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Experiencing Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve!

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Experiencing Magic Kingdom on New Year's Eve


“Am I crazy to go to Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve?” This was the question I posted on Kenny the Pirate Crew’s Facebook page in December of 2018. You can only imagine the number of responses that I received!

Many people warned me to stay away as it would be wall to wall full of people constantly around you. Others informed me that in the past, on this day, Magic Kingdom had been known to reach capacity where different phases are implemented and therefore monopolizing whether we would even be able to get into the park.

I also had many people tell me that I wasting my time not being able to enjoy any rides or shows. That I would be standing for hours waiting in various lines.

However, my family and I tend to go against the current on many things so “hi-ho hi-ho it was off to the Magic Kingdom we did go”…

New Year’s Eve also happens to my husband’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than at Magic Kingdom?

Entrance to Magic Kingdom’s Ticket and Transportation Center at 8:30 am on New Year’s Eve

We drove to the park that morning and arrived at Magic Kingdom at 8:30 a.m. We waited around 20 minutes to get into the parking lot and once we found parking, we still had to take the tram to get to security!

Instead of taking the monorail or the ferry over to the entrance of the park, they were offering busses that morning as the line to the monorail was way past the ramp and almost to the ticket booths.

I’m not going to lie… I laughed, mostly because I knew what we were in for the day and this was just the beginning! The Cast Member cracked a handful of jokes as we were on the bus because we were all brave to visit the park on New Year’s Eve.

“May the force be with you… and the other thousands of people doing the same as you,” was just one of the jokes we heard as we approached the entrance.

It was nice to take a break from the crowds and enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room

I would highly recommend having a plan of action (the best plans can be found on Character Locator) and an abundance of patience. I had set up our 3 FastPssses at our 30-day mark, per our Annual Passes, and I knew it would be a busy day.

After our three FP selections were used, I simply would grab another FP that had the closest time available.

It really didn’t bother much with the modifying to earlier times as I was not determined to get Seven Dwarfs Mine Train…although I was able to score one for 11:35 pm!

We were able to go on many rides as well as taking in a couple of different shows. Plus I used mobile ordering to skip waiting in line for food!

Coming from California, we find it hilarious that we can wear a t-shirt & shorts on the last and first day of the year!

At 11:35 a.m. EST as we were in Tomorrowland, the My Disney Experience app on my phone buzzed and informed us of the first phase closure. Phase 1 closure means they are not letting in new guests that don’t have park tickets or have one-day single-park tickets or Cast Member tickets.

By 12:05 p.m. EST, Magic Kingdom had hit a Phase 2 closure. The only people able to enter the park are guests staying at a Disney World Resort, Annual Passholders, guests re-entering or hopping, people with reservations, and those arriving via Disney transportation.

At 5:30 pm EST, we received another message that the phase closure had been lifted from Magic Kingdom and that the park was open to all guests.

Those that were affected by the closure that day received a $50 gift card that was redeemable at other Walt Disney World theme parks for that day.

Here is a list of closure information:

Phase A Closing

No admission of guests with one-day tickets, and no admission of guests even with FastPass+ reservations unless they have one of the following:

  • WDW Resort Guests, including The Four Seasons Resort, Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green, Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus (Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, The Buena Vista Palace, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, B Resort, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, Hilton), Golden Oak residents and guests.
  • WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium Passholders
  • Guests with Park Hopper tickets re-entering or crossing over from another WDW Theme Park
  • Guests with Memory Maker
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League.

Phase B Closing

No admission of guests with one-day tickets, and no re-entering or crossing over from another park unless they have one of the following:

  • WDW Resort Guests, including The Four Seasons Resort, Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green, Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus (Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, The Buena Vista Palace, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, B Resort, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, Hilton), Golden Oak residents and guests.
  • WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium Passholders
  • Guests with Memory Maker
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League.
  • FastPass+ reservations and is a WDW Resort hotel guest.

Phase 1 Park Closing

Guests with ‘Magic Your Way’ base tickets, or a ‘1-Day 1-Park Ticket’, Guests without an admission ticket, and Cast Members using Main Gate & Silver Passes will be turned around at the parking lot booths.

Phase 2 Park Closing

Admission is limited to:

  • Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)
  • Annual, Premier and Premium Annual Passholders
  • Guests with Hopper tickets coming from another park
  • Guests re-entering the park
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League
  • Guests using Walt Disney World Resort Transportation will be admitted.
  • Guests with pre-purchased 1 day Magic Kingdom tickets

Phase 3 Park Closing

Admission is limited to:

  • Disney Resort Guests (including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, and guests arriving by bus from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels)
  • Annual, Premier and Premium Annual Passholders
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League

Phase 4 Park Closing

  • Closed to all guests

However, as we were already in the parks, we went forward and carried on even amongst the big crowds around us.

Here is what we did on New Year’s Eve between 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is just to give you an idea of what can be accomplished!

  • Magic Carpets (1st FastPass)
  • Great Moments in History with the Muppet
  • Jingle Cruise (2nd FastPass)
  • Thunder Mountain (3rd FastPass)
  • People Mover
  • Carousel of Progress (rode twice)
  • Tiki Room
  • Peter Pan (4th FastPass)
  • Monster’s Inc. (5th FastPass)
  • Barnstormer (6th FastPass)
  • Pirates (7th FastPass)
  • Mobile Ordering at Columbia House and Casey Corner
  • Took pictures in front of the castle holding a 2019 New Year sign 

Was it busy? Of course! There were areas where you all felt like a can of sardines, but then there were other parts of the park where you could do a cartwheel.

All in all, is it doable to go on a day that has phasing closures?

Yes, I’d do it all again as a person that gets to go to the parks often as we are Annual Passholders and therefore, I did not feel like we have to open and close the parks.

Would I have gone today as a first-time visitor? No way… because it would leave you with the idea and memory that the parks are that crazy at all times of the year!

In fact, while standing in line for the People Mover, we began to talk to a family that was visiting WDW for the first time ever and they told us that they had no idea that it would be so busy and that they would be waiting in line for so long.

They did not even know about FastPasses…. that’s a whole different story, but I quickly filled them in what to do for the day and told them other experiences that they could do throughout their visit.

I hope my experience helps those guests that are considering celebrating at Magic Kingdom during a crazy time! Just keep in mind, that you will not be able to do everything that you would be able to do on a different day with lower crowds.

Take your time enjoying shows that do not require standing in long lines and definitely utilize mobile ordering as many people were in the huge lines rather than just walking up to the mobile order window to pick up food.

mobile ordering

Don’t forget to laugh and take in the craziness around you with a good attitude because that is what will make your experience magical on the last day of the year. I mean, what better way to spend New Year’s Eve than at the happiest place on earth with a couple thousand people!

Will you be visiting Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve?

-Marisol White

You can follow me @marisolsmouseketools on Instagram for fun Disney magic!


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