There’s a reason why New Year’s Eve at Disney World is such a packed event. With so much to do at Disney’s various parks, there’s no shortage of entertainment for all families. There’s a celebratory way to dance, laugh, and dine when you’re at Disney. While most of the events listed here are geared towards NYE 2018, Disney World generally keeps the same rough itinerary, with some minor changes.
Disney lights up year round, but nothing’s quite like New Year’s Eve. With so many special parties and dining events, there’s even more reason to call this park the Happiest Place on Earth during the last big event of the year. Superior Cruise & Travel offers ample Disney vacation packages so you can ring in the new year with your favorite Disney characters. Still not convinced? We’ve broken down what to expect at Disney’s parks to help better understand what to expect.
Disney Park Celebrations & Fireworks
Combine a globe-trotting trip through Epcot with an epic countdown, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great final night of the year. Epcot is one of Disney’s larger parks, so you can expect a celebration just as big. Despite its size, many bloggers suggest that Epcot is one of the better places to go if you want a more manageable crowd. The Future World Fountain and American Garden will host live DJs for those who want to dance their way around the park. The best place to view Countdown Fireworks is here at Epcot, and you can keep track of the countdown via a projected display on Spaceship Earth.
Magic Kingdom is home to Disney’s renowned Frontierland New Year’s Celebration Dance Party. This is the most crowded and popular park, but for many, it’s well worth the adventure. This is where the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks display takes place at Cinderella’s castle, and the colorful display is every Disney lover’s dream. Watch the castle walls cascade with light in a magical event you’ll never forget. And that’s not all. The children’s dance party that starts at 7pm at Frontierland, complete with special guests that your children will love, and the party goes on until 1am.
For a more low-key celebration, Hollywood Studios is the place to go. They’ll have a standard fireworks display and countdown, and guests will have a little more wiggle room to dance. The dance party will begin in front of the Chinese Theatre at 7pm, and continue through the countdown. Star Wars fans should make there way here, because there will also be a special presentation of “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular”, complete with state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, pyrotechnics, and dynamic lighting.
This park is especially worth a New Year’s Eve visit if you want your kids to have some Disney fun without the heavy crowds, and still be in bed early. Unlike the other parks, this area closes early, but don’t let it stop you from taking advantage of slower crowds.
This is where the “Disney Countdown To Midnight” takes place. If you’re visiting Disney World without young children, the Contemporary Resort is one of the best options for an NYE celebration. Here, the Countdown takes place in the Fantasia Ballroom, where there’s curated food from several Disney restaurants, an interactive DJ playing different genres, alcoholic beverages, and a stunning view of the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks. Rumor has it, Minnie and Mickey will be making special appearances.
New Year’s Eve Dining
There are countless dining options at Disney World parks, but we’ve narrowed the list down to a notable few to include special events and menus.
World Showplace Pavilion – Epcot
Epcot serves up a fanciful, exquisite buffet, complete with Disney tunes playing in the background. Some dinner options include: seafood mac and cheese, oven-baked cod, and parmesan-crusted chicken breast. Children can enjoy smaller bites like Minnie corn dogs and chicken fritters. This all-you-can-eat dinner is open exclusively on holidays, so you may want to take the visit while you can. Disney dining credits are accepted here, at two credits per guest. Otherwise, it’s roughly $75 per adult and $45 per child.
Monsieur Paul’s New Year’s Eve Dinner – Epcot
The France pavilion hosts its own buffet at a higher price point than the World Showplace. For $195, Monsieur Paul’s New Year’s Eve Dinner offers a four-course meal and a quiet reprieve from the NYE madness outside. Adults can opt for a dinner wine pairing at $310. The French-inspired menu features escargot ravioli and mussel soup, and allows guests to choose from savory entrees like Maine lobster, beef short ribs, and chicken and mushrooms.
Down In New Orleans New Year’s Eve – Contemporary Resort
The most exclusive party of the night is limited to just 200 people and takes place at the Grand Republic Ballroom, and costs $450 a person. Still, this event is must for fine-dining aficionados. This New Orleans-themed party (inspired by the Disney film The Princess & The Frog) has French Quarter-inspired restaurant-style seating and begins with an immense spread of Southern hors d’oeuvres, including Kobe beef tartar and oyster beignets fried directly on stage.
Guests can then enjoy their entrees (herb-crusted Louisiana redfish, among others) while listening to classic jazz. The evening culminates with a champagne toast, a live performance from a vocalist reminiscent of the film’s Taina character, and a private viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.
Flying Fish Cafe’s New Year’s Eve Dinner
This seafood dinner includes a cocktail hour set to the tune of a three-piece jazz band, and perfect for those who want to dine and sip champagne while checking out the Epcot fireworks from the Atlantic City Dancehall. Tickets to this event include a complimentary character artist drawing and a champagne toast.
Mickey’s New Year’s Eve BBQ, Magic Kingdom
This BBQ buffet — complete with your Walt Disney character staples — is ideal for children. Kids can partake in a hoedown dance with their favorite characters and work up an appetite for some barbecue plates. Food includes BBQ ribs, chicken, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, and plenty more barbecue must-haves. There’s also a special Magic Kingdom fireworks viewing area from here.
Disney Holiday Tips
Get there early — really early. Especially if you’re visiting Magic Kingdom. New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest times of the year, and you can beat the entrance rush if you arrive before everyone else.
Opt for premium firework views if it’s high on your priority list. Guests can pay for a premium tick to view the fireworks at Tomorrowland’s Skyline Lounge. Tickets including snacks, beverages, and a meal voucher. Tickets to this balcony view are $90.
Take a nap. During the holidays, Disney is open later than usually, but you likely won’t be able to stay out from open till close, especially if you have children. Opt for a midday nap when the park is busiest. You’ll feel more refreshed to head back out and stay late into the evening.
Plan in advance. Planning for a Disney trip is something of an art, and you’ll be much better off if you craft your itinerary well before you arrive. Our Superior Cruise & Travel team are considered Disney experts; reach out to us for Disney vacation packages and we’ll help you craft the perfect plan for an awesome adventure.
Get a Fast Pass. Avoid the lines and see more quicker. It’s worth the investment. Check out this Fast Pass guide for a thorough breakdown of how it works.
Take snacks. Disney is one of the few parks that allows you to bring food onto the premises, and you should take full advantage of it. Snacks keep you energized throughout the day, especially between meals.
Map out hidden bathrooms. Busy parks = busy bathroom lines, which can be troublesome for little ones who wait until the last minute to let you know they need to use the bathroom. Map out hidden bathroom spots across each park in advance to avoid a mishap.