Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surviving New Year's Eve at WDW

image from
With New Year's Eve fast approaching, I scoured the internet looking for all the events/ activities going on at the Walt Disney World Parks on December 31, 2011.  You can find those details at the end of this post.  Before you get to that information, I'm sharing some thoughts on surviving New Year's Eve at WDW!  I've been able to spend 2 New Year's Eve nights at WDW- one at the Magic Kingdom and 1 at then MGM Studios.  Here are a few tips to help you out:

1- Decide on the park you want to visit on December 31 and plan to stay the whole day at that park!  Arrive early to ensure you get in before they reach capacity.  Do not plan on park hopping, even if you have that option on your ticket.
2- Yes, if you are staying on property you are guaranteed entry into a park- but it may not be your first choice park.  Look back at tip 1- arrive early to get into your park of choice!
3- When you decide on the park where you will spend New Year's Eve, make dining reservations for that park.  If you have reservations at another park and plan on "hopping over" to make your dining plan, you will not be allowed in (even with reservations) if the park is at capacity.
4- Decide what attractions are on your MUST DO list.  Hit these first- even if the line is 90+ minutes (it won't get any shorter!).  If they offer FASTPASS, grab them early!  The parks will be packed on NYE, so hit those on your must do list early.  FASTPASSes can run out later in the day.
5- Don't get discouraged if you don't get to ride, see, do and eat all you want to on New Year's Eve.  With the crowds, it'll be impossible to do it all.  That's the beauty of "next time!"
6- Pack for all types of weather.  Dress in or bring layers and rain gear.  You can always rent a locker (do this early on before they run out) to stash the things you don't need.
7- There will be special events and entertainment throughout the day on NYE.  Get a Times Guide along with a park map when you enter.  Check out before you get to the parks to see what extra entertainment will be going on!

Park Hours and Events 12/31/11:

Magic Kingdom- 8am-2am
  • "Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it!" parade and street party (11:00, 12:30 & 5:30)
  • "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade"(12:00 & 3:30)
  • "SpectroMagic" parade of lights and music (7:00 & 10:30)
  • "Holiday Wishes" Fireworks (8:30)
  • "Fantasy in the Sky" Fireworks (11:51)
Epcot- 8:00-1:00
  • "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" (7:00 &11:42)
Disney's Hollywood Studios- 8:00-12:00
  • "Fantasmic!" (6:30 & 8:00)
  • "Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" band performance back to back with a DJ at Mickey's Sorcerer Hat. (DJ starting at 6:30) ("Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 & 11:00)
  • "Lights, Camera, Happy New Year" fireworks show with "Mulch, Sweat, and Shears" (11:55)
For more detailed info on the hours, parades, fireworks and details of this holiday week, please visit Your First Visit!


  1. Great post and very informative! We are heading there for the first time this year. Going to use some of your tips.

  2. I would love to be at the Magic Kingdom for New Year's Eve, though the older I get the harder it is to stay up and celebrate! LOL!  Great tips!

  3. My suggestion is to grab a spot early to watch the fireworks, even if it means doing nothing for a couple of hours.  When we were there one time, the fireworks were all around the park, not just behind the castle.  It was amazing!  Definitely my favorite place to be on NYE! 

  4. I love your posts. I too am a fan! 

  5. Melissa_FillingOurBucketDecember 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Spot on!! When I was there for the Millennium, parks were closed and full to capacity within an hour of opening. Definitely plan ahead and don't sleep in!!