I had to work five days in a row over the long 4th of July holiday weekend, which fell on a Saturday this year.
But, I still had a lot of fun! There were special holiday events happening in every park and special fireworks shows at both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
July 3rd: Magic Kingdom Fireworks!
I got an ER (early release) and got off work at 7pm on July 3rd, and immediately headed over to the Magic Kingdom with my CM friend to see the patriotic “Celebrate America – A 4th of July Concert in the Sky” fireworks at 9pm.
Unfortunately, a lot of guests had the same idea and the traffic – and weather – was terrible!
Because of the holiday crowds, they do two shows of the special fireworks, on July 3rd and then again on July 4th. There’s less people at the July 3rd one, but MK is still pretty busy.
It was raining lightly when I got out of work at 7pm, but really started to rain hard when we got to the park.
A thunderstorm was rolling through and the most spectacular lightning show that I’ve ever seen was happening right over Cinderella Castle. Video of it even made the international news!
Disney doesn’t light off fireworks during thunderstorms. After all, Tinkerbell can’t jump off the top of the Cinderella Castle and fly down into Tomorrowland on her metal guide wire with lightning nearby!
Usually, the fireworks are just delayed 30 minutes until the storm moves through and the winds calm down. But, this was a line a thunderstorms coming in from the west that stretched for over 20 miles long from north to south. We weren’t sure the fireworks would even be held that night. It seemed dangerous to be standing out on Main Street USA with 20,000 guests in the pouring rain and all that lightning continuously lighting up the sky.
Actually, even though Central Florida is the lightning capital of the country, Main Street USA is probably one of the safer places to be standing outside during a thunderstorm.
That’s because lightning rods dot the rooftops of every single building at the Magic Kingdom, with many buildings having 2-6 rods on them. All lightning rods on a particular building are connected through a system of copper wiring. That wiring runs down the side of the building straight into the ground for at least 10 feet.
Lightning accompanies the many storms in Central Florida, so Imagineers created structures that double as lightning rods. Cinderella’s Castle is also a lightning rod, and though the Enchanted Tiki Room looks like a tropical building with a plant thatched roof, it’s roof is really made out of aluminum strips. There are many more disguised lightning rods; just glance at the rooftops to see if you can locate them.
(Side story: In July 2003, lightning struck and killed a giraffe named Betsy at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction. Betsy, who was 6 years old, was the first animal to die from a lightning strike at the park.)
With the fireworks delayed, we decided to go over to the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Port Orleans and grab a late dinner. We kept checking our phones for fireworks update every minute or two.
I ate here last year with Elly and it was really good. I was not disappointed this time either! The beignets were just as delicious as I remembered!
The food in the Pizza and Pasta Shop food smelled so good. I tried the baked Chicken Parmesan for dinner and it was wonderful.
The fireworks show did eventually go off after the rain moved on, but not until after 11pm, almost two hours late.
July 4th: Happy 4th of July America!!!
I got off work early again on the 4th of July (7pm) and made plans to go to Epcot with friends.
That worked out much better!
Special Disney characters in patriotic outfits were out and about at Epcot all day.
At 10pm (an hour later than the usual 9pm showtime) we watched IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth featuring “The Heartbeat of Freedom” fireworks show, a special 5-minute patriotic fireworks finale added onto IllumiNations.
It was fantastic!!!!
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale