What are you doing for New Year's Eve?
Plenty of theme parks are hoping to entice fans and bank some last-minute income with big New Year's Eve spectaculars. Here in Southern California and across the country in Central Florida, all the major resorts are planning New Year's Eve celebrations. Even Legoland is holding an early NYW celebration for kids (and their now-vacation-exhausted parents) who have early bedtimes.
When I moved back to Los Angeles many years ago, I eye-rolled during an editorial meeting at the LA Times, when some New York transplant bemoaned that Southern California did not have any big New Year's Eve gatherings like the Times Square ball drop in Manhattan. As the website rep, I didn't get to talk much at those afternoon editorial meetings, but I did feel the need to mention that Southern California annually hosts at least two major crowd events on New Year's Eve.
Disneyland crams tens of thousands of revelers into Walt's original park on December 31 to count down the arrival of the new year. And in Pasadena, tens of thousands of other people celebrate out on Colorado Blvd. while they camp all night to save viewing spaces for the next morning's Tournament of Roses Parade.
The Rose Parade will not happen on January 1 this year, due to the Tournament's long-standing "never on a Sunday" policy. That used to be an accommodation for the many churches along Pasadena's Rose Parade route, which did not want to be kept from holding their Sunday morning services due to the parade. These days, though, it's more of a concession to the NFL, which owns the Sunday morning TV schedule. Either way, people won't be camping out until Sunday night this year, awaiting the Rose Parade on January 2.
Disneyland is raising its profile for this year's New Year's Eve celebration, however. Disney's ABC has taped several headline music performances at the park for inclusion in its "Dick Clark's New Year’s Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2023" broadcast, which is watched by millions of viewers across the country.
Just to reiterate, those were pretaped segments. You won't find Ben Platt, Aly & AJ, Halle Bailey, and others performing at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure on Saturday night. But you will find tens of thousands of theme park fans there, awaiting the arrival of midnight and Disneyland's New Year's fireworks show.
So what are you doing for New Year's Eve this year? (Or, if you are reading this in 2023, what did you do?)
However you celebrate - or not - I wish you a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2023. And thank you for spending time with us here at Theme Park Insider.
Stay tuned on New Year' Day, when I will announce the winners of the 21st annual Theme Park Insider Award. It's the biggest New Year's Day show in Pasadena this year. (Hah!)
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