Disney, at it’s heart, is for children of all ages. As an entertainment company, travel destination, popcorn purveyor, on down to the indelible charm of the signs in the parking lot, the mission is fun for everyone. Walt’s fondest hope was that all people could assemble and celebrate togetherness, as one notable lament is how we grow up too fast. Every Disney Park, television program and rain parka conveys and pays tribute to this philosophy. That Disney offers a spectacular New Year’s Eve party, which is coveted by the young and old alike in the age of individual pursuits and the negligible attention span, is a true testament to the founder and his ideals.
NYE is not your typical day at Disneyland, nor should it be. No matter how you approach it, you will enjoy yourself. To thoroughly enjoy the celebration (which is probably automatically going to happen, too), familiarize yourself with the special events of the day, eve and night, then plan to experience as many of them as you see fit. Here are some tips for success:
Stay the whole time: On Wednesday, December 31st, Disneyland is open from to 8 AM until 2 AM the next day. Disney California Adventure is open from 8 AM to 1 AM. That’s a lot of hours to spend on your feet and within the anticipated crowds. It’s absolutely worth it. Get there as early as you are able and don’t leave until the house lights come on. You will need those early hours if you are expecting to get on rides. It is a well attended event. Then, the prevailing revelry within the parks leading up to and following midnight will make you more than glad you stuck it out.
Seek out the live performances: You’ve seen, and love, The Dapper Dans, The Royal Street Bachelors and Five and Dime. Now picture each park, Downtown Disney and the hotels bristling with live entertainment all day and night long. You can try to spend your entire eighteen hours waiting for and going on rides, and many do. Though a more reasonable, leisurely way to spend this extended stay is to take in the occasional worthwhile distraction. Cast member carolers and crooners will be all over the Resort. Pretty much everywhere your headed, from anywhere you’ve been you will pass within sight, or sound rather, of a performance. Give yourself a minute to stop an enjoy the show. Even sit down for a spell if you can rationalize it. At the very least look up on purpose at the fireworks, or intentionally listen for the Royal Swing Big Band, featuring Stompy Jones, as you hustle your way to Big Thunder Mountain.
Embrace togetherness and independence: Along with fun, Disney is all about family, though not to your family’s suffocating determent. You love to spend time with your children almost as much as they want to be well away from you. Try to strike a balance. If your kids are old enough to safely strike out on their own, you should probably let them, especially on New Year’s Eve. You paid to get in, and you came together, so it is not unreasonable to expect some quality time. You can be sure your little darlings will be interested in meeting for meals, especially if the prospects are good you will be paying for those as well. Do not leave your small children. Despite being one of the safest places on the planet, and even if you and your toddler agree you each need some time apart, this is, rightfully, frowned upon.
Practice assertive relaxation: Disney’s New Year’s Eve is rather a festive affair. More specifically, it’s going to be busy. If you are not careful, or firmly in the proper frame of mind, at some point during your 16-hour day festive may well become frustrating. Seasoned Disney experts rely on the sophisticated practices of subjective people watching and in-queue meditation. The Karl Strauss Beer Truck and the Cove Bar inside Disney California Adventure can also have a wholly therapeutic effect on the overwrought guest. Whatever your source of escape, embrace it. Disney is designed to be awesome. Compared to everywhere else it is absolutely that. Throw in forty or so thousand quick-triggered humans, who are coming off their own varied levels of holiday chaos and heartbreak, and it’s likely not everyone will be feeling the awesomeness. The couple fighting over the phone charger in front of the ToonTown restrooms, and the severely shagged parent trying to corral six kids by himself in Bugs Land, they’re going to blow if they don’t find sanctuary. Don’t go down with them. Sit back with a Fillmore’s Pomegranate Limeade and enjoy the unfortunate, though entertaining show.