One of the things I enjoy about living down here in Orlando is the opportunity to do things at Walt Disney World I never had the chance to before. This week will mark my first ever time at the parks during New Years, the place where I have wanted to be to ring in a new year for a long time. So this week, I thought I would look over the New Years offering here at Walt Disney World.
Three of the four theme parks will be open to ring in the New Year, all included in standard park admission. Our first stop is the Magic Kingdom. The following performance schedule and park hours will occur on both December 30 and 31, for those of you who want to experience the special entertainment the night before and count down to the new year in a different park the next night. The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m on the 30th and the 31st, quite a long time to see and do everything. Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade will make its way through the park twice on December 31st, at noon and 3 p.m. Moreover, SpectroMagic will also see two performances, one at 7 p.m. and the other at 10:30 p.m. In addition, there will be two fireworks shows. Holiday Wishes will be seen at 8:30 p.m. and the New Year's edition of Fantasy in the Sky will appear at 11:50 p.m.
Epcot will also be open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, and will feature live music around the park. And due to the anticipated high attendance there will be two showings of Illuminations. The first showing will be at 7:30 p.m., while the special New Year's version will run at 11:40 p.m.
And of course, our favorite park of them all, Disney's Hollywood Studios, will see the park open from 9 a.m. to midnight with the usual 3 p.m. running of Block Party Bash. Live performances by Mulch, Sweat and Shears and a DJ at the Sorcerer's Hat throughout the evening mirror the two performances of Fantasmic at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will also be on. And of course, the evening is topped off with the Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! fireworks at 11:50 p.m. (could they have thought of a worse name?).
If the parks on New Year’s Eve just aren’t your cup of tea, there are some other options for you around the Walt Disney World Resort. The Atlantic Dance at the Boardwalk Resort will also be holding its annual New Year's Eve event. The cover charge is the paltry sum of $10 for a three-hour party, a decent value especially for those who don’t want to fight the crowds at one of the three theme parks. According to the schedule of events, there will be "dueling Video DJ's" playing music videos and music from the last 30 years with a champagne toast at midnight. You must be 21 years old to enter.
Rix Lounge at the Coronado Springs Resort will also be hosting a New Year's Eve party. The lounge will be open until 3 a.m. with no cover charge, and families are welcome. Hors d'oeuvre platters are available for purchase, as are champagne specials throughout the night and a champagne toast at midnight. There's even a special VIP package that includes a reserved table for up to 10 guests, three hors d'oeuvre platters, two bottles of champagne, two bottles of premium liquor and mixers, and a dedicated server. While I’m not a fan of the Coronado Springs Resort as a whole, this might be a less intensive and stressful way to ring in the New Year.
Finally, even Downtown Disney is getting in the spirit of things on December 31st, and having a different celebration of its own. Downtown Disney will have some special events from 6:30pm until Midnight, including a DJ Kids Dance Party at the Waterside Stage, a live DJ playing at Pleasure Island (well…what’s left of it anyway), entertainment in front of Fultons Crab House and the Adventurers Club, as well as entertainment in front of the Virgin Megastore. Please note that entertainment will be in front of the Adventurer’s Cub, not inside. Cirque du Soleil will host two special presentations of La Nouba on New Year's Eve, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The show will feature a special souvenir program, a "champagne toast celebration," glow sticks, and a gift. Tickets are $93-$143 plus tax, depending on your seating. And lastly, because it wouldn’t be Disney if you weren’t allowed to buy something, shopping hours at Downtown Disney Marketplace are extended until midnight.
As you can see, there is a lot to see and do on New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World. This year, I’m headed to the Studios to see the very badly named Lights! Camera! Happy New Year! Fireworks and I’ll let everyone know what I thought.
Have a happy and safe New Years everyone. See you in 2009!