WDW Magazine - - Front Page - BY MIKE BEYER

Your day has been mag­i­cal. The weather was per­fect. Sunny, warm, and not too hu­mid (un­less you visit in Au­gust, then dis­re­gard the last de­scrip­tion). Ev­ery­thing has gone ac­cord­ing to plan. You’ve been look­ing for­ward to the most amaz­ing fire­works show known to man. But, there’s a prob­lem. Lit­tle Timmy or Sally is ex­tremely anx­ious about them.

The above sce­nario has been played out thou­sands of times through­out the his­tory of Walt Dis­ney World. How do you deal? What do you do?

Dis­ney goes above and be­yond when it comes to their fire­works shows. They are the sec­ond largest buyer of ex­plo­sives in the United States, next to the De­fense Depart­ment.

Three of the four main parks have nightly fire­works shows, and shows is what they are, not merely dis­plays. There are sto­ries be­hind each one. Magic King­dom has re­cently re­placed Wishes with a new show, Hap­pily Ever Af­ter, Ep­cot has Il­lu­mi­na­tions: Re­flec­tions of Earth, and Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios has Star Wars: A Galac­tic Spec­tac­u­lar.

One way to help with the anx­i­ety is to ease the kids into the fire­works be­fore you go. A sim­ple search of “Walt Dis­ney World Fire­works” on Youtube will get you a vast ar­ray of videos to watch from the com­fort of your own home—show­ing the kids what they are go­ing to see. You can turn the vol­ume up grad­u­ally to sim­u­late the noise of the ac­tual fire­works. We do this on oc­ca­sion, just to en­joy the lat­est ex­plo­sive sym­phony.

If they are good with that, take them to a lo­cal fire­works dis­play. Vir­tu­ally ev­ery town has a fire­works show for July 4th, La­bor Day, Flag Day, or even just some lo­cal cel­e­bra­tion. The shows will most likely not be up to the level that Dis­ney does things, but it will let them feel the con­cus­sion from the blasts and hear the crackle of twi­light sparklers for them­selves.

Both of my girls had some noise tol­er­ance is­sues, so a sim­ple set of noise can­celling head­phones also works won­ders.

If the lo­cal dis­play doesn’t go over well, maybe try watch­ing Dis­ney’s Night­time Spec­tac­u­lars from one of the Re­sorts, such as The Grand Floridian, Poly­ne­sian Vil­lage Re­sort, or The Con­tem­po­rary. You are at a safe dis­tance and can still have an amaz­ing view of the fire­works. Some lo­ca­tions, such as Cal­i­for­nia Grill at The Con­tem­po­rary, even dim the lights and pipe-in the sound­track to the show over the house speak­ers.

One thing that you may not take into ac­count is the stroller traf­fic jam that will oc­cur dur­ing these amaz­ing sky­ward spec­ta­cles. It is easy to get road rage while try­ing to nav­i­gate the crowd or find­ing a place to view. Be cour­te­ous and move slowly to avoid be­ing “that guy” who runs into every­one’s an­kles. Per­haps, even put some glow sticks on your stroller to help it be more vis­i­ble in the darkness.

One other thing to think about is pos­si­bly view­ing from an al­ter­nate area from which the main crowds tend to shy away. Most peo­ple at Magic King­dom will gather along Main Street, U.S.A. or in The Hub to watch the show, but you can get a great per­spec­tive, and be a lit­tle re­prieve from the noise, by view­ing from the Train Sta­tion, along the piers be­tween Lib­erty Square and Fron­tier­land. At Ep­cot, view­ing Il­lu­mi­na­tions, any­where around World Show­case La­goon will af­ford you a view of the show, but a great place to catch the show is at the top of the walk­way from Fu­ture World, near the Friend­ship Docks. Lastly, at Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios, you can have great view­ing along Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard, or some­times off to the sides of The Great Movie Ride, in front of Hol­ly­wood and Vine, or even a lit­tle fur­ther down, near the In­di­ana Jones at­trac­tion.

Every­one is dif­fer­ent with their tol­er­ance to fire­works. They may be down­right scary for some. The things I men­tioned above will surely help keep the un­easi­ness to a min­i­mum, but know what will work best for your fam­ily. Don’t force them to view or be near the fire­works, be­cause it may ruin Dis­ney for them.

Above all—en­joy your va­ca­tion and your time with fam­ily, fire­works or not.

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