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Ringin’ in the New Year at the Theme Parks

by Leap on December 20, 2011

What better way to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 than to spend New Year’s Eve at the theme parks? Here’s an overview of how each park plans to ring in the New Year along with a few helpful tips if you’re planning to be there.Castle Dream Lights - Cinderella Castle

Magic Kingdom

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 2 a.m. (EMH 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.)

Special Entertainment:

• Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade: 12:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.

• Main Street Electrical Parade: 7 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.

• Holiday Wishes Fireworks: 8:30 p.m.

• Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks: 11:50 p.m.

Epcot

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

• IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (special version): 7 p.m. & 11:40 p.m.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 8 a.m. – Midnight (EMH Midnight – 3 a.m.)

Special Entertainment:

• Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade: 3 p.m.

• Fantasmic!: 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.

• “Lights, Camera, Happy New Year!” Fireworks: Midnight

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (EMH 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.)

Special Entertainment:

• Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade: 3:45 p.m.

Universal Studios

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

• Macy’s Holiday Parade: 8 p.m.

• Party Favors & Confetti Burst: Midnight

Islands of Adventure

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

• Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular: 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

SeaWorld

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

• Shamu Christmas…Miracles: 7:15 p.m.

• Shamu Rocks: 9 p.m. & 10:45 p.m.

• Holiday Reflections Fireworks and Fountains Finale: Midnight

Click here for complete list of show times.

Busch Gardens

New Year’s Eve Park Hours: 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

• Live entertainment including “Clint Wiley’s None Other”

• DJ’s playing party music throughout the park

• Fireworks: Midnight

Downtown Disney

New Year’s Eve Hours: 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Marketplace);

8 a.m. – 2 a.m. (West Side & Pleasure Island)

Special Entertainment:

• Festival of the Seasons: All day

• DisneyQuest New Year’s Eve Party is  8 p.m. - 1 a.m. It is a separately ticketed event and is not included with regular admission. Click here or call 1-407-WDISNEY for more information.

Rock in the New Year! @ Universal CityWalk

New Year’s Eve Hours: 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Special Entertainment:

Universal CityWalk New Year’s Eve celebration is a separately ticketed special event. Highlights include live entertainment in several CityWalk clubs, concerts by Smash Mouth and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, all-you-can-eat gourmet cuisine and a midnight champagne toast & confetti burst. Click here for more information.

Tips for Spending New Year’s Eve at the Parks in the Orlando area

• Use Leap's Crowd Calendar for recommended parks and park hours.

• Park hopping is not recommended on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

• Arrive at the park you choose about an hour before opening and plan to stay all day. If a park reaches capacity, you will not be allowed re-entry even if you were there earlier.

• If it makes you more comfortable, bring an extra change of clothes and stash them in a rented locker.

• Bring snacks and bottled water. Restaurant lines will likely be long.

• Magic Kingdom is typically the most crowded park on major holidays.

• Unless otherwise noted, all special entertainment is included with regular theme park admission.

Wherever you'll be counting down to midnight, be safe and have fun!

Happy New Year from the entire Frog Family!

--Leap

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