As a part of our Year at Walt Disney World, we decided to fight the crowds and see the Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks. Technically, we saw them on July 3rd, but it’s the same show on the 3rd and the 4th.
That’s actually my first tip for this article, as many Disney vacationers and even some locals don’t realize the Magic Kingdom Fireworks show for the 4th of July is held twice: once on the 3rd and once on the 4th.
We chose to go on the 3rd so that we could see the Epcot show on the 4th. Our rationalization was pretty simple; the Magic Kingdom is the most popular park and we figured it would be busier on the 4th than the 3rd. Plus, we wanted to see both shows.
Arrival, Waiting & Dance Party
We arrived at the park around 6pm with thoughts of doing a few things before posting up. However, we were not sure what we were getting into, so we headed directly to the castle to see what it looked like.
Already, 3.25 hours before the show, many people were posting up with blankets to save their spots. This was our plan and we decided not to wait another second. We scooped a spot with the railing at our back, spread out our blanket and called it a day.
Most of what would be available right in front of the castle were already gone. We found a spot in the first tier back off to the right side of the castle. I would consider it to be a prime spot, especially with the railing behind us, which gave us something to lean on.
My night was basically sitting, playing on my phone and waiting, at this point. My wife headed off to check out Liberty Square and get some snacks.
About an hour into the wait (around 7pm) some guy full of energy came out and started a dance party. This went on all the way up until the fireworks started and he didn’t take a break. I don’t know if he shotgunned 5 Redbulls before coming out, but I was impressed with the energy he had for sure.
Our walkway started to get really full around 7:30pm and only got worse the closer we got to the show. Had we not ditched our original plan, we would have struggled to find a spot large enough for our blanket by this time.
The dance party was pretty cool, although not really my thing. It kept me entertained and Mr. Energy was also pretty funny, which helped.
Arrival Tips for Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks
If you’re not doing a full day at the Magic Kingdom, I would suggest arriving by 5pm or 5:30pm. Bring a blanket you can lay on the ground and use it. It seemed this was the only way to get people to respect our space. We had our blanket folded in half for a bit of extra padding but ended up unfolding it because we were getting walked on. As soon as we did, it was like our blanket became hot lava and the crowds refused to step on it.
Those coming as a group can rotate who saves the spot and who gets to go play. Maybe book your Fastpasses accordingly for only some of your group and take turns. Once the dance party starts, if you enjoy that kind of thing, you’ll want to post up at your spot and enjoy!
Those planning to spend a full day at the park should arrive at open and take advantage of the best rides with shorter lines. Get those out of the way and have a relaxing day with your fastpasses before posting up at your fireworks spot. If you’re staying at a resort, I would suggest cutting your day off at 2pm and going back to your room for a couple hours.
Waiting for the fireworks in the heat of Florida isn’t ideal, but it’s something you have to do to get a prime spot. A nap or a dip in the pool to cool off will help make this more bearable when you come back.
The Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks Show
The fireworks show is more than just a few fireworks shot off into the air. This isn’t a show like your hometown does or like anything else you will ever see. Not only does the Castle light up and change often, but the fireworks are set to music and they have a 360-degree effect. If you’re near the Castle, you’ll see the fireworks all around you.
It’s a spectacular show and certainly one of the top three I have seen in my life. I could easily put it at the top of the list and many may think I should, but there was just something about how TwoEE’s Winery in Huntington, Indiana did their show last year that sticks in my mind. It was the best I had seen at that point and I still think it is. However, both shows were different, so it’s hard to compare the two.
Regardless, the 4th of July Magic Kingdom Fireworks are amazing and something everybody should experience at least once. You can even stick around and watch the next show (it’s not all about fireworks) at the castle and enjoy a bonus dance party in between. We didn’t do this as we wanted to hit a few rides before leaving, but it’s something many will do.
When Should You Leave?
After the fireworks, there’s another dance party and another different show. There’s also a dance party in other areas of the park and it will be very busy. However, the park stays open until 12am and they had extra magic hours until 1am for resort guests (we were not resort guests).
We stayed until 12am with the thought that many people, especially those with younger children, would leave right after the fireworks show. If not, they would leave after the second show as there wasn’t a third show going on.
Our plan seemed to work out pretty well, even though it was still very busy leaving. Traffic wasn’t great, but I cannot imagine how bad it was right after the fireworks.
It’s going to be a long night and it’s best to leave when you feel it’s best for your family to go. If you have young children, prepare to wait in traffic for a while. Bring plenty of snacks, drinks, and activities to keep them busy if they are not passed out from all the fun.
Another little tip about the traffic; if you are leaving out on Highway 192 headed west, don’t stay in the very right lane. McDonald’s drive-thru on this road often backs up into the right lane and it can stall traffic. Get over into the middle or far left lane as soon as you get on 192 and you’ll avoid this delay.
Overall, the Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks are amazing. They are well worth the hassle and the wait. Just prepare yourself with plenty of snacks, water, and activities to keep everybody in your group busy until the fun starts.