Monday, July 15, 2013

4th of July in WDW

Many of my readers know that my husband and I recently returned from the World, and you may or may not know that we spent the 4th of July there.  The 4th is all about celebrating, and of course, that is one of the things Disney does best!

All major holidays are crowded at WDW, and this was no exception.  We knew from researching typical crowds on this day (and from experience during other busy days!) that it was very likely that the Magic Kingdom would close to guests at some point.  Because that is the park we wanted to visit, we decided to make breakfast reservations at the Crystal Palace in order to get a jump on entering the park.

Everywhere you looked, you could find little touches of red, white, and blue.  At the park entrance, they even passed out flag pins to wear.  

The atmosphere was definitely festive, but of course, it was extremely crowded.  We headed into the day knowing this, and we were fully prepared to wait in lines and deal with a sea of people. We went with expectations of not necessarily riding everything, and we decided that it was OK.  Simply being in that magical place on a fun day was enough.  We were pleasantly, surprised, though -- we pretty much rode everything, and our longest wait was 20 minutes!  Now of course, that doesn't mean the lines were only 20 minutes long... but with Fastpasses and a little extra walking, we managed very well.  We even caught the trolley show and the afternoon parade.

Now, that's not to say it wasn't crowded.  It most certainly was.  At one point, the park was at Phase 3 closing; this basically means that very few additional people can enter the park (Phase 4 means no one else can enter).  We really noticed the crowds in Fantasyland, where there was a temporary traffic jam.

Fortunately, the cast members stepped in and managed to get traffic flowing again.  Daytime in the park was a lot of fun, but what everyone was waiting for was nighttime -- I mean, what's the 4th of July without fireworks?  

As you might imagine, viewing space was at a premium.  All of Mainstreet U.S.A., Tomorrowland entrance area, and Adventureland area were totally jammed, and had I been in Fantasyland at that point, I'm sure it would have been no different.  Due to the high volume of spectators, the cast members opened up a side parking lot area between Tomorrowland and the entrance of Main Street for additional viewing.  There were "fences" of shrubs to mask some of the backstage area, and they had a D.J. and balloon sellers on hand, creating a festive atmosphere.  They also set up this cart and had a photographer there to take pictures.

The fireworks began at 9:00 p.m. instead of the usual 10:00 p.m.  Since we were staying at Bay Lake Tower, we opted to make a little more room for the park guests by watching from our balcony.  

As you can tell, the fireworks were amazing.  There were even perimeter fireworks set off, making it a 360 degree spectacle!  Since we could also see Bay Lake, we noticed that the Electrical Water Pageant was stationed near the Polynesian and set up to display its patriotic finale throughout the fireworks.  Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good picture of that from our viewpoint.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the holiday, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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