Fourth of July at the Theme Parks

2013 Event Info
Plan on spending the holiday at a theme park? Then here's the line up for Thursday, July 4, 2013's events at each of the parks:

Magic Kingdom
As part of their "Limited Time Magic", Magic Kingdom will be celebrating all week long, July 1-7, 2013. A 15 minute all encompasing (360 degree) fireworks show “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” will occur each night. The fireworks will be at 9 p.m. on July 3 and 4, and 10 p.m. on July 1, 2 ,5, 6 and 7. There will also be a special pre-parade prior to the daily Celebrate a Dream Come True parade with a patriotic twist. And don't forget the specialty patriotic themed merchandise and treats available all week.

On the Fourth of July, Epcot's nightly fireworks show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, will be enhanced with a special fireworks tag at the end of the show called "The Heartbeat of Freedom," an overture of traditional Americana themes displayed in a pyrotechnic and laser light event. The show is at 10 p.m. In addition, Epcot guests may lend their ears to "Voices of Liberty 4th of July Concert" and meet with Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Disney characters adorned in patriotic dress at American Adventure.

Hollywood Studios
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the all-new "Rockin' 4th of July" celebration will begin at the sorcerer hat with a DJ at 6pm, along with performanced by Mulch, Sweat & Shears at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm and end it with a grand finale of fireworks at 10:15pm.

Animal Kingdom
You're out of luck for special 4th of July fireworks here. Park closes at 7pm.

Theme park hours on July 4 (subject to change without notice): Magic Kingdom, 8 a.m.-1 a.m.; Epcot, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 9 a.m.-12 a.m.; and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

SeaWorld is adding some extra celebratory fun to their already energy-packed Summer Nights for July 4th. 
"Celebrate Fourth of July with our patriotic Reflections show. Join us seaside along the Waterfront Village for this spectacular celebration of animated fountains and dazzling fireworks. Or take a seat in our Bayside Stadium and enjoy the show from the comforts of our theater-style seating. This experience is offered seasonally. To plan your day, please check our show schedule listing for the date of your visit to see available shows for that time of year."
Source: SeaWorld

SeaWorld Hours Hours: 9am-11pm

Universal Orlando Resort
After contacting Universal's PR department regarding any special events, shows or activities, we were told "we don't have anything specific to the holiday". We will update this information if something new comes up.
Islands of Adventure's Hours: 8am-9pm
Universal Studios's Hours: 9am-10pm

Alternate Option: Downtown Celebration
Looking for that home-town, old-fashioned 4th of July? You might want to transport back in time and visit Disney's previously owned 'perfect' town. Here you will find "A Sci-Fi 4th of July". Live music, free admission and parking might sound good to your wallet too. For the full event schedule, see their site here


-----::: Comments, Suggestions & Tips :::-----

If you plan on partying at a theme park on the 4th, understand that you will not be alone, but with about a million other like-minded park-goers. The Magic Kingdom is by far the worst as far as crowd levels - the park quite often hits capacity around 4pm or so, and if it does hit capacity, they won't let anyone in after that. If you absolutely must spend your holiday in this park, you have to get there early and not leave all day. Not our cup of tea.

Epcot. Slightly better here as it's a larger park capacity wise. It still will be just about the busiest you will ever see it. People will be camped out early for the 'best spot' for Illuminations later. We've even seen scores of hot folk napping out in the grassy patches. This park will not likely ever hit capacity, so squeeze in – there's room for one more!

On the other hand, Hollywood Studios is usually a much more "managable-but-crowded" day at the park. 

Downtown Disney – We have not heard about anything special taking place here. Considering half this area (RIP Pleasure Island, *sniff*) is dead at night anyway, I don't know why they'd bother. Will update if we hear otherwise.

SeaWorld – We have yet to experience 4th of July at this park, but we may be attending this year. Similar advice though, get there early and be prepared for the heat and crowds. We do enjoy the DJ booths they have entertaining during the regular Summer Nights event, so we think it'll keep the crowd even more energized throughout the night.

Universal Resort – We've spent a few July 4ths between the two parks here. A few years ago we took in a Blue Man Group show and got out just in time to catch the old Cinesphere show. We then waited out the masses leaving the park by having a cocktail or two at CityWalk. (Waiting out the crowds here is highly recommended by us - one year it took nearly 2 hours to get out of the parking lot to I-4).  

If you do decide to brave the masses and go out, put on your patience pants (actually, go for the patience shorts) and remember to enjoy yourself and have a good time!

From all of us at Party Through The Parks, Happy 4th of July!

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