Disney’s Hollywood Studios 4th of July Fireworks!

By Cory Disbrow on July 6th, 2012   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Spotlight   |    13 Comments

Hey everybody! It is Fireworks Friday, and I am posting some shots from a very special show. On the 4th of July this week, I was fortunate enough to catch of rare glimpse of fireworks over Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In a word, it was awesome. I felt that I did a pretty bad job at the Magic Kingdom show the night before, and I was out to make myself feel better. And while the Magic Kingdom show might be better from a patriotic and storytelling aspect, I felt like this show at DHS was believe it or not, better for photography. There was so much more color, and tons of huge bursts. I didn’t expect this much, so it was a welcome surprise. I setup outside the park along the pathway that leads to the Boardwalk and Epcot Resort Area, planning on capturing the bursts across the whole park, while also getting some reflections in the water in the foreground. I initially set up with an 85mm lens, and after the first burst seen here, I knew I needed to do a quick lens change!

While I still like that shot and the colors that came with it, I knew I needed to switch to capture everything. So, I scrambled to put on my 17-40mm lens, and also put on a 2 stop Neutral Density filter, making sure to not make the same mistake with the 3 stop I did the night before at Magic Kingdom. That said, here are the rest of my keepers from this awesome show!

Overall, it was an incredible show, and brought back wonderfully fond memories of my childhood when fireworks used to go off at DHS every night. I know it is an operational nightmare, but part of me wishes they would do stuff like this more than just 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. Hope you guys enjoyed this one, as it was a treat to shoot and report on. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!!


  1. Shawn   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Spectacular!! I wish I could have been there but these pictures are the next best thing!

  2. Scott Thomas Photography   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Nice location choice! BTW, could you explain more about your choice to use the 2-stop ND here. I just read your account from the night before.


    • Cory Disbrow   |   Jul 6, 2012

      The night before, I used a 3 stop ND, thinking there would be so many bursts at one time that I would need it to keep the colors from getting washed out. But, most of my shots from the night before ended up being way too dark, even at lower apertures like f/8 or f/9, which I usually never use for fireworks. So I went with the 2 stop on the 4th and was much happier!

      • Scott Thomas Photography   |   Jul 6, 2012

        Interesting…maybe the distance needed the extra stop. Will have to experiment now! Thank you for the reply.

        • Scott S. Baxter (Pixie Dust Pictures)   |   Jul 12, 2012

          I did read recently that you should open up your aperture more for fireworks as you move further away. If I had shot these, I would have setup as I do for Wishes on Main Street — 6-stop ND filter, f/11 at ISO 200 or so. They would have been waaay too dark, I’m afraid. I’m glad I know better ahead of time, as I hope to shoot Wishes from the TTC at the next opportunity.

      • Sharon Sermons   |   Jul 16, 2012

        I was hoping you could give me some insite on settings to use for firework photography @ MAgic KIngdom . Our family is going in sept Your photography is some of the best I have see. Any help would be GReat !

  3. Matt Hochberg   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Awesome photos! I love the perspective you chose too

  4. Barrie Brewer   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Nice job Cory! These photos are fantastic. I’ve never had the desire to be in FL in the heat of the summer but you may have inspired me to brave the heat and crowds next year. Are the New Years fireworks similar to these? That might be better.

  5. Adam Hansen   |   Jul 6, 2012

    I bet there is a good chance that for the New Years Eve fireworks you see a few more tripods in this area :)

  6. Crystal   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Great shots Cory! Focal length choice is always tough, especially when shooting from a new area. Great job of switching on the fly!

  7. Katie Marino   |   Jul 6, 2012

    Awesome, Cory! That’s some show!

  8. T.J. Powell   |   Jul 7, 2012

    Great shots. I did not know they did fireworks like this at DHS. I guess I need to be there on the 4th of July next year!

  9. Josh Dean   |   Jul 8, 2012

    Great shots! I can’t wait to try it on New Years Eve.



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