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Celebrating New Years Eve At Disney World

[fa icon="calendar"] Tue, Oct 06, 2015 @ 07:00 AM / by Becca Bell

Becca Bell

New Years Eve Disney World

Recently one of my clients asked me about my experiences celebrating New Year's Eve At Disney World. I had told her that my family spent 5 nights there in 2014. She is planning a trip for her own family and wanted my honest advice. How was it?  It was and was not what I expected.  Will I do it again?  Yes!  Only there are a few things I will and will not do the same.

Thankfully we did not encounter any bad weather, which is always a concern when traveling during the winter. That said I did opt for nonstop flights and kept an eye on the sky for both snow and Santa.  We stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Resort in a Standard Room.  Included in our package was a four day Base Ticket and Disney Dining. I set up a very basic touring plan with fastpasses for our must see attractions. 

This vacation was a double celebration for my family. Not only were we celebrating the holidays but we were also celebrating my younger daughter's 5th birthday. I booked our Dining Reservations 180 days prior to our trip and made our Fast Pass Selections 60 days prior to our trip.  I also made reservations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for both of my girls in the afternoon of the last day of 2014. 

The most important detail you should be aware of when and if you plan to visit Walt Disney World during Christmas and New Year's is that it is going to be crowded.  I was completely aware of this detail and this is why I left plenty of extra time in our Disney Day Planner. It simply takes you twice as long to do everything you're planning to see and do.

What I was not aware of was the fighting I would experience between my girls on this trip.  My younger daughter is used to having me all to herself because my older daughter is in school all day.  Since we were all together there was fighting over who would be with me and who would be with my Mom.  Thankfully it dawned on my that they needed to be separated so we split them up and I was able to spend some one on one time with each of them.  It worked out really well! Having two adults to help "divide and conquer" can be a life saver. Remember there is nothing that says everybody must do everything together all of the time - especially if you want to protect your sanity.

Due to the crowds I opted on a Base Ticket and we decided to spend two days at Magic Kingdom and then a day each at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  We based our Dining Reservations on the parks we were going to each particular day.  Our most memorable experience was Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, it was a surprise for the girls and they absolutely loved the experience. Nothing like ringing in the new year like a Princess!

I was really hoping we would get to enjoy New Year Fireworks at Magic Kingdom, but with a usual bedtime of 8:00 PM and an entire day spent at the park, this was not a realistic option.  I stayed with the girls and mom went to the park. She said the fireworks were so amazing and bright that she should have remembered to bring her sunglasses!  In retrospect, we should have opted for a midday nap break or opted for the earlier showin of Illuminations. Epcot offers two shows on New Year's Eve which might have let us celebrate in style. Hollywood Studio also offers fireworks but there's is more of a street party feel which I humbly feel is geared more for older teens and young adults. Still there was another reason why opting for an early bedtime seemed so enticing....

I just didn't feel like myself the last few days of our Disney New Year's vacation and upon our return home I knew something was really wrong.  After a few hours at the emergency room with my Mom I was diagnosed with dehydration and the flu, not a great way to end our magical vacation. I did everything I possibly could to prevent any of us becoming ill but sometimes winter cold and flu germs win.

Despite the fighting and the illness our trip was filled with memories that will last a lifetime. If I knew then what I know now I would certainly do it all again (with more fluids and vitamin C this time around).  We were able to ride a lot of rides, see a lot of shows, meet many characters (including  Anna and Elsa), have some amazing dining experiences, and swim in a really great pool at our resort. 

The Christmas decorations at the Parks and Resorts were beautiful and added another element to the experience. If you have never experienced them they are simply amazing and surpassed all our expectations.  They added yet another element to our Memory Maker pictures which turned out turned out fantastic, too!  I always recommend the picture package to my clients because spending time with your family is something that passed so quickly and can never be replaced. Having beautiful photographs will keep these precious memories close to our hearts for many New Years to come.

Despite everything, having these first hand experiences to share with my clients will hopefully help them enjoy their New Year's celebrations even more.  Our recommendations are based on our own personal experiences. Real life Disney vacation planning is different than planning a trip out of a brochure and can help you to get the most out of your vacation to see the mouse. 

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Topics: Disney Vacation

Becca Bell

Written by Becca Bell

Mother of two, lover of all things Disney and family travel agent at Vacationkids.com. In her free time Becca can be found either running her kids to activities or running a marathon