My First Independence Day Experience at Walt Disney World

My First Independence Day Experience at Walt Disney World

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

My husband and I have been visiting the Walt Disney World Resort several times a year since 1999 and there is always something new and exciting to experience with each visit! This year, it was the Independence Day celebrations throughout the Walt Disney World parks and, as with any new Disney experience, it did not disappoint!

We decided to experience the holiday celebrations both Friday and Saturday to be sure to see it all! On Friday, our plan was to hit all 4 parks and then experience “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” for fireworks above Cinderella’s Castle. This special fireworks spectacular was presented on both July 3 and 4 at 9 p.m.



We first visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  While DAK was not offering any special holiday festivities there were still new experiences for us since our last visit.  Many store and restaurant fronts had been refurbished and we enjoyed lunch at the new Harambe Market. Harambe Market is an outdoor marketplace with African-inspired street food at four walk-up windows and plenty of shaded seating. We enjoyed the Grilled Chicken

Skewer and the Sausage Fried in Curried Corn Batter, both came with a light Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Salad. Also offered are ribs and a beef kabob flatbread.

From DAK we headed to the Epcot/Disney’s Hollywood Studios area. Neither park offered any special Independence Day experiences on Friday but we just wanted to experience all 4 parks!

Finally, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom Park. After a brief delay due to rain, we made our way to the hub in front of Cinderella’s Castle to find our spot for the show. “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” was a spectacular celebration of freedom with a dazzling stage show and an astonishing fireworks display choreographed to music! After the fireworks, we enjoyed dinner at the Be Our Guest Restaurant.

*When viewing from the hub area in front of the castle, you can see the stage show as well as the fireworks above. You can also experience the spectacular fireworks show from all around MK as well as from the resorts around the Magic Kingdom Park area. If you happen to be close to the Fantasyland area, you can also get a great view of the fireworks overhead, the Beast’s enchanted castle is a good location to view from too. These areas are less crowded and you can hear the music and see the fireworks show, you just can’t see the stage show.

On Saturday we planned a little slower pace and decided to visit both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. While I wanted to experience the “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration” at DHS because you don’t typically get to see fireworks at DHS, my husband wanted to experience “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” with the addition of a heart-pounding, all-American grand finale at Epcot…  Epcot’s fireworks display was at 10 pm and DHS 10:15 pm so we could not do both…  he won… but I would say that the all-American grand finale at Epcot was simply AMAZING (I may have even cried a little)!! And we experienced a little bonus pixie dust – once the Epcot fireworks ended, from where we were viewing in the World Showcase Mexico Pavilion, we were able to clearly see the DHS fireworks display, which was also spectacular! Although, I would say that the additional heart-pounding, all-American grand finale at Epcot was the better display!!

Overall, we enjoyed a wonderful Independence Day experience at Walt Disney World. Crowd levels were lighter than we anticipated, maybe partly due to the rain, and while it was hot during the day, it was bearable. I would highly recommend the July 4th holiday as a good time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort!