What better place is there to ring out the old and ring in the new than Walt Disney World? New Year’s Eve and Day are one of the most popular times of year to visit, but that does not mean that you won’t have the night of your life. Here are some tips to help you to make the most of every moment.
The Magic Kingdom is the most popular of the four theme parks to celebrate, so if that is where you are thinking of going make plans to head there early and spend the entire day. The park very well could reach capacity, so if you leave you are not guaranteed a spot back in. Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks will start at 11:50, and they are the most incredible way to ring in a New Year. If you plan to watch from Main Street, U.S.A. you will need to secure a spot hours in advance. Instead, consider watching from Fantasyland. It will be crowded wherever you are, but there might be a little less pushing and shoving.
New Year’s Eve at Epcot is a great alternative to the Magic Kingdom. There is live music in the America Gardens Theater, and a special showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. That will begin at 11:40, and then there will be a countdown to midnight. Remember that IllumiNations is ending in 2019, so this will be your last chance to experience the classic show on New Year’s Eve.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs
Not all details have yet been released for the celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but there will be a countdown and fireworks to celebrate. The park will remain open until midnight. If you’re looking for just a theme park day, you might want to consider Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will close at 9:00 that evening, and there are no fireworks for the safety of the animals. At Disney Springs there will be dance parties and free live entertainment. Some of the restaurants could have special plans as well.
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Disney’s Contemporary Resort
There are two different parties taking place at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The first is the family friendly Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration. It will feature games, a dance party, Pixar characters, lots of food, and special midnight fireworks viewing. Disney Countdown to Midnight: A New Year’s Eve Celebration is more of an adult celebration. There will be food from signature restaurants, dancing, photo opportunities, and special fireworks viewing. To book either one call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) immediately, because spots are extremely limited.
There are many great places to watch fireworks at Walt Disney World that are outside of the theme parks. The Magic Kingdom Area Resorts all have incredible views of Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks. Crescent Lake in the Epcot Resort Area offers plenty of views of all three shows, depending on where you watch from. Remember that parking will be extremely limited at the Deluxe Resorts, so you might want to make a late dinner reservation and then hang around to watch the fireworks.
Navigating the Theme Parks
New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular days to visit Walt Disney World, and all four theme parks will be wall to wall people. If you’ve never been before, expect more people than you thought possible. FastPass+ is essential because Wait Times of two or more hours are common for even some of the less popular rides. Don’t think that you will be able to do everything, because you won’t. Also, look for the extras. Disney will often have dance parties or other entertainment to keep people happy. Take part in those extras, because you can ride Space Mountain on any trip.
Pay extra attention when you are at a theme park on an overly crowded day. Kids can easily get lost in a crowd, so take them by the hand. Don’t keep valuables on your stroller when you’re going on a ride. Use sunscreen, the sun will still burn in Florida in December. Don’t be one of those people who will suddenly stop while others continue walking, because other people will walk into you. Take breaks within the park. Heading back to your room for a nap isn’t a good idea on New Year’s Eve because you might not make it back into the park.
Be nice to Cast Members. Say please and thank you, and smile when you walk by. Strike up a conversation with Cast Members when the opportunity arises. Even if a Cast Member seems tense, be polite. It’s a stressful day for them. Remember that they are giving up their New Year’s Eve with their families and friends in order to give you a night that you will never forget. Let them know that you appreciate it.