Disneyland (CA)Holidays

Your Survival Guide to New Year’s Eve at The Disneyland Resort

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Disneyland Sunset
A perfect view of Disneyland.

Can you believe that it is almost 2016 already? It feels like the summer just ended a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, 2016 is coming and we should all have a great time ringing in the New Year, and there is no better place to celebrate than Disneyland! However, there are things you need to know and understand before going to the park on December 31st.

New Year’s Eve at the Disneyland Resort is one of the busiest days of the entire year. TouringPlans has crowd levels rated 10 out of 10 for this day. Since I have been to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during New Year’s Eve before, I thought I would share with you all my basics strategies to surviving at The Resort during New Year’s Eve.

Disneyland Goat
Take the chance to experience the Disneyland goats one more time.

Park Hours (Remember, times are subject to change)

Disneyland- 8:00 AM to 2:00 AM

Disney California Adventure- 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM

General Tips and Tricks


Purchase your tickets online.  This is something you should doing no matter what day you visit the Disneyland Resort, but this is something you have to do when visiting on New Year’s Eve. You want to have your tickets in hand and line-up to enter the park as soon as you can.

Plan Your Day

Even if you are only going to Disneyland to ride a few attractions, have dinner, and watch the fireworks it is smart to create a TouringPlans for the day. Disneyland during New Year’s Eve is an overwhelming experience; so make sure you have a game plan before you step one foot into the park.

Arrive Early

The early bird gets the worm and this is no exception when it comes to Disneyland on New Year’s Eve. When I say get to the park early, I mean get there before rope drop. Both parks and parking lots will reach full capacity on this day. So be smart and get to the park early. If you are a local, I would suggest taking a bus or cab to the park. Since the both parks will be packed, that means traffic will be terrible. If you do drive, do yourself a favor and after the New Year’s Eve celebrations are over, and take your time exiting the park. Walk through the stores, ride a few attractions, or just sit and people watch. You will not regret waiting it out.

It's a Small World Holiday Lights
It’s a Small World is amazing to experience on New Year’s Eve.

Grab a Schedule

There are always special events taking place during New Year’s Eve, which will be listed in both Disneyland and California Adventure’s schedules. Even though these schedules will be posted online, it is always best to have a hard copy on hand. Since there will be a lot of people at the park that day your cell phone service might be terrible, so you will not be able to go online to check the schedules.

Keep Warm

Late December is one of the coolest times in Southern California. It might be in low-70s during the day, but that does not mean it will be warm at night. The temperature usually dips between 15 to 20 degrees at night (average high is 70 degrees and average low is 47), so pack a jacket and/or light blanket.

Pack it Up

Since you will most likely be at the park for 12+ hours, you should bring a backpack with goodies. Bring snacks, a battery charger (for your electric devices), and maybe a pack of cards. You will need something to pass the time while waiting for the New Year Eve celebrations to begin. Also, it is wise to bring packages of tea or instant coffee with you to make your own caffeinated drink. I guarantee that the Starbucks line will be longer than usual, so instead walk-up to the pick-up counter and politely ask for a cup of hot water (it is free).  Cast Members will be more than happy to give you a cup.

Disneyland Holiday Lights
The holiday lights on the castle are such a great sight to see.

Grab a Locker

Since you will be bringing a pack with you, you will need a place to put it. If you are interested in getting a locker, make sure to do it right when you enter the park. The only lockers inside Disneyland are on Main Street and they will definitely get filled up right away. Even though there are more lockers outside of the park, you will not want to exit Disneyland or California Adventure once you have entered. Lines to get into each park will be extremely long and will eat up a good chunk of your time.


The best place to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks is on Main Street but that does not mean that is the only place. Along Rivers of America in New Orleans (where Fantasmic! is shown) and right in front of It’s a Small World are also good spots. However, one of my favorite places to watch any firework show is on the catwalk of Super Hero HQ/Star Wars Launch Bay. It may or may not be open so before planning on watching the firework there, make sure to ask a Cast Member to double check.

Have a Memorable Day!

For many of you venturing to The Disneyland Resort for New Year’s Eve, it will be a LONG day. Just make sure to have fun and do not let the huge crowds get to you. Spending New Year’s Eve at Disneyland was one of my favorite things to do (If I did not live in Seattle, I would do it every year). So, do yourself a favor and bring in the New Year with a smile and have a happy New Year!

What are some tips you would give to someone going to The Disneyland Resort on New Year’s Eve? What are some of your favorite things to experience The Resort during New Year’s Eve?

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Growing up Southern California, it was hard for Ray not want to go to Disneyland everyday. He was a passholder for over 10 years until he left to teach English in Korea and now lives in Seattle. Even though he lives in the Pacific Northwest, he always has Disney on the mind. Ray is channeling his Disney passion to write for TouringPlans.

One thought on “Your Survival Guide to New Year’s Eve at The Disneyland Resort

  • No holiday castle lights this year due to big anniversary celebration. Disappointing, but the fireworks extravaganza makes up for it!


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