KIDS AT WDW HOW TO DEAL WITH FIREWORKS AT WDW
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.