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Independence Day in Walt Disney World ~ 2012

The plan was simple… we would all meet up on the Polynesian Beach on July 3rd. It’s a well-known fact among many Disney enthusiasts that the Independence Fireworks over Magic Kingdom run July 4th AND July 3rd.  Having done the 3rd last year, it should have gone off without a hitch… here is what happened.

Morning of July 3rd I was SUPER excited!  We loved watching the fireworks last year from the Poly beach, and we had a group of awesome friends meeting us this year.  The plan was in place, and a simple Facebook status of wondering if I could bring a camping chair or not would throw a monkey wrench into everything. On a side note, I WILL say that Social Media in this situation was either going to tremendously help me or frustrate the heck out of me. Let’s go with both.

For those of you who got to partake in the wild ride that next happened, you know how confusing it all was.  Here was the problem: Polynesian EVERY year has allowed all Disney guests and Annual Passholders watch the fireworks from their Beach.  This is what I experienced last year, this is what I have been told of years past.  So when it was dropped online that they were implementing a “New” policy in which only Resort Guests could watch from there, it opened up a can of worms that took up my following hours with frustration.  Several of us called, talked to the same people, even had someone IN the Poly ask and we all got the same answer “You have to be a Resort Guest, they are distributing wristbands. Don’t have one, they will make you leave.”  I am not debating the decision, or the rule. I am debating why MANY people were getting different stories on the Beach policy in the first place.

So what do you do? Do you go and hope for the best? Here was my thing with it- I pack up the family, the chairs, we had others meeting us… we get comfy in our spot, and then we are asked to leave. I didn’t want to be embarrassed, nor my family and friends with me.  I read all OVER the Disney Boards that they were INDEED going to check.  Now before anyone gets on my case about “not” being a Disney Resort guest, I am quite aware that I am not.  It has been done for YEARS that they allowed all to enjoy the beach for this. If they wanted to enforce something different, enforce it.  I understand that many people are on vacation, I understand they pay a lot to stay at the Poly. I have and had no intention to take a spot away from someone else, in fact, we sat way to the right and away from all of the events and such so we weren’t in the way last year.  I don’t use the pool, I don’t use the recreation, I just sit on the beach for the fireworks. Since it seemed like Disney was trying to enforce it this year, we came up with plan B and had a party at our house instead. (Side note- was texted by several later that no one checked them, For that, I say I followed Disney’s wishes and didn’t push it.)

Everyone brought food, had a potluck of taco dips, pigs in blankets, desserts, and chips. Shelley and I toasted Arbor Mist with my “Once Upon a Time” goblets and we relaxed in the patio area.  The lightening started all around us, and we were very thankful we weren’t sitting on a beach at that moment. It was actually pretty alarming, so much at one point we came inside. We talked, we laughed, we shared stories and our love of Disney.  It was such an amazing feeling to be able to just enjoy each other’s company, no one on cell phones or computers, just everyone having a great time together.  It wasn’t the Poly beach, it was something better. We even watched “The World of Color” on our TV to show everyone the “Glow” Mickey ears that play with the show. It was really cool to be able to watch something like that with other Disney fans like us, I guarantee you that never happened in WI.

Next day we had a full family day planned. Being in the Disney public eye, I have to work at making sure that my family knows they are ALWAYS first. They come before the blog and everyone else that comes with it, and that’s how it should be.  It worked out well we had friends over one night, and then still got our family time the next.

We swam at 10 a.m. because the pool was 85 degrees! The hot weather has cooked it up nice and tolerable, so you don’t scream when you first get in.  We never bother heating our pool, it is way too expensive to try, so summer is prime time to enjoy it.  We swam for hours until getting out for grilling and lunch.  Craig made delicious kabobs, and Kyra made a wonderful pasta salad.  With fresh cut watermelon, we had a Independence meal fit for a King.  We LOVE eating out in our lanai, and it was extra cool as the thunder rolled in towards the end of our meal.

As it poured, we all napped the calories away and enjoyed the down time before Epcot. After a light dinner, we headed into Epcot around 6:00 p.m.  If you remember, we sat for hours and hours on end to get our fantastic front row seats for New Years Eve fireworks. I wasn’t in the mood, nor was the rest of the family, to fight the crowds all day, so walking in when we did was enough.

We headed back to the American Adventure, but on the way we got in line for the Highland Games. Too bad they closed the line, so we kept heading into the World Showcase.  It was packed, which we expected, and walked into the AA Lobby at 7:00 to wait for the 7:30 show.  Voices of Liberty didn’t sing before it, but it was a great feeling to have the air conditioning and a bench to sit on.  Just from the walk I was sweating up a storm, I can’t imagine being in the Park all day.

It was about 3/4th full, and like always, you have several rows that felt they could stop in the middle. It seems that there is no point to any CM saying “Move all the way down” anymore.  I have to say that after the show started, I was really into it. I have seen it several times, but watching it on our Independence Day was something really special.  I teared up several times, and after the show ended, I just wanted to hug any Veteran nearby.  It was a great way to celebrate the day.

We bought funnel cakes, in a line that went back to Japan, and hung out in the American Adventure courtyard. The Bon Jovi cover band played at 9, so we got to hear all of his songs while we enjoyed our delicious sugary goodness.

At 9:30 we found an ok spot between America and Italy, and by the time the show was about to begin, we were joined by Otis, Suzannah, and her hubby, Jerry.  It was a nice surprise to run into them, so we all hung out to watch them together.  We had a great view, and then the Dad in front of us put his child on his shoulders.

Insert rant here. I am sorry, I get it… your child can’t see above the MANY persons in front of them. If you want them to be able to see, you have to grab a spot at the many railings around the World Showcase and park it until the show starts. If you want to put your child on your shoulders, stand in the back- it’s that simple. I know that walking up a half-hour before the show starts doesn’t guarantee me anything, but I hope I can see through or over someone.  Emily knew this as well, and she did her best to see around everyone.  Have consideration for those around you and it makes a world of difference. Rant over.

Thankfully most of the show was in the air, so after they played “Illuminations” they started up the 4th of July ending right away. It was amazing, it was breathtaking, and I LOVED that we watched it near the American pavilion because I felt like they surrounded us.  I would tell anyone to see Epcot’s above any of the other Parks… I did see MK’s last year, and Epcot’s was far better.  It was a great night, great Independence Day, and thanks to my family and friends who made it so special.


  1. We had a great time on the 3rd thanks to our gracious hosts! The fireworks were fantastic at the Magic Kingdom on the 4th, but after seeing what Amy wrote, I hope to see the Epcot show next year!


  2. Sweltering heat, full park day, kids on shoulders, and rude people. Just imagine if this is your one big vacation in years and you’re plunking down a few thousand dollars and you’ve got six days to do Disney before you fly 1000 miles back home. With the increasing prices and growing crowds, I’m wondering how difficult is Disney going to make it for us to make that trek?


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