Top Tips for Spending New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World

What is a more magical way to ring in a new year than at Walt Disney World?  Because many of us out there agree, the parks are extremely busy for the holiday.  Here is a look at our top tips for spending New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World:

10. Make dining reservations and FastPass+ selections in advance.

We definitely recommend that you make advanced dining reservations and FastPass+ selections in advance.  As soon as you confirm you will be visiting for New Year’s Eve, you will want to start booking as early as you can as popular restaurant locations and attractions book up quickly.

9. Head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the least crowds (relatively speaking).

All of the parks will be crowded, but if you want to be in the parks and want the least amount of crowds, then you will want to head over to Animal Kingdom.  It is typically the slowest park, relatively speaking, on major holidays like New Year’s Eve.  The park also doesn’t have as long of hours as the other parks, so be mindful of that if you want a park to stay all night long.

8. Decide which park you want to be at for fireworks.

There will be fireworks displays within Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  You will want to decide which park you are most interested in enjoying and which park you want to spend the evening in.  Due to the increased capacity, it may not be possible to change parks mid-evening.  Magic Kingdom Park typically always closes to capacity, so if you get inside the park you won’t want to leave and risk not getting back in.

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7. Practice safety tips.

Due to the surplus of guests in the parks, it is a good idea to work out a safety plan for your party.  Take a picture of your kiddos each morning so that you have a reference if you should get separated in the parks, which is especially helpful if you have younger kids.  Pick a meeting point in the parks for your party if you were to get separated.  You can also try wearing matching shirts, putting a bracelet with contact info on your kids, etc.

6. Call Disney Springs restaurants directly for day of reservations.

If you didn’t have luck finding dining reservations for New Year’s Eve, you can try calling many of the Disney Springs restaurants directly.  It isn’t guaranteed, but there are many restaurants in Disney Springs that hold back some of the inventory from the online booking system, so you may be able to get a reservation by calling.  It’s worth a shot, right?

5. Don’t wait too late to head to the parks.

Since Magic Kingdom Park and sometimes others typically close to capacity on New Year’s Eve, you won’t want to wait too long to head over to the parks.  You don’t have to necessarily be there at opening since you will want to rest up to prepare for a long evening, but you should try to start heading over around lunch time to make sure that you can get into your park of choice.  Keep in mind that there will also be a lot of traffic if you are driving yourself.

4. Check out one of the amazing New Year’s events.

There are so many great New Year’s Eve events offered at Walt Disney World.  These events are typically offered at various resort locations and feature food and beverage offerings, view of the fireworks, music and other entertainment, and more.  They are special ticketed events where you get to enjoy a magical party and won’t have to deal with the crowds within the theme parks.

3. Stay at a Walt Disney World resort.

It is definitely on the more expensive side over the holiday season, including New Year’s Eve, but even with that we still recommend staying on property instead of staying at an offsite resort.  You will have Extra Magic Hours options and you will be better guaranteed to get into one of the parks once capacity closings start.  The Disney transportation will also more easily navigate the increased capacity around property, too.

2. Consider dessert parties.

There are a variety of dessert parties and special events offered within the theme parks, too.  These are limited ticketed events in addition to theme park admission, but they give guests delicious treats to snack on and special viewing areas for the fireworks and evening shows.

1. Be patient when dealing with the crowds and wait times!

Walt Disney World will be extremely busy on New Year’s Eve.  If you know and accept this going into it, it will help to better set expectations for the entire group.  Just enjoy the surroundings, the magic of Walt Disney World and all of the happy faces ready to ring in the New Year!

About Christy Caby

I am a long time Disney addict! This love began as a child and stayed with me in my teen years. I completed the Disney College Program, was engaged and honeymooned at Disney, visited WDW while pregnant with each of our two boys, and have brought our boys since they were babies (they are now 5 and 2). We have over 10 Disney World vacations under our belt. Our recent adventure was a big move from St. Louis, MO to Florida! We knew that we needed more Disney magic that just a couple times of year, and we worked hard to make it happen! Now we hit the parks almost every weekend! We are working to dine at every location, experience every attraction and look for every hidden Mickey! We want to be able to say that we have one it all! We are branching into the Cruise Line and are planning a trip to Disneyland in California next year. To say that we are Disney addicts may be an understatement. When I am not at WDW with my family, I am reading Disney blogs and news, crafting (usually Disney décor for our home), planning Disney vacations for others or working on my dissertation for my doctoral program. I am a Project Manager by profession, so I have mastered fitting everything into a tight schedule! We feel we lead an exciting life where we get to spend a lot of time together doing what we love! I love being able to this love and Disney magic with everyone else so that others can make the most of whatever time they get to have at the most magical place on earth!