Saturday, June 28, 2014

Celebrating Fourth of July at Disney?

Independence Day is one of the most popular days for families to spend time together in the Disney parks. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have special plans, events, and shows for guests that decide to have their vacation during this patriotic holiday.

Disneyland Resort

For those of you spending the fourth in Disneyland and/or California Adventure, there are a few things to look out for that have been catered especially to this holiday. 
  • 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band: An extremely talented military band will perform several times in Disneyland throughout the day on July 4th:
    • 3:30 pm - The band will lead the way before the new Frozen pre-parade in Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
    • 5:30 pm - During the flag retreat ceremony in Town Square, the band will help retire the flag for the night.
    • 5:45 pm - The band will continue down the parade route right after the flag ceremony all the way down to "it's a small world."
    • 7:15 pm - The last chance to catch the band will be a full concert session at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.
  • "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky": From July 1-4 at 9:25 pm, you can catch Disney's beautiful Independence Day fireworks spectacular above Sleeping Beauty Castle. If you want to find spots right in front of the castle, I recommend getting there at least an hour before the show starts. July 4th is extremely busy for Disney, so the earlier you find spots for shows, the better chance you will have in finding a good viewing location. If you can't find a space for you and your family in front of the castle, I also recommend watching the show from Main Street. I watched "Magical" on Main Street just the other day and it was a wonderful location to view the show.
  • World of Color Fourth of July Pre-Show: At 9:00 and 10:15 pm, there will be a special patriotic pre-show before World of Color. Remember, if you want to watch World of Color in the dedicated viewing area, you MUST obtain FastPasses before the show. I highly recommend immediately heading towards Grizzly River Run to get FastPasses for the show. On busy days, these passes run out quickly, which is something you won't want to risk if you want a spot in the viewing area. If you for some reason don't get a FP for the show, there are dedicated areas for viewing without FPs. Two consistent locations available are in front of Toy Story Mania, and behind a white fence at the top of the bridge near Ariel's Grotto. Ask a cast member for more specifics if you need to find one of the alternative viewing area options. (Note: I will be working this show for July 4th!)
(Last year's 4th of July pre-show for World of Color)

Walt Disney World Resort

There are a few special patriotic firework shows in different parks in Walt Disney World on July 3rd and 4th:
  • Magic Kingdom, "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky": This incredible fireworks display will ignite over Cinderella Castle at 9:00 pm. This is probably the most incredible and jaw-dropping fireworks show in all of the Disney parks. I've seen bits and pieces of the show from friends, and I can't even imagine how spectacular it must be to witness in person. You will definitely need to find a spot early for this show if you have a specific viewing location in mind.
  • Hollywood Studios, "A Rockin' Fourth of July Celebration": The celebration begins at 6:00 pm at the Sorcerer Hat with a DJ to help energize the crowd. At 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 pm, Mulch Sweat & Shears will perform on stage. At 10:15 pm, the rock 'n roll fireworks will ignite the sky above the Sorcerer Hat!
  • Epcot, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth - 4th of July": Epcot's beautiful nighttime show "Illuminations" will have a new patriotic spin for guests on the 3rd and 4th of July to celebrate America's independence. It will feature a five minute patriotic finale called The Heartbeat of Freedom. Also, throughout the day Disney characters will appear near The American Adventure in patriotic outfits for meet and greets.
Once again, 4th of July is one of the busiest days in Disney. I personally haven't experienced this holiday in the parks just yet, but some compare it to the same kind of crowd as New Years and Christmas time. It is highly recommended to plan ahead which shows you will want to watch, as well as which rides to conquer throughout the day. Lines will be long and shows will be crowded. For those of you planning on braving the parks this day, may the force be with you!

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