WDW - New Year's Eve Tips?

December 18, 2019, 10:30 AM

Hey everybody! My family and I are heading to Walt Disney World to celebrate New Year's (first time visiting during NYE festivities) in a few weeks, and I was hoping that some WDW veterans here who have experienced what will likely be pretty incredible levels of chaos might have some tips/suggestions to get the most out of our experience. We have park hopper tickets, and the only "must-do's" on our agenda are ROTR and Fantasy in the Sky (is this worth the hype btw???). Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Replies (9)

December 18, 2019, 11:08 AM

Do you have any FP+ reservations yet? If you don't, you should log into MDE right now, and grab whatever is available. Your FP+ reservations will guide which parks you're in, and when you can hop between them. Also, if you want to have any sit down meals in the parks and resorts, you should make ADRs ASAP - don't expect high demand restaurants to have any availability, especially those that offer special holiday menus.

I cannot provide any specific NYE advice (I would never subject myself to that kind of torture), but having FP+ reservations and a ton of patience are probably the most important. If you want to do RotR, plan to arrive at DHS at 5 AM or earlier (DHS gates officially open at 6 AM starting next Wednesday), and make sure everyone in your group that wants to ride is with you. If you're staying a Disney hotel, it's probably a good idea to plan to take advantage of EMH parks, but since you have park hoppers, be prepared to jump to another park if crowds levels and lines become too unbearable (use MDE to see wait times for attractions in other parks to gauge where crowds are lightest). If you're staying off-site, avoid EMH parks at all cost, particularly on days/parks with morning EMH. On days you're planning to visit MK, arrive BEFORE noon or face the possibility of being stuck outside the gates due to the park reaching capacity. If you want to see the NYE fireworks at MK, don't expect to show up at 3 PM (Fantasy in the Sky happens at both 6:30 and 11:50) unless you want to stand outside the gates until guests leaving after the early fireworks show get tired and leave.

I don't know if you're a frequent WDW visitor or a first timer, but crowds can sometimes provide opportunities to experience and see lesser attractions. While lower rated attractions are still likely to carry significant lines, you're probably going to have more fun experiencing a handful of lesser attractions than waiting hours to experience 1 e-ticket.

December 18, 2019, 11:11 AM

Please read TH's thread on getting on Rise of the Resistance for tips on bagging that "must do." In short, plan on arriving at the park at least two, if not three hours before its posted opening time for the day, then make sure everyone in your group is registered together in the My Disney Experience app. Once you've all tapped into the park, immediately join a boarding group in the app.

Your boarding group return time will dictate if you are able to get a decent viewing spot for the New Year's fireworks that night. You need a boarding group in the morning or early afternoon, so you have time to get to the Magic Kingdom before 6pm to get a spot on the hub, if that's where you want to see the show. That's why I suggested arriving at DHS three hours before opening, to put you in position to get an early boarding group for Rise.

Wherever you end up, though, it's a heckuva party anywhere in the parks. Enjoy.

December 18, 2019, 11:18 AM

@Robert - FYI, it sounds like Disney didn't open Boarding Groups this morning until official park opening time (7 AM), and only opened the gates a few minutes prior. Reportedly there was a media event in Galaxy's Edge this morning that may have caused what may be a 1-time procedural change, but it's worth monitoring the situation to see if that becomes the new normal - if so, arriving so soon prior to official opening may be a waste of time since as long as you're in the park by the time the Boarding Groups open, you are on the same footing as those that may have arrived to the gate hours before you.

Edited: December 18, 2019, 12:55 PM

Yeah, I wondered when Disney was going to get sick of having to staff the DHS entrance hours before opening to deal with people queuing for first shot at the boarding groups. Not opening boarding groups until after everyone waiting at the gates has had the chance to get into the park eliminates the incentive to arrive hours earlier. (But it does make boarding group entry more of a lottery.) Let's see what happens tomorrow.

December 18, 2019, 1:48 PM

I have been at WDW for New Year's Eve a few times and will be going this year. Best tips:

- Crowd will be insane at Magic Kingdom all day, and the park is likely to sell out and turn people away later in the day. Even the lesser attractions will be mobbed. I would avoid it unless you absolutely have to, and in that case I would get there super-duper-duper early.

- For other parks, crowds will start getting super-crazy at least by 4-6PM. If you can make Fastpass and/or dinner reservations from then through late-night, you should do so! And if you haven't done it already, you should do it immediately because most are probably gone already.

- It's a long day and the crowds seem to make things more tiring than usual. We won't be arriving at the parks until at least 3 or 4PM. Also, with it being a late night, dress for cool weather (and layer if you're going earlier in the day).

- Sometimes the parks do "early" New Year's Eve celebration around 8P or 9P.

- FWIW, New Year's Day is pretty tame crowd-wise compared to the days around it, at least in the morning until 12n or 1p.

Good luck!!

December 18, 2019, 2:58 PM

I really appreciate all of the feedback! Thanks again!!!

December 18, 2019, 5:13 PM

Can't really add to the advice given above, but yes, ROTR lives up to the hype. Best ride I've ever ridden.

December 22, 2019, 8:23 PM

I'll be doing MK & Epcot on New Year's Eve for the first time. Staying at AOA 12/30-1/1. What time do you guys recommend arriving at MK for AM EMH (I will be leaving MK at around 8:30-9:00am ish for Epcot and returning in the evening)?

December 22, 2019, 9:48 PM

MK and Epcot are insane to try and leave after the fireworks. If you really need to have the experience of being there for New Years I would say find a spot to watch as close as you can to a path to leave, and as soon as the fireworks end sprint your ass off to the monorail station (at MK) or your car (at Epcot). If you are watching near Italy or something forget about it...you are screwed lol. Have fun sitting in the parking lot for the next 2+ hours.

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