Still wondering where to go for this year’s New Year’s Eve party? Relax, you can squeeze in somewhere. Starting to make plans for Dec. 31, 1999? Forget it - you’re probably already too late.
Even Mickey Mouse has run out of rooms.
Although it’s still four years off, the changing of the annual odometer to 2000 has already shaped up as the biggest blast of the 20th century.
Guest lists are filled in at some of the world’s party hot spots.
The Rainbow Room in Manhattan? There are 470 people ahead of you on the waiting list. The Savoy Hotel in London? The fortunate can enter a lottery for seats or rooms. Don’t even try the Space Needle in Seattle. It’s booked for a private party.
Reservations are piling up for the annual Kaiser Ball in Vienna … at the posh La Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris … at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan.
Looking for something a little more traditional? Colonial Williamsburg is full and there’s 107 names on the waiting list.
Good luck visiting Mickey or Minnie. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., reports all 17 company-owned inns are taken that night.
Why this mad rush?
“People look at New Year’s as a time for a new beginning,” said Rainbow Room publicist Andrew Freedman. “And a turn of the century is really monumental in terms of new beginnings.”
Booking your table this far in advance also is an act of unrestrained optimism.
“Absolutely,” agreed Larry Wodarsky of Sacramento, Calif. “The feeling was, ‘We know where we want to be, and therefore we will be.”’
Checks poured into the Rainbow Room last year when, as a sort of whim, the management decided to make 200 reservations available for 1999.
The cost: about $1,000, $500 up front. That’s per person, and does not include tax, tips or beverages. Within months, all the reservations had been snapped up.
Wodarsky, 49, president of The Money Store Investment Corp., put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve Rainbow Room seats for himself and his wife; among the 198 others who did the same is an 87-year-old man.
“We’re getting amazingly wonderful stories,” said Freeman. “People who were married here 30 and 40 years ago are coming back. We’ve had people tell us they’re putting their reservations in their wills.”
A technical note: OK, OK 2001 is actually the first year of the new millennium. But people are more excited about the calendar clicking from 1-9-9-9 to 2-0-0-0.
“It’s a symbol of significance,” Wodarsky said. “Like hitting 100,000 miles on a car.”
Fifteen families from Portland have aced out their Northwest neighbors to secure the No. 1 New Year’s venue in Washington state: The observation deck of the 605-foot Space Needle in Seattle. Talk about advance planning: they came up with the plan in 1990, and closed the deal two years later.
That includes the Needle’s rotating restaurant, catering and entertainment for an estimated 900 family members and their friends. Manager Lynn Brackpool coyly said the cost is “more than a dollar.”
Air France is considering 20 requests to charter its five-time-zone-leaping Concorde jets. Among those in line for a world-class case of jet lag is an American businessman who wants to celebrate the millennium four times: in Paris, Newfoundland, Vancouver and, finally, Kona, Hawaii.
Can’t make up your mind yet? There are still some options open.
You don’t need reservations for the street revelry amid the neon in New York’s Times Square, although you might want to get there early.
Another freebie: The Empire State Building, which is promising something “special and unique,” although details are going to be kept hush-hush for three more years.
“You won’t need a reservation,” promised spokeswoman Lydia Ruth. “It won’t be sold out. It will be open to the public.”