Does the idea of celebrating New Year's Eve with your family at Walt Disney World fill you with excitement? Or is your joy coupled with a bit of trepidation because this is one of the most crowded weeks of the year at the resort? If you'd rather not face that many revelers in one place, there are other options for celebrating Disney-style in Florida.
DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney is once again hosting a family-friendly New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Admission includes unlimited use of the games on all five floors, two DJ dance parties, a New Year's Eve countdown and confetti drop at midnight. Plus, Chip 'n Dale, Buzz Lightyear and Wreck-It Ralph will be on hand for meet-and-greets.
In addition, tickets to the party include a dinner of grilled chicken sandwich, grilled veggie wrap sandwich, cheesesteak sandwich or barbecue pork sandwich; chips or a side salad; fruit cup or a cupcake; and a soda or bottled water.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $55 (including tax) online or by calling 407-934-7639. Space permitting, tickets also will be sold at DisneyQuest the day of the event for $65.
The rest of Downtown Disney will be celebrating year's end, as well. Individual restaurants are hosting their own bashes, and there will be live entertainment and DJ dance parties in the common areas of the West Side, Pleasure Island and Marketplace. The new Disney food trucks will be out, and "adult beverages" can be purchased as usual. West Side and Pleasure Island will be open until 2 a.m., while the Marketplace closes at 1 a.m.
As in years past, Radio Disney hosts Noon Year's Eve celebrations in several U.S. cities for kids who might not stay up past their bedtimes to ring in the new year.
The closest location to Orlando will be at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Families can participates in games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational displays, and hear the year's top songs from the Radio Disney 1380 Road Crew. Before noon, participants will be given noisemakers, New Year's hats and juice to toast the Noon Year.
This 2013 Radio Disney celebration is included with regular zoo admission, which is $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors, and $19.95 for ages 3 to 11. Ages 2 and younger are free. Call 813-935-8552.
The last "snowfalls" of the season in the town of Celebration, in Disney World's back yard, happen on New Year's Eve. Show flies at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., and guests can enjoy the flurries for free. Our family looks forward to our annual tradition of dinner and then experiencing Now Snowing Nightly. There are many fabulous restaurants to choose from in Celebration.
Some holiday activities there also still will be available, such as ice skating on an outdoor rink from 4 to 10 p.m. Prices are $10 for 30 minutes, which includes skate rental. Equipment is available to help those who are less than steady on the ice. Horse and carriage rides take guests throughout the town. Wagon rides are $5 per person and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional guest.
Of course, there's always the tradition of watching "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014" on Disney-owned ABC. This year's broadcast from Times Square in New York features performers Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, The Fray and more.
Have a safe and Happy New Year!
The previous post in this blog was A look back at what was new at Walt Disney World in 2013.
The next post in this blog is AMC's dine-in theatre at Downtown Disney gives families a fun option for seeing movies.