New Year's Eve Events at Walt Disney World
December 31, 2013
From celebrations in the theme parks to an upscale dining experience and dancing on Disney's BoardWalk, take your pick of how you want to ring in the New Year.
Parks and parking lots fill to capacity early on New Years Eve. TheMouseForLess recommends arriving at your preferred park early and staying throughout the day. Park hopping is not advised and may not be permitted on New Year's Eve. While the Walt Disney World Resort guarantees onsite guests will have park entry, it does not guarantee entry into a specific park. To make a long day more comfortable, pack warmer clothes for the evening and stow them in one of the theme park lockers (early if you would like to get one). Guest often spend 16 hours or more in the parks on New Years Eve; we suggest getting plenty of sleep the night before.
Make dinner reservations for one of the park restaurants well in advance, and make them for a little earlier than you actually expect to eat. Crowds can cause many park restaurants to run behind. After dinner stakeout your spot for the celebration. As the day wears on, navigating crowds will become increasingly difficult, especially for those with small children, strollers, motorized scooters, or wheelchairs.
Be prepared for high levels of traffic on New Years Eve night. As all of the parks begin to disperse after midnight, road closures and traffic pattern changes around property are typical, but in particular around Downtown Disney. In the past, Hotel Plaza Blvd has been closed at the intersection with Buena Vista Drive with traffic routed along N. Buena Vista Drive towards CR 535. If your hotel is not located close by (preferably with direct walking access), try to find a nice spot to relax until after the major crowds have left the park. If you're staying on property, leave the driving to Disney! The traffic created by 3 packed-to-capacity parks emptying out at approximately the same time can be a logistical nightmare.
If previous years are an indication, park-goers will be given party hats and noise makers to ring in the new year. There will also be elaborate light displays that will decorate the skies over each park (except Animal Kingdom) at the stroke of midnight. Park visitors can expect extra live entertainment in the parks and should check their Times Guide for locations and times.
New Year's Eve is one of the busiest days (and nights) of the year in the parks. That being said, it can be spectacular, even for those over 30 - as long as you plan well in advance, know what to expect and come mentally prepared to handle the challenges.
Jump to these New Year's Eve Events:
(use your browser's back button to quickly return to this menu)
- NYE at Magic Kingdom
- NYE at Epcot
- NYE at Disney's Hollywood Studios
- NYE at Animal Kingdom
- NYE at Downtown Disney
- NYE at the Disney Resorts
- Special NYE Dining
NYE at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park Hours
Magic Kingdom Park typically celebrates New Year's Eve for two nights, on both December 30th and 31st, however, complimentary noise makers and party hats will only be handed out on New Year's Eve. One might think of December 30th in the Magic Kingdom as a full dress rehearsal for the big event, complete with live DJs and dance parties!
2013 Hours for Dec 30: 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
2013 Hours for Dec 31: 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Extra Magic Hours for resort guests: Morning 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Dec 30 & Dec 31
Extra Magic Hours for resort guests: Evening 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., Dec 30
Park Schedule Dec 30 & 31
- Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade - 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- Electric Light Parade - 7:00 p.m.
- "Celebrate the Magic" Castle projection show - twice per evening
- Holiday Wishes Fireworks - 8:30 p.m.
- New Year's edition of Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks - 11:50 p.m.
- A DJ dance party will take place in front of the castle
* Additional park hours and entertainment will be filled in as it becomes available.
• See the Magic Kingdom's special New Year's Eve fireworks on December 30th when they are also shown and the park stays open until 3 a.m. for resort guests. This park is insanely crowded on the 4th! Plus, you'll be able to see a second NYE celebration at Epcot or Disney Hollywood Studios. If you have your heart set on attending this park on NYE, however, be sure to be inside before 10:30 a.m. as the park could close to some or all visitors for brief periods throughout the afternoon.
• While alcoholic beverages are readily available at outdoor kiosks and stands in both Disney's Hollywood Studios park, Epcot, as well as Animal Kingdom park, Magic Kingdom park does not serve alcohol with the exception of select beers and wines available at the Be Our Guest restaurant with dinner only. Thus, while Magic Kingdom does get extremely crowded on NYE, it tends to throw the most kid/family-friendly celebration.
• To help elevate crowds, Disney usually opens up some backstage areas for special entertainment and also as extra exits for after midnight.
