New Year’s Eve 2013


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Are you ready for some of the most exciting New Year’s Eve activities outside of the Big Apple?

On this page we’ll discuss everything that is happening across Universal Orlando for New Year’s Eve 2013, including CityWalk, Universal’s theme parks, and the on-site hotels. Let’s get started!


Eve 12.31.13 at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando New Year's Eve 2013

Just when you thought Universal was done introducing new stuff in 2013, they’ve got one more surprise. This year, for the New Year’s Eve bash at Universal CityWalk, there won’t be a headlining band. Instead, Universal has rebranded the event as EVE 12.31.13. Gone is the big band, in is Orlando’s biggest dance floor. (It seems like Universal is going for a bit of a younger crowd too. After all, I think it is two slightly different demographics that would be interested in this year’s “largest dance floor in Orlando” verses last year’s REO Speedwagon headlining band.)

Here are all the details that have been released for Eve 12.31.13:


It’s the night you’ve been waiting all year for, and there’s never been a party for you like this one. Revel in a world of endless entertainment, decadent food, and a brand new New Year’s experience like you’ve never seen before.

  • Unlimited gourmet cuisine featuring filet mignon, jumbo shrimp, custom desserts, and more
  • Six unique party zones with entertainment and signature drinks (more details below)
  • Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor
  • Admission to six Universal CityWalk venues
  • Midnight champagne toast and pyrotechnics display

Eve at CityWalk includes admission to six venues, each with their own entertainment, customized party zones, and signature drinks. And to send it all into the stratosphere, you can celebrate all night on Orlando’s biggest dance floor, built just for Eve in front of the CityWalk Plaza Stage. You’ll kiss 2013 goodbye in style with a 360-degree DJ platform, dancers, and incredible special effects.

Entertainment details:

Universal CityWalk New Year's Eve 2013 party zone details

Additional event details:

  • This is a 21+ only event
  • $99.99 advance price through December 21
  • $119.99 after December 21
  • Passholder discount available

Visit Universal’s official EVE 12.31.13 page to make your purchase.


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

The biggest misconception about New Year’s Eve at CityWalk is that the entertainment will be complimentary. Many guest rightly have this misconception because the other 364 days of the year, any band or DJ performances at CityWalk are open to the public, like you see here:

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. Here’s what you’ll be looking at:

Portions of CityWalk blocked off for New Year's Eve.

Portions of CityWalk blocked off for New Year’s Eve.

The only full-service venues that will be open to the general public are Pastamore, 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 (unless, of course, you’re perfectly happy to party at the four restaurants I just listed).

Also, please note that food is included in the price of the EVE 12.31.13 as described above, but drinks are not — except for the champagne toast at midnight. (Expect to pay between $4 and $8 for drinks.) And finally, remember that the CityWalk New Year’s Eve party is 21+ only.


Will the rebranded CityWalk NYE event be successful?

It’ll be interesting to see how the appeal of Universal’s new event plays out as we move through December. Initially, I think it’s a bit tougher to justify the $100+ price tag without featuring a headlining act. Instead, Universal is asking for all that money with the promise that it will delivery an incredible experience and a huge dance floor.

Bottom line is, you’ll have to have faith that the resort will go all out with the “six party zone” set up and the “incredible special effects” — which we do!

Want to share your thoughts about the new event with us? We’d love to hear. You can reply to the tweet below or post on our Facebook timeline.


More at Universal CityWalk: Dierks Bentley at Hard Rock Live

While technically not part of Universal’s EVE 12.31.13 New Year’s Eve party, country music star Dierks Bentley (official website, @DierksBentley) will have a concert at Hard Rock Live, located at Universal CityWalk, the night of December 31, 2013.

Dierks Bentley on stage.

Dierks Bentley on stage. Source

We say this isn’t part of Universal’s EVE 12.31.13 activities because, even though Hard Rock Live is located at Universal CityWalk, it’s a private venue — meaning that if you buy tickets to the Bentley concert, you don’t get admission to the big EVE 12.31.13 CityWalk bash and vice versa. (Although I suppose, if you really wanted to, you could buy tickets to both events.)

Tickets for the Dierks Bentley concert can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.


Universal announces largest CityWalk expansion in its history

Okay, this isn’t related to New Year’s Eve, but we figure you have some interest in CityWalk since you’re on this page, so you might like to know about this news! On December 14, Universal Orlando announced the largest expansion in the history of CityWalk, scheduled to be completed throughout 2014. The expansion will bring eight new dining venues to CityWalk, including The Cowfish Burger & Sushi Bar, Menchies Frozen Yogurt, and an expanded Starbucks location on the ground floor.

Universal CityWalk expansion.

Universal CityWalk expansion.

We won’t get into all the details here, because we have more New Year’s Eve information to talk about. However, if you’d like to learn more about the CityWalk expansion, we invite you to check out this blog post (the link will open in a new window for your convenience).


Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure

The actual theme parks at Universal Orlando do not host their own New Year’s Eve parties per se. However, they are open late, so you can enjoy your favorite attractions into the wee hours of the night. This year Universal Studios Florida is scheduled to be open until 12:30am 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 with a special end-of-the-year theme.

Cinematic Spectacular viewed from The Simpsons Ride.

Cinematic Spectacular viewed from The Simpsons Ride.

Finally, guests inside Universal Studios Florida will also have the opportunity to enjoy a set of complimentary evening concerts at the Universal Music Plaza.

This year 80s rock cover band SWITCH (official website, @iloveswitch) returns with special guest Nerd Ranger. It’s the group’s sixth year in a row playing at USF for New Year’s Eve!

Universal Studios Florida New Year's Eve concerts.

Universal Studios Florida New Year’s Eve concerts.


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 2013.


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.

  • Time: 8:30pm – midnight
  • View the menu & details (PDF file)
  • Tickets: $135 for adults, $35 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary)
  • Purchase tickets online


Hard Rock Hotel

Family buffet and lobby party

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

  • Holiday buffet 5:00 – 11:00pm, lobby party 8:00pm – 1:00am
  • View the buffet menu (PDF file)
  • Price: buffet & lobby party $95 for adults, $35 for children 3 – 9 (2 & under complimentary); lobby party only $35 for adults, $20 for children 3 – 9 (2 & under complimentary)
  • For the full buffet & lobby party package, contact Hard Rock Hotel 407-503-2200 for reservations; tickets for the lobby party only can be purchased online


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. Note: this event does not include a midnight celebration.

  • Time: Registration begins at 5:30pm
  • View the buffet menu (PDF file)
  • Price: $75 for adults, $40 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary)
  • Call 407-503-3463 for more information

Islands Dining Room New Year’s Eve buffet

Celebrate the end of 2013 and the start of 2014 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 sausage terrine, and feast on all-American prime rib of beef and slow-roasted suckling pig. Entertainment will feature face painter, balloon twisters, and hula dancers.

  • Time: 5:00 – 11:00pm
  • View the complete menu (PDF file)
  • Price: $75 for adults, $35 for children 12 – 4 (3 & under complimentary)
  • Dial 407-503-DINE (3463) for more information


More New Year’s Eve information

Looking for something a little simpler? If you’d just like to plan on having dinner at one of Universal Orlando’s many restaurants, you can find details for making reservations at their in-park full-service restaurants, the venues at CityWalk, or even the options at their on-site hotels on our Dining reservations page.

Not sure you’re up for spending the last night of the year at Universal Orlando? If you’re looking for an experience just as exciting as the parks, but outside of the parks, we’ve got a great post for you over on the OI Blog: Nine new ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve in Orlando.

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