It looks more and more like Guests will get to countdown the new year at a Disney Park after all!
We have just confirmed on Disney World’s website that the park hours have been extended this holiday season…including on New Year’s Eve.
As of the most recent update to WDW park hours, EPCOT will stay open until 10:00 pm on December 31 and Magic Kingdom will be open until 11 pm!
Until now, it was expected that Walt Disney World would be losing its theme parks significantly earlier than in past years. For quite a while, it was listed on the Disney World website that Magic Kingdom would close at 7 pm and EPCOT would close at 8 pm, and only Disney Springs was open until 11 pm. But it appears that Disney World has extended the hours of its theme parks for New Year’s and the entire holiday season, which, this year, runs through December 30.
Disney World has also extended the run time of its holiday celebration Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays through December 31 and while it is set to end well before midnight, it is easy to interpret this as another baby step forward towards some modified observance coming back.
While there has been no word yet from Disney, it has been expected that New Year’s Eve celebrations would be canceled due to the current situation. However, this extension of park hours might signal that Disney World could be reconsidering this annual tradition, especially after they surprised Guests with adding small fireworks to the Holiday castle projections at Magic Kingdom. But keep in mind that the holiday projections on Cinderella Castle are only scheduled through December 30, not through New Year’s.
New Year’s Eve is still more than a month away at the time of this article’s publication, so there is still a chance that hours could be extended again, although nothing is for certain.
But even if there are no official celebrations held by Disney, Guests could take advantage of a loophole that would allow them to have their own unofficial countdown in front of Cinderella Castle. Even though the Magic Kingdom will close at 11 pm, it is often the case where Guests will not clear out of the park until more than an hour after the official closure as they attempt to sneak in one more ride before the official closing time, finish one more drink at dinner, or check out at the Emporium on Main Street.
This reporter can imagine Magic Kingdom’s hub filled with Guests stubbornly waiting for the clock to strike midnight, and if that is the case, it will no doubt be one of the most memorable New Year’s Eves in Magic Kingdom history. After all, typically the theme parks allow Guests to meander — or at least, hang around Main Street in Magic Kingdom, Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, and the front areas of other parks — for around an hour after the park’s official closing time.
We at Inside the Magic will keep our readers updated as more information comes to light!
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