• The NYE fireworks in the Magic Kingdom are spectacular and are shot over the castle as well as all around the park perimeter. Even the midnight countdown is done in fireworks that form the actual numbers. Those wishing to view Magic Kingdom's special fireworks from outside the parks can do so from the observation deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort, from the beaches (piped in music) of the Polynesian Resort, from the marina dock (piped in music) at the Grand Floridian Resort and from Transportation and Ticket Center along the walkway to Ferry loading area (breathtaking free views with piped in music), as well as restaurants such as California Grill or Narcoossees, or for a large group a fireworks cruise (see Epcot tips for more info on special event firework cruises).
• During the holidays, many Walt Disney World Resort quick-service restaurants issue dining receipts with a coupon for 20% off merchandise at select shops during hours before noon. While coupons have an expiration date, they do not have to be used the same day they are issued.
NYE at Epcot
Epcot Park Hours
2013 Hours Dec 31: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; World Showcase opens at 11:00 a.m.
Park Schedule Dec 31
- IllumiNations Peace on Earth holiday version - 6:30 p.m.
- IllumiNations New Years Eve version with Countdown & Fireworks - 11:40 p.m.
* Additional park hours and entertainment will be filled in as they become available.
Live New Years Eve DJ Parties
Live DJ dance parties will be featured throughout Epcot park on New Years Eve, including in Future World on the Fountain Stage and at World Showcase at America Gardens Theatre. There are usually dance parties in the courtyards at Italy, United Kingdom and China as well. Epcot will be awash in changing colors from lasers and even flames jetting into the air above some dance party stages. Temporary Bars will be available on the promenade, usually at Mexico, China, Italy, Germany, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France and Canada. Complimentary hats and noisemakers are handed out at all dance party locations.
• Epcots midnight fireworks include a special salute to each country as, one at a time, fireworks are launched over each pavilion and traditional music plays. Look for more fireworks over the pavilions during the Countdown and a huge firework finale. Additional space is usually set up for NYE firework viewing on either side of the promenade walking from Future World to World Showcase.
• New Year's Eve is the one night of the year where guests can take backstage bypasses to quickly get from Future World to World Showcase. Typically, there is a bypass open between Test Track and Norway-China and one between Imagination and the Showcase Pavilion next to the U.K.
• There are a couple of restaurants with a great view of Illuminations. None will guarantee a window or patio seat, but if you book your reservation at Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico or Rose and Crown Tavern in the United Kingdom about 2 hours prior to the show, you might be lucky enough to score a prime viewing spot. Note: Based on the events of previous years La Hacienda de San Angel Inn in the Mexico Pavilion will feature a special dinner from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve with live entertainment and wine pairings. Additional info will be added when it becomes available.
• For a uniquely different way for a group to see Epcot's firework finale, consider booking a private fireworks cruise, complete with champagne! Securing one of these cruises is not for the faint of heart, however. Disney doesn't announce when it will begin taking reservations for special event fireworks cruises and availability is extremely limited. We suggest calling Disney's Recreation line (407-WDW-PLAY) as soon as phone lines open (7 a.m EST) each morning, every day beginning six months out for a midnight boat. Yes, you heard right, every single day!
NYE at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios Park Hours
2013 Hours Dec 31: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Extra Magic Hours for resort guests: 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Park Schedule Dec 31
- Fantasmic - 6:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights - 6:00 p.m to 12:00 a.m.
- Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! Fireworks - 12:00 a.m. (midnight)
* Additional park hours and entertainment will be filled in as they become available.
Mulch, Sweat, and Shears Concert and Fireworks!
Disney's Hollywood Studios rocks in the New Year with resident family of landscapers/rock and roll musicians, Mulch, Sweat, and Shears! "The Mulch, Sweat, and Shears New Years Eve Spectacular" blasts off on a specially built stage in front of Disney's Hollywood Studios signature Sorcerer Hat icon and includes contemporary rock, funk, and classic rock and roll favorites. Concert sets will feature pyrotechnics and special effects and lead up to ringing in the New Year with Mulch, Sweat, and Shears playing live accompaniment to a full scale fireworks spectacular in order to welcome the start of 2013! Complimentary hats and noisemakers will be available.
• For the best view of Disney's Hollywood Studios fireworks, find a spot on Hollywood Boulevard facing Mickey Sorcerer’s Hat. The fireworks are shot from the roofs of buildings in the area.
