Disney World is the perfect place for families to ring in the new year together. In addition to classic rides and attractions, Disney offers spectacular fireworks displays, holiday buffets, live music, complimentary New Year’s hats and party horns, and creative champagne concoctions to celebrate the arrival of 2013.
The Magic Kingdom is open until 2:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve; Epcot closes at 1:00 a.m.; Disney’s Animal Kingdom closes at 8:00 p.m.; and Disney’s Hollywood Studios closes at midnight. Disney World resort hotel guests can enjoy an extra three hours of fun at Hollywood Studios during Extra Magic Hours between midnight and 3:00 a.m. Park hopping is not permitted on New Year’s Eve. Guests should plan to arrive at the park of their choice early before the gates are closed due to large crowds.
At the Magic Kingdom, New Year’s Eve fireworks feature a stunning display of synchronized fireworks launched near the Magic Kingdom and several locations along the Seven Seas Lagoon, the human made lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. The Holiday Wishes Fireworks start at 8:30 p.m. and the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks start at 11:50 p.m. The Main Street Electrical Parade will dazzle guests at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show features a dramatic Peace on Earth holiday finale. On New Year’s Eve, IllumiNations will be offered at 7:00 p.m. for guests who wish to leave the park early and again at 11:42 p.m.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomes 2013 with the Mulch, Sweat, and Shears New Year’s Eve Spectacular, including a Lights, Camera, Happy New Year fireworks display. There will also be several nightly performances of Fantasmic! In addition, the festive Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights continues nightly through January 6.
For the benefit of the animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not offer fireworks. However, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade will take place at 3:45 p.m.
One notable change over previous New Year’s celebrations at Walt Disney World is that the Magic Kingdom now sells alcoholic beverages. Unlike Disney’s other three theme parks, the Magic Kingdom sells alcoholic beverages only at the new Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland.
Guests attending the Disney Parks on New Year’s should be aware that crowd control is a major issue. At peak times like the conclusion of the fireworks, walking through the theme parks or driving away from the parks can be a major challenge. Where the crowds converge, such as the relatively narrow entrance to World Showcase, pedestrian traffic literally comes to a standstill.
Guests with small children, strollers, motorized scooters, or wheelchairs will find it particularly challenging to navigate the crowds on New Year’s Eve. It is best to wait until the crowd dissipates after the fireworks before exiting or attempting to travel from one section of the park to another.
Finally, guests should make dining reservations in advance. Dining at a table service restaurant provides a welcome respite from the throngs of New Year’s revelers crowding the walkways throughout the park. Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE or visiting the Walt Disney World Web site.