Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Our top picks for New Year's Eve fun!

We have dozens of concerts, parties and special events to choose from to mark the new year. And our theme park veterans also offer some useful insider tips to navigate the usually epic crowds at those attractions.


• Masquerade 2013 at Hogan's Beach

It's the grand opening of Hulk Hogan's new 20,000-square-foot restaurant, Hogan's Beach at the Best Western Bay Harbor hotel on the Courtney Campbell Parkway, in a space that used to house Crabby Bill's. Live music by Kings County. Party with champagne toast and party favors, $10. Dancing with four-course dinner, $125 per couple. 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (813) 281-8900. Monday.

• Aqua-Eve

Splash into the new year at this 21 and older only party inside the aquarium with food, beer and wine, a champagne toast and fireworks viewing. Cocktail attire required. $100 through Saturday, $110 after. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Rooftop Eve

The elegant night includes complimentary spirits, wine, beer, champagne, desserts, live music, DJ dancing and an optional four-course dinner at your choice of Timpano Italian Chophouse or Ceviche. Guests are encouraged to wear a mask and keep their identity hidden until the "midnight reveal." Complimentary shuttle service is available beginning at 6:30 p.m. between Embassy Suites, Ceviche, Timpano Chophouse and the party. The evening ends at 2 a.m. Hyde Park Village Parking Garage, 1610 W Swann Ave., Tampa. $150, $175 dinner package, $250 per person cabanas. 9 p.m. Monday.

• New Year's Hard Rockin' Eve Party

You can celebrate New Year's Eve twice in one night at this party followed by the West Coast Toast, which is a separate ticket ($20-$30). DJ Baby Anne will be spinning alongside Tampa DJs including Knex, Chris Craze and Tony Puccio. Performances by I.C.E. Dance Girls. Free entry (21 and older only). Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa. (813) 627-7625. Free entry for 21 and older at 10 p.m. Monday. See SoundCheck, Page 12.

• Q Year's Eve Dance Party

Ring in the New Year with the Hunks of Funk. The Mahaffey Theater lobby transforms into a funky dance party, with complimentary champagne toast and a view of St. Petersburg's fireworks display. $35/$75. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7832. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Rockin' in the Midnight Hour at the Tradewinds

With dancing to live music by the Greg Billings Band, open bar, champagne, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, desserts, noisemakers and a balloon drop at midnight. $140 (non-guests). Tradewinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-2258. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Swingin' the New Year

Dress to impress for this all-ages dance with music by a 20-piece big band, a countdown to midnight and balloon drop, party favors, noisemakers, chocolates, prize giveaways, cash bar and New Year's decor. There's also a vintage fashion photo shoot and contest. New Year's or vintage attire encouraged. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with a swing dance lesson from 8 to 9 p.m. The party goes until 1 a.m. $29. Alcove rental $99 additional. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 669-7830. 9 p.m. Monday.

• New Year: New Name

Ring in the New Year and find out what the new name for the restaurant will be. The party includes music by DJ Davy Rolando, an appearance by Nacho Libre, appetizers, a tequila toast and all night tequila specials. No cover. Lime Restaurant, 915 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 868-5463. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Postcard Inn

Wear either causal or formal attire for party with live music on the beach by Daniel B. Marshall. Pay $50 and upgrade to VIP for priority seating and a dedicated bar. Free, $50 VIP, cash bar. Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 367-2711. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Push

View downtown St. Petersburg's fireworks from the rooftop deck. Then dance the night away to a house music invasion by DJ's Revkev and Kristijan. $25. Push Ultra Lounge, 128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 871-7874. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Safety Harbor Resort and Spa

Starts with a "New Year's Kiss" welcome cocktail, four hours of open bar, a dinner buffet with a gourmet chef's table, midnight champagne toast, party favors and dancing to live music by the Lakeland Jazz Orchestra. Special room rates available. $130. Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, 105 N Bayshore Drive, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-7725, ext. 7100. 8:30 p.m. Monday.

• The Drynk

This 21-and-older party will have complimentary open bar featuring Ketel One vodka, party favors and dancing to open format music. The party goes on until 3 a.m. $30 women, $40 men (open bar package); $15 general men. The Drynk Soho, 302 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 251-5552. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Two Buks

Make a reservation, choose your meal, pay for it and you've got secured seating for the evening, party favors, cash bar, a champagne toast and dancing to live music by the Shakes Society. No cover. Two Buks Saloon, 1915 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 234-5705. 7 p.m. Monday.

