4 Essential Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World on New Year’s Eve

The holidays are arriving at Walt Disney World, and one of the most popular days to visit is fast approaching: New Year’s Eve. Walt Disney World has a lot of special entertainment and dining events for guests to ring in the new year. If you’re visiting for New Year’s Eve, here are a few tips to make your trip go smoothly.

First of all, be sure to make dining reservations, especially for any special dining events. This is a very popular day of the year to visit, and any special events sell out fast. It can be extremely difficult to find walk-up availability at any table-service restaurants, so if you haven’t made your dining reservations, do so as soon as possible. Special New Year’s Eve events and menus are available at the following locations for ringing in 2016: Atlantic Dance Hall, California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, La Hacienda de San Angel, Narcoossee’s, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul, Victoria & Albert’s, and World ShowPlace.

Next, if you’re visiting the parks on New Year’s Eve, prepare yourself for very heavy crowds. Because this is such a popular day to visit, there will be long lines for just about everything, even the bathrooms. Be prepared by making FastPass reservations for any rides you want to visit, giving yourself lots of time for transportation to the parks, and adjusting your expectations for how many attractions you’ll be able to visit.

There’s another item to note about the heavy crowds Walt Disney World experiences on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes, one or more of the Walt Disney World theme parks will reach capacity and close to additional guests trying to enter. This closure typically happens in phases – for instance, the park will first turn away guests with one-day tickets. In the later phases, only Annual Passholders and Disney resort guests are allowed to enter. In the final phase, no guests are allowed to enter. There are some exceptions – guests with dining reservations or reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Pirates League may enter during any phase except the final one. The most likely park to close due to reaching capacity is the Magic Kingdom, though it happens occasionally at Epcot. Keep in mind that even if the park does close due to capacity, it will likely not stay that way all day, and often re-opens to guests in the late afternoon or evening. If you absolutely need to be in a certain park for the day, get there in the morning before the park has a chance to reach capacity.

Of course, one of the main reasons to visit Walt Disney World on New Year’s Eve is to enjoy the special entertainment, so be sure to check out what’s available at whichever park you plan to visit. Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a special Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! fireworks. At Epcot, there is a late showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth that finishes with a countdown and celebration of the New Year around World Showcase. At the Magic Kingdom, you can enjoy many of the park’s Christmas offerings, such as Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes fireworks, and then countdown to midnight with the Fantasy in the Sky firework show. Be sure to check on show times as you plan and arrive early to any entertainment.

Elizabeth Perry is a travel agent and member of The Affordable Mouse team at Modern Travel Professionals and specializes in helping grown-up kids plan magical vacations to Disney destinations and Universal Orlando Resort. She will plan your vacation as if it were her own. Check out more valuable planning tips about Walt Disney World at http://planningformagic.com as well as more information about how a travel agent can make your Walt Disney World vacation magical.