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Disney World Just Made A Big Change To Its New Year's Eve Plans

Spaceship Earth and Fountain at Epcot
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Update:  The website for Walt Disney World now lists Epcot as open until midnight on December 31 once again. We've reached out to WDW for comment but it's possible this was just a computer error. It's happened before. The original story continues below...

New Year’s Eve 2020 wasn’t exactly the global party that we’re used to seeing, or having. For that reason alone a lot of people are probably already looking forward to New Year’s Eve 2021. Many have probably already made plans if they’re going to a big event of some kind, but if you were planning on visiting Walt Disney World to count down the new year, specifically if you were planning on visiting Epcot, you may need to change your plans. Because Epcot will no longer be staying open until midnight on December 31.

When Walt Disney World released its schedule for New Year’s Eve, three of the four theme parks, all but Disney’s Animal Kingdom, were listed as staying open until midnight to ring in the new year. However, the hours of Epcot have recently changed (as pointed out by Blog Mickey) and now that park will be closing at 10PM. The other two parks that were set to remain open, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, are still listed as staying open until midnight.

This is potentially a big issue for guests that were planning to visit Epcot on that date. Epcot is currently sold out of reservations on December 31, as is Magic Kingdom. One assumes the very reason reservations for Epcot were gone on that date is because people wanted to spend New Year’s Eve in that specific park. December 31st is the only day between now and the end of the year that Epcot reservations are full.

Assuming that people really want to be in Disney World at midnight, and with Magic Kingdom reservations full, this will almost certainly shift many guest reservations from Epcot to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which may be the intent. The problem is that there are obviously a bunch of people who already have reservations at Hollywood Studios, so it’s possible not everybody who wants to be able to make the change will be able to do so. 

There were no official midnight festivities announced for the parks yet, and maybe there was a plan for a midnight fireworks show or something else at Epcot and it’s now been decided to limit those festivities to the other parks. Perhaps the number of reservations on that night indicated that only two parks will need to be open to handle the guests, and it was decided it would be easier to handle crowds at DHS.

Of course, guests that have park hoppers can potentially keep their Epcot reservation and then park hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios later in the day, some will even be able to do that with Magic Kingdom. We can expect that both of those parks will probably hit full capacity or be close to it, especially since they're the only two remaining open. There will likely be some people shut out of spending midnight in the parks as there could be more people who want to do so than there is space. 

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.