It happens every year. I watch our local fireworks and find myself dreaming of Disney World. No one does fireworks better, in my opinion! Okay, there may be bigger, prettier displays but you never get the story that Disney gives you in every one of their "kiss good night"s.
I have a friend (and client) who will be at Walt Disney World for two holidays this year and I must admit, I got a little competitive. I want to say I’ve been to Walt Disney World in every month. I’m close. I have yet to be there in January and JULY. So that brings me back to my original thought. How would I spend a fun 4th of July at Walt Disney World? Everything I’m going to tell you about below is available most of the year. You won’t have to book a flight to be there in the next few days.
I would begin my day at Wilderness Lodge. If I’m staying there, my family and I can become one of the "Flag Raising Families" Every early morning there is a ceremony in which one family staying at Wilderness Lodge may participate. The flag at the top of the building is raised with your help and you receive a certificate. If you wish to be a "Flag Raising Family", ask a Cast Member during check in.
Next I’d head to Magic Kingdom. Main Street USA itself is a replica of a little piece of Americana from the past. First, I would browse the shops and eat the goodies. Then I’d head to Liberty Square. A plaque tells you that "past this gateway stirs a new nation waiting to be born. Thirteen separate colonies have banded together to declare their independence from the bonds of tyranny. It is a time when silversmiths put away their tools and march to the drum of a revolution, a time when gentlemen planters leave their farms to become generals, a time when tradesmen leave the safety of home to become heroes. Welcome to Liberty Square!"
I’d find myself meandering to the Hall of Presidents. Many people view this as a great place to nap but if you really look around at all the Presidential portraits in the queue area and the Presidential Seal on the floor it’s really quite interesting. The show in and of itself is great because of the quality of autoanimatronic presidents, watch them fidget just like real presidents!
While you’re in Liberty Square, check out the the Liberty Bell and the Liberty Tree. The Liberty Tree is a live oak tree (approximately 135 years old) and thirteen laterns hang from it, symbolic of the original thirteen colonies. My guide on the Keys to the Kingdom tour shared the details and research that went into designing Liberty Square including noting that the middle strip of brown cement in the middle of the pathways in this area symbolizes the lovely brown streets in colonial America, made that way from the morning dumping of chamber pots.
On that note, I’d stop for a bite to eat at the yummy Columbia Harbour House before a trip on Liberty Square Riverboat on the Rivers of America….or maybe I’d hit Liberty Tree Tavern?. I’ve had lunch here and it’s very good. However, I prefer the character dinner with Minnie, Chip and Dale, Goofy and Pluto decked out in period garb. But I have another dinner experience in mind! Then I’d duck my head into Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, just because I love the name of it!
At dusk, I would watch the Flag Retreat Ceremony with the National Anthem at the flagpole in front of the Main Street Station then I’d be off…
…to Epcot. The first stop would be out in front of the American pavilion in the World Showcase for a performance of "The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps". Then I would head inside to the building’s rotunda. I can hear the "The Liberty Voices" as I type this. No really I can, I have one of their CDs. (The "Liberty Voices" are a group of cast members, present and past, from the Voices of Liberty group at Epcot.) These extremely talented performers are enchanting to listen to and never cease to make me feel all patriotic. They’ve brought tears to my eyes…just beautiful!
I would then walk up the stairs to The American Adventure through the Hall of Flags, which showcases all the flags (44 in all) that have flown over the United States at some point or another. Then I’d watch the idealized American Adventure and well up as I watch Ryan White’s face flash over the screen. And smile as I see Jim Henson’s. The discussion following the presentation among my family and friends is always who should be added to that end montage of American icons. I leave the theatre choked up and humming "Golden Dream".
(I have to interrupt myself here to let you know that if you were to become ambitious and try to do everything listed above in a single day, you might miss the Voices of Liberty. Often they do not sing after dusk.)
Then I’d go to Fort Wilderness for Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue. This is the type of thing that the 4th of July is all about: fun, family and barbecue! It’s a delicious dinner of all your barbecue favs, including hot dogs, ribs, chicken and corn on the cob. After, we’d listen to the country band play and watch the kids interact with the characters.
And finally, I’d head back to Magic Kingdom for the fireworks because there’s nothing like Cinderella Castle with a backdrop of fireworks! Do you think if I click my heels together, this year I’ll be there??
Have a happy and safe holiday weekend from all of us here at Mouse Fan Travel!