• Dallas Bull

With a champagne toast, drink specials and DJs spinning tunes for top 40 dancing (upstairs) and country line dancing (downstairs). $5. The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa. (813) 987-2855. 7 p.m. Monday.

• New Year's Eve in Dunedin

Two venues join for one big New Year's Eve party with dancing to live music by the Black Honkeys and DJ's Gus and Truth, champagne toast at midnight, party favors and a prize-filled balloon drop. Table reservations available. $15. Chic-A-Boom Room, 319 Main St, Dunedin. (727) 736-0206. 8 p.m. Monday.

• New Year's Eve on the Bay

This formal party in Sarasota by Mattison's at Van Wezel brings indoor and outdoor waterfront dining, live music, dancing, games, cash bar and midnight fireworks viewing. $65. Mattison's Bayside, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 921-3400. 8 p.m. Monday.

• C'est La Vie New Year's Celebration

Colorama Music is having a New Year's party with music by duo C'est La Vie. There will be two buffets, dancing, party favors, a champagne toast, breakfast buffet, and more. Advanced reservations are recommended. $100 per couple. $65 for single. Colorama Music, 9302 Denton Ave., Hudson. (727) 863-7539. 7 p.m. Monday.

• Blue Martini New Blue Year

The hotspot's annual formal New Year's Eve party takes on a "Roaring '20s" theme and includes flappers, dancing, live entertainment and some secret surprises. $40 (seating not included). Blue Martini, Bay Street at International Plaza, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa. (813) 873-2583. 8 p.m. Monday.

• CineBistro New Year Sock Hop

Put on your poodle skirts and greaser gear for an "oldies but goodies" New Year's Eve sock hop with music, party favors, spiked punch, prize filled balloon drop and a midnight champagne toast. Included with movie ticket. CineBistro at Hyde Park Village, 1609 W Swann Ave., Tampa. (813) 514-8300. 7 p.m. Monday.

• Whiskey Joe's Bash by the Bay

Upscale attire is required for this 21 and older only party with DJ dancing, live music by Deja and Impulse, bonfires, indoor and outdoor seating, open bar and hors d'oeuvers until 1 a.m., multiple bars and possible viewing of fireworks displays by surrounding communities. Overnight accommodations available at the host hotel. Mention "Club Sport New Year's Eve/Bash By the Bay" for a special rate. $105 advance, $120 at the door. Whiskey Joe's Bar and Grill, 7720 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (877) 820-2582, ext. 2. 8 p.m. Monday.

• Jannus Live New Year's Eve Bash

The main event is a silent disco, a phenomenon where partiers receive headphones that play music from a DJ onstage. Everyone's dancing to the music, but without the headphones, there's no sound. A lineup of DJs keeps the party going until the fireworks go off. $20, $25 under 21. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0551. 8 p.m. Monday. See SoundCheck, Page 12.

• Plush Goes Gold New Year's Eve Party

Tampa's club for full-figured women and big men invites the public to dress to impress and join them to ring in the New Year with dancing to mixed music by DJ's Ninjai and Brian B, a balloon drop, champagne toast at midnight, cash prizes, free food and drink specials. The party ends at 2 a.m. $20. Glo UltraLounge, 8831 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. (813) 842-7942. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Coconuts Comedy Extravaganza

Includes performances by BC Murphy, Murv Seymour, Trish Keating, Kevin Knows, Chris Matson and Pete Dearaujo. The late show runs until midnight and includes party favors, champagne, a countdown to midnight and dancing to live music. $35-$49. Coconuts Comedy Club Beachcomber Resort, 6200 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach. (727) 360-5653. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday.

• Holiday Lake New Year's Eve Dance

Holiday Lake Estates Clubhouse is hosting a New Year's Eve dance with music by Sonny Oden and the Country Snowbirds. BYOB and snacks welcome. $15. Holiday Lake Estates Civic Association, 3624 Atlantis Drive, Holiday. (727) 934-8326. 8 p.m.-midnight Monday.

• Saddlebrook Gala

This black-tie optional party begins with an hour-long cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres on the Fountain Terrace. Move to the Tropics Restaurant for a gourmet dinner with table side open bar and fine wine service during dinner. After dinner, dance into the wee hours with music by DJ Lex Macar, cash bar, champagne toast at midnight and a balloon drop. $135 (reservations required). Saddlebrook, 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel. (813) 907-4470. 8 p.m. Monday.

