Park Capacity Rules


I have heard they will close parks when the reach capacity and let people a 100 at a time as 100 leave. But is there a priority to who gets in.

1st Priority - Park Employees
2nd Priority - Disney Resort Guests using Monorail, Buses, etc
3rd Priority - People driving in

I heard they close the parking lot before they start turning people away.

Do any of you know how this works?

I might be stuck with 12/26/09 - 01/02/09 week and just trying to get as much information as possible.


You’re on the right track. Let me help clarify. We’ll use MK for an example:

Level 1 close: I think it’s 60-70,000 people in the park. Only resort guests can come in at this point.

Level 2 close: 70-80,000 people. I think it’s only MK resort guest may still enter.

Level 3 close: 80,000+ people. Noone else may enter for safety reasons. We CMs are only allowed into the park if we’re working that day and must enter through the tunnels underneath MK.

These are the numbers I remember from the past few years. They keep changing the rules for capacity little bit by little bit. But come Christmas morning, when MK has to close it’s gates at 10:00am because of the crowds, it’ll be that way all the way through New Years.


Rowdy, just curious, what is capacity for a party?


Wow this is good to know. Anyone have info on how often this happens? Or when this is likely to happen?


Rowdy, thanks.

Also in what order do the parks close, in other words which ones are known to close and in what order.

I doubt Epcot has ever had to close for capacity reasons. If I had to guess it would be.

  1. MK
  2. AK
  3. MGM
  4. Epcot

Also, what if you have Dinner Reservations in a park that is closed or have scheduled one of the tours.


I take it you mean a specialty party like MVMCP or MNSSHP. They sell 30,000 tickets for each party night. So 30K is the capacity of a party.

This will happen pretty much every day starting this Saturday the 20th all the way through the fourth of January. It’s that time of the year where EVERY room in EVERY resort is booked and there are about half a million people on property at any given time. Grant it, not everyone will be going to MK on the same day. Some days the capacity will only be a level one close all day long at MK. The capacity for say Studios and DAK is much smaller so they close sooner than MK does sometimes.

Again, it depends on the day of the week. On Christmas Day you can bet MK will be the first to close. DHS and DAK will close before the other two on other days due to their only holding about 40-50,000 guests at a time. Epcot does reach capacity but I don’t think I’ve seen level 3 close for it.

As far as dinners and tours that’s a very good question. When you check into your room, definitely go to concierge or guest relations and they’d best direct you on that matter.


Interesting, I know when I went for Christams Week once like two years ago, Magic Kingdom was shut down at like 10:00 AM and no one was allowed to enter. What’s strange is, EPCOT was like empty!! We sat right down on the monorail and the wait times where nothing… the usual.

  • Justin


I was wondering this too. I have an adr for crt 12/31 at 9:00 pm will they not allow us to enter?


From what I have heard if the park is closed you will not be allowed in even if you have an ADR. It’s best to stay in the park once you get in that day if you are worried about th gates closing.


We were told the same thing, that having an ADR does not give you preference for getting into the parks once they close down. We’ll be there Dec. 29-Jan 1. with a marching band (approx. 300 kids plus adult chaperones) and we’ll be at the parks early almost every day, so getting in won’t be a problem. Our band is marching in the MK parade on Dec. 29 and the Citrus parade on Dec. 30. I can’t wait!


Great. Now I’m scared. So let’s just say we can’t get in on 12/31 for our ADR at CRT will they still charge my credit card as a no show???


Quite frankly - why would anyone want to be in the Parks with crowds like that. It’d be torture! I’ve seen this only once - the MK was closed on July 4th - but we never left the resort.


We were in MK last year on Christmas day and by 11 am it was too packed to move. We got there at 7 am, did about 10 rides, had lunch and left. It was just too crowded to even try to ride anything by the time the gates closed. I’m glad we went because it was a dream of mine to be at WDW during Christmas and I wanted to be in MK on Christmas morning but it just got too crowded to have any fun.


OK, tinkerbelle24 - you know more of what you are getting into. If going to MK, get there early. My plan would honestly be to try and stay away from MK as much as possible and hit Epcot as many times as possible…but my family enjoyed Epcot.

Hit the EMH hard - It looks like MK opens early EVERY day while you are there and the evening EMH for MK are the 26th, 28th, and 30th. I would probaly plan to do EMH on the 28th or 30th b/c I feel like people might stay away the 30th b/c they will be hitting MK hard on New Years Eve. I would honestly go to Epcot or MGM on New Years Eve (Most likely Epcot).

December 2008
Morning Extra Magic Hours
Magic Kingdom® Park – December 4, 11, 18, 21-31
Epcot® – December 2, 9, 16, 21, 30
Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ – December 6, 13, 20, 22, 26, 28
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park – December 1, 8, 15, 24, 26-31

Evening Extra Magic Hours
Magic Kingdom® Park – December 1, 8, 15, 21, 26, 28, 30
Epcot® – December 5, 12, 19, 23, 25, 29
Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ –December 7, 14, 24, 27, 31
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park – December 3, 10, 17, 22

Don’t panic…be safe and relax. This is a vacation. On Epcot days…Sleep Late and relax.


This is why I am avoiding MK at all costs Xmas day . . . we’ll be going to AK, and if it’s too packed . . . we’ll just head on home!

Thanks for all the tips! :heart:


Call me crazy, but I REALLY LOVE to see crowds at WDW. It makes me feel so good to see people coming to have a great time. I look at it like going to a football or other sport game. When the stadium’s empty, it’s no fun! With 70,000 people surrounding you, it makes the experience UNBELIEVABLE! Crowds are awesome!!!

Then again, maybe it’s just because I like having a crowd to perform to. :biggrin: Don’t throw the veggies at me too hard.


anyone know what time mk opens on 12/31 without the extra magic hours? ill have my mom with us and she isnt on my reservation so she cant take advantage of it unless i add her.


Add her, it’s as easy as a phone call to MS. She’ll need a room key/card just like everyone else.


By the way Magic Kingdom opens at 8 am on 12/31 (until 2 am) with EMH that morning at 7 am.


[QUOTE=DisneyTeacher;915012]Add her, it’s as easy as a phone call to MS. She’ll need a room key/card just like everyone else.[/QUOTE] well this is the thing…for HHI we have 2 bd so no prob…she’s on for 12/27 to 12/30 I only a studio so I can’t for 12/30 to Jan1 I have 1 bd so I can and for Jan 1 to 3rd I have a studio.