I don’t recall many Fourth of July-related traditions from being a kid. Surely I saw fireworks at one venue or another, but I couldn’t tell you where. However, I do remember one particular year as a kid when my family and I spend a week in Palm Desert that lasted past the holiday.
Before coming out for the vacation, my parents assured me that we would be taking a trip to Disneyland on one of the days, but hadn’t chosen an exact day. That’s when I suggested that we go on Independence Day so that we could watch the fireworks from there (I guess I didn’t realize that fireworks made a nightly appearance at Disneyland regardless of holiday status.) They accepted my suggestion and we apparently went to Disney for that day.
I say “apparently” because I don’t remember much about that day. I vaguely remember being in ToonTown when the fireworks were set off, but adult me questions this memory as ToonTown is normally closed around dusk. Still, this would later inspire the closest thing I have to a Fouth of July tradition.
If any other activity were vying for the title, I suppose it would be “working.” Believe or not, I actually enjoyed working at a movie theatre on Fourth of July evening because, as you may expect, people have better things to do and so these nights were usually pretty quiet. In some cases, some of the managers would head up to roof of whatever building I was at to catch a few minutes of the various displays going off in the distance.
Once I moved to California, it seemed my days of working Independence Day evenings were over. Instead, I was given the morning shift on the Fourth two years in a row. The downside of this was that it was far busier during my shift, but it did allow me to head down to Disneyland right after. I actually went to the parks for three straight years for the holiday and each time Suburban Legends were playing in Tomorrowland. Just like on New Years Eve, staying at Tomorrowland Terrace and watching the band helps me to avoid the heavy crowds in the rest of park, making for an enjoyable evening in spite of the park being packed.
Since Disneyland is a little far away, my wife and I are trying out a new tradition inspired by her youth: watching the Walt Disney World Fouth or July Spectacular on YouTube. Originally broadcast on television in 1988, my wife and her family have a copy of the special on VHS and she would watch it frequently. A few months ago, we looked up some of the moments she remembered best and laughed at how corny and fun it was.
So, if you’d like to join us, check out this clip of The Beach Boys from the special to give you a taste of that you’re in for:
Wasn’t that a great fade out on the live music…
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everybody!
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV