With Christmas just around the corner, your Christmas plans are probably finalized. So now is a great time to consider your plans for the New Year. Are you planning on bringing in 2023 in the Walt Disney World Resort? Whether this is your first time visiting at this special time of year, or you regularly celebrate New Year in Lake Buena Vista, there is a lot to consider to ensure that your New Year’s Eve is a success. Here is our tips for celebrating New Year at Walt Disney World. They’re sure to help you plan the perfect New Year’s Eve.
Disney Park Tips
Are you planning on visiting the Disney Parks on December 31? The following tips will help plan a Happy New Year.
New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular days to visit Disney Parks. If you plan on bringing in 2023 in a theme park, expect heavy crowds throughout and long lines for attractions, restaurants, stores, and even restrooms.
It’s essential to arrive early at the Disney theme park where you intend to start your day. Historically, Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT have reached capacity during the day, similar to Christmas Day, resulting in the theme parks stopping further Guests from entering. Make sure you have a Park Reservation before traveling to the Disney Parks, as Guests without a reservation will be unable to enter. Unfortunately, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the only Disney Park still available for Park Reservations on New Year’s Eve. If you plan to visit the Disney Park on New Year’s Eve, we recommend securing your Park Reservation soon.
Whether you are a fan of Disney Genie+ or not, New Year’s Eve is a day to consider purchasing the service for you and your party. It will help you enjoy more Disney attractions with shorter lines on this busy day. If you’d rather secure Lightning Lane reservations, do so early, as they will likely sell out a lot earlier than usual.
New Year’s Eve is a great time to enjoy the less popular attractions in the Disney Parks. You will find that these attractions have shorter line times. Check the My Disney Experience App throughout the day for up-to-date line times.
Guests can Park Hop on New Year’s Eve from 2 p.m., just like on each day throughout the year. However, take care if you plan on Park Hopping on this day. Park capacity is likely to be limited, and once you have exited a Disney Park, you will have to re-enter like every other Guest. This may result in a long wait, depending on the capacity in a Disney Park at the time of entry. You don’t want to leave a Disney Park for another, only to find out that you cannot Park Hop due to another theme park reaching capacity.
We recommend staying in the same Disney Park throughout the day on New Year’s Eve to avoid disappointment, except for those Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is the only Disney Park that closes before midnight. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will close at 8 p.m., making it a great Park to visit before hopping to another to continue your New Year celebrations.
Guests spending New Year’s Eve in EPCOT can celebrate the New Year multiple times throughout the day. World Showcase is the place to do this. You’ll find that every Pavilion will celebrate the New Year when the local time in the country they are representing is midnight. The Pavilions that celebrate throughout the day include:
- The Japan Pavilion at 10 a.m.
- The China Pavilion at 11 a.m.
- The France, Italy, Morocco, Norway and Germany Pavilions at 6 p.m.
- The United Kingdom Pavilion at 7 p.m.
- The Mexico Pavilion at 1 a.m.
Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will offer nighttime spectaculars for Guests to enjoy on New Year’s Eve. Magic Kingdom will host the New Year special, Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks, at 6:30 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. EPCOT will host Harmonious at 6:30 p.m., and the Countdown Fireworks around 11:54 p.m. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will host Fantasmic! at 8 .m. and 9:30 p.m., and The Wonderful World of Animation at 9 p.m. The Disney Park also typically hosts a firework show to bring in the New Year, but this display is usually smaller than the fireworks show in Magic Kingdom and EPCOT at midnight.
Whichever Disney Park you plan on watching the fireworks at midnight, we recommend securing your viewing spot early on. Main Street, U.S.A. U.S.A, the Cinderella Castle hub, and World Showcase are two locations where you should plan on securing a fireworks spot. This is easier to do if you have a larger party, where you can share the waiting while some of you use the restroom, eat, ride attractions, and shop. The fireworks will likely be a highlight of your New Year celebrations in a Disney theme park, so you’ll probably be glad that you secured a good spot earlier in the day.
Fantasy in the Sky
The good news is that Fantasy in the Sky is shown four times in Magic Kingdom over New Year: twice on New Year’s Eve; and twice on December 30. The nighttime spectacular takes place at 6:30 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. each evening. This allows Guests to enjoy more of the New Year fireworks in the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests who wish to see the EPCOT New Year celebrations typically choose Fantasy in the Sky in Magic Kingdom on December 30 and the Countdown Fireworks in EPCOT on December 31. This depends on their Park Reservations or theme park capacity to Park Hop from 2 p.m.
The Fantasy in the Sky displays can also be enjoyed from the Magic Kingdom Resort hotels. This allows Guests to avoid the crowds in the theme parks. While Guests may be familiar with watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the Polynesian Village Beach, this area is restricted to Guests of the Disney Resort on December 30 and 31 and requires a wristband for entry. Instead, the shore of Bay Lake at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a great viewing spot, as well as the marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Tips for Around the Walt Disney World Resort
Are you planning on avoiding the Disney Parks on New Year’s Eve? There’s plenty of fun and celebrations to enjoy around the Walt Disney World Resort at New Year. These tips will help all Guests have a Happy New Year in Lake Buena Vista.
