Spending the Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom
Spending the Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom
Kate K.

It’s almost the Fourth of July, which means its time to spend a day celebrating the history of America! And if you’re planning on spending the Fourth in Orlando, then you couldn’t find a more patriotic place to celebrate than the Magic Kingdom. Did I surprise you there? Well, you wouldn’t be alone, there are many guests who are genuinely surprised by how much of America’s history was woven into the park, all at the insistence of Walt Disney himself. In this two-part series, we’ll start with Walt’s love of American History and cover how Main Street USA sets the stage for any visit to the Magic Kingdom. And if you want to continue your patriotic day, you can read this post on the journey that is Liberty Square and Frontierland! So here is how to spend the Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney, Creative HistorianWalt Pledg of allegence

Walt was a huge history buff, and he was always finding ways to celebrate the ‘American Experience’ and the idea that hard work and perseverance can make a dream come true. After all, it worked for him. Walt’s love for everything that America stood for was amplified during WWII when the animation studio created propaganda for the war efforts. Disney characters even became officially sanctioned mascots for divisions of soldiers, like this icon with Thumper made for 799th of the Air Force (found in Hollywood Studios!). Walt even had a favorite president: Abraham Lincoln.

Wartime Thumper

Americana in the ’64 Worlds Fair

Walt loved the president so much that he had Mr. Lincoln as the star of his own attraction. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln opened at the 1964 World’s Fair in the Illinois State Pavilion. This was the same World’s Fair that saw the debut of the Carousel of Progress that celebrates the American Family through the years, as well as It’s a Small World. The idea for the project was to have a tribute to all presidents housed in Main Street USA in Disneyland. If that project sounds familiar, it should. Though it was scrapped for Disneyland, it was eventually reborn as the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square (more about that in Part II). Instead an audio-animatronic show was crated around President Lincoln, featuring excerpts from his famous speeches. A version of that show can still be seen if you ever make it out to Disneyland.

Moving things to the Florida Project

Walt especially loved celebrating the journey that America had taken from a collection of small colonies to the vast nation of today. He had sprinkled Disneyland with that love, from Frontierland, to the Rivers of America and Main Street USA. But due to land restrictions and other factors, some projects, like the colonial annex of Main Street USA, had to be scrapped. So it should come as no surprise that when he started designing the Florida Project he and the imagineers added even more history packed details into Magic Kingdom than you can find in Disneyland! And even though he passed away before the Florida Project could open, his brother Roy Disney honored Walt’s wishes. He made sure that every one of his brother’s plans, down to which trees should be planted where, were carried out exactly as his brother had wanted.

Let’s Talk Main Street USA

Main Street Transportation Company

If we’re talking about a celebration of American History in the Magic Kingdom then there is no better place to start than on Main Street USA. The Smithsonian Magazine describes Main Street USA as a “the Story of the ‘American Way’1” with its emphasis on the ideal of America at the turn of the last century.

This quaint land is one that most people take for granted. But it’s very important to the whole Magic Kingdom experience! When you get to the gates of the Magic Kingdom the first thing you see is a turn of the century train station with that fantastic Mickey Mouse landscaped mural in front of it. You then have to walk through two tunnels that transport you back in time to the early 20th century.

Stop in and Stay A While

Most people see Main Street as the corridor to the Magic rather than as a unique land all its own. This is because the only ‘attraction’ you’ll find is a stop for the Walt Disney World Railroad. But if you decide to linger a while, you’ll find that Main Street has so much more to offer!

The street is actually a vibrant community complete with a mayor, fire chief and various other citizens. You’ll find an old fashioned Ice Cream parlor, a working artisan shop (The Arribas Bros), horse drawn carriages, and trollies. If you’ve got a keen eye (and ear) you may even come across a few other treats. One fan favorite is the Dapper Dans, the Barbershop Quartet that sings turn of the century classics during the day. The street is modeled after the small Missourian town where Walt spent a large part of his childhood. The ambiance of the area acts as the perfect break from the world of today.

Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom - Arribas Bros on Main Street USA

Eating the Street, Main Street that Is.

You’ll find four restaurants on Main Street USA. Tony’s Town Square has an emphasis on Italian Food. It’s themed around the Lady and the Tramp (which was set in the same era as Main Street USA). You can find the beautiful Plaza Restaurant around the corner from the Ice Cream parlor. Its small, but has great views of the castle and even better classic American faire. The third food stop is the Crystal Palace, just before the bridge to Adventureland. This is a large buffet style table service restaurant. Here you’ll find Winnie the Pooh and friends. While they’re not turn of the century Americana, the 100 Acre Wood gang are from the right time period!

Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom Casey's Corner Sign

If you really want to play up the Americana, you can eat at Casey’s, the only Quick Service option in Main Street USA. Here Umpires serve up Hot Dogs in a place themed after the Casey’s Up At Bat (1946). Considering that Hot Dogs have become synonymous with the Fourth of July Celebrations there really isn’t a better place to eat!

Prime Fireworks Spot  for the Fourth of July in the Magic KingdomFireworks behind castle

Main Street USA is also one of the best places for you to end your day at Disney. You can catch the fireworks show from the Hub, or even from the Train Station down at the end of the street! Keep in mind, though, that the Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom is one of the highest attendance days of the year. So get a spot early or you might find yourself being ushered right out of the hub!

Main Street USA, Gateway to the Magic

One of the cleverest parts of the design of Main Street USA is that the whole place is set up like the opening credits to a choose-your-own-adventure style film called ‘Your Day in the Magic Kingdom’. The tunnels into Main Street USA are lined with ‘coming attractions’ posters like you’d find in a theater. And those coming attractions are coming up later in your day! Next you’ll find concession stands cooking up popcorn and treats for you to enjoy.

Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom: The Magic Kingdom Gates

As you pass the flag you’ll see a statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse, representing the Producer of the adventure. Each window you pass by has the name of an Imagineer, or one of the shell companies Walt used to purchase the land. (You can read more about that here). The final credit is the statue of Walt himself all the way down on the other end where you have to pick the next phase of your adventure. Which we’ll cover in our next post: Exploring Frontierland – a Historic Adventure! So tune in soon for more from the Homes4uu Blog.

Kate K.

Kate K. is a freelance writer, artist, designer, and programmer. She has been working with Homes4uu as our primary blogger, graphic designer, webmaster, and social media manager since 2014. You can also find Kate on her homesite www.k8ilyeverafter.com and her blog k8ilyeverafterpresents.com.

Read More About Kate K. here

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