• Gala at The Sage

A formal red carpet event billed as the party for "the grown and sexy" features DJ dancing and live entertainment by El Debarge. $40 advance, $45 day of show, $50 VIP. The Sage, 22 N Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. (727) 253-4779. 9 p.m. Monday. See SoundCheck, Page 12.

• Shephard's

Three huge parties under one roof with open premium bar all night, dancing to two live bands and two DJs, champagne toast at midnight, party favors and Las Vegas-style gaming tables. Add Shephard's buffet with wine and soft drinks for the Spades package. Combine the Hearts and Spades packages and add reserved seating in the Wave nightclub, bottle service and admission for up to four people for the Diamonds package. $79 (Hearts); $120 (Spades); $500 up to four people (Diamonds). Shephard's Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. (727) 441-6875. 9 p.m. Monday.

• CineBistro New Year's Eve Pre-Party

If you don't want to stay up until midnight, get into the spirit at this pre-party with chef created passed appetizers, specialty cocktails, draft beer and raffle prizes. $25. CineBistro at Grove 16, 6333 Wesley Grove Blvd., Wesley Chapel. (813) 948-5444. 7-9 p.m. Monday.

• Tampa Convention Center Toast

The two-floor party area overlooks the bay in a position allowing for great viewing of Tampa's Channelside fireworks display. Depending on which ticket level you choose, the night includes three rooms of music by 15 DJs, viewing the ball drop in Times Square, party favors, a $2,500 balloon drop and top shelf open bar. $20-$100. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8511. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Aja Channelside

Party with music by DJs such as Knex, K'Cao and CNazte in the main room and Big Willie and Mike Homes upstairs. Open bar tickets include a champagne toast at midnight and premium open bar from 9 a.m. to midnight. The party goes on until 3 a.m. $10, $30 open bar (women); $25, $45 open bar (men). Aja, 290 S Meridian Ave., Tampa. 813-223-5758. 9 p.m. Monday.

• Aqua Bar and Grille

Couples can enjoy a five-course surf and turf dinner, access to the rooftop BluVu bar and terrace, fireworks, dancing, champagne toast at midnight and a breakfast buffet. Includes guest room accommodations at the Westin Tampa Bay. $399 per couple. Aqua Bar and Grille, 7627 W Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa. (813) 675-8700. 7 p.m. Monday.

• Tampa Bay Times Forum Downtown Deco Eve

A roaring '20s-themed New Year's Eve gala set on the forum's terrace includes music by the 12-piece Southtown Fever band, themed elixirs, street performers, hors d'ouevres, sweet treats, champagne toast and coffee in a paparazzi atmosphere. Proceeds benefit Heartbeat International. $150. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. 9 p.m. Monday.

• GAYbor's Platinum New Year's Eve

Billed at Tampa Bay's biggest gay and lesbian New Year's Eve party, the night includes music by Brazilian celebrity DJ/Remixer Ranny, top 40 upstairs with DJ Charles Machado, ball drop countdown from Times Square, a champagne toast, balloon drop, confetti cannons and free drinks from 9 to 10 p.m. Free Before 10 p.m., $5 after. The Honey Pot, 1507 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 247-4663. 9 p.m. Monday.

Theme parks

• Busch Gardens

The Tampa theme park rides into the new year with rides all night, pumping DJ music and fireworks at midnight. The park stays open to 1 a.m. $80, $72 ages 3-9. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-5600. 9 a.m. Monday.

• Disney's Magic Kingdom

If you plan to see the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom, get there early and plan to stay for the entire day. The park annually fills to capacity and is closed by mid morning. Holiday activities throughout the day include Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Parade (12:30 and 3:30 p.m.), Main Street Electrical Parade (7 and 9:30 p.m.) Celebrate the Magic! projection show (time TBA), Holiday Wishes Fireworks (8:30 p.m.),Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks (11:50 p.m.) and DJ dance parties in front of the castle (check daily times guide). The park remains open until 2 a.m. Insider tip: Resort guests get extra magic morning hours and can get into the park at 7 a.m. Get there. Get a locker and stay. $90.53, $84.14 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Walt Disney World, 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 934-7639. 8 a.m. Monday.

• Disney's Hollywood Studios

The park's iconic sorcerers hat takes center stage as the set for the "Lights, Camera, Happy New Year" fireworks display accompanied by the Mulch, Sweat and Shears New Year's Eve Spectacular concert. There's also multiple shows of the Fantasmic! live show at 6:30, 8 and 10 p.m. and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights come alive at dusk. The park remains open until midnight. Insider tip: Resort guests get extended evening extra magic hours and can remain in the park until 3 a.m. $90.53, $84.14 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Disney's Hollywood Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-6244. 8 a.m. Monday.