While there isn’t a fireworks display at Disney Springs on New Year’s Eve, fireworks from the Disney Parks can be seen across Lake Buena Vista. Additionally, the usual entertainment can be enjoyed at Disney Springs on December 31 and brilliant places to dine and sip on celebratory drinks. Complimentary parking continues to be available, however, you may need to arrive earlier on in the evening to secure a parking spot. Expect Disney Springs to be busy on New Year’s Eve.
Venues that are great spots to enjoy entertainment with food and drinks, and possibly parties or limited-edition menus, include:
- Raglan Road Irish Restaurant and Pub
- The BOATHOUSE
- House of Blues
- Paradiso 37
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes
- The Edison
- Morimoto Asia
Disney’s BoardWalk comes alive every evening, and New Year’s Eve is no different. This is an excellent spot to bring in 2023. From superb dining locations to bars, live entertainment, and a disco on the lawn, there is something for everyone to enjoy on New Year’s Eve. Guests can also see some EPCOT New Year fireworks across Crescent Lake from the left side of the BoardWalk, near the Atlantic Dance Hall and Jellyrolls.
Advance Dining Reservations
Advanced dining reservations are generally advised when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, especially during peak seasons. New Year’s Eve is an evening we recommend securing an advance dining reservation if you have a particular restaurant in mind. We recommend booking yours whether you intend on dining in the Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, or Disney Springs.
If there is currently no available in your restaurant choice, don’t get disheartened just yet. We recommend deciding on a second choice and securing a reservation there if your first choice remains unavailable. However, check for availability in your first-choice restaurant, as you never know when another party may cancel.
The Walt Disney World Resort Guests can take advantage of complimentary accessories that Cast Members in the theme parks, Resort hotels, the BoardWalk, and Disney Springs hand out. Accessories include hats, blowers, and hair bands. Feel free to bring your own or pick up one from the give-out points around the Walt Disney World Resort.
A Relaxing Morning
Guests who don’t plan on spending New Year’s Eve in a Disney theme park, can treat themselves to a relaxing morning. Of course, December 31 is a long day if you wish to stay up until midnight. This is a perfect day to set your alarm a little later. Why not secure a brunch reservation in a Disney restaurant before spending the afternoon at your Disney Resort pool?
Guests who choose to spend the day and evening in their Disney Resort hotel certainly won’t miss out on the fun. Each Disney Resort hotel will offer a selection of activities for Guests to enjoy throughout the day. Most Resorts throw a pool party in the afternoon. The early evening will bring the final campfire of the year, and there may also be a chance to decorate a celebration glass or take part in a scavenger hunt. Later on in the evening, Disney characters often join the celebrations, offering opportunities for Guests to get photos, hugs, and autographs. Don’t be surprised to see your Resort hotel lobby come alive as midnight approaches, offering Guests the chance to raise a glass to the New Year with Cast Members and fellow Guests.
Be sure to stop by the Concierge desk or check the activities calendar for your Resort hotel to find out about the fun that will be offered close to your Guest room. Activity calendars are usually displayed a couple of days before New Year’s Eve to allow Guests to plan their celebrations.
It is no surprise that New Year’s Eve is a busy time to use the Walt Disney World Transportation System. If you have access to your car, you may find it easier to park at the Disney Parks when visiting to avoid a long line at the bus station, Skyliner, or Disney Watercraft docks. For Guests without a car, you can expect to wait some time for Disney transport, when leaving for the Disney Parks throughout the day, and when returning to your Disney Resort at the end of the day.
To reduce your line time, you should spend some time relaxing after the nighttime spectaculars rather than rushing to get to the transportation stations as soon as they have finished. An increased number of buses will likely run during the evening to help with the demand for transport. Also, consider when it’s possible to walk to your Disney Resort rather than waiting for transportation.
Consider traffic around the Walt Disney World Resort on New Year’s Eve. If you have an advance dining reservation, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive and avoid your reservation being canceled due to late arrival. Generally, it is recommended that you give yourself at least an hour to get to a dining reservation, but during peak season, including New Year’s Eve, you should aim to have at least 90 minutes for travel.
The Christmas period is the peak season in the Walt Disney World Resort. As such, you can expect that there will be limited parking available in the Resort hotels. At these times, parking is restricted to Guests who have a reservation at the Resort, including an advance dining reservation. Remember that parking is limited to three hours for Guests visiting a Resort to dine in a restaurant.
What do your plans entail for bringing in 2023? We hope these tips will help ensure that your evening is a success. The Walt Disney World Resort is a truly magical place to be but is made even more special on particular dates of the year.