New Year's Eve is not a very kid-friendly holiday by nature (what with the staying up late and toasting champagne), but spending it in Orlando is different. With Walt Disney World in its backyard, the place is pretty much entirely set up for children, even at 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the year. Fortunately for parents of youngsters, Orlando, Florida, offers plenty of programs to keep kids entertained (while the adults have a celebratory Prosecco) on New Year's Eve.
Get the party started on December 31 with a special dinner at one of Walt Disney World's many top dining spots. Then, see the new year in with the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios sparkling under holiday lights. The park stays open until 2 a.m. on this night (if your kids are old enough for that, of course).
The Magic Kingdom offers a DJ dance party and early fireworks for younger kids, too. Swing over to Epcot for live music, fireworks, and the annual Around the World Showcase.
Universal's CityWalk, the bustling retail and entertainment district adjacent to Universal Parks & Resorts, is where older kids and parents will want to hang out. EVE—the main NYE party—will feature gourmet food, signature drinks, and popular DJs. Teens will love the live music and spacious outdoor dance floor and you'll get some adult-style fun, too. It's win-win. The party starts at 8 p.m. on December 31 and doesn't stop until 2 a.m.
SeaWorld's New Year's Eve bash is part of its annual holiday extravaganza. Tickets include reserved seats to many winter-themed shows and entry into the New Year's celebration at Bay Stadium—fireworks included. For a VIP experience, pay a little extra to watch the fireworks from 400 feet up. At the top of the Sky Tower, you'll be treated to chocolates and champagne ahead of the midnight show. You must be at least 21 years old.
If your kids are too young to stay up until midnight, Legoland is just the ticket. The annual "brick drop," groovin' dance party, and fireworks all happen before the witching hour. In fact, they also happen nightly from the day after Christmas. Legoland will be keeping its extravagant holiday decor up until 2020 so you can see the pixelated tree and life-sized toy Santa Claus at any time throughout the week.
Medieval Times is always a treat, but on New Year's Eve, it's even more fun. In addition to the exciting battle of knights, swords, and horses, there will be music and dancing, a four-course feast fit for a king, and a champagne toast for the grown ups. You'll be treated to party favors and a midnight snack (New Year's Eve edition). Admission is $79.95 for adults and $39.95 for kids, but make reservations early because seats fill up.
Disney Springs is to Walt Disney World what CityWalk is to Universal Studios: a mecca for shopping, dining, and entertainment outside the park and the perfect place for adults to wind down. For those traveling with smaller children, the party lasts till about 11 p.m. After that, shops, restaurants, and bars stay open until 2 a.m. for the adult crowd to enjoy.