New Year's Eve at Disneyland is one of the most popular nights of the year in the parks. Christmas time at Disneyland is still in full swing with the festivities usually going until after the New Year.
If you plan on spending your New Year at the Happiest Place on Earth then you should use our guide to help you have a magical time!
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Top Five Tips for a Magical New Year's Eve at Disneyland
New Year's Eve at Disneyland is one of the busiest days of the year ranking a 10/10 on most crowd calendar websites. This is also one of the days of the year that usually reaches max attendance capacity so with all that in mind… it's good to show up prepared to navigate those crowds!
1. Be Prepared for Crowds
New Year's Eve at Disneyland is one of the busiest days of the year. The parks may reach max attendance capacity which will then limit anyone from entering the park until the capacity level goes down as people leave. So with that in mind, it is best to just stick to one park instead of park hopping.
And definitely don't leave to go visit your hotel- there are no refunds if you come back and you can't get in because the park has reached capacity! Make sure you bring everything you need to get you through the day.
Making peace (it is the holidays, after all!) in advance with the crowds will also enable you to have a much more magical experience. Be patient and try not to let it ruin the magic for you! Attitude is everything. You're at the Happiest Place on Earth- enjoy!
2. Use MaxPass and FastPass
Utilizing MaxPass and FastPass is an absolute must for spending New Year's Eve at Disneyland. Even with the expected crowd levels, if you utilize MaxPass you will still be able to ride all your favorite rides. Stick to a solid strategy, we recommend our Christmas touring plan, and make sure you see all the holiday favorites.
You also get all your PhotoPass downloads for free when you purchase MaxPass! So make sure you take advantage of all the PhotoPass opportunities in the park.
3. Reserve Dining Options in Advance
We recommend reserving your dining in advance, you can reserve up to 60 days in advance on Disney's dining website. Some of the most popular upscale restaurants, like the Blue Bayou pictured above, will have limited availability due to how popular they are so reserve as soon as possible.
If you plan on viewing the Christmas parade or Fantasmic!– this is one of the best times for a dining package with reserved viewing. You will thank yourself when you have a spot saved and you can sit back and relax!
Disneyland also offers a special themed character dining experience at the Paradise Pier Hotel to celebrate New Years Eve! The event typically includes characters along with a buffet in the PCH Grill. The New Year's Character Celebration will typically take place in the Pacific Ballroom and includes countdowns to midnight.
4. Arrive Early and Use a Strategy
On a day like New Year's Eve at Disneyland, it is more important than ever to show up early. We recommend showing up at least an hour prior to park opening so you can be inside the park for Rope Drop. Typically, around 15-30 minutes before park opening the cast member's will let guests inside allowing them to line up at the entrance to each line. At official opening, cast members will lower the ropes and those waiting at Rope Drop will be some of the first people on the attractions.
Spend the morning following a good strategy so you can ride all the rides you have your heart set on and then spend the afternoon enjoying the holiday entertainment, eating, and shopping.
5. Enjoy the Entertainment and Plan Ahead for the Fireworks
After you spend the mornings enjoying the rides, plan on spending the afternoon and evening enjoying the entertainment options. The Christmas Fantasy Parade takes place at 3:30PM and 6PM and its a parade worth watching!
The New Year’s Eve “Fantasy in the Sky” Fireworks Spectacular are insanely popular so make sure you plan ahead on where you want to view them. Some popular locations include in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, near it's a small world, or by the Rivers of America. The castle spot is much coveted and if you have your heart set on this view, be prepared to spend a couple hours at least securing your spot. I recommend asking a cast member for advice on what time to start grabbing your spot. The fireworks will air at 9PM and at 11:55PM including the countdown for both shows so that families with younger children can make the earlier show without staying up extremely late.
If you have your heart set on seeing the fireworks but don't necessarily want to devote hours at a end lining up for a spot, you could consider splurging for a dining package with reserved firework viewing that is typically offered each year at the Plaza Inn called the New Years Eve Fireworks Spectacular Dining Package. This dining package includes a special themed meal from the Plaza Inn with reserved viewing of the show. The package is $125 for adults and $100 for kids. aged 3-9.
You can also choose to celebrate New Years at California Adventure where the crowds may be slightly less overwhelming. This park celebrates with a themed World of Color and DJ dance party that many adults will enjoy.
If you plan on watching Fantasmic!, we recommend purchasing a dining package with reserved viewing. On a day as busy as New Year's Eve at Disneyland, the price will be well worth it. And the best part about the viewing locations for Fantasmic!? You can stay in your spot and watch the fireworks immediately after. Check out our recent review of the Blue Bayou Fantasmic! package to see how great our view was of the fireworks.
Ready To Spend Your New Year's Eve at Disneyland?
Check out our other planning guides to make sure your day is as magical as ever! Sign up for our newsletter which provides even more tips for the ultimate Disneyland Resort vacation.
- Holiday Time at Disneyland
- Disneyland Morning Touring Strategy
- Disney California Adventure Morning Touring Strategy
- Disneyland MaxPass Guidelines
- Disneyland Restaurant Reviews