By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

New Year’s Eve 2015/2016 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


New Years Eve 2015 at Walt Disney WorldNew Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks will happen on December 31, 2015 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30.

The Animal Kingdom has no special New Year’s Eve fireworks, but will–for the first time– be offering a “New Year’s Eve Street Parti” in Africa’s Harambe Market from 3:30p to 8:30p.

Hours may be extended, but here’s what’s currently scheduled:

  • Epcot is scheduled to be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios until midnight for the general public, and 2a for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests; and the Magic Kingdom until 2a
  • The Magic Kingdom will have Wishes at 6.30p, and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.50p
  • Epcot will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have fireworks at midnight
  • Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom, but is available at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Magic Kingdom will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.


Disney closes parks due to crowding often on New Year’s Eve. “Closes” means closed to additional guests–those in the parks do not have to leave.

See this for more on how Disney World park closings work.

The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are the most likely parks to close, and Animal Kingdom the least likely.

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1 Jeannine { 07.10.15 at 8:24 pm }

Where are some of the best places to veiw NYE fireworks outside of the park?

2 Dave { 07.11.15 at 9:48 am }

None, really, Jeannine.

3 Brooke { 07.14.15 at 9:55 pm }

We are going to do NYE at Epcot with our two children. Where would be the best place to dine that evening before fireworks?

4 Dave { 07.16.15 at 7:15 am }

Brooke, I would choose based on cuisine or what looks like fun to you.

5 Barry D { 07.19.15 at 12:36 pm }

Hi Dave
Just found your website very nice Dave.
My question is we are going to Disney for 3 weeks over Christmas, what would be the best way to do our park tickets. We have never done Disney for 3 weeks before so its all a bit new to us .
We arrive on 21 December 2015 and go home on the 11th January 2016 and we would like to do all the parks to see the Christmas magic.
we are coming from the UK.

Hope you can point us in the right direction

Thanks Dave

6 Dave { 07.20.15 at 10:28 am }

Barry, there are special ticket deals available to UK residents that I don’t track. A UK-focused Disney forum/board,, can help. Tell ’em Dave from sent you!!

7 Danny Megilld { 07.30.15 at 9:09 pm }

which park will be the least crowded? Other than AK

8 Dave { 07.31.15 at 7:29 am }

Danny, all but AK will be mobbed so much that you won’t be able to tell if one is “less” crowded. That said, my guess is HS.

9 C { 08.26.15 at 4:55 pm }

Approx what time does Disney typically have to close the park to new visitors?

10 Dave { 08.27.15 at 6:34 pm }

C, can’t tell you. Mid-late morning is likely the earliest…

11 Andrew { 09.01.15 at 10:09 pm }

Hi Dave, where is the best spot to view the new years eve fireworks at Epcot (Without wasting an unreasonable amount of time reserving a spot)? We have been there many times and have never seemed to find a good location.

12 Dave { 09.02.15 at 8:52 am }

Andrew, on New Years Eve there’s no such thing, sadly.

13 Viviana { 09.07.15 at 9:47 am }

How do I reserve a spot

14 Dave { 09.08.15 at 12:47 pm }

A spot for what, Viviana?

15 Marielle { 09.12.15 at 11:54 pm }

Jeanine, I recommend checking the Disney tourist blog, they give lots of suggestions, including viewing areas outside the park. Quite frankly, I’m shocked that anyone running a website like this would give such a blunt, unhelpful answer.

16 Alex { 09.19.15 at 3:45 pm }

Will all 3 parks have hats and horns do you think? Or just Epcot and Magic Kingdom?

17 Dave { 09.21.15 at 6:46 am }

Alex, all three parks, I’d expect.

18 Veronica { 10.01.15 at 12:48 pm }

Hi Dave. My family is going to Disney the last week of December. We were thinking of getting a reservation at Epcot to see the fireworks but would prefer the Magic Kingdom. Is there anywhere in the Magic Kingdom that we can get reservations to secure a spot to watch the fireworks there? Any information would be helpful.

19 Dave { 10.01.15 at 1:53 pm }

Well, Veronica, that is, by far, the worst week of the year to go. There’s no reserved viewing for the MK fireworks.

20 Milena michaelidis { 10.04.15 at 9:40 pm }

Dave, taking my boys for their first time in March, what parks do you think an 11 and 13 year old would like to go? Also they are very picky eaters… They like pizza, fries, nuggets…where can I take them to dine those kind of foods. Thanks

21 Dave { 10.05.15 at 7:57 am }

Milean, at the age they should enjoy pretty much everything. See this for more specifics.

