Some Disney parks again close temporarily at capacity on Christmas

Posted Friday, December 26, 2014 3:32 PM | Contributed by Jeff

It might have been a rough Christmas for tourists visiting Disney's flagship theme parks on both coasts, but that is ultimately welcome news for the family entertainment giant's shareholders. Disney had to temporarily close Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom in Florida on Thursday morning after both theme parks reached their maximum capacity.

Read more from The Motley Fool.

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Friday, December 26, 2014 3:34 PM

I posted this on Gonch's wall, but... we decided to go out to Fun Spot in Kissimmee today, so as we normally would, we crossed through the Disney property. Back by us, behind Magic Kingdom, you wouldn't know it was different from any other day. By the time we got to the Hess station, we knew something was up because they were directing cars back around south. Sure enough, the tolls backed up to the Epcot interchange on World Drive. The electronic signs said, "Magic Kingdom full, follow purple signs to other parks."

Seriously... why the hell would you ever want to come here this week?

Last edited by Jeff, Friday, December 26, 2014 3:34 PM
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Friday, December 26, 2014 4:04 PM

Jeff said:

I posted this on Gonch's wall, but...

I post pretty much everything publicly. Everyone is welcome.

https://www.facebook.com/lordgonchar/posts/10152684179018533

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Friday, December 26, 2014 5:42 PM

Well I got your creepy Christmas card, so I'm feeling pretty elite.

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Friday, December 26, 2014 6:42 PM

On the one hand, I'm sure there's plenty of 'this is the only week the whole family can be together at Walt Disney World' going on.

Oh, forget the other hand. Anyone who thinks visiting WDW now is a good idea hasn't a lick of common sense.

I'd certainly consider going to visit my dear friends in Windermere over the holidays, maybe make them a special dinner, enjoy some local celebrations ... and possibly have a cast member sign me into one of the parks so that I could find an out of the way perch and watch the holiday meltdowns ensue.

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Friday, December 26, 2014 7:50 PM

I remember when I worked at Epcot that on New Year's Eve, they were giving guests an interesting deal to get them to Epcot instead.

When guests pulled up to the toll booths at Magic Kingdom, they were given a flyer that gave them both free parking at Epcot and a voucher for a discounted meal at the park. It worked well on paper, but it only meant that a lot of them parked at Epcot and tried hopping on the Monorail to get to a nearly closed Magic Kingdom.

The WDW park with the biggest parking woes is the Disney Hollywood Studios. The tiny parking lot is full a lot sooner than the park itself reach capacity. Guests were again sent to Epcot to park and then bussed over to the Studios.

Why arethe Studios that bad? Because of the original 4 parking lots built: the one closest to the entrance is used by buses, disabled parking and a few aisles left for regular cars. The parking lot to the left of it became Cast Member parking in 1997-1998 when their original lot became Rock n Roller Coaster. It only leave the two back lots for guests and due to the terrible road design, nearly everyone try to use the small Buena Vista Boulevard entrance, where there are only two toll booths. The main entrance is only accessible when arriving from 192 and is never busy.

The recent whispers about the soon to be renamed Disney Hollywood Studios makeover is that the parking lot entrances off Buena Vista Boulevard and World Drive will be closed to the public. In its place, a new access road accessible from Victory Way around the Pop Century will be built. The old Buena Vista Boulevard entrance will be for buses only and the large area used by the old World Drive access area will become park expansion.

When Everest opened at Animal Kingdom, for the first time in that park history, they ran out of parking spots and had to park cars on the grass.

Last edited by Absimilliard, Friday, December 26, 2014 7:51 PM
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Friday, December 26, 2014 8:50 PM

We just flew home today. We spent Christmas Day in the much-maligned Studios. We got there before opening, had a couple hours of near walk-on conditions, used a couple of FP+s, had lunch at 50s Prime Time, saw the improv show, and had a nice nap back at the condo.

After naptime, we drove back to the park to see the Osborne Lights (wonderful), and then drove over to Beach Club for Christmas dinner at Cape May.

