A year in Orlando

Disney World attacks New Year's Eve (www.disneyworld.com; 407-824-4321; Lake Buena Vista, 32830) on several fronts. The most enthusiastic celebration is at Pleasure Island, where the action at seven clubs spills into the streets for one big block party capped by a fireworks display done as only the Mickster does it. (If you're desperate for this and can stomach the admission, we recommend camping between Mannequins and the Pleasure Island Jazz Company for a truly surrounding display. But there are several decent viewing areas from nearby Downtown Disney.) There also are slightly longer-than-usual shows on New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom (Wishes and Fantasy in the Sky) and Epcot (Illuminations). They're included in standard admission at the parks ($71 adults, $60 kids 3-9); Pleasure Island admission is $89 including champagne toast and finger foods.

Sure, Santa and his reindeer make an appearance, but the real draws at Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Florida (www.universalorlando.com; 407-363-8000; 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando, 32819) are some of the floats (about 15), marching bands (2-4 daily, most of them from Florida) and yacht-size helium balloons (think Uncle Sam, a toy soldier and more) that you'll see live or on television in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. While the parade size and running time (30-45 minutes) are shorter than the Big Apple's rendition, the daily-at-dusk mini parade (Dec. 8-Jan. 1) is a good tapas-size portion for anyone who has never had an up-close-and-personal with the real deal. If you've been there and done that, or don't give a hoot about parades, this is an excellent time to attack some of the primo rides (Twister, Men in Black Alien Attack, Revenge of the Mummy), while the usual line fillers take a break for Macy's show. Admission is $71 adults, $60 kids 3-9.

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