Tips for visiting Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve. Find out about the crowds, how you can get into the park when it closes and the best place to watch the fireworks.
Tips for New Year’s Eve at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
I surprised by daughter with tickets to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve for our annual girl’s trip. It was probably one of the best nights ever and one of the worst nights ever. Read on to see why, it was definitely an experience we’ll never forget!
If you plan to visit Disney at New Year’s Eve, here are some travel tips from our experience at Magic Kingdom.
Find out how bad the crowds really are, how you can get into the park when it closes, and the best places to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
What is New Year’s Eve Like at Magic Kingdom?
In a nutshell, FUN and very CROWDED!
Do not go to Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve if it’s your first time to visit a Disney Park or if you can’t handle being in large crowds.
My daughter and I have been to Magic Kingdom many times, we’ve also experienced several years of Christmas at Disney parks. Since we are such Disney fans, one crowded night to celebrate the New Year at Magic Kingdom was fine with us!
The Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks were SO AMAZING!
The fireworks display was 360° all around the park. I’ve never experienced anything like them before at Disney. This alone is definitely one of the best reasons to visit Magic Kingdom at New Year’s Eve!
If you don’t like loud noises, be warned. The 360° fireworks are extremely loud, even inside.
There are also several D.J’s hosting dance parties around the park. It’s a lot of fun and once you get into the park, Disney will have things organized for large crowds.
What are the crowds like at Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve?
We LOVE Disney and knew it would be extra crowded, so we avoided the crowds as much as we could. Because we avoided the most crowded spots, it actually didn’t seem much different than any other Disney park during a holiday.
In the most crowded areas near Cinderella’s Castle and Fantasyland, I’ve never seen so many strollers, seniors on scooters or large crowds like that before!
What are the Wait Times on New Year’s Eve?
You’ll only want to ride the popular attractions if you have made Fastpass plans, otherwise plan on a 1-2 hour line wait.
There were extra long bathroom lines as well (5-20 minutes wait times depending on where you were in the park).
Wait times for food carts were only 5-10 minutes.
Quick service dinning lines were no different than any other holiday. Find a table first, have a family member sit to save it, then plan on waiting 10-30 minutes in the food line.
By the end of the night, the Space Mountain Fastpass line was about half a block long outside of the building, but it moved very quickly. After 10 minutes, we were to the Fastpass entrance and inside.
Here are some tips to help you plan a fun New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom!
Go early and stay late
Magic Kingdom is open until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and that last hour is a great time to ride your favorite attractions with little to no lines. This is a great time for photos in front of Cinderella’s Castle as well.
Get to the park before 12 pm to ensure you get in the park. Magic Kingdom will close if the park gets too crowded.
First of all, check the local news before driving there! I wish I had thought to do this. I definitely learned that lesson the hard way. The park closed as soon as we got there!
We had made plans, so I assumed Disney would have announced something on their app if they were to close the park, but they did not.
Our flight from Dallas arrived at 11 am, after getting our rental car and checking into our hotel we got to Disney by 1 pm.
Little did we know we would get stuck in Magic Kingdom’s parking lot gate exit ramp for nearly 2 hours! Magic Kingdom had just closed due to crowds. It was a horrible experience having to sit in our car and wait so long with no information from Disney.
People were getting out of their cars to find out information or to look for a restroom. There was no news on Disney’s app or social media. There was not even once police officer to give us information about what we should do.
I was giving updates on Twitter, as I got info from the people getting out of their cars, to let others know what was happening. My tweets even made the local news!
Luckily we had made plans and Disney let us into the park! We were in the park by 3:15 pm after arriving at 1 pm. Yeah, the being stuck in traffic part was not so magical!
What happens when a Disney park closes due to crowds?
There is an overflow parking area. You will get into the park if you have one of these:
- Annual Passes
- Booked at a Disney Resort
- Reservations in the park
Make Fastpass plans and you might also get into the park.
If you are stuck in traffic near the Magic Kingdom parking lot gate, do not get out of your car unless you have to. Eventually you will get to the gate and they will tell you information.
If you need to use the restroom, there is one at the entrance gate available to you.
Can’t get into the park? Here are 5 Day Trips To Take From Disney World.
We were so excited to finally get into Magic Kingdom!
Now that you know to go early, plan ahead and be ready for large crowds, here are some good tips for Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve.
