I love Disney World on the 4th of July. Despite the heat, it’s one of my favorite times to be there. From Special food to fireworks to character meet and greets, Disney really goes all out for the 4th. I like to take it a step further, though. Did you know there are ways to celebrate America 365 days a year? Come along with me, and let’s combine it all to plan an entirely 4th-of-July-themed Disney day.
My perfect Independence Day? It begins with sleeping in. I’m usually a rope-drop-to-fireworks kind of girl, but there’s no reason to be in a hurry today. The 4th of July is generally pretty crowded, so it’s nice to start the morning leisurely before jumping in. Afterward, it’s on to EPCOT!
When we get here, we head straight to World Showcase. First stop? Lunch at Regal Eagle to enjoy some good old American BBQ. I love that the restaurant pays homage to different regional BBQs throughout America. This means wherever you call home, you’ll find a taste of it here (or venture out and try a region entirely different from your own, you can’t go wrong either way).
After we’ve fueled up our bodies, it’s time to gear up our day! We head to the opposite end of the building to perhaps the least popular retail shop in all of Walt Disney World: Heritage Manor. It doesn’t help that it’s one of the least prominent souvenir stores in all of Walt Disney World. Here you’ll find an assortment of Star Spangled merch. From t-shirts to oven mitts, Old Glory takes center stage at Heritage Manor. Typically, we pick up 4th of July Minnie ears or a tricorn hat and just get into the spirit.
Then just right next door, I like to go see the Voices of Liberty do their patriotic holiday show. This acapella group is patriotic year-round, but on the 4th of July, they pull out all the stops on their 15-minute show. American folk music, Battle turns, and patriotic standards all make an appearance today. Followed by a special performance of the Star Spangled Banner.
After that, we head right into the American Adventure. Here Benjamin Franklin takes us on a trip through time. We journey through American history, witnessing landmark events like the landing of the Mayflower, the Boston Tea Party, the winter at Valley Forge, the penning of the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War and the Great Depression, and on up to 9/11 through a mix of Animatronics and film in this 30-minute show.
After that, a stop at the Fife and Drum is in order for a specialty cocktail or Sam Adams seasonal draft (and a Barqs Rootbeer Float for the under-21 among us).
Then it’s on to character meet and greets. Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto meet dressed in their “Spirit of ’76” Revolutionary War costumes. They meet at various times throughout the day in the American Pavilion.
After that, it’s on to Magic Kingdom to finish our celebration of America. Depending on the time and crowd levels, we may venture away from strictly patriotic activities here, but the bulk of our day is centered in Liberty Square. First, we visit an often skipped attraction, and we settle in for a ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat for another visit with iconic American author Mark Twain (we first encountered him today in the American Dream). The 17-minute boat tour includes a recorded narrator—in the voice of iconic American author and humorist Mark Twain—sharing memories of Twain’s time on the Mississippi. During the ride, we will see:
- An early American settlement
- An idyllic Native American village
- Harper’s Mill
- Fort Langhorn
- Wilson’s Cave Inn
- Woodland animals
After the Riverboat, we head to Haunted Mansion before heading over to the Hall of Presidents. Here we see Animatronics of all 45 presidents (yes, we mean 45, not 46. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms as both the 22nd and 24th president). During the 25-minute show, we hear from notable presidents like Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. Then at the end, there is a short speech delivered by George Washington and a recorded performance of the oath of office by America’s 46th President, Joe Biden.
Dinner, of course, is at the colonial-themed Liberty Tree Tavern. Here we indulge in a family-style meal that consists of traditional New England-inspired fare. Turkey, Pot Roast, Pork, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and Mac and cheese are all on the menu here. Just as a fun aside, when you check in here, they ask you where you’re from. If you happen to be from one of theb13 original colonies, they make a special announcement.
We fill any remaining time left in Frontierland celebrating the nation’s westward expansion. The country bears and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are always two must-do attractions. After that, it’s on to Main Street, USA. We make a stop at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor because they always have a themed Independence Day treat. Then we stake out our spot for fireworks.
Disney’s 4th of July Fireworks are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Set to rousing patriotic music Celebrate America- A Concert in the Sky is a 360-degree firework show with projections and fireworks shot from around the Park’s perimeter.
The 4th of July isn’t a regular day at Disney World so you can’t approach it like one or else you’ll end up frustrated. The crowds are heavy and the lines are long. This plan, however, will keep your day running smoothly and celebrate American in the most magical way! If you follow this plan, shoot us an email or leave a comment on Facebook and let us know how it went.