Tackling a Theme Park on New Year’s Eve

It’s the final time to see the New Year’s Eve version of IllumiNations

As you well know, 2018 is almost over. Walt Disney World is already packed with vacationers who are here because they have Christmas Week off. More people will arrive this weekend, wanting to ring in the New Year at the most magical place on Earth. If you’re planning on celebrating in one of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, you’ll need your patience.

Arrive as early as you can. If you’re staying on property, the Magic Kingdom will have an Extra Magic Hour at 7:00, and then will open to everyone at 8:00. If you have a major ride that you want to hit, do it when you first arrive, because it won’t take long for the lines to grow. The Magic Kingdom will most likely be the most crowded of the four theme parks. It will stay open until 1:00.

Don’t forget that you can ring in 2019 at both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot will be open 8:00 until 1:00, while at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the hours are 9:00 until midnight.

If you don’t care about being in a theme park at midnight, Disney’s Animal Kingdom would be the smart choice. It will be open 8:00 until 9:00. Then you can head back to your hotel and watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks live on Disney Parks Blog.

There are still FastPass+ selections available for all four theme parks, but they won’t be around much longer! If you haven’t made your choices, do that immediately. You might not be able to get three selections in all four parks because of the Tiers, but even if you can snag two that will be two less lines that you’ll wait in.

When it comes to dining, try something new. There are still restaurant reservations open in all four parks. Normally I’d recommend leaving a park and eating at a nearby resort, but on a day that will be packed I think it makes more sense to stay put.

Expect the crowds. It is going to be wall to wall people, no matter which park you visit. Enjoy the extras, such as the live performances, the decorations, and the music. Look for Hidden Mickeys. Pay attention to the details while you’re in line. The small details are amazing, and most people never notice them.

One more piece of advice, something that you will hear me say over and over again. Be nice to the Cast Members, even if they aren’t overly friendly to you. Many of the Cast Members are in the College Program, and it’s their first New Year’s Eve away from home. Others would rather be home with their husband, wife, kids, dogs, cats, turtles, and anyone else who is important to them. I like to thank Cast Members for being there on holidays, even if they obviously would rather be elsewhere. It takes a fraction of a second, and it could mean more to them than I will ever know.