Fourth of July Celebrations (American Independence Day) at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Fireworks
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Courtesy Disney Tourist Blog

The United States of America officially declared its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Ever since, Americans have celebrated that momentous day the only way possible: fireworks, lots and lots of fireworks.

Independence Day at Magic Kingdom

The figurative heart of Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom, is also where the primary celebration takes place. The 4th of July fireworks spectacular over Cinderella Castle is entitled “A Salute to All Nations…but Mostly America!” Whoops, we may be confusing it with something else. It’s actually called “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” Yes, we like Sam the Eagle’s title better too.

Unofficial Tip

Think you'll watch the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian Resort? You and a lot of other folks. Disney may be checking room keys for people on the 4th.

These impressive pyrotechnics are 15 minutes of explosive beauty rising not just above the Castle, but all around the park. Independence Day is one of the few fireworks displays, along with the Halloween and Christmas versions, that utilize the perimeter bursts, making it seem like the fireworks are all around you. As you may expect, the display is accompanied by a rousing soundtrack that is designed to speak to the soul of America, although it can presumably be fully enjoyed by any nationality.

Normally the 4th of July fireworks are shown on both the 3rd and 4th of July at the Magic Kingdom and it is expected that they will be shown on Thursday, July 3 and Friday, July 4, 2014. The reason it is unclear is because in 2013, as part of Disney’s Limited Time Magic series of promotions, “Celebrate America” was the fireworks spectacular that ran from July 1 all the way through July 7! It is very unlikely that would be the case in 2014, but Disney hasn’t released their exact schedule at this time.

Independence Day at Epcot

While not as impressive as the unique and expanded fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot does get in on the patriotic act. A special 5 minute 4th of July extension is added to the normally remarkable Illuminations to turn it into a more holiday-tastic celebration.

Unlike the Magic Kingdom, this distinctive version of Illuminations can only be seen on July 4. Similar to the Magic Kingdom in 2013, there were special Limited Time Magic performances added in Epcot. The incomparable Voices of Liberty played a few special concerts at the America Gardens Theatre featuring patriotic songs and the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps. As mentioned above, it is unlikely that these special events will continue in 2014.

Independence Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The holiday spectacular at Hollywood Studios is definitely special. Mostly that’s because it is so rare these days to see fireworks at the park at all, but the 4th of July fireworks exploding high above the giant sorcerer’s hat are definitely awesome to see. In 2013, Disney introduced a “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration” which was set to a popular rock and roll soundtrack. Disney hasn’t said whether that event was simply part of the Limited Time Magic listed above or if that would be the permanent fireworks display going forward.

Walt Disney World Crowds for the 4th of July

Being the only summer holiday in the United States, July 4 tends to be a very popular time for a family vacation. As you can imagine, that means very high crowds across the Walt Disney World parks. As far as the fireworks are concerned, the Magic Kingdom is the definite go-to spot for many guests, so that will always be the most crowded. Alternatively, Hollywood Studios tends to be the (relatively) least crowded of the fireworks shows.

No matter which park you choose, there will be high crowds. What is most important is that you go in with a solid plan, specifically one of our scientifically tested touring plans.

Last updated on June 17, 2014