compete with those big crowds for a spot. We had done our research and learned that the fireworks were viewable from throughout the park.
The cast members start setting up ?viewing? areas before sundown and crowds slowly start to form at these designated areas shortly thereafter. They are easily noticed areas.
Where we watched the fireworks from.
We ended up choosing to watch the fireworks from frontier land. It was quite awesome! You could still see the castle. But our view also included the water there at frontier land. It does get quite packed and cast members will escort extra people into the already crowded area if you don?t fill it in quite well. We have young kids and found a good spot (with our double stroller, of legal Disney size I might add?lol).
Bringing extra things into the park for kids.
My wife always does an excellent job of bringing special things into the park for the family (mainly the kids). We decorated our stroller for July 4th. We had little USA inspired hats. Our son had a special USA baseball cap. We all had special July 4th necklaces that had lights and were star-shaped. And the kids had the glow in the dark snap bracelet-style glow thingys?
Bringing these type things into the park can save a lot of money. I think she spent a total of $12 on the family and the kids were quite joyous to receive them in the park as we prepped to wait out our spot until the show began.
Our July 4th Plan
You should plan the day for your family as you would normally do for any other type park day. There are two things to consider for the day: 1) get in early (before 10am) to avoid park shut down 2) find your firework viewing spot before it gets too late. We got our spot with time to spare (about 55 minutes till showtime) near twilight. Just watch the crowds and don?t wait until the last minute.
We are big time planners and have learned that the day goes much better with a solid plan in place. On our last visit during July 4th we even planned a short break, where we changed clothes and rested at our Contemporary Resort room for a little while. (Before we left we made sure they weren?t nearing capacity and that we would be able to get back in.)
It will be HOT!!! Look to add times for rest. Look to add rides that have A/C.
We also have these plans available for Magic Kingdom park days😕
We chose our July 3rd and 4th park days between Epcot and Magic Kingdom based off of Epcot only offering their special patriotic fireworks on July 4th only, and Magic Kingdom offering EMH on July 3rd from 10pm-12am!
6am-parents get dressed 6:30 kids get dressed. Red, White and Blue!
6:50 Head to Chef Mickey’s Breakfast Reservation 7:05 5 DDP credits (481041845639)
We try to make note of reservation numbers and dining credits we?ll use so we can keep
track of it all. Check out our Deluxe Dining Plan breakdown here.
8:00 Walk to Magic Kingdom
Check out Buzz Lightyear for wait times.
10:00 FastPass for Space Mountain for Heidi, Jack and Daddy (rider swap for Later)
10:05 ?FastPass TomorrowLand ?Speedway for Mom and Gwen
10:20 Meet Alice at the tea cups, ride Tea Cups
10:50- 11:20 Meet Gaston at Belle?s Village Square, get snack at Gaston?s Tavern
Ride one quick Fantasyland ride if possible. Ended up at Hall of Presidents! It was a must do for us on such a patriotic day. It is air-conditioned, seated and full of history and Patriotism.
12:05 Cinderella?s Royal Table Lunch 10 DDP credits (480641893735)
1:30 FastPass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
2pm – 5pm Head to room for rest- and recover 🙂 Rest is very underrated and we look for opportunities to include it. Grab Patriotic swag.
5:00pm head to Skipper Canteen Dinner 5:35 res. 3 DDP Credits (481471059196) 1 kid OOP (OOP = out of pocket costs, our hack of the dining plan – read here LINK)
6:30pm FastPass Big Thunder Mountain for Jack, Heidi and Daddy (rider Swap for mom)
6:45pm FastPass Peter Pan?s Flight for Mom and Gwen
Ride some things if possible: (Pirates, Country Bear Jamboree, or enchanted tiki room for A/C)
It is HOT!!! Look for opportunities for A/C rides)
7:45 Get drinks and snacks for fireworks / bathroom break
8:00 Get ?Great spot? for Fireworks- break out glow stick goodies!
9:15 Concert in the Skies- Fourth of July Spectacular Fireworks
Now after the fireworks we were able to enjoy the park for EMH (extra magic hours). It was awesome. The kids were pretty tired (at least the younger two, who eventually fell asleep). Good thing we took a rest midday!
Our final thoughts of July 4th at Magic Kingdom
It is awesome! It?s a normal park day until the sun goes down. Get in early to avoid the park reaching capacity. Secure a good spot to watch the fireworks from and there are more spots than just in the hub. It is hot! Set up some dining reservations and schedule some rest time if you can. It will probably rain! Take the appropriate gear in the park with you. It isn?t a matter of if it will rain but when…and it usually is a quick shower. Read Mom?s Gear here and Dad?s Summer gear here to see what we take into the park.
We plan to do this holiday again and again.
What?s your favorite about July 4th at Disney? We?d love to hear in the comments below. And if you have any questions please ask away!!!!