Disney: "Park Capacity Reached" scenario questions

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 8:30 AM
Not really anything but a thought that crossed my mind, I know that for example, during Christmas week, Magic Kingdom has reached full capacity and they hav to turn guests away. What I'm wondering is, do they close it to *new* guests, i.e. people using a ticket/hopper/pass for the *first* time that day or is it *everyone* who is excluded (i.e. hoppers/re-admits)?

To clarify, suppose I'm @ MK and capacity gets reached while I'm there. I want to go to my car for a minute to get a juice box, can I get back into MK that day?

Alternately, if I have a park hopper pass and go to Epcot first, leave, and try to go to MK, can I still get into MK if MK has "reached capacity"?

I just wonder how Disney handles people "hopping" on max capacity days. Will the "hopping" be limited? If so can I get a refund (discount) for that day? (yeah, as if....)
lata, jeremy
--who hasnt made a topic since like March (I believe...)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:40 AM
That's a good question. My only experience with a "park capacity reached" scenario was when my parents took my brother and I to Sesame Place when were little kids. I don't remember many of the details but I recall having to spend a few hours at a local mall before returning to the park to be allowed in.

I'd love to know the answers to Jeremy's questions. I never thought of that stuff.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:43 AM
This probably doesn't help at all. I mean, it's still Disney, but it's on the wrong end of the country, and the scenario is more than a little different.

But when I visited Disneyland at Christmas last year, I came to the resort with a hopper in my hand. I was able to hop all I wanted between Disneyland and California Adventure, but I understand that they did no on-site sales of 2-park tickets, and at some point they prohibited new entries to Disneyland, but (as noted) allowed me to hop back and forth.

It's also worth noting that while Disneyland reached capacity in the morning, by evening enough people had left that they had unfrozen the gate.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:04 AM
Florida had the same policy as of last Christmas (and many before). Hoppers and annual passes are not denied...whether you are arriving late and going through the gates for the first time that day or returning from the parking lot for a re-admit. However, you could not get single day tickets on site. What I am not sure of...is whether you could buy a new hopper on the day of the "sell-out" and then get into the sold out park right away...?

This is a good question...as I'm not sure there is much affect to Disney claiming a park is sold out. Since the vast majority of guests have hoppers or annual passes...it only affects the single day ticket holders.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:35 AM
My understanding is as follows. Once the park reaches capacity, it is closed and no one else is admitted.

Re-entries to the park are supposedly based on the kind of ticket and where you are staying. If you are staying on property, you have the highest priority of getting back in. If you are an annual passholder and were already in the park, you have next priority. If you are a day visitor and were already in the park, you get next priority and the day visitors that haven't been in the park yet are denied. They could have changed things since I worked there, but park hoppers worked the same way.

Re-entry is always contingent on park capacity. They have no way to know if you intend to return once you leave a park. So, they may let other people in after you've left. If they do that, the park is "full" and you can't get back in.

If you're going to the parks on a day where capacity is an issue (Christmas Day, New Years Eve, Easter, etc...), you should always plan to stay in the park all day. Take the juice box into the park or buy a drink inside. Regardless of what you may think, you're not guaranteed re-entry into the park.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:40 AM
I can only say that I've entered or re-entered the "closed" Magic Kingdom no less than 30 times over the last 20++ Christmas Seasons...either with a Hopper Ticket or an annual pass. I've never once been so much as questioned while going through the gates. Maybe they say one thing and enforce another? Or maybe they are intimidated by my large pectoral muscles? :)

*** Edited 9/19/2007 2:41:36 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:46 AM
Re-entered meaning you were already at Magic Kingdom before the park closed? Where you staying on-property? That's most likely why. If you started at Animal Kingdom and then tried to go to Magic Kingdom after it had closed, you could have been denied entry. Also, if you weren't staying on property, you could also be denied. I can only really tell you what the policy was when I worked there. Since I was a salaried non-park employee, I worked in the parks during peak seasons as a "cross-U" cast member. That was the policy when I worked front gate at Magic Kingdom.

