New Year’s Eve 2012

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Get ready for some of the most exciting New Year’s Eve activities outside of the Big Apple, as Universal Orlando cranks up the atmosphere and kicks off 2013.

OI subscribers, remember that you can ask us any vacation planning question you’d like in the OI Forum — so if you have a question about this event that is not answered in the information below, head on over to our forum and give us an opportunity to answer it for you!


New Year’s Eve 2012 at Universal CityWalk

Step up your New Year’s at Universal CityWalk with a party that doesn’t stop until next year. Bid a fond farewell to 2012 with incredible food and live performances by REO Speedwagon.

REO to perform at Universal's CityWalk New Year's Eve party!

REO to perform at Universal’s CityWalk New Year’s Eve party!

Between shows, dine on all-you-can-eat gourmet cuisine, including filet mignon, jumbo shrimp and decadent desserts. You’ll also enjoy live entertainment in every club, a midnight champagne toast, and more!

  • Party from 8pm – 2am throughout CityWalk
  • All-you-can-eat gourmet cuisine
  • Admission to seven unique clubs with live entertainment
  • Midnight champagne toast & confetti burst
  • This is a 21+ ONLY event
  • Tickets after December 15th: $144.99
  • Advance tickets (up to December 15th): $124.99
  • Annual Passholder Advance tickets (up to December 15th): $104.99
  • Purchase tickets online

About REO Speedwagon

Sure, you can call the members of REO Speedwagon rock stars. But if you have to label them, here’s the more accurate term they prefer: Working musicians.

Formed in 1967, signed in 1971 and fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon has – for decades – been a confounding blend of consistency and change.

They rode in station wagons, going from tiny gigs to even tinier gigs, just to get the REO name out in the early days. Later they rode the top of the charts with a RIAA certified 22 million albums sold in the U.S. and 40 million around the globe, with a string of gold and platinum records and international hit singles. The 9-times certified Hi Infidelity remains a high-water mark for rock bands.

Make all the “Ridin’ The Storm Out” or “Roll With The Changes” cracks you want, but that’s exactly what the band has done. REO Speedwagon has that Midwest work ethic.

The band has gone onstage and in the studio and done the work, year after year – dozens of albums, hundreds (or thousands?) of concerts, infinite radio spins. The eyes have always been on the future and on the road – not a year has gone by where REO Speedwagon didn’t perform live, thrilling fans with hits like “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

Keep reading about REO Speedwagon on their official bio page.


What you need to know about New Year’s Eve at Universal CityWalk

One of the big misconceptions about New Year’s Eve at CityWalk is that the entertainment will be complimentary. Many guest believe this because usually any band performances at CityWalk are open to the public. But this is absolutely not the case on New Year’s Eve. Basically the entire side of CityWalk where the concert stage is, and the second level of night clubs and restaurants, is closed to the general public. About the only venues that are open to everyone are Nascar Sports Bar & Grill, NBA City, and Hard Rock Cafe. So please do not make the mistake of thinking you can play around CityWalk on New Year’s without paying for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Also, remember that the CityWalk New Year’s Eve party is 21+ ONLY.

Here is the lineup at the CityWalk nightclubs for New Year’s Eve:

New Year's Eve 2012 CityWalk nightclub lineup


Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure

To the disappointment of many guests, the actual theme parks at Universal Orlando — Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure — do not host their own New Year’s Eve parties. However, they are open late, so you can enjoy your favorite attractions into the wee hours of the night. Currently Universal Studios Florida is scheduled to be open until 1:00am and Islands of Adventure is scheduled to be open until 11:00pm.

Looking for some fireworks in the parks for New Year’s Eve? Then you’ll have a bit of luck. The Universal Cinematic Spectacular lagoon show, which usually plays in the evening at Universal Studios Florida and does have some pyrotechnics, is scheduled to run at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve.


Universal’s on-site hotels

The on-site hotels at Universal Orlando — Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort — each are having their own special New Year’s Eve celebrations for 2012.


Portofino Bay Hotel

New Year’s Eve Party on the Piazza

Enjoy a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party under the twinkling lights of the Harbor Piazza! The countdown to the new year features all-you-care-to-eat gourmet food samples from Mama Della’s Ristorante, Trattoria del Porto, Sal’s Market Deli, Splendido’s Bar & Grill and Gelateria. Plus, enjoy a selection of more than a dozen wines and sparkling wines, as well as live jazz music.

  • Date: December 31, 2012
  • Time: 8:30pm – midnight
  • Tickets: $125 for adults, $35 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary) — purchase online

Trattoria Del Porto New Year’s Eve Champagne Buffet

Get the family together and celebrate the new year with a feast of Portofino Bay Hotel’s finest cuisine!


Hard Rock Hotel

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with attitude at Hard Rock Hotel. Enjoy family-friendly festivities including a holiday buffet, face painters, balloonist, Universal characters, Magic Men, a live DJ, desert bar, a balloon drop, confetti cannons, champagne toast, and the Times Square Countdown via satellite!

  • Date: December 31, 2012
  • Time: holiday buffet 5:00 – 11:00pm, lobby party 8:00pm – 1:00am
  • View the buffet menu (PDF file)
  • Price: buffet & lobby party $90 for adults, $35 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary); lobby party only $30 for adults, $15 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary)
  • Velvet Couples Party Package also available; includes the lobby party, dessert bar, and a bottle of Kenwood Yalupa Champagne for $70 per couple
  • Contact Hard Rock Hotel Concierge to purchase tickets 407-503-2430


Royal Pacific Resort

Wantilan Luau New Year’s Eve Party

Celebrate the new year Royal Pacific-style with an all-you-care-to-eat buffet of islands-inspired foods and buffet for kids. Entertainment includes live music and traditional hula and fire dancers. New Year’s party favors, along with non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and mai tais are included. This event does not include a midnight celebration.

  • Date: December 31, 2012
  • Time: Registration begins at 5:30pm
  • View the buffet menu (PDF file)
  • Price: $75 for adults, $40 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary)
  • Reserve on OpenTable or dial 407-503-3463 for more information

Islands Dining Room New Year’s Eve buffet

Celebrate the end of 2011 and the start of 2012 with an “around the world celebration” New Year’s Eve buffet at Islands Dining Room. Visit the Asian sushi and stir fry stations and Italian artisan antipasto bar, try the French-inspired country-style pork and duck terrine, and feast on all-American prime rib of beef and slow-roasted suckling pig. Entertainment will feature face painter, balloon twister and hula dancers.


New Year’s Day

If you’re looking to mix a little sophistication with your New Year’s celebrations, then you will be happy to know that on New Year’s Day the King of Blues himself will be playing at Hard Rock Orlando Live (at CityWalk). Tickets for the B.B. King concert are on sale now at Ticketmaster.


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