Southern California theme parks ring in New Year’s Eve with rides, music and fireworks

Shortly after the Christmas gifts are unwrapped and the holiday feast is consumed the same question arises every year: What are we going to do for New Year’s Eve?

Fortunately, Southern California theme parks have you covered. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California all have festivities planned for those looking to ring in 2023 with thrill rides, live music and midnight fireworks.

Whether it’s swing dancing, live rock bands, DJ dance parties, stand-up comedy, magic acts, dueling pianos or champagne toasts, there’s something for everyone in the family at SoCal’s amusement parks on New Year’s Eve.

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SEE ALSO: Top 10 new theme park attractions for 2023 in the U.S. — See photos

Let’s take a closer look at what’s on tap at local theme parks on the last night of 2022:


The Anaheim theme park has a reputation as the place to be in Orange County on New Year’s Eve.

But this will be the first New Year’s Eve in decades where all annual passholders will be blocked out of the park. That could dramatically change the dynamic of the last night of 2022 at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Disneyland will ring in the new year with fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight. Main Street U.S.A. in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle is often jam-packed hours before the clock strikes midnight with visitors waiting for the nighttime spectacular. Additional fireworks viewing locations can be found in the plaza in front of It’s a Small World and the Fantasmic viewing area along Rivers in America.

New Year’s Eve festivities at Disneyland will feature countdown parties along the Rivers of America and in front of It’s a Small World starting around 7 p.m. and going until 1 a.m.

Disneyland will open at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and stay open until 2 a.m. Disneyland reservations for Dec. 31 are currently “sold out,” but that could change if the park releases additional tickets.

SEE ALSO: 5 Disneyland Lightning Lane attractions closing in January for refurbishment

Disney California Adventure

Disneyland’s sister park is usually far less crowded on New Year’s Eve.

Disney’s Festival of the Holidays will offer live music and dance performances until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Disneyland’s midnight fireworks show will be visible from DCA — but without the projection show that accompanies the nighttime spectacular. The “World of Color — Season of Light” water show will play on Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure at 8:30 and 9:45 p.m.

Disney California Adventure will open at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and stay open until 1 a.m.

Reservations are still currently available at Disneyland California Adventure for New Year’s Eve.

SEE ALSO: Knott’s Berry Farm sets dates for 50th anniversary Scary Farm and 2023 festival lineup

Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park will stay open late on New Year’s Eve with live music, comedy, dueling pianos, dance lessons and midnight fireworks.

Mic Dangerously and the Royal We will play pop and rock music on the Calico Mine Stage with DJ Howly spinning dance music in between sets.

The PianoMania dueling piano duo will wage a head-to-head musical battle on the Boardwalk BBQ stage.

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies, who performed for more than two decades at Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon as Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, will play the open-air Wagon Camp Theater that usually serves as home to the park’s wild west stunt show.

The Jitterbug Pop Swing Band will take over the Boardwalk Ballroom with the Jitterbug Jumpers and dance instructors on hand to keep the dance floor hopping.

Comedian Chipper Lowell will tell family-friendly jokes and perform magic in the Bird Cage Theater.

Knott’s will open at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and stay open until 1 a.m.

SEE ALSO: Universal Studios Hollywood warns of long lines for Super Nintendo World passholder previews

Universal Studios Hollywood

The annual in-park Eve celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood will ring in the new year with DJs, live music, dancing and midnight fireworks.

The park-wide New Year’s Eve celebration takes place at three party hub locations on the upper and lower lots.

Universal Plaza will play host to Rock the Night with pop, rock and hip-hop tunes in the park’s central hub on the upper lot. Electric New Year will feature electronic dance music in the plaza in front of the Simpsons ride on the upper lot. Latin Beats will take over the promenade in front of the Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster on the lower lot.

Specialty food, desserts and cocktails will be sold throughout the evening party as well as beer, wine and champagne.

Universal will open at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and stay open until 2 a.m.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 new theme park attractions in the world for 2023 — See photos

Legoland California

Midnight comes early at Legoland California with the New Year celebration long before the kids’ bedtimes.

The New Year’s Eve countdown party at the Carlsbad theme park includes live music and fireworks.

Legoland will open at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and stay open until 7 p.m.

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SeaWorld San Diego

The San Diego marine park will celebrate the final night of the year with a special New Year’s Eve fireworks show at 9 p.m.

SeaWorld closes at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain will not host a New Year’s Eve event.

The Six Flags amusement park in Valencia closes at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31.

All New Year’s Eve events at Southern California theme parks are included with the cost of admission.

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