You’ll find fries and nuggets at multiple locations in every park. Pizza is also available, particularly at Pizzafari at the Animal Kingom and Toy Story Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios

22 Kimberly { 10.08.15 at 2:27 am }

Will Epcot have special NYE fireworks or just the normal illuminations show?

23 Dave { 10.08.15 at 7:53 am }

Kimberly, they add on a special NYE segment to the end of IllumiNations

24 MArlene { 10.15.15 at 12:54 pm }

Hi Dave. Congrats, the webpage is very helpful. One question, I will Be at a Walt Disney World resort hotel for NYE. We want to go to MAgic Kingdom for the fireworks, we are planning to go in the late afternoon til midnight. ‘Cause spending the WHOLE day there would be very tired. Is it likely that we will be turned away, even though we will be staying On-Site at the Art of Contemporary? Thank you for your answer.

25 Dave { 10.16.15 at 8:17 am }

Marlene–Contemporary or Art of Animation? If the Contemporary you should be fine as you can walk (no guarantees, though). Odds are a little worse at Art of Animation.

26 MArlene { 10.19.15 at 4:54 pm }

My Bad. Art Of Animation is. So, what do you recommend? Anyway go in the morning so we dont have troubles?

27 Dave { 10.21.15 at 2:19 pm }

Marlene, since there are no guarantees, yes…

28 Melissa { 10.26.15 at 5:38 pm }

What would be a good time to go to magic kingdom to ensure that we get in on NYE? Obviously we would go first thing in the morning, but are there lines waiting to get in at 6am? I’m not sure what to expect.

29 Dave { 10.27.15 at 9:38 am }

Melissa, the lines to get in will ebb and flow. Closures are most common mid morning and mid afternoon, but can happen anytime

30 Ken { 10.29.15 at 3:40 pm }

I’m thinking of spending New Year’s Eve in Epcot but I’m concerned about being stuck in traffic leaving Epcot/Disney Property. We usually park at the Boardwalk and come enter the back side of Epcot next to England. Have never done this on NYE. Do you think parking there would help not being stuck in traffic?

31 Dave { 10.30.15 at 7:41 am }

Ken, I’d expect the BoardWalk lot to be filled and/or reserved for those with a hotel or dining reservation. How about parking at the Studios? It’s open til 2a (midnight for regular folks, 2a for WDW resort guests) so won’t see the 100% exit at MN that Epcot will see.

32 Natalia { 11.01.15 at 8:23 pm }

Hey dave, do i have to buy special event tickets for these days? Im going to pass my nye there for the first time and i was wondering if i had to buy special tickets or it would be the regular tickets for these days…

33 Monica { 11.02.15 at 6:13 am }

We were “gifted” a trip to Disney World by my in-laws. She booked the dates, which are 12/31/15 – 1/5/16. Based on our flight arrival time on December 31st, which park should we go to since it won’t be a full day? We should be arriving at whatever park we choose around noon. Thanks for your input!

34 Dave { 11.02.15 at 7:21 am }

Natalia, you don;t need special event tickets–just regular park tickets.

35 Dave { 11.02.15 at 7:27 am }

Monica, 12/31 is the busiest day of the year at WDW. The least crowded park will be AK, but be sure to get your FastPass+ !!

36 Crystal { 11.08.15 at 12:04 am }

Will the first fireworks show be the same as the midnight show at Epcot? Thanks!

37 Dave { 11.08.15 at 8:56 am }

Crystal, yes they will.

38 Alex { 11.21.15 at 7:49 pm }

Hi Dave, We will be staying at Dysney’s Caribbean Beach and have a toddler and a 9 month old. Which park would be best to spend NYE with the little ones? Thanks!

39 Dave { 11.22.15 at 11:58 am }

Alex, the crowds will be so massive (four hour peak waits will not be uncommon) that I would not take kids that age anywhere on NYE except AK.

40 Mark { 11.24.15 at 6:05 pm }

We are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge on NYE and planned an early dinner there (4pm) and have fast passes at HS starting at the 630-730pm slot. Given the likely crowds to get in, do you think 2 hours is enough time to get there and through the long entry lines? Thanks!

41 Dave { 11.25.15 at 7:35 am }

Mark, you should be OK.

42 Denise { 11.25.15 at 4:34 pm }

Hi, my family of 11 will be coming to Orlando for Christmas and NYE can you recommend where to eat and in which park can I make a NYE reservations.

43 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 11.27.15 at 9:07 am }

Denise – Reservations are going to be extremely hard to find this late into the booking window. Christmas/NYE is the busiest time of year. And you have a large party.

