New Year's Eve: New Year at Disney

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Written By Carlos Braga

The New Year is historically one of the busiest times at Walt Disney World.

I like to start with that sentence so you don't get so scared of the chaos.

But even though it is the busiest day of Disney parks year round, there is still plenty of fun to be had during the holiday season. New Year at Disney World.

In the new year you will find in addition to the normal activities of the parks, dance parties and whole parties full of food, entertainment and much more.

You and your family will be surprised by fun celebrations.

No matter which park you go to and decide to spend your New Year's Eve, one thing is for sure, the countdown to the new year will be wonderful.

Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney
Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney

As Walt Disney World is also one of the busiest places in the world for New Year's Eve, we've also provided ideas for keeping sane in the crowds (and avoiding them as much as possible).

That way, you can have fun while not going crazy waiting in a 45-minute line to go to the bathroom.

In addition, we'll give you tips for those who are already at Walt Disney World and are looking for ways to avoid the crowds and the best New Year's Eve experience.

If you've always wanted to spend New Year's at Disney but don't know exactly what to do there, don't worry, we'll give you the best information to make your New Year's Eve at Disney the best it can be.

An important detail, we will talk a lot about New Year's Eve here, however, the section "avoiding crowds on New Year's Eve" at the end of this post also applies to the week between Christmas and the end of the year.

New Year at Disney
New Year at Disney

At Walt Disney World you will find 4 Theme Parks, and to make it easier, we will give you information about New Year's Eve in each of them.

Soon after, we will give you some general tips on how to avoid the crowds so that you can better enjoy the option you choose.

New Year at EPCOT

Epcot is undoubtedly one of the most sought after options when it comes to New Year's Eve at Disney World.

This is because the park offers many activities and options to enjoy the event.

Of course, that also makes it the second busiest park ever.

New Year at Epcot
New Year at Epcot

However, in physical space, Epcot is one of the biggest Disney parks, this makes the Epcot perhaps it is more suitable for the large crowding.

New Year's Events At Epcot

Throughout the World Showcase you'll find DJs rocking the day on the American Garden and Future World Fountain stages. 

Dance the night away while savoring some of your favorite flavors at the World showcase.

These parties are a great way to add special fun to your vacation night in between your adventures in the Test track, Soarin and other Epcot attractions.

Fireworks

If you're like me, you certainly want a big fireworks show on New Year's Eve.

The countdown fireworks in the Epcot are the most popular way for guests to celebrate New Year's Eve at Disney World.

New Years at Epcot - World Showcase
New Years at Epcot – World Showcase

The countdown to the New Year is projected onto Spaceship Earth, while fireworks light up the sky.

This unforgettable celebration begins at 11:40 pm.

The park's current night show, Harmonious takes place at around 6:30 pm.

Spaceship Earth - Epcot Attraction
Spaceship Earth – Epcot Attraction

Live music at the American Gardens Theater

At the American Gardens Theater you'll find a good amount of performances throughout the night for ultimate entertainment, guaranteed fun until the park closes.

New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom it is the most popular park and is usually the busiest during New Year's Eve at Disney World.

If the Magic Kingdom is your favorite park, we recommend that you secure your Park Pass reservation as soon as possible as it is very likely that it will reach its maximum capacity.

Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney
Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney

Of course, you also have the option of doing the Park Hopper if your ticket allow, however, if the park is at full capacity, the entrance gates will be closed.

Arrive early and secure good seats for parades and shows at least an hour in advance.

No matter which park you're at during New Year's Eve at Disney World, you'll likely need to buy the Genie+ to enjoy the attractions.

 Fantasy in the Sky – Fire Show

There's nothing better than watching a fireworks show right above Cinderella's Castle.

Watching this show is a magical way to celebrate a new year that is just around the corner.

I take this opportunity to point out that the Magic Kingdom will also be showing Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks on December 30th.

On both nights, the show starts at 11:50 pm.

On both December 30th and December 31st, Holiday Wishes is usually featured as well, otherwise it is only visible during Christmas party from Disney.

Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney
Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney

This is one of the most beloved fireworks displays at Walt Disney World.

Frontierland and Tomorrowland New Year Celebration Dance Parties

You can find DJs rocking the night in Frontierland and Tomorrowland.

