With record crowds and usually record high temperatures, too, there are a lot of reasons to avoid the Orlando theme parks on the 4th of July. In recent years, the Magic Kingdom (Disney’s smallest park) has actually closed because of capacity, meaning additional guests will not be admitted until some of the people inside leave.

Stay at the Contemporary and enjoy July 4th fireworks from your balcony!

On a record setting day in 2011 (December 28), the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios all closed due to capacity, leaving guests outside the gates, waiting. If July 4th, 2012 is anything like past years, one or more theme parks may not be available — unless you plan ahead! Here are a few ways to deal with capacity closures, no matter what park you visit:

Arrive early and plan to stay all day: Check the park hours– they will likely be extended due to the holiday. Choose a single park for the day and get there when it opens. While leaving in the afternoon and returning after the sun goes down is usually the best way to deal with crowds, this method will not work on the 4th of July, since guests will be waiting for the special fireworks offered by  just about every Orlando theme park.
Opt out entirely: Shoulder to shoulder crowds, strollers jammed into every available space, waits of multiple hours…are you sure you want to go to the theme parks for the 4th of July? Consider bypassing a park entirely on this day and enjoying your likely deserted resort instead.

You’ll be able to relax and enjoy your day, and depending on where you are staying, you can catch the fireworks from your resort. You can also book a special meal at a fireworks friendly resort like Disney’s Contemporary; the California Grill offers a supurb view, and you can reserve your table in advance, no sweaty crowded waits required.