Theme Park Survival Tips For A 4th of July at Walt Disney World

With Independence Day almost upon us, Disney fans are making plans to head to the Parks to celebrate the holiday. While this isn't quite as crowded as Christmas or New Year's Eve, Guests should be prepared for some of the largest crowds of the year. Here are a few survival tips for enjoying your Disney 4th of July.

Pack Your Day Bag Well - Once you leave your resort, you won't want to go back to get anything and risk being denied re-entry. Pack your bag with all of the essentials, electronic chargers, cameras, sunscreen, rain gear, portable snacks, even a first aid kit. Instead of carrying it around all day, stash it in a locker once you arrive at the Park. It will still be close by when needed. Be sure everyone in your party is connected by cell-phone, it's super easy to get separated in the crowds.

Arrive At Your Park Early - If you have your heart set on being in the Magic Kingdom to watch the 4th of July Fireworks, be aware that this is one of the days of the year the park will near capacity and experience closures. It's best to arrive early, and stay throughout the remainder of the day. Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort guarantees Park Access, but it doesn't promise which Park. The fourth at Disney can an endurance event if you have your mind set on that perfect spot on Main Street for you and yours.

Citizens of Main Street welcome guests to the Magic KingdomCitizens of Main Street welcome guests to the Magic Kingdom At Rope Drop

Take a Midafternoon Break - Crowds swell at all of the Parks in the afternoon hours. Find yourself a shady spot where you can sit down and rest for a while, I'm a fan of Tomorrowland for afternoon breaks in the Magic Kingdom. Take an air-conditioned spin on the Carousel of Progress, get the grand tour on the People Mover, grab a frozen beverage and really slow down for an hour or more. Over in Epcot the American Adventure is my break spot for it's entertainment and funnel cake. It's a long day but you don't have to be running the entire time.

The Two (or more) Hour Queues - Lines are going to be long, really long, so know what's most important for you to see before you go. Make FastPass+ reservations for the 3 rides most important to you, and consider which ones you'll be willing to wait in long queues to see. While you're waiting, toss a book on your smart phone, play in the interactive queues, or travel with a companion who's a great conversationalist, and always be sure to go to the bathroom before you jump in the stand-by.

The Voices of LibertyThe Voices of Liberty Hold Special Concerts on July 4th

Stay Fueled & Cooled - Because the crowds will be intense having a food plan before you go is more important, especially if you're traveling with children, seniors, and guests with disabilities. Lines will be long for quick service restaurant as well as at snack carts, so plan to your meals at off-peak times, for a greater chance of getting a table. Check out the Disney Food Blog's Post on How To Avoid Crowds When Dining.

With the summer heat high, staying hydrated is an important part of a Park Plan. Guests should do their best to keep water bottles full so that access is available when it's needed. Ice Water is free at all of the Quick Service Restaurants, and bottled water can always be purchased. Visit our previous article on the Top 5 Frozen Drinks. It's also a good idea to keep snacks with you to be sure you avoid unexpected medical emergencies. Keep an eye on your companions, you'll probably be able to see them struggling before they feel it.

Walt Disney World's Fan Favorite Frozen DrinksWalt Disney World's Fan Favorite Frozen Drinks

Stake Out Your Fireworks Spot - Find your fireworks viewing spot and settle in at least two hours before the event. Sadly, the closer the time gets to the show the more competitive people get about space. Mark out a little more space than you think you need at first, because as the time for the show draws near the crowds will have inevitably encroached on your space. Go in knowing that it's just part of the experience. Use the time to chat it up with your neighbors, and find out how they're enjoying their day, friendliness and good manners count when the crowds are high.

Fourth of July Fireworks from the Polynesian BeachFourth of July Fireworks from the Polynesian Beach

After The Show - Don't be in a rush to get to the buses, boats, monorails or your car as soon is the show is over. Even though you've already had a long day, hang back and enjoy the Park a little longer or just stay out of the way until the crowds start to dwindle. The crush of people moving to the exits after the fireworks shows is staggering, and the lines for transportation and to get out of the parking lot are huge. If you fall back a bit you'll have a much easier time when you leave.

Mindset - Most important of all, when the heat and crowds are high, it's more important than ever to consider your fellow guests. Stay loose with your plan and go with the flow, be nice to people, go forth already knowing that there will be bumps in the road, and that you will have to wait. Just take a deep breath and know that it's ok, you're in Disney.

Will you be there on the 4th? Leave a comment and let us know!

frank wrote on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 15:43:

frank's picture

Well written article. We were there (Magic Kingdom) for the 4th, in 2013. I really never seen so many people in my life. We were early because of breakfast at the Crystal Palace (excellent!). Then, the crowds came. The park closed around 1:00-1:30. My son-in-law and I were standing on the side of the castle (facing main street). The people looked like ants. We had done most of the things mentioned in the article, but alas, we (son-in-law and I) were overwhelmed. Went back to the hotel, while the rest of the fam. enjoyed the parades and fireworks. We enjoyed the fireworks from the hotel pool! Anyways, your tips are right on the money!!

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 15:55:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much Frank. My perfect 4th of July consists of a theme park view room at the Polynesian, and spending the day at the pool in a lounge chair sipping cocktails. The parks get a little too intense for me.

Sharon S. wrote on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:54:

Sharon S.'s picture

We only go on the 3rd! Same fireworks less crowded. Still busy - but much better. Locals know how to do it! :)

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 07/02/2015 - 12:54:

Kristen K.'s picture

Great tip Sharon!

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