Disney Parks,  Disney Tips

Park Closure Phases at Walt Disney World

Updated on 12/26/2019



PARK CLOSURE: OVERVIEW

For anyone that has visited Walt Disney World during the holidays, specifically between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/Day, is well aware of the crowd levels. As a matter of fact, you would be amiss to think it would be anything other than shoulder-to-shoulder crowded and not plan for it.

Historically, the parks reach heightened crowd levels during several holidays throughout the year 1. Easter Break (especially if it overlaps with Spring Break), 2. July 4th, and 3. the week between Christmas Day through New Years Day. To control crowd levels, there is always a possibility that Walt Disney World will implement phased closures throughout the parks during those overly crowded days.

In many cases, Magic Kingdom will be the first to reach crowd capacity and implement the phased closures, followed by Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom (although those are more rare). Epcot can hold the most Guests, so they are least likely to utilize the phased closures. But don’t let that fool you, it is packed and can get difficult to move around freely.

Typically, Walt Disney World does not announce these phases as they are implemented throughout the day, but word does get around quickly due to social media. Generally, the idea is as you move through the phases less and less people are allowed into the parks. Keep in mind however that the phases can change throughout the day as Guests exit the parks.

Also be aware that sometimes the park parking lots close due to capacity before the parks do. If that happens, cars are redirected to another parking area and bused back to the park.


WHAT ARE THE PARK CLOSURE PHASES AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT MY WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION?

There are 6 difference phases (A, B, 1, 2, 3, and 4). Phases A and B are somewhat new, and implemented in recent years.

Let’s break each one down and explain how each phase works.


PARK CLOSURE: PHASE A

The following Guests can enter the parks during this phase:

  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort, including Swan, Dolphin and Shades of Green
  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests with Memory Maker
  • Guests who are re-entering or coming from another park (park hopping)
  • Guests with dining reservations or appointments (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, etc.)
  • Guests with one-day tickets will NOT be accepted during this closure

PARK CLOSURE: PHASE B

Guests that fit into any one of the categories in Phase A, plus the following:

  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort, and have FastPass+ Reservations
  • Guests with one-day tickets will NOT be accepted during this closure
  • Guests hopping from another resort will NOT be accepted during this closure

PARK CLOSURE: PHASE 1

Visitors are turned away from the automobile toll plazas. Those without tickets, one-day tickets or those intending to use cast member passes will not be able to enter.

The following guests can enter the parks during this phase:

  • Guests with multi-day or multi-park tickets
  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort
  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests who are re-entering or coming from another park (park hopping)
  • Guests with dining reservations or appointments (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, etc.)
  • Guests arriving via Disney transportation (Monorail, Bus, Boat, Minnie Van)

PARK CLOSURE: PHASE 2

As you move to phase 2, there are fewer Guests that can enter the parks:

  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort
  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests who are re-entering or coming from another park (park hopping)
  • Guests with dining reservations or appointments (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, etc.)
  • Guests arriving via Disney transportation (Monorail, Bus, Boat, Minnie Van)

PARK CLOSURE: PHASE 3

As you move to phase 3, the following Guests can enter the parks:

  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort
  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests with dining reservations or appointments (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, etc.)

PARK CLOSURE: PHASE 4

This phase happens very infrequently, but it can happen.

  • In this phase, the park and parking lot are closed to all incoming Guests

PARK CLOSURE: MY ADVICE

My best advice is simple. If you are visiting Walt Disney World during the holiday season is to plan to be at the parks mega early, remain flexible throughout the day, and pack your patience, because you will need it.


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