• Temporary bar kiosks will be set up for NYE at select locations throughout the park.
• New Year's Eve crowds in the park can be challenging for groups. Bringing as many cellphones as possible is great way to reunited with any members of your party that may have become separated and good tip for all of the parks, especially during overcrowded events.
NYE at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Park Hours
2013 Hours Dec 31: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Extra Magic Hours for resort guests: Morning 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Park Schedule Dec 31
- Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade - 3:45 p.m.
No specific New Year's Eve celebrations or events are held at Disney's Animal Kingdom park.
NYE at Downtown Disney
There has been no fireworks at Downtown Disney on New Year's Eve for the past few years. For those looking for fireworks, please see our Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios sections above.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney West Side hosted a special NYE party in 2012 and is expected to do so in 2013. Details will be added when they become available.
Raglan Road on Pleasure Island will host an Irish New Years Bash thats twice the fun! Celebrate as Raglan Road rings in the Irish New Year at 7p.m and again at Midnight!!! Live Irish music will be featured from 4 p.m with The Farrell Brothers, The Raglan Rebels & The Roundstone Cowboys along with performances from the award winning Raglan Road Irish Dancers. Plus, enjoy a complimentary champagne toast 7 p.m and at midnight to welcome 2014 to the U.S.A. Call (407) 938-0300 for additional info or to make reservations.
DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park at Downtown Disney West Side will host a New Year's Eve Party for all ages on December 31, 2013 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Features: Access to all DisneyQuest attractions and video games; Appearances by Disney characters; Two DJ dance parties; New Year's countdown and confetti drop at midnight; Party favors; and Family fun food! Partygoers will get a coupon for a quick service entree, side and drink. There is usually a discount for advance purchase tickets. Pricing info will be added as it becomes available.
Cirque du Soleil fans can celebrate the New Year La Nouba style on December 31, 2013 with two presentations of the theatrical production, at 6 and 9 p.m. The shows feature a special finale and guests receive a limited-edition Walt Disney World/Cirque trading pin. The building will have a festive decor and specialty drinks will be available for purchase. Adult tickets typically range from $87 for Category 3 seats up to $146 for Front & Center seats. View a video of a prior year's celebration. For pricing contact 407-WDW-SEAT.
NYE at Walt Disney World Disney Resorts
If you plan on staying at a Disney resort, book your hotel as far in advance as possible. This is an extremely busy time of the year. Availability for on-property hotels is limited and will go fast. We're not kidding! To make travel after the party easier, decide which park you will celebrate in and book the closest hotel you can afford or one with the best direct access. As an added bonus, resort hotel guests are usually treated to evening Extra Magic Hours in several of the parks on either December 30 (Magic Kingdom) or 31 (Disney's Hollywood Studios). This is great for those who would like to stay late and ride the rides with limited crowds.
If the crowds in the parks aren't for you and you can afford the cost of staying at a Disney Deluxe resort, you're in luck! Almost every Deluxe resort holds a celebration of it's own of some type. Registered guests at select Disney resort hotels will be treated to live music and entertainment. For example, the Grand Floridian resort usually has a "big band" playing in the lobby and a balloon drop at midnight and the Boardwalk Inn has been known to throw a party on the resort's lawn with a live DJ. Check with the front desk or concierge desk for details. Additional resort info will be added here as it becomes available
Children's Activity Centers: Child care centers for children 3-12, located at the Deluxe resorts, in past years, have stayed open until 2 a.m on New Year's Eve. For reservations call 407-WDW-PLAY or contact the resort's Lobby Concierge.
Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk hosts a yearly New Year's Eve celebration from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Dance your way into 2014 with a video DJ on the main floor, beverages available for purchase from three downstairs bars and limited viewing of fireworks. VIP Admission includes everything provided with standard admission plus entrance into the second Floor VIP area featuring guaranteed seating, beverages available for purchase from either the private VIP bar upstairs or the VIP cocktail service offered upstairs, complimentary desserts and coffee from 9:00 - 12:00, and access to a private balcony for viewing of Illuminations. Advance purchase info and cost for 2013 Standard and VIP admission will be added when it becomes available. From December 29-30, tickets can usually be purchased at Atlantic Dance Hall as well. Dress is business casual or formal. Guests must be 21 or older with an ID. Parking passes for the self-parking lot are usually issued with advance purchases.
