New Year's Eve 2017 at Epcot

FYI: Scroll down for the gallery of some photos from Epcot NYE 2017. Videos are here.

This was my second trip to Epcot for NYE, and it was again a blast. We arrived around 4:30pm to pretty huge (and growing) crowds. We had spent the earlier part of the afternoon at Hollywood Studios, where we were able to get Tower of Terror and Star Tours in. We walked over to Epcot (always our preferred method of transit, even with the marathon coming up).

Having been to NYE at Epcot a few years back, you'd think I would have been a little more prepared, but we were pretty surprised by some of the huge lines. Not the rides, those we were expecting. We had seen 300+ min. wait for Test Track last time we were there for NYE, so seeing 300 minutes for Frozen was no surprise. Although the lines for Living with the Land and Tres Caballeros (both around 45 minutes) were pretty surprising.

Lines on Lines on Lines

The lines for drinks and food caught us off guard. We're vegetarian, which means we have few options (yes, by choice) throughout the park. This can make the longer lines a bit more problematic for us. We wound up eating later at Tangerine Cafe which, while not the vegetarian paradise people might think, was still quite tasty.

Not a short wait for quick service in Mexico.

Not a short wait for quick service in Mexico.

Back to the lines. Some of the carts had really obnoxious lines. They were at their worst right before the 6pm show, I think. they didn't uniformly improve after that, but it was easier to find a short line here and there between about 7 and 10. After 10 they were pretty universally about a 5-10 minute wait. The restroom lines were also a disaster for the women. About a 10-minute wait. The shortestline (at times no line) could be found behind Club Cool.

The Scenes

There was plenty to see around the park even without waiting in line for rides. Italy and China had dance floors with DJs that had a standard club vibe. The America Garden Theatre had some music going as well. There was another stage set up in the middle of future world. One of my favorite finds was at the United Kingdom. Since it's a bit hidden, that stage wasn't getting as much attention as the others. I love the UK's vibe. Lots of people standing around, relaxing, drinking their beers on the small, British streets.

The China pavilion. 

The China pavilion. 

My favorite part was the Japan silent dance floor. It isn't for everyone, but you get a pair of headphones to wear through which you listen to music. There are no speakers, so outsiders just see you dancing and hear your awful singing. For the Epcot NYE one, they had two DJs whose channels you could switch between, with your headphones illuminated red or green based on who you chose. We waited until about 11:15 to try that one because the hour wait shortened to about 10 minutes.

The Fireworks

There's not too much to say about the fireworks besides that they were absolutely amazing.  You catch a total of three (or two) firework shows, depending on how you count. Illuminations is at 6pm and 11:40pm, and then there is a midnight show. The midnight show is preceded by shorter shows from each of the countries that have already celebrated the new year. Words can't describe the midnight show, other than to say that I was in shock at the end (and at times worried that the sky and air around us were just going to combust into nothingness).

The Escape

We wound up arriving back at our hotel (Animal Kingdom) at about 1:30 after bee-lining for the bus. We got on the second bus that arrived after we got to the stop. Plenty of people must have waited much longer, because those buses were not coming in at a rapid pace. I've never understood how the Disney bus system is plagued by so many problems. I'm from Chicago, notoriously known as one of America's worst run cities, but I'd take that transit system over Disney's much smaller operation any day.

A Final Note

I spent the day tweeting with the hashtag #EpcotNYE. The community was incredibly helpful and entertaining, and the hashtag was filtered onto a very helpful account at @EpcotNYE.