• DisneyQuest

The gamer haven closes to the general public at 7 p.m. and turns into a ticketed New Year's Eve event with unlimited use of the DisneyQuest games, a DJ dance party, confetti drop, party favors and a free fast food meal. The attraction remains open until 1 a.m. Insider tip: This sounds like an easy way to ring in the New Year with the family at Disney without going into one of the theme parks, but be forewarned, the allure of Downtown Disney's free parking causes fights and total bedlam for the Disney transportation system. $50 advance, $60 day of. Downtown Disney, 1590 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 828-3800. 8 p.m. Monday.

• Epcot's New Year's Eve Party

Each year Epcot's World Showcase turns into a super party zone. The overly explosive, special ending to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks and laser show is so popular, they've double up and offer two shows at 6:30 and 11:40 p.m. DJ dance parties take place throughout the park all day long. Future World attractions and the World Showcase remain open until 1 a.m. $90.53, $84.14 ages 3-9, 2 and younger free. Epcot at Walt Disney World, 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 934-7639. 8 a.m. Monday.

• Universal Citywalk

With a concert by REO Speedwagon, a gourmet buffet dinner, cash bar and a champagne toast at midnight, Universal invites you to,"Step up your New Year's Eve." The party goes on until 2 a.m. Theme park admission not included. $144.99. Universal Citywalk, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando. (407) 363-8000. 8 p.m. Monday.

• SeaWorld

The marine park celebrates the new year with a special fireworks display and musical tributes to the sea and sea life. Park remains open until 1 a.m. $89, $81 ages 3-9. SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive (Interstate 4, Exit 71), Orlando. Toll-free 1-800-327-2424. 9 a.m. Monday.

• Cirque du Soleil

Celebrate the new year at Downtown Disney West Side's Cirque du Soleil La Nouba. There will be a special finale at each performance, a limited edition La Nouba trading pin for each guest and specialty drinks for purchase. $87-$146, $72-$119 ages 3-9. Cirque du Soleil La Nouba in Downtown Disney Orlando, 1590 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-7328. 6 and 9 p.m. Monday. Insider tip: A show ticket does not guarantee a parking space, so get there early. The free parking at Downtown Disney creates hours of gridlock. You could miss your show looking for a parking spot.

• Atlantic Dance New Year's Eve Party

Business casual to formal attire required to dance in the new year at Atlantic Dance's at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. With dancing to a video DJ on the main stage, three cash bars and party favors. VIP tickets include second floor seating, desserts, coffee and access to a private balcony for viewing of Epcot's IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks and laser show. 21 and older only. The party goes on until 2 a.m. $35, $75 VIP. Atlantic Dance at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, 2101 EPCOT Resort Blvd., Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-6200. 8 p.m. Monday.

• Lego Kid's New Year's Eve

For five days before New Year's Eve, kids ages 2 to 12 can countdown with a live action show at 2 p.m. in Pirate's Cove and a fireworks show to be view through special effects glasses at 6 p.m. On the final big night, watch the giant Lego brick drop at this very kid-friendly party set for Kid Standard Time — otherwise known as 6 p.m. — including fireworks and a DJ dance party. $75, $65 ages 3-12. Legoland Florida, One Legloland Way, Winter Haven. Toll-free 1-877-350-5346. 2 p.m. today-Sunday; 7 p.m. Monday.

Family events

• Innisbrook with Camp Nessie

Kids can ring in the New Year at their own party with dinner and a night of noisemaking and drink toasting leading up to the ball drop at midnight. The party ends at 12:30 a.m. $60. Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, 36750 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor. (727) 942-5241. 7:30 p.m. Monday.

• Noon Year's Eve at the Zoo

Count down to noon with Radio Disney to celebrate the New Year with the entire family. Activities include games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, displays and more. Kids get to blow noisemakers, wear hats and toast in the Noon Year with juice. Included with regular zoo admission. $23.95, $21.95 seniors, $18.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday.

• Glazer Museum Noon Year's Eve

Kids probably won't make it until midnight, so the museum wants them to be able to celebrate by making hats and noise makers for hourly parties beginning at noon. Included with admission. $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children, under 1 free. Glazer Children's Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861. 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday.

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