Though Walt Disney World sees some pretty amazing crowds in the summer months, its busiest day of the year is coming soon: New Year’s Eve. Though crowds have started ramping up this week, December 31 is historically the day where Walt Disney World goes from really crowded to elbow-to-elbow mayhem. Though many locals avoid Walt Disney World on New Year’s Eve, if you are planning on hitting the parks on this busy day, here are 5 things you can expect.
1. Parking lots will likely be restricted at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot
One of the first things that happens on New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World is phased closure. Essentially, when any of the four parks at Walt Disney World starts getting close to capacity, Walt Disney World begins limiting access to new guests. Magic Kingdom and Epcot are typically the parks where this happens on New Year’s Eve, and the first way that Walt Disney World will limit guest access is by car.
Judging by years past, parking lots begin restricting access by mid-morning, so if you are thinking about hitting up either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, you’ll want to be there as early as possible.
If you can’t make it by the morning and the parking lots are inaccessible, you do still have options. Visitors can try and park at one of the nearby Boardwalk resorts and make the short walk to the park's World Showcase entrance. Another more practical approach (and one that involves a little more excercise) is parking at Hollywood Studios and taking the longer walkway to Epcot. Though neither of these options is guaranteed to work, they're a good contingency plan if you are immediately denied parking at either Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
2. Expect long waits for monorail transportation
Unfortunately, parking isn't the only transportation-related headache that will happen on New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World. Monorail access can become extremely limited during phased closure (which typically starts around 10AM, judging by years past), especially as wait times to board the monorails can hit an hour or more.
The Ticket and Transportation Center can also become very crowded very quickly, as impromptu roped queues take up what is normally a very wide walkway. Guests who don't mind walking may want to board a bus to the Contemporary Resort and then walk to the Magic Kingdom, instead of taking a monorail form the Ticket and Transportation Center.
Likewise, monorails between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom can also see some huge lines and can make park-hopping a bit of an impossibility on New Year’s Eve, so be prepared to stay put once you are inside your desired theme park.