Special New Year's Eve and New Years Day Dining
Special dining opportunities are offered at many resort and park restaurants for both New Year's Eve and New Years Day. From lunches and dinners to a New Year’s Day brunch, for 2013, there are more than a dozen spots for ringing in the New Year.
Monsieur Paul in the France Pavilion will be celebrating New Years Eve beginning at noon with seatings throughout the day and evening.
Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion is offering both lunch and dinner celebrations for New Years Eve.
La Hacienda de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion is offering a New Year’s Eve dinner
Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion will have three seatings for New Year's Eve.
Tomorrowland Terrace will feature a New Year’s Eve fireworks dinner and dessert party.
Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe will serve a special New Year's Eve Menu in the Dining Room only.
Menu: Winter Green Salad - Arugula, Fennel, Cranberries with Warm Tomato Vinaigrette
Tomahawk Chop - Bearnaise, Truffle Potatoes and an Onion Wheel
Chocolate Panna Cotta - Brandy Poached Cherries
Portobello will serve a special New Year's Eve Pre Fixe Menu: First Course - Tuscan Bean Soup
Entree - Lobster Ravioli, brown butter, sage and pine nuts
Dessert - Ricotta Cheese Cake- milk chocolate sauce
Walt Disney World Resorts
special dining for ringing in the New Year is planned at the following Disney resort restaurants:
Disney’s BoardWalk - Flying Fish Cafe
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa - Citricos, Victoria & Albert’s and Narcoossee’s
Disney’s Contemporary Resort - California Grill and Chef Mickey’s (New Year’s Day brunch)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge - Boma-Flavors of Africa (New Year’s Day breakfast)
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge - Whispering Canyon Cafe (Lunch and dinner)
Swan and Dolphin Resort:
Guests can enjoy a variety of New Years Eve options at resort restaurants. For more Swan and Dolphin holiday dining information, visit the Swan and Dolphin web site.
Garden Grove (Swan) - will serve a special New Years Eve character buffet from 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm. For reservations call 407-934-1618.
NYE Buffet Menu: Clam Chowder Soup, Crab Bisque, Herb Crusted Mahi Mahi, Potato Silk, Tarragon Oven Roasted Cornish Hens, Vegetable Quinoa, Chicken Jus, Vegetable Risotto, Carrot, English Pea, Asparagus, Locatelli Cheese, Three Cheese Tortellini, Spinach, Cherry Tomato, Garlic Cream, Haricots Vert, Shallots, Almonds, Brown Butter, Roasted Turnips, Parsnips, Romanesco, Forvum White Wine Vinaigrette, Assortment of Chef’s Favorite Composed Salads, Chilled Seafood Selection, Variety of Homemade Cakes and Pastries. For The Little Ones: Chicken Nuggets, Mini Corndogs, Mac & Cheese and Daily Vegetables.
Cost: Adults $45.99; Children ages 3-9 $19.99, children under 3 years are complimentary
18% gratuity will be added to all checks. Disney Characters will provide entertainment during dinner
Todd English's bluezoo (Dolphin) - will be offer it's regular full menu on New Years Eve in addition to a special holiday meal from 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm. For reservations call 407-934-1111.
Holiday Special Menu: Seasonal chef’s creation to include appetizer and entrée
Cost: Market Price
Shula's Steak House (Dolphin) - will be offering two seatings on NYE. For reservations call 407-934-1362.
Seating One: Guests seated between 5:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. may order from the regular full menu.
Seating Two: Guests seated for the New Years Eve celebration from 7:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m. will enjoy party favors and a four-course prix fixe menu. A children's menu will also be offered for kids age 3 - 9.
Cost for NYE Celebration: $125 per person.
Il Mulino New York Trattoria (Swan) - will be offering two seatings on NYE. For reservations call 407-934-1199.
Seating One: Guests seated between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. may order from the regular full menu.
Seating Two: Guests seated from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Il Mulino will feature a preset menu only. Dining time will be limited to two hours. Guests dining after 9:00 pm will enjoy party favors and Champagne toast at Midnight.
Shades of Green holds a party on New Year's Eve with live entertainment and a midnight champagne toast. A plated dinner is also included. More info will be added as it becomes available.
Updated November 15, 2013