Help with New Years Eve plans


#1

Hi!

We are taking our 3 kids (13,10 & 7) to DL and DCA for the VERY first time 12/28-12/31. I’m curious where we should spend New Years Eve. Any suggestions???

Any other holiday tips???
Thanks!
Kristy


#2

Hi Kristy!

That’s so exciting that you are taking the kids for the first time! New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights, particularly in DL along Main Street & up to the hub where the castle is. Guests will begin camping out in droves hours before midnight for a good spot to see the fireworks. If you’d like to avoid that crush of humanity & the wall to wall of people that it will entail, DCA is a great option. In year’s past they’ve had live entertainment throughout DCA to help draw crowds out of DL. DCA will probably also still be crowded but its wider walkways make for a better experience navigating through a crowd.

I would scout out what entertainment will be offered around the parks that night to see if there’s anything you might enjoy. My (younger) kids have enjoyed the dance parties they have done in the past & I am sure they will have at least 1 or 2 scheduled for New Year’s Eve.

I would also make sure you have a plan for meals as it can be a total drag to find food on the fly when the parks are busiest. If you want a sit-down meal, start looking for what reservations are available ASAP because I would expect all restaurants to be fully booked & unable to accept walk-ins. If no reservations are available (or you don’t want to do a sit-down meal) then be sure to use Mobile Ordering on the DL official app. You’ll first select a time to pick up the food, the soonest available time will be listed but you can click somewhere to look for a time further in the future if desired. Based on my experience with Mobile Ordering on busy days, the soonest return times will often be 30-60 min away especially around peak meal times so another great reason to plan in advance where/what time you’ll want to be eating.

After you select a time, you’ll then select a venue, order food & pay with the credit card linked to your Disney account. When you are at (or very close) to the venue click “I’m here. Prepare my order” (or something to that effect). Then go to the Mobile Order Pick-up window & wait for them to call your order.

Then the most important advice I can give is to make sure you arrive EARLY each day to take advantage of the least busiest time of the day & get so much done before crowds start to build. To make the best of that early time, you’ll want to arrive at security at least an hour before park opening if you don’t have early entry or 30 min before early entry if you do have it. If you arrive later than that, then expect to wait in a 30-45 or more minute line to go through security and then another 15-30 min to scan your tickets to enter the park. You may still get part of the advantage of being early but after 2hrs or so from park opening, expect to be in lines for most of the rest of the day (for buying or riding anything & possibly even for the restroom). Then in the early afternoon when crowds are thickest you can option to go back to our hotel for a midday nap/lounge/swim break & come back refreshed for an evening of touring. Just note that depending on what’s going on that night, the security lines may again be backed up in the evening by passholders/locals arriving to enjoy the night.

If waking up early will ruin your vacation you can always try to miss the worst of the security lines which will be right around/after park opening. But it’s anyone’s guess on how long after park opening they will be clear by (my personal guess would be 10am). If doing this, then getting in might be easy, but since the crowds will already be inside, you’ll lose out on all the best/least busiest time in the parks. But like I said, if waking up early will ruin the time for everyone then it’s another alternative. We do a mix of both arriving early then taking a break & coming back to close the parks & arriving later & staying till close with no break (our kids still need a nap to stay up to see fireworks so we’ll try to find time for them to nap in the stroller while we keep going/take a sit-down break somewhere).