/ Friday, December 30th, 2011

by Don Myers

It’s almost that time again. Time once again to usher in another new year. And if you’re going to be visiting Walt Disney World as 2011 transitions into 2012, there will certainly be no shortage of entertainment options for you to choose from. Let’s start off our New Year’s Eve journey at Magic Kingdom, where the Park will be open from 8am until 2am (Magic Kingdom has Morning Extra Magic Hours on Dec 31st, so the Park will be open at 7am for Resort Guests). There will be two showings of the Main Street Electrical Parade, 7pm and 1030pm. Sandwiched in between (at 830pm) will be a Holiday performance of Wishes. But the Main Event will be at 1150pm, when a special New Year’s Eve Edition of the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks take flight over Cinderella Castle. And if you can’t get to Magic Kingdom on Dec 31st, the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks will also be shown at 1150pm the night before New Year’s Eve on Dec 30th (I highly recommend going to the Magic Kingdom on Dec 30th for the special Fantasy in the Sky, then hitting up EPCOT or the Studios on Dec 31st. That way you get a “two-for-one,” so to speak).

Continuing along, we now head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where the Park will be open from 8am until 12am (the Studios has Evening Extra Magic Hours on Dec 31st, so the Park will stay open until 3am for Resort Guests). The Studios will be featuring not one, not two, but three performances of Fantasmic on New Year’s Eve: 630pm, 8pm, and 10pm. And at midnight, the Park rings in the new year with a bang…literally, as the night sky over Hollywood Studios will be lit up by a special fireworks display entitled: “Lights, Camera, Happy New Year!”

There will be no special pyrotechnic displays for New Year’s Eve (or any night, for that matter) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as the loud noises would no doubt upset the animals. But for those of you wondering, the Park will be open from 8am until 8pm (Animal Kingdom has Morning Extra Magic Hours on Dec 31st, so the Park will be open at 7am for Resort Guests).

We round out the quartet of Parks with Epcot Center, where Future World will be open from 8am until 1am and World Showcase will be open from 11am until 1am. Of the four Parks, EPCOT has the most New Year’s Eve entertainment on the docket by a landslide. The Park will feature a Holiday performance of Illuminations at 7pm, followed by a special New Year’s Eve edition of Illuminations at 1140pm (just imagine, the finale will be kicking into full gear right as the clock strikes midnight). In addition, there will be live DJ’s positioned throughout World Showcase who will be spinning records right up until the Park closes at 1am. Steve Dunlap will kick things off from 2pm-6pm at the America Gardens Theatre, with Latin Wave and Indio Davila taking over the stage with alternating performances that will begin at 720pm. Also, starting at 715pm, look for Mark Sanchez (not the Jets QB, ladies and football fans!) at the Italy Pavilion and Dominick Morrison (and the World Beat Dance Party) over at the China Pavilion. And Future World will even be getting in on the New Year’s Eve fun, as DJ Scooter’s Dance Party will be in full swing at the Fountain Stage at 715pm.

But the New Year’s Eve festivities aren’t limited to the four Theme Parks, as Downtown Disney will also be featuring two great options to choose from. First up is the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, which runs from 8pm to 1am. A separate ticket is required for admission to the event, with prices running at $45 for advanced purchase and $55 at the door. Tickets will include access to all DisneyQuest games, as well as a food voucher which will be redeemable for your choice of one of four entrees (personal pizza, hamburger, hot dog, or chicken caesar wrap), chips, and fountain drink. And a live DJ will also be on hand to help keep the atmosphere lively inside DisneyQuest (the countdown to midnight and subsequent confetti drop should do the trick as well). And New Year’s Eve fun can even be found under the big top, as Cirque du Soleil La Nouba will have special 6pm and 9pm performances on Dec 31st. The two shows will include a New Year’s-themed finale, and everyone who attends will receive a very special keepsake- a limited edition Cirque du Soleil La Nouba collector’s pin! If you’re interested in more info about the DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party, or would like to purchase tickets in advance and save $10, visit:


There one more stop to make on our New Year’s Eve trip around WDW Resort, and this one can be found at Disney’s Boardwalk. The party’s at Atlantic Dance Hall, and it runs from 8pm until 2am. As with the event over at DisneyQuest, admission to this one requires the purchase of a separate ticket. Prices are $35 for standard admission, and $75 for a V.I.P. ticket, which includes special access to the building’s second floor.

Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update, but I’ll be back again soon with another edition of the WDW Radio Newswire…….

Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World.  He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history!  Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.