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Who knows, you might even find some characters dancing there.

These attractions normally take place on both the 31st and the 30th of December.

Of course, turning the year around dancing with Disney characters inside the Magic Kingdom is a memorable way to celebrate an amazing New Year's Eve.

Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney
Cinderella's Castle during New Years at Disney

New Year's Eve at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios is a park that doesn't usually offer much when it comes to Disney's New Year's Eve.

Of course, that also makes it a slightly less crowded option.

There is usually a special New Year's Eve fireworks show.

Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Imagine turning the year around at Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars area. This could be a good way to start the year to come!

New Year's Eve at Disney's Animal Kingdom

If you're going with small children who won't be awake when the clock strikes midnight or you just don't enjoy big crowds, you might want to consider Animal kingdom be the best choice for you.

Few special events happen there like DJs in Asia, Discovery Island and DinoLand USA

You'll also find special New Year's themed food and drinks.

However, Animal Kingdom is currently scheduled to close at 7pm on December 31st.

Therefore, you will not be able to spend the turn effectively inside the park, after all, the animals deserve some sleep.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

It won't be too crowded, so you can catch some fun at the Disney park and still get back to your hotel early or go enjoy your New Year's Eve somewhere else like Disney springs.

New Year's Eve at Disney Springs

You won't find a nightly show like inside the parks at Disney Springs.

However, Disney Springs' dining and shopping options never disappoint, least of all on New Year's Eve.

Disney springs
Disney springs

There are many wonderful dining options to choose from and enjoy this Disney vibe more cost-effectively and of course, with fewer crowds than at Theme Parks.

Tips to Make the Most of New Year's Eve at Disney World

Now that we've talked a little about what you'll find at each of the Disney parks during New Year's Eve, let's give you some tips so you can make the most of your night.

New Year at Disney
New Year at Disney

Reservation Cancellation: While the cancellation policy requires 24-hour notice at Walt Disney World restaurants, many of these special meals require cancellation more than 48 hours in advance.

If you want any specific experience, call 407-939-3463 as soon as you get it buy your tickets or book your meal reservations.

Advance dining reservations are required for all holiday specials.

Watch out for the fireworks noise: If you're attending the fireworks at Epcot or Magic Kingdom, remember to bring earplugs for kids or even yourself.

These shows are beautiful, but can be intense for those with more sensitive hearing.

Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom
Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom

Park Ticket and Park Pass are mandatory: To enter one of the parks, it is mandatory that you have your ticket in hand and that you have booked your Park Pass. A dinner reservation alone does not guarantee entry to the park.

If you have difficulties making your appointment, contact us, we carry out the park pass for customers who buy their tickets at our agency.

Arrive Early: Most of you know what to do to get good seats to watch the fireworks at the start of a typical night, but be sure to arrive MUCH earlier for the fireworks shows. New Year

Do not underestimate the crowds as they are very intense on that day.

As the lines for the attractions will be tremendously long during this day, we think that waiting in a prime spot for the fireworks to be the most effective use of your time.

Of course, we always recommend having a family member pick up snacks and drinks to enjoy while waiting (or even hold the seat for someone to go to the bathroom).

Escape the Crowds: Animal Kingdom is the only park without the scheduled celebrations of New Year.

If you don't mind doing something out of the ordinary and just want to enjoy your Disney vacation, this is a great destination to enjoy the lower volume crowds and a fun night out. Be aware that the park will only be open until 19:00hs.

New Year at Disney
New Year at Disney

Avoiding Crowds in the New Year

Crowds between Christmas and New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World are terrible, it's arguably the busiest time of year.

You'll find traffic jams, incredibly long lines, even in the restrooms.

In fact, the parks are so full that they are sometimes closed to new guests at various points during the day, through phased closures. Of course, if you've made your Park Pass appointments, you can go easy.

The point is that no matter what tricks there may be to avoid crowds, it's impossible to avoid them completely.

If avoiding crowds is your primary concern, you should avoid holiday weeks and spend your New Year's Eve elsewhere.

This guide offers the best tips within this scenario to get the most out of the situation, as far as possible.

These tips won't make you skip any queues, but make you take full advantage of the situation.

With that said, let's go to the days:

1. Arrive early, stay late – the park's opening hours are directly linked to the expected audience levels.

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If operating hours are long, expect heavy crowds.