I did a quick check for you and right now the ONLY restaurant that you make a reservation for, for you party size of 11, on NYE is at Epcots Restaurant Marrakesh (at 5:05). There is not a single other reservation available inside the parks. Breaking your party into smaller tables may give you a few more options. But from what I can see, they are all outside of the parks (at resorts and at Disney Springs).

You can look at quick service options (walk up and no reservations needed). Plan for long lines for these. In either case arrive early to your intended park. Parks do reach capacity during this time. The best way to guarantee that you will get in is to arrive very early and stay the whole day. If you leave the parks for any reason you are not guaranteed re-entry should they reach capacity (even if you have family waiting inside or were there earlier).

44 Dave { 11.29.15 at 10:08 am }

Denise, I agree with Kelly.

45 Jessica { 12.01.15 at 12:33 am }

Hi Im Planning to go with my family in December. I was wondering if you know what park univision will be doing their fiesta for nye.

46 Lauren { 12.16.15 at 10:18 am }

My husband and I are arriving at MCO (Orlando Airport) at 7:30 on New Years Eve. Do you think we’ll be able to get into the parks that night or will we have a problem due to closing?


47 Lauren { 12.16.15 at 10:29 am }

I should note that we are staying on site at the Pop Century.

48 Dave { 12.17.15 at 7:56 am }

Lauren it’s awfully hard to predict, but you’ll have a MUCH better chance if you park at Pop and take the bus form there.

49 Jillian { 12.20.15 at 2:18 am }

We were planning to go to Magic Kingdom on the 31st totally unknowing of how crowded it would be… But now that we know there’s a probability that we are now going to spend the day doing something else…. However, do you think that there’s a chance that we would be able to come back to the park much later in the night? Say about 9:00-10:00? Would it still be crowded then?

50 Dave { 12.21.15 at 8:31 am }

Jillian, it will still be mobbed then. The best park 12/31 is AK.

51 Daniela { 12.26.15 at 11:38 pm }

Hi Dave we will be going to Disney the31 is there any celebrities going to be there on the 31 or the 1st

52 Dave { 12.29.15 at 8:54 am }

No, Daniela.

53 Michelle { 12.29.15 at 2:54 pm }

Hi, thanks for all your help and advice. So I have an acl sprain of course when we are here in Orlando :/ I wanted to do MK on the 30th but really just want a picture with Mickey and see Fireworks. What is latest you think we could get in and be safe?


54 juan castaneda { 12.30.15 at 1:16 am }

If you like mexican food, you can go and sit there and order your food before the show at 9pm, they have the best open view to the fireworks showcase in the park, so you can enjoy a good food, drinks and the best sits for the show!! cheers!!

55 Dave { 12.30.15 at 9:17 am }

Michelle, I’m sorry but I really can’t predict that.

56 Claudia { 12.30.15 at 9:23 am }

Hi! Im going to epcot to new years eve, is it better to buy the tickets in advance or i can buy it tomorrow at the park?

57 Dave { 12.30.15 at 11:23 am }

Before, without question. The first step of park closures is people without tickets…

58 Patti { 12.30.15 at 1:58 pm }

Hi Dave do you know if they are passing out the hats and horns this year at Ebcot for NYE?

59 Dave { 12.30.15 at 4:55 pm }

Patti, from the blog today: “Hats and horns will be distributed beginning at 4:30 p.m. and last until supplies run out at the Disney Performing Arts stage in Future World West, the Wonders of Life walkway in Future World East, and at the American Adventure.”

60 Kelly { 08.08.16 at 5:13 am }

Hi Dave,

Looking foradvice for NYE2016. We have a villa booked from the 29th Dec and my husbands 40th is on NYE. I was looking to book the caribbean resort for a surpirse for the 30th/31st but wanted to know if it was worth paying the prices. We would like to have a couple of drinks for his birthday so wasn’t looking to drive so thought it would be a great idea to book the hotel also hoping it would be easier to get out of the park after the fireworks. We have a 7 and 9 year old so thought it would great for them too. Looking to book the next couple of days so not to mis out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Kelly

61 Dave { 08.09.16 at 9:44 am }

Caribbean Beach, Kelly?

62 Emily { 06.09.17 at 1:17 pm }

When is the best time to dine for NYE at Epcot? Is better to eat early (like 4 or 5) and try to save a spot somewhere? Or is it fine to eat later and just find a spot about 10 or 11? Where are the best places to view the fireworks? Are the lawns open for viewing? Sorry there are so many questions I just want to make the right ADR

63 Dave { 06.09.17 at 2:17 pm }

Emily, it’s hard to describe how many people will be at Epcot, far too many for much of a proportion to to pick spots ahead of time. There are lots of good viewing areas, so I’d pick your dining time when its convenient to you, rather than framing it around a spot.

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