Magic Kingdom Closed

What? Can you imagine spending your hard-earned money and vacation time for a trip to Walt Disney World only to arrive at the gates of the Magic Kingdom and be told, “Sorry folks? The park is closed. The Mouse out front should have told you.” The Magic Kingdom has closed twice this week already due to the park reaching capacity. I am hearing reports that this has also happened. What does it mean when they close a park, how is it done and what can you do about it?

According to Cheshire Figment on the boards:

There are four stages to park closing:

The parking lot entrance is closed. You can only access the park if you are using Disney Transportation.
The ticket windows are all closed (and the automated Ticket Vending Machines are turned off). Unless you already have a ticket you cannot get in.
Only people with Annual Passes or current Resort IDs will be allowed in.
Nobody is allowed in.

Having restaurant reservations in a park, even with written proof, will not override a stage closing for you. Also, if you are staying at a Disney-owned and operated Resort and have a ticket, you are guaranteed entry into A park.

I’m not sure what the actual capacity at each park is. There seem to be some conflicting numbers out there, but once a park reaches capacity the above measures are taken until capacity drops and the park is reopened. I’m not sure which is worse being turned away at the gates or being in a capacity crowd at the park waiting in line for hours to ride your favorite rides. The pictures I have seen of the crowds this week are unbelievable.

What are some tips to help you either avoid the crowds or deal with them?

  1. Don’t travel during peak season – to avoid the overwhelming crowds together travel off-season. WDW is the busiest at these times: President’s Week (February), Spring Break (mid-April – mid-July, worst weeks surrounding Easter), Memorial Day Weekend, Summer Break (mid-June – mid-August, peaking at the 4th of July), Thanksgiving week, Christmas Break (the week before Christmas – first week of January). WDW is slowest at these times: January, February (except President’s Week), Fall (after school starts, except Thanksgiving week), and between Thanksgiving and Christmas (the week after Thanksgiving to a week before Christmas).
  2. Arrive at the rope drop arrive at the park before it opens. You will be insured entry into the park and it will not fill to capacity most likely until afternoon which means less crowds to deal with in those first few hours.
  3. Use the Fast Pass system – You can avoid long waits in ride lines even during travel peak season if you understand Disney’s Fast Pass system and use it wisely. Please click here to watch my video explanation of the Fast Pass.
  4. Have a plan – if you must travel during peak season, have a plan. I have used several planning tools over the years. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.