It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and it’s also an incredibly popular time to visit Walt Disney World. Thousands and thousands of people will pass through the parks’ gates this holiday season, and it’s likely that the Magic Kingdom, especially, won’t be able to hold them all. So how do Disney officials decide which guests to let in, and how can you increase your likelihood of being one of them? Here are three things you need to know about Walt Disney World park closures:
1. How packed the parks can get
When most people think of going “home for the holidays,” they usually imagine heading to their relatives’ houses and being surrounded by family, friends and good cheer. But as Disney fans know, “home” can also mean a castle with mice running around it too, and as soon as Halloween is over, Disney starts enticing people back by rolling out the festive wintry décor. Nearly every inch of the resort is decked out, and even though snow is super rare in sunny Florida, somehow flakes manage to fall (magically) on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. And at the end of Main Street U.S.A., visitors see Castle Dream Lights that transform Cinderella’s home into a beautiful ice palace.
Some of the busiest days of the year at Walt Disney World are between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and all four of its parks – along with Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon – have had to turn away visitors at some point in the past because they’ve been at capacity. It's been said that the Magic Kingdom can hold more than 100,000 guests, but its popularity makes it the most likely park to close because of crowds and it usually does so about six times a year. Guests are likely to be turned away there two to four days during Christmas week. But Disney doesn’t just lock the gates for all when the parks fill up. Instead, officials gradually restrict guests by implementing different closure phases.