New Year’s Eve Walt Disney World Wait Times

For your amusement, we’ll take a brief look at wait times on what is overwhelmingly(?) the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World. There is really nothing like it.


Things don’t start out too exciting at Animal Kingdom, where the 22-minute average will probably end up being below average for the year. One wonders if Avatar and Rivers of Light will propel wait times higher on holidays from “Summer 2016” onward. Historically, the Park is a slam dunk on July 4th, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and the like because there are no fireworks to speak of. Of course, Avatar isn’t a fireworks show, but it seems likely that the new land will increase attendance. How much on holidays? We’ll see.


Yes, this is why we’re here. 300 minutes at Frozen; 45 at Gran Fiesta Tour with the line spilling outside; a rogue 70-minute wait for Journey into Imagination with Figment; 70 at Living with the Land; 100 minutes for Mickey at Character Spot; two hours for Misson: SPACE; Soarin’ barely hits 200 minutes though the line was backed up outside to Imagination; Spaceship Earth doesn’t hit two hours – “just” 110 minutes; 200 at Test Track; 70 for Nemo.

Heck, even Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival shows were filling to capacity. One wonders what was going on at Circle of Life late night.


This is actually real chill compared to last year, which you can find the overview of here:

Toy Story Mania’s average wait time of 53 minutes is about a 40% of last year’s 130 minutes. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s average wait is two minutes higher this year, perhaps due to some afternoon downtime. Tower of Terror’s 57 minute average is better than last year’s 80 minute average as well. Overall, these should be around average waits compared to the rest of 2017, though the long hours of operation certainly help. One does wonder where everyone is with Star Tours’ average wait coming in under 30 minutes. That’s going to be less than some days during the “off-season” given how much staffing is going to be reduced over the next six weeks.

Last year, you could have waited ten hours for the Studios’ five rides if you were somehow able to enter each standby queue at the worst part of the day. This year, that number was only 7.2 hours which is basically no wait at all.


Historically, Magic Kingdom routinely closes to capacity on several days in between December 25th and 31st. This year, we didn’t see any capacity closures whatsoever until a measly Phase B closure hit on New Year’s Eve around noon. And that closure only meant Disney wasn’t going to let anybody in with a 1-day Magic Kingdom ticket, which is probably a gift to the end user as you probably don’t want to show up at the most popular theme park in the world on the busiest day of the year when the wait for Space Mountain is 205 minutes. But I’m not an expert.

What’s the reason for the lack of capacity closures? It may have something to do with the new Annual Passholder tiers in particular, where more local Passholders than previous years have been blocked out, in addition to higher pricing on single day tickets. And everybody goes to Disney World in October now.

Otherwise, wait times are already prohibitive by 10am with 45 minutes at Big Thunder and Buzz, 60 at Jungle Cruise, 105 at Peter Pan’s Flight, 150 at Space Mountain, 70 at Tomorrowland Speedway, etc. Any day when Mickey’s PhilharMagic is posting a 60-minute wait, which indicates there’s three full theaters full of people waiting, is probably not the best day to visit. On the plus side, PeopleMover was never posted over 30 minutes.

But the good news is that the Christmas holiday crowds are behind us as we move into what should be an easy going month for the most part. With the South American economy continuing its decline, tour groups shouldn’t be much of a concern towards the end of the month and should prove to be even less of an issue this summer.

We’ll see.


  1. Michael says

    Cast Members are also blocked out for self-admission during these peak times now :( That would also explain why no closures….

  2. Disney Fanboy says

    I get that you’re there and you want to ride the rides, but if I’m facing these lines I’m just going to hit headliners only and wait the 180 minutes. Over the course of 12 hours that will give me 4 headline rides. I think that’s better than waiting 80 minutes for things like Barnstormer. I’d rather have done 4 headliners than 8 low-tier rides like Teacups, Magic Carpets, and Living with the Land.

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