Park Capacity

Occasionally I hear about parks having record attendance days or parks (usually WDW around Christmas) having to close their gates due to reaching capacity... I'm wondering does anyone know the maximum capacity for any parks out there? Or what a "record attendance" might entail?

I remember being at Cedar Point for Columbus Day weekend in 2003 (TTD debut year). The weather was gorgeous; upper 70s to mid 80s and sunny. That Saturday the park was packed, parking lot filled to the overflow lots. I heard it was a then-record attendance of over 80,000. Could that be accurate? They used to cram that many people into Ralph Wilson Stadium every Sunday for Bills games back in the 90s before renovations reduced capacity.

So does anybody know what maximum capacity or record attendances might be for any major parks?

But then again, what do I know?

I was just wondering about that, and more specifically, when do they draw the line on how many people can be in the park? CAN they do that? How do they expect anyone to ride anything and have any sort of good experience with the crowds so bad? I would think that big days like that are actually not a great thing for the park if they don't happen that often because if the lines are all ridiculous, many people wouldn't want to come back.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Jeff's avatar

I don't think CP can handle 80k people.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

rollergator's avatar

Just checked the "Magic" number for DMK.....100K. Somehow I think at that point, it would be lacking some of that Disney magic...

In December of 1976 My folks decided to go to the Magic Kingdom three days after Christmas. The previous two days the evening news had stories about the park turning people away because they had reached capacity. As we made our way to "The Mouse House" I feared the worst (It was not getting turned away - if that had happened we'd go to Cypress Gardens), but long-long-lines for everything. :( We arrived at the park and we practically had the whole place to ourselves! Most of the rides were walk-on, and the longest wait to get on Space Mountain was less than ten minutes. I was able to ride it over and over until my stomach couldn't take it anymore! The next day we heard on the news that they were turning away guests again. The only explanation I can think of was people saw those news reports and psyched themselves out and spent the day elsewhere.

PS. In March 1993 the EXACT OPPOSITE happened to me. I decided to visit Six Flags over Texas and there was only one day I could visit it, and on the day the weather was rainy and in the low 50s. I thought OK, this weather means there won't be many guests there. Right? WRONG! Half the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex ,must have had the same idea, the park was packed! by 3:00 PM they were turning away people at the gates. I had to wait 90 minutes to get on the rides, fortunately I was able to get all the coasters in before the park closed for the evening.

Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!

The capacity number I think was talked about during my Cedar Point years was 75,000. Not sure if that was correct, though.

In the mid 1970's before Corkscrew was installed we were told that the cut off at the gate was 50,000. I remember that they closed the gate twice in '74. The main midway was a sea of people, and you had to fight your way through it. I don't recall whether or not the park stayed open later tho. The regular closing time in those days was 10:00PM. The big holidays they stayed open to 11:00, or 12:00 depending upon how many were still in the park at 9:00 PM.

I worked at CP in 73 and 74 and I remember a Saturday that was so busy it was amazing. We heard 75,000. It took me over 10 minutes to walk from the Cedars to work at the Surrey, just around the corner between Cedar Downs and Cadillacs.

The busiest place I've ever been to was the Minnesota State Fair. It was the second saturday of the run and there was over 220,000 people there. Talk about a sea! Good thing people in Minn. are nice, we didn't see a speck of trouble all day long. The lines for food and things like that were long, but they knew how to handle it. Rumor is the person who runs Sweet Martha's Chocolate Chip Cookies makes her entire salary for the year in 12 days, solely on cookies, white milk, and coffee.

Here's an idea of just how busy.

All this talk about most crowded reminds me of a day at SFWOA (Geauga Lake) in 2000. Somewhere in the middle of the park, a sea of people, it was gridlock. Uck!

When I worked on the Blue Streak at CP, we'd know it was gonna be a crowded day when cars started lining up along the fence bordering the length of the ride. We would open the ride early if we could get morning procedures done, and the whole crew was on time :)

Last edited by GayCoasterGuy,

People are asking when does a park cut off customers when it reaches capacity? At least at SFGAm, I know the Fire Marshall sets the capacity limit to insure safety.

I would think this applies at most parks.

Last edited by Chitown,

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Jeff's avatar

I would be pretty shocked if CP ever had more than 50k.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I think I was told the highest attendance at CP in the modern era was in the high 40s but that was back in the 90s when Raptor came on the scene. I think Jeff's number of 50k is probably close. I was a guest on a New Year's Eve and a Cast Member on a second New Year's Eve when I was told attendance was in the high 90s at the Magic Kingdom. I enjoyed being a cast member much more than being a guest in those crowds.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I don't remember where I heard this, but I know I had 30K in my head for a crowded day at a large regional (SFGAdv., CP, SFMM). I can't imagine the record is more than double that at any of the parks.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I've been at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom when they are full to capacity and not letting anyone else in. Let's just say it isn't pretty. Will not go back over Easter break, ever.

WildStangAlex's avatar

At Kings Island last summer we had several days over 40,000.

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."
-Joseph Campbell

KnoebelsGrandCarousel's avatar

The only park I can remember closing regularly over the past few years besides the Disney parks is Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Is there capacity less than the others? I can't remember CP, KI, or SFGAdv closing for capacity in recent years.

I saw it reported a few years back that Kings Island had to start turning people away not necessarily because the park hit capacity, but because they ran out of parking. This was on the notoriously-crowded Columbus Day weekend.

I don't think Great Adventure reached capacity last year but on some Fright Fest Saturday's last year it must have been close. On those days, the main lot was full, overflow lot was full, Hurricane Harbor lot was full and then they were parking cars on the grass of the Hurricane Harbor lot.

For Dorney, they sometimes hit capacity not because of people in the park but because they run out of parking on summer Saturday's where the main lot and overflow lots are full and like Great Adventure they park cars on the grass of the overflow lot. I saw a picture of the wavepool last year and there is no way I'd want to be there on a day it was so crowded. I searched and found the picture:

ApolloAndy's avatar

Back when I lived in Jersey, (03-05) I would routinely go to the park on Friday nights in October and have to wait 45 minutes to play DDR! I couldn't even begin to fathom what the lines for rides were like.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

rollergator's avatar

Chitown said:
At least at SFGAm, I know the Fire Marshall sets the capacity limit to insure safety.

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