NYE & Magic Kingdom 19+ Hours (Part One) – 2012 New Years Celebration in Walt Disney World


I’ve decided to split this trip report into two. There’s just too much magic to cram into one report without having it extremely long. Here is the first part and the second will follow a few days after! All the photos for both days can be found on Flickr. Also if you missed the previous day trip report you can always catch up!

To help you get into the mood I’ve went and got some music that pertains to today’s trip report! I think you’ll enjoy it.

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 

Our wake up call was for 5AM and it wasn’t exactly the easiest to wake up, but with the excitement of being in Walt Disney World for New Years was more than enough to get us out of bed! Since it was so early the food court at POP Century wasn’t open. Got to the bus stop around 6AM and we weren’t the first ones there surprisingly! There were a few more people just ahead of us who had the exact same thinking as us. The first bus came around 6:20am and there were maybe a handful of people on the bus and it was still dark.

Waiting for the bus at 6AM

Arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 6:40AM. While waiting at the turnstiles to get in the family that was right in front of us was chosen as the family for the rope drop ceremony. They looked pretty excited. I would be too if we were picked to open the park on the last day of 2011. Once they allowed us through the turnstiles we got a nice spot to watch the rope drop ceremony.

Rope Drop

Took a very nice Panorama of the the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Turned out pretty good since there weren’t that many people there just yet.

Then it was time for rope drop….

Once the park was officially opened you could see the rush of people heading for all the attractions. We didn’t participate in the stampede down Main Street to Tomorrowland. Instead we veered to the right and got ourselves a locker to put all our supplies in (change of clothes, tylenol, batteries, snacks, etc). There was no way we were going to carry two bags full of supplies for the entire day and we knew the lockers would be all taken rather quickly.

Christmas Tree at the Magic Kingdom

After that we headed on over to Tomorrowland and grabbed a Fast Pass for Space Mountain (which was already for 10am at this point) and hopped into standby. Nothing like a fast paced attraction at 7:30am to get the blood flowing. Next it was off to Peter Pan’s Flight where the standby was only 15mins (the lowest you’d see it all day) then the Haunted Mansion. We were getting many of the attractions done early because it was obvious the wait times were going to be insane later in the day.

On our way to Splash Mountain we passed Donald and decided to get our photo taken with him. He took one look at my Chip Lanyard and he immediately crossed his arms and was tapping his foot. Then he preceded to point his finger at me to indicate he wasn’t a fan. For the photo he made sure to flip the lanyard around so it wouldn’t be visible in the photo.

Donald disapproves of my Chip lanyard

Even after the mishap he takes a photo with us

Once Donald was finished shaming me for having my Chip Lanyard we made it over to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain (also grabbed Fast Passes). It still wasn’t too busy by this point but you could tell it was getting more and more crowded.

Made the mistake of venturing over to Main Street USA to grab something to eat for breakfast. Casey’s Corner is where we decided to eat. There was not a table in sight, so we improvised and used one of the garbage cans as our table. This is the only place I’d trust using a garbage can as a table to eat.

Casey's Corner Breakfast Menu

Sausage Breakfast Dog

To allow our food to settle we walked through the shops on Main Street, then it was back over to Fantasyland to ride Dumbo (since it was closing soon for the expansion). Got to get a good ariel view of the new expansion. Then it was off to the Hall of Presidents to get out of the ever-growing crowd.

We did have a dinner reservation at the Liberty Tree Tavern but the time conflicted with all the shows we wanted to watch. Since this was our last chance to see the Christmas shows we decided to cancel our reservation. The cast member told us that they had actually overbooked for that evening and it would have been extremely crowded.

Secured a spot for the parade

Since we were in Frontierland and it was about an hour before Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade we grabbed a spot since tons of people were already claiming all the excellent viewing sections. I loved the fact that Duffy was on the first float with Mickey and Minnie! He’s been getting a lot of exposure lately and I cannot complain!

After Santa Clause made his appearance we followed him all the way to Cinderella’s Castle (also didn’t have a choice since the traffic was flowing that way). Since we were in the area we grabbed a spot for Celebrate the Season in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

Celebrate the Season with Mickey and Friends!

Decided to do a few more attractions before grabbing a snack. People Mover, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain were on the hit list. When we were getting off Splash Mountain the entire area was a huge traffic jam, there were literally people on every square inch of available space. Also at this time Cast Members began handing out hats and horns for New Years. For the rest of the day that’s all you could hear were horns going off in every corner of the park and a sea of black hats everywhere you looked.

Finally after a good 15mins we made it to the Dole Whip location and got ourselves some sweet Dole Whip. No trip is complete without at least one visit. Since the park is at capacity by this point it was very rare to find a place to sit. We found a “door step” a few doors down from the Dole Whip. It was nice and tucked away from everyone. After consuming the delicious dole whip, I actually was able to have a 30mins nap sitting there against the wall. It was well needed and completely recharged my batteries for the rest of the day!

By this point in the day the park is clearly at capacity and no matter where you go it’s a wait and wall to wall people. If you’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland or visited Walt Disney World during this time, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is our view for the next three hours

It was decided to find a spot for the next few shows along Main Street. We were basically forced into a spot near the end of Main Street. Which was fine with us, decided to stake our claim and stay there for the next three hours. We met two nice families from Arkansas and Texas. The family from Texas were there as a Christmas present, they gave the present to the kids on Christmas morning then drove all the way to Orlando that day. What a great present!

With the massive crowd level you are bound to run into rude guests. There were a ton of people pushing us and the two families so they could fit in, it’s one thing to try and fit one or two people but when you’re family of ten want to fit into an already filled spot, that’s not going to fit. Not much you can do but be polite to them and simply tell them they can’t fit.

Extremely crowded!

While in our spot we got to see four, yes four shows!

  • Cinderella’s Christmas Wish
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • The Magic, Memories, and You (with a Christmas overlay)
  • Holiday Wishes

Cinderella’s Christmas Wish is the show they put on after sunset to light up the castle in icicles. Mickey and his friends make Cinderella’s wish come true!

The Main Street Electrical Parade needs no introduction and was just as bright and fun as ever!

Main Street Electrical Parade starring Mickey Mouse

Alice in Wonderland

Don't worry it's not midnight yet!

The Magic, Memories, and You is the same show as usual but they add a bit of Christmas flair near the end.

That's a lot of colours.

Amazing how they can change the castle

Walt Disney himself

Finale Fireworks

Holiday Wishes was my favourite out of these group of shows we got to watch. It’s not just Wishes with some Christmas mixed into it, they do a completely different show.

That’s the end of part one. If you wish to view the rest of the photos for this day please head over to my Flickr. Make sure to check back in a few days for part two where we ring in 2012!

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