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Lou’s Inbox: Ringing in the New Year at Walt Disney World

Lou’s email inbox is often full to overflowing with questions from listeners.  As such, he has enlisted the WDW Radio Blog writers to assist him in answering some of your questions.


My name is Amanda and believe it or not, I’ve been listening to your show since I was in 7th grade ( I am now a senior in college).   My boyfriend and I are planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Walt Disney World, and I was wondering if you have any advice on how to make our time worth while during such a busy season.  Are there any special events happening to ring in the New Year? Any Information and advice would be great.  Thanks again!  Amanda Cristi.

Hi, Amanda.   Thanks very much for the message.  I’m Rich McNanna, a blogger with WDW Radio,  and I’d love to help you out with your question. I would say that the standard precursor to your question – should you wish to book the biggest special events – would be to make sure and book reservations 180 days in advance.    New Year’s Eve is a very special time on property, and is, of course,  extremely busy.

That said, the gold standard for New Year’s Eve bashes at Walt Disney World is the “Disney Countdown to Midnight” event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. As Disney’s website states, “Starting at [8:00] PM on December 31, 2016, Disney Countdown to Midnight gives Guests like you the opportunity to ring in the New Year at an extraordinary event held within the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.” The evening includes drinks in the Fantasia Ballroom, dancing, specialty food offerings from some of Walt Disney World’s best kitchens and special music acts.   The evening is capped off with the legendary Fantasy In the Sky Fireworks Spectacular.   Tickets are not inexpensive at $225 per Guest, but the event by all accounts seems very special and quite worth the cost – a real unique. (Further details are available on the Walt Disney World website.)

Additionally, for 2017, the following restaurants have advertised dining specials to ring in the New Year: California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grove, II Mulino, Monsieur Paul, Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo Lounge, Victoria & Albert’s, Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s TableAgain, contacting Disney Dining for a reservation well in advance is strongly advised.

But what if you couldn’t anticipate being in Walt Disney World and made no reservations for some of the more exclusive events? Well, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs all have extended hours and count down to the New Year celebrations;  why not cozy up to your favorite corner of whichever park or area you love best and enjoy the respective sights and sounds of whichever atmosphere you choose. Whichever way you approach it,  Walt Disney World is the place to ring in the New Year!


Photo ©Disney.

Richie McNanna is an 8th grade teacher from Westfield, NJ.   He has been a self-proclaimed Disney nut since the age of seven when his parents convinced him that real ghosts lived in the Haunted Mansion, and his goal in life is to retire one day and become one of the Dapper Dans.   Richie’s wife, Helene,  is the most understanding woman on the planet for putting up with his Disney obsession and owed a great deal of emotional payback.  His son is one year old and already owns several sets of Mickey ears.