Disney Parks are designed to handle massive crowds. Magic Kingdom can allegedly hold more than 100,000 guests, but through phased closures Disney limits park attendance to levels more conducive to guest safety and enjoyment.

During the most crowded times of year (typically around Easter and between Christmas and New Year's Eve, but occasionally on July 4 and other days), showing up at park opening and having a Touring Plan are critical for successful touring (and, we'd argue, for your sanity). Also consider our Crowd Calendar, which recommends the best parks for every day of the year. Finally, note that those staying at Disney Resorts are guaranteed access to a Disney World theme park, but this does not mean that you will be able to get into the park of your choice, nor does it mean that you will enjoy yourself in an extremely crowded park.

Likelihood of Park Closure

All four Disney World theme parks have reached some level of closure in the past. As the most visited theme park in the world, Magic Kingdom is the park most likely to experience capacity-based closures during busy times of year. Due to its size, Epcot is the least likely to close. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have smaller capacities and are more likely to close than Epcot.

The two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) regularly reach their capacities during the summer.

Parking

Typically parking lots close for capacity-related reasons before the theme parks do. When this happens, Disney may divert cars to an alternate parking lot and provide bus transportation to the park whose lot is closed. For example, sometimes the Hollywood Studios lot fills and guests are diverted to the gigantic Epcot parking lot. When this happens, follow posted signs and instructions carefully.

Closures

Disney uses different closure "phases" to gradually restrict the types of guests allowed into a theme park. Closures start at Phase 1 and progress up to Phase 4, where no additional guests of any sort are allowed into the park. Phased closures do not necessarily last all day: for example, if Magic Kingdom is under a Phase 4 closure at 10:00 a.m. on Christmas, sufficient guests might leave by 7:00 p.m. that all restrictions on park entry are lifted.

Note that what is below is what we believe to be true; however, Disney does not publish its park closure procedures and may change its practices at any time.

Phase 1 Closure

Casual visitors are turned away at the automobile toll plazas. This means that people without tickets, those with one-day, single-park tickets, and those intending to use cast member passes will not be allowed to park.

Other guests may enter:

Phase 2 Closure

The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:

Phase 3 Closure

The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:

Phase 4 Closure

The park and parking lot are closed to all arriving guests.