Despite this, the crowds are always lighter in the morning, getting progressively worse until around one o'clock in the afternoon, then thinning out the rest of the day, with the crowds again being immense in the last two hours until each park closes.

The earlier a park opens, the less busy it is at opening, and the later a park closes, the less busy it is at closing.

In short, if Magic Kingdom is open until 1 am and Disney's Hollywood Studios is open until 11 pm, Magic Kingdom is less busy between midnight and 1 am and Disney's Hollywood Studios is between 10 pm and 1 pm. 11 pm

2. Sleep in the middle of the day – If the Magic Kingdom is open from 7am to 1am or 2am, you probably won't be able to spend the entire day inside the park.

However, you should not choose between arriving early and staying late.

A tip is to cut the middle of the day by returning to the hotel to take a nap during the busiest and hottest hours of the day.

A more efficient way of doing this is to stay in a hotel close to the park, such as Disney's Contemporary, more specifically in Bay Lake Tower.

Disney Monorail at Contemporary Resort
Disney Monorail at Contemporary Resort

That's because it's an easy 10-minute walk from the Magic Kingdom, making naps more convenient.

You can read which other hotels might be good options in our Walt Disney World Hotel Guide.

3. Eat at noon – Attractions and restrooms will have long lines and of course, the restaurants too.

This is particularly true during the early lunch hours. Therefore, do not have lunch at noon.

Eat when restaurants open for the first time or later in the afternoon.

The best time of day will be around 3 or 4 pm.

To keep hunger at bay, pack snacks in your backpack.

4. Buy the Genie+ – Visiting Walt Disney World during the holidays requires a lot of study, one of the main things to know and use is Genie+. As the midday lines are longer, you get the most utility out of this skipper when the parks are busiest.

5. Find the Bathrooms "hidden" – The point here is that you should avoid the ?obvious? in the hotspots during the busiest times of the day when there is literally ~30 minutes of waiting for toilets. Don't go to the toilets easily found in Fantasyland. Look at a map of the park and locate the restrooms that are off the beaten path, and head for them, although these also have lines, we guarantee they will be much shorter.

6. Making “unpopular” attractions – One of the big reasons to go to Walt Disney World during the busiest times of the year is if you like attractions that are not considered the “popular” ones because at these attractions the waiting lines are almost the same. during the year.

At Magic Kingdom, these overlooked wonders are: Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

PeopleMover at the Magic Kingdom
PeopleMover at the Magic Kingdom

At Epcot they are: Living with the Land, American Adventure, Impressions de France and Reflections of China are great, although the last three are probably not all that interesting for kids.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, all outdoor shows like Beauty and the Beast Live and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular usually have reasonable queues.

The same goes for shows at Animal Kingdom, although aside from its main attractions, the lines aren't unbearable there.

We think the best park for overlooked attractions is the Magic Kingdom, but the best park overall to avoid New Year's Eve crowds is Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Epcot is also surprisingly good at absorbing crowds given its size, but its attractions get obscenely long lines on New Year's Eve.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure - Epcot Attraction
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure – Epcot Attraction

Disney's Hollywood Studios isn't as crowded on New Year's Eve either, but it's not particularly good at handling crowds either.

Whatever you do, we recommend that you plan your day well before facing it (some tips for this can be found in our post ("Orlando Parks" ), with realistic expectations about what will be done and maintaining a positive attitude.

If you want a more direct and expertly developed approach, please hire our CUSTOM ITINERARY. This way you guarantee a much more effective and worry-free trip!

And of course, if you're going to spend the year in Orlando and want to know more options, check out our post on the Best Places to Spend the Year. New Year's Eve in Orlando.

I hope again that this post helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.

As a way to help us keep the blog going, we just ask you to help us by sharing this publication and subscribing to our social networks as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube channel.

In addition to helping us, we are sure that there you will find hundreds of useful posts for your trip!

About the Author Carlos Braga:

Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.

My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.

During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!

I hope again that this post helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.

As a way to help us keep the blog going, we just ask you to help us by sharing this publication and subscribing to our social networks as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube channel.

In addition to helping us, we are sure that there you will find hundreds of useful posts for your trip!

About the Author Carlos Braga:

Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.

My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.

During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!

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