Whether or not it's the same now, I'm not sure. Of course, they never want to turn people away. But, they have before. All I'm saying is be on the safe side. There's no reason to risk not getting back into the park for a juice box in the car.

edit: wdwinfo.com is a very reliable source for Disney information. Check THIS link for details on what I'm referring to. *** Edited 9/19/2007 2:49:40 PM UTC by halltd***

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 11:41 AM
As I understand it, there are several "phases" of park closure.

At the first phase, they stop single-day sales, but guests already holding any form of admission are allowed in.

At the second phase, guests staying on property or those with pre-purchased multi-day passes (including APs) are allowed in.

Phase three is only on-property guests.

Phase four is Katie-bar-the-door.

From what I've been told, entry is controlled primarily by controlling access to transportation alternatives. This avoids having to make too many unpleasant decisions at the turnstiles. For instance, during phase three at MK, the Epcot monorail station is available only to those with resort ID. Likewise, at some point the TTC lot is closed, and cars are redirected elsewhere, but resort busses are allowed through.

This might mean that if you somehow get to the turnstiles you get in, or it might not. I don't know for sure, and I've heard it explained both ways---that may depend on what phase the park is in. In phase four, though, you don't get in, no matter what.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 3:59 PM
I stay at the Red Roof Inn Hawaiin Court. I always drive...Disney transpoertation is a headache. I've entered and re-entered. I've seen the signs that say MK is sold-out...I ignore them. I park the car (often at one of the resorts and take a resort monorail). I show them either an annual pass or a Hopper ticket and they let me in.

I've never had a problem. Went to MK and Epcot New Year's Eve 1999. Went once or twice this past Christmas when it was "sold-out." I've done it countless times...and frankly don't even think about it. I guess I've been there enough without issue, that it has never crossed my mind that they would not let me in.

My guess is that the signs of "sold-out" are meant to scare people driving into the park. They probably do not want a scene once you get there!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:41 PM
I was there during the 4th of july week.

If you go to the parks for opening or extra magic hours in the morning and fduring lunch hours go back to your room then come back at night you should be fine. Thats the best way to tackle those parks. Do the main attractions of each park during the morning when the park opens .

Also on july 4th I avoided the magic kingdom and was at mgm instead. So if you can avoid the magic kingdom on the busiest day you should be set.

When it gets closer http://www.touringplans.com is a great help also. *** Edited 9/20/2007 1:42:01 AM UTC by majortom1981***

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Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:07 PM

majortom1981 said:
Thats the best way to tackle those parks. Do the main attractions of each park during the morning when the park opens .

True for any park.
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Friday, September 21, 2007 2:06 AM

Brian Noble said:
As I understand it, there are several "phases" of park closure.

At the first phase, they stop single-day sales, but guests already holding any form of admission are allowed in.

At the second phase, guests staying on property or those with pre-purchased multi-day passes (including APs) are allowed in.

Phase three is only on-property guests.

Phase four is Katie-bar-the-door.

From what I've been told, entry is controlled primarily by controlling access to transportation alternatives. This avoids having to make too many unpleasant decisions at the turnstiles. For instance, during phase three at MK, the Epcot monorail station is available only to those with resort ID. Likewise, at some point the TTC lot is closed, and cars are redirected elsewhere, but resort busses are allowed through.


You got the right idea...

Pre-Phase 1 - guests are directed to other parking lots other than the park's lot. Guests then use resort transportation to get to the parks.

Phase 1 - Guests with single day tickets, cast members and their guests are turned away at the toll booths.

Phase 2 -Admission to park is limited to Disney resort guests, annual passholders, guests re-entering the park and guests arriving in taxis or using official Disney transportation (and yes they do put people at the entrance to the monorail at Epcot to make sure no one uses the monorail to try to get to the Magic Kingdom).

Phase 3 - Admission limited to Disney resort guests and annual passholders. Everyone else is turned away.

Phase 4 - Park closed to all guests and everyone trying to enter will be turned away.

So yes in the early phases the crowds are kept in line via transportation and the toll booths but as the phases go on people will be turned away at the gate.

*** Edited 9/21/2007 6:42:04 AM UTC by Andrew***

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