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Best places to see Disney World fireworks outside Magic Kingdom


A view of Magic Kingdom's fireworks from the Polynesian beach.

Some of the best places to watch the Fourth of July fireworks at Walt Disney World, in my opinion, require planning ahead a bit -- or a touch of pixie dust. With America's birthday just around the corner, you may need to wish for that extra bit of magic to make this plan work this week -- or mark your calendars for next year.

For my family, watching "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky" presented in the Magic Kingdom is best done from outside the park. Because we're local residents, we don't mind skipping the crowds there, knowing we can go back at a later, less busy time. Our preference is a view from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts -- Polynesian, Grand Floridan, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness or Contemporary.

Over the years, we have made dinner reservations at various restaurants in these hotels and afterward walked out to the beach for a drink and the fireworks. This is where the pixie dust comes in: If you don't already have a dinner reservation for Independence Day, you'll need to check for a cancellation. Most Disney World hotel restaurants won't have room for walk-ins on July 4, and you absolutely need to have a reservation to be able to park at the hotels.

An opening actually may be easier to find this year than in the past because of the new dining policy that requires guests to cancel reservations they aren't using or pay a service charge. For most restaurants, the cancellation must be made 24 to 48 hours in advance. So, start checking online or call 407-WDW-DINE.

Guests line the public balconies at the Contemporary to watch Fourth of July fireworks.

For us, another bonus of watching the Fourth of July fireworks from a Magic Kingdom hotel is being able to see the Electrical Water Pageant, which stops in front of each resort. I have happy childhood memories of watching the water pageant from our balcony at The Contemporary and enjoy the nostalgic experience with my kids.

A view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from in front of the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower.

Last year, we met friends for dinner at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary. Afterward, we stepped outside in front of the monorail tracks and Bay Lake Tower to watch the nighttime show. It was a fantastic spot for seeing all the fireworks, which are shot off around the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom and not just behind Cinderella Castle. The one downfall, though, is that the music that accompanies the patriotic fireworks was not piped into that location, as it is others. The observation deck of The Contemporary, for example, did have speakers with the music, and that location filled up with guests very quickly.

Guests wait on the beach in front of the Polynesian for the patriotic fireworks.

Our favorite spot to watch fireworks on the Fourth, though, is the beach at the Polynesian, after having eaten a delicious dinner inside. We've definitely seen this location get more busy over time. Some years, there are even parties catered at Sunset Point, which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle. The beach has a few hammocks and a volleyball net, but most people bring chairs and blankets. It's a relaxed atmosphere with room to move around, which is great for the kids.

This year, "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky" will be shown at 9 p.m. July 3 and 4. Do you have a favorite spot to view the Magic Kingdom Fourth of July fireworks? Please tell us about it in the comments.

The previous post in this blog was Phineas & Ferb attraction opens at Disney World.

The next post in this blog is Disney On Ice brings new 'Rockin' Ever After' show to Orlando and Lakeland.

Comments (4)

Regina Allen:

One of my most memorable Disney trips was from the early 70's when we went to Disney World & stayed at the Polynesian during the Fourth of July holiday. I remember standing on the dock with my parents & sister & one other gentleman. When they started playing all the patriotic songs, especially the military anthems, both my Dad & the other gentleman put their hands over their hearts and stood at attention. For some reason, over 30 years later, that memory stands out for me. You're right. The Polynesian beach is the BEST place to see the fireworks from MK, especially during the 4th of July!

Thanks for sharing.

Andree Godin:

Another good article. I love reading your work. Reading this article brought back memories of my trip to WDW with my husband in 2009 where we stayed at the Polynesian. We were upgraded to a concierge level room upon our arrival which was a nice surprise! We watched the fireworks a few times from the lounge but one night we took a plate of desserts, drinks and our pillows down to the beach and got in one the the huge hammocks to watch the electric pageant and the fireworks. Best place EVER! thanks again for your great articles and for bringing up beautiful memories.


Great article! A little bummed though. I heard a rumor that the Polynesian Beach will be restricted to Polynesian hotel guests on the 3rd and 4th this year. It really was a great place to watch them though! As an annual passholder, there were a few years I left the MK to see them on the beach, so I wouldn't be trapped on main Street Hopefully, it's not a policy Disney will be keeping...

Mike Venere:

Congrats on having your own section in the blogs....really like your input and information on the daily happenings at our favorite place!

Any input on watching from Wilderness Lodge?
Really got spoiled last year and got a GREAT deal at Bay Lake where we were able to use the bridge, one night at Cali Grill and best of all from our balcony to view the fireworks. We had to "settle" this year for the Lodge....joking obviously.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 3, 2012 7:27 AM.

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