Where do you find the Disney New Year’s Hats and Blow Horns?
We lucked out and happened to be eating at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe in Frontierland. All of the sudden we heard a lot of honking and figured something was going on and we were right!
Look for the Disney New Year’s Eve Hats and Blow Horns in Frontierland near Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe and Splash Mountain in Frontierland. They are free and cast members began handing out the hats and horns at 3:45 pm.
NOTE: This location could change in the future.
Tips for Watching the Magic Kingdom New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show
This year, the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks at Magic Kingdom were shown December 30th and 31st at 6:30 PM and 11:50 PM.
BEST TIP: Watch the early fireworks show or go the night before New Year’s Eve.
The New Year’s Eve fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is incredible! If you want to see the fireworks with the castle in the background along with music, watch the early fireworks show or go the night before. It’s the exact same show and much less crowded.
During the first show, it was crowded around the castle, but seemed no different than any other holiday.
This photo was taken at 5:15 pm as we walked by to shop on Main Street. It was getting very crowded, but still room to stand and wait for the fireworks.
Where is the best place to watch The New Year’s Eve fireworks?
The best place to watch fireworks in Magic Kingdom is to make reservations for the Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace.
This year the price for New Year’s Eve was $84 for adults and $50 for children. Book months in advance as these spots will fill up quickly!
Secret Place to Sit
We found a secret spot to watch the fireworks! Magic Kingdom opened a gate that let guests walk behind the shops on Main Street. It was not crowded at all.
This is a photo I took 1 1/2 hours before the 6:30 pm show. Lots of room to sit, plus a great view of the castle!
How do you find the secret spot to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks?
I’m not sure if this location will be available in the future, but you can try. It was open on New Year’s Eve because of high crowds.
As you are looking at Cinderella’s castle from the big Christmas tree on Main Street, head to your right and you might see an open gate that has a path behind the shops.
Disney had taped off areas for families to sit while also allowing guests to walk through to Tomorrowland from the entrance.
Where did you watch the fireworks at the early show?
We were walking towards the Haunted Mansion for the first fireworks show.
Since we couldn’t see the castle, we hadn’t planned to stop and watch, but when the fireworks show got going, we couldn’t NOT watch. The fireworks were amazing and all around us!
What were the crowds like at the midnight fireworks show?
The crowds around Cinderella’s castle were insane by 9:30 pm.
If you want the real countdown to midnight, you need to be near Cinderella’s castle at least 3 hours ahead of time. Disney suggested giving yourself 1-2 hours to find a spot, but I would say go well before that!
We were done riding Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at 9:45 pm (2 hours before the late fireworks show) and walked toward the castle thinking we had plenty of time to find a spot, but they were not allowing anyone to walk towards the castle or to Main Street at that time.
During the earlier fireworks show, we were allowed to walk past the crowds to shop at Main Street an hour before the fireworks, but not for the midnight show.
Your whole party should go with you. If you had family inside the parameter they blocked off, I don’t think you could have gotten through.
The only place to walk was around the outside of the park behind the castle or to a special park exit.
Where did you watch the Midnight Fireworks?
Even 2 hours before the midnight fireworks show, we were not allowed anywhere near the castle or Main Street.
Don’t think you can sit in a restaurant or walk through them, they will block areas in the streets, shops and restaurants.
We found a bench near the Mad Tea Party ride and Tomorrowland Speedway to sit and watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks.
The bad from this location:
- You can’t hear any sound or music from the fireworks show.
- You only get a side view of the castle.
- The smoke was so thick from the fireworks that you couldn’t see the castle at all. (I’m guessing it was the same in front of the castle.)
The good from this location:
- We could see the castle from the side.
- The fireworks were EVERYWHERE! We could see it all and experience the fun.
- We had a place to sit while we waited.
- No crowds.
- A restaurant and restrooms nearby.
- We got to ride several rides in a row after the fireworks with no lines or crowds.
Within 45 minutes we rode:
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- It’s a Small World
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Will I need a jacket at Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve?
The temperature was in the 50’s, which is freezing to us Texas girls! I definitely suggest bringing a jacket, scarf or several layers of clothing. We felt bad for those who had on shorts and t-shirts, because we were so cold!
Even with all of the crowds, we had one of the best nights ever at Magic Kingdom!!
Leave a comment below if you’ve been to a Disney Park New Year’s Eve and let us know your experience.
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