We did everything we wanted to do, and had no issues. But, we were also gone during the worst of the day. When we walked out of the park at about 1:30, there were HUGE lines of people at the ticket booths waiting to buy a ticket just to get into a park that was pretty much packed. Yikes. And, there were still people streaming into the parking lot off of that Buena Vista Drive entrance.

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Friday, December 26, 2014 9:21 PM

During Christmas Week of 1976 my parents decided to visit the Magic kingdom on December 28. The news for the 26 and 27th reported huge crowds and people being turned away. The next day I feared for the worst as we approached the park. We were at the entrance at opening time. I was ordered to be on my last ride at 7:00 PM and was to meet them at the Christmas Tree at 9:00 PM. I wound up running into my folks at 8:00 PM at The Haunted Mansion. They asked me what happened, and I told them that I had ridden Space Mountain so many times my stomach came up and said "If you ride that contraption one more time and you can kiss your supper goodbye!" <LOL> We practically had the entire park to ourselves all day! The next day the news reported that they were turning people away again. The only reason I can give for what happened on the 28th was everybody "psyched out" each other and spent the day at alternate attractions instead.

In 1993 the EXACT OPPOSITE happened to me at Six Flags Over Texas. Having the misfortune of having only one day to visit the park, the day I visited It rained all day and the temperatures were in the low 50s. Not exactly the best day to visit the park. I said to myself that the rain would keep people away from the park. Right? WRONG! At 3:00 PM they had to turn people away! Once again people psyched out each other and consequentially half the town showed up!

Last edited by Regulus, Friday, December 26, 2014 9:22 PM
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Saturday, December 27, 2014 2:37 AM

I spent a few days in Florida over Christmas 2011 and managed okay. That being said, I bought Quick Queue at Busch and didn't go near Disney :)

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Saturday, December 27, 2014 1:41 PM

I'm pretty sure that they routinely do cast member parking bans at DHS these days. At least, a friend of mine who was contracting there had to park somewhere else and be shuttled in. They definitely needed the room during some of the nights they did the Frozen fireworks thing. Imagine how screwed up that park will be if in fact they do close Lights Motors Action and Indiana Jones all at the same time, while the studio tram is already gone. That pretty much leaves Toy Story, Great Movie Ride, Tower of Terror and the roller coaster. That will be a disaster.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014 7:25 PM

Jeff said:

I'm pretty sure that they routinely do cast member parking bans at DHS these days. At least, a friend of mine who was contracting there had to park somewhere else and be shuttled in.

They parked us in the area normally used for Cast parking, so I'd buy it.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014 8:06 PM

Jeff said:

Well I got your creepy Christmas card, so I'm feeling pretty elite.

Patricia is hot and you know it... LOL!

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Sunday, December 28, 2014 2:44 AM

Jeff said:

I'm pretty sure that they routinely do cast member parking bans at DHS these days. At least, a friend of mine who was contracting there had to park somewhere else and be shuttled in. They definitely needed the room during some of the nights they did the Frozen fireworks thing. Imagine how screwed up that park will be if in fact they do close Lights Motors Action and Indiana Jones all at the same time, while the studio tram is already gone. That pretty much leaves Toy Story, Great Movie Ride, Tower of Terror and the roller coaster. That will be a disaster.

It is something that started in California, due to all the parking woes they have been having. On some days, before the "Toy Story Lot" on the old Strawberry field was built, they would kick cast members out of their parking lot and park them over at either the Angel Stadium or Honda Center parking lots, a few miles away.

Do you remember that one night, open to everyone Villains event at the Studios last year? Park infrastructure completely melted down that night. By the mid afternoon, parking lots were almost full and people sat for hours in traffic later that afternoon with no one directing traffic away from the crushed park. The limited edition merchandise was sold out way before the event actually went underway at 8 pm. The park was completely understaffed, etc.

This showed one clear thing: before any kinds of serious expansion happen, parking and access need to be reworked if they don't want those issues to become a daily occurance when that big expansion hit the park.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014 8:46 AM

Employee parking bans have been going on at Cedar Point for decades. Just sayin'.

Parking is really the least of their concern if all of the rumored closures actually happen concurrently. They'll be eliminating more than half of the park's capacity.

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