Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom Closed Jan. 19 for Presidential Visit

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It has been brought to our attention that Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom park will be closed on January 19, 2012, from park opening until mid-afternoon for the Presidential visit. Disney assures us that operations of the shops and dining along Main Street USA will resume later in the day, but that it will be closed to guests when the park opens. Guests will be directed to backstage areas to gain access to the rest of the park.

Guests with scheduled tours and dining reservations at The Plaza Restaurant are being contacted – those reservations are effectively canceled.

FAQ provided to Disney’s Cast Members to aid in responding to questions about the event:

Q. Why are you hosting this event?
A. The White House asked us to host this event and we are honored to host an official Presidential visit.

Q. Who is invited to the event?
A. The White House is handling invitations to the event.

Q. Can Guests attend the event?
A. The White House is handling invitations to the event. Park Guests will not be able to attend without an invitation.

Q. Can Guests still visit Magic Kingdom Park?
A. Yes. Upon arrival at the Magic Kingdom Main Entrance, Guests will be directed appropriately to enjoy other areas of Magic Kingdom. We anticipate Guests will be able to return to Main Street, U.S.A. later in the day.

Q. What will the impact be to the Guest experience?
A. Main Street, U.S.A. will be closed to Guest traffic from Park opening to late afternoon. Upon arrival at the Magic Kingdom Park Main Entrance, Guests will be directed via an alternate route to enjoy other areas of Magic Kingdom Park. Main Street, U.S.A. will reopen later in the day.

Q. Is there still a parade?
A. Yes. Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.

Q. Where can Guests find information about the operational changes?
A. Revised Times Guides will be available at all Parks and Resorts beginning Wednesday. A letter outlining detailed changes will be delivered to each Guest room as well as Channel 19 on in-room TVs will be updated.

Q. Will there be road closures?
A. All WDW Transportation will be running as normal. However, we anticipate possible traffic congestion and delays. Please allow extra time for travel.

Q. Can I shop at the Emporium?
A. The Emporium will open later in the day. Mickey’s Star Traders in Tomorrowland has a wide selection of merchandise.

Q. How can I get to Baby Care or First Aid?
A. Baby Care Center and First Aid will be moved to a lounge located to the right of the entrance of Space Mountain.

Q. I have a reservation…(Pirates League; Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; Harmony Barber Shop; Crystal Palace, A Buffet with Character and Cinderella’s Royal Table) Should I still go?
A. Yes, the Park will still be open to accommodate our Guests. Please allow extra time for travel. For Guests with reservations for Tours and The Plaza Restaurant, Guests will be called in advance. We understand Guests may require additional travel time and we are prepared to adjust as needed.

Q. Can I still take advantage of Package Pickup?
A. Yes. Package Pickup is operating as normal.

Q. Can I still get my photo taken in front of the Cinderella Castle?
A. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers on Main Street, U.S.A. will be relocated to other locations around Cinderella Castle. Guests are welcome to return later in the day to get a photo taken directly in front of the Cinderella Castle.

Q. What should we say to Guests who are upset about their visit?
A. We are committed to providing our Guests with a great experience. Guests are welcome to return to Main Street, U.S.A. later in the day.
[If a Guest is not satisfied with above response], please ask them to visit or contact Guest Relations.
[REACTIVE ONLY] For Guests who purchased a One Day Ticket for Magic Kingdom Park, we will provide access to another Theme Park valid only on Thursday, January 19. If the Guest is not satisfied with this option, please direct them to visit Guest Relations.

Q. Will there be increased security measures?
A. The safety of our Guests and Cast is always our top priority. We are working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement.

Q. Does hosting this event mean your Company is endorsing President Obama in the upcoming election?
The White House asked us to host this event and we are honored to host an official Presidential visit. We look forward to learning more about his proposal to help boost tourism and travel and are excited about the opportunities this could provide.

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R. A. Pedersen

R. A. Pedersen is the author of The Epcot Explorers Encyclopedia and runs the blog. He has been a research contributor to the Blog since 2006 and functions as sort of an all-around news desk and project-tracker.

8 thoughts on “Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom Closed Jan. 19 for Presidential Visit

  • January 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Have your park recommendations been adjusted yet to deal with this change in EMH and park times? My first day is Thursday and I’m disappointed, but I don’t think my plan for MK on my first day will be worth the hassle, given the extra security and not even getting to walk down Main Street to see the Castle in the morning. They seem to be trying to discourage people from going to MK Thursday, so park days must be switched – not to mention ADRs that have been in place for 6 months. Way to drop the ball, WDW.

    • January 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      I would be upset as well if I planned my schedule out to go to MK on this day. But if the POTUS says he wants to visit, there really isn’t much WD can do without looking bad.

      • January 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

        They can tell him “NO” and not leave their guests SOL. Only planning nuts are hearing about this 48 hours ahead of time. The majority of the regular guests are going to be quite disgruntled, to say the least. All that bad-will from the guests worth a presidential visit? (never mind a president that isn’t too popular to start with)

  • January 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    In all fairness, I think that WDW is probably doing the best they can with a sticky situation. The White House purposely doesn’t notify places ahead of schedule when the President will visit specifically to avoid security problems. I’m sure the extra security and aides are employed wherever he goes, and that if the girls are with him they will make a quick visit, not the kind they would prefer to enjoy.
    However, I do think this is poor judgement on the part of the White House, and I would definitely be asking for that access to another park if I were visiting.
    What a huge PR mess! I don’t think WDW can win with this one.

  • January 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    PR mess for Disney? Let’s see they get their recognizable brand in the form of the Castle and Main Street in national and probably International TV with the president Of the United States saying “come visit”. To me that seems like a pretty great PR deal.

    • January 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      I’m not so sure the world holds the president (this, or any other lately) in such high esteem that Disney would necessarily want him associated with them.

  • January 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Anywhere the President visits – no matter his or her political leanings – costs taxpayer money so I think people up in arms over that are just dopey. He is going to give a huge boost to one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and I place I adore. And honestly, I’m pretty amazed that WDW can handle this with such little interruption to normal activities! Kudos to Disney for being so accommodating to guests during what must be a logistical nightmare, and kudos to the President for giving Disney World and the greater Orlando metro area a plug.

    We forget, sometimes, that Orlando basically exists solely because Disney World exists. Although I’ve noticed crowds rebounding in a big way now that the economy is back on track, it certainly can’t hurt to have the President remind people just how awesome The Magic Kingdom is!


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