Disney World Phased Closing

Disney World Phased Closing Outline

Walt Disney World Phased Closing Outline

Updated December 31, 2015

I’ve had a number of people ask what are the guidelines for phased closings at Disney World, so I thought it might be easier to just sketch them out.

Disney World Phased Closing

Phased closings are a result of capacity issues.  Magic Kingdom is the park most likely to have a phased closing and Epcot is the least likely due to its immense size.  Generally speaking a phased closing at the Magic Kingdom will mean at least 80,000 people will enter the park at some point during the day.   Disney World uses this technique of slowly blocking and unblocking certain ticket types to manage crowd flow.

Dates below reflect the highest level of phased closing reached on that date.

Phase A

Magic Kingdom reached December 25, 2014, December 25 and 29, 2015

Guests with Magic Kingdom one day tickets even with Magic Kingdom FastPass+ reservations will be turned away unless they have one of the following:

  • WDW Resort Guests, including The Four Seasons Resort, Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green, Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus (Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, The Buena Vista Palace, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, B Resort, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, Hilton), Golden Oak residents and guests.
  • WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium Passholders
  • Guests with Park Hopper tickets re-entering or crossing over from another WDW Theme Park
  • Guests with Memory Maker
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League.

Phase B

Magic Kingdom reached December 28 and 31, 2015

Guests with one day tickets, and no re-entering or park hopping from another park will be turned away unless they have one of the following:

  • WDW Resort Guests, including The Four Seasons Resort, Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green, Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus (Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, The Buena Vista Palace, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel, B Resort, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, Hilton), Golden Oak residents and guests.
  • WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium Passholders
  • Guests with Park Hopper tickets re-entering or crossing over from another WDW Theme Park
  • Guests with Memory Maker
  • Guests with dining reservations
  • Magic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League.
  • FastPass+ reservations

Phase 1

Magic Kingdom reached December 25, 26 & 29, 2014

Guests with single day tickets, those who have not previously purchased multi-day tickets and Cast Member Silver or Main Gate passes will be turned

Only these guests may enter:

  • Guests with multi-day or multi-park tickets
  • Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort
  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests re-entering the park that day
  • Guests that were already in one park and hopping to another park
  • Guests with in-park reservations / appointments
  • Guests arriving via Disney transportation

Phase 2

Magic Kingdom reached April 8 and 9, 2009; December 28 and 30, 2009; December 29, 2010; December 25 and 28, 2011; December 24, 25, and 30, 2012; December 25 and 30, 2013; July 4, 2014; December 31, 2014.

Hollywood Studios reached December 29, 2009 and December 28, 2011

Animal Kingdom reached December 28, 2009 and December 28, 2011

Only these guests will be allowed entry to a Phase 2 theme park:

  • Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin using Disney transportation.
  • Annual Passholders who don’t already have a block out date
  • Guests with in-park dining reservations or appointments (BBB or Pirate’s League)
  • Guests arriving via Disney transportation

Phase 3

Magic Kingdom reached April 7, 2009; December 29 and 31, 2009; March 30, 2010; December 25 and 31, 2010; December 31, 2011; December 27, 28, and 31, 2012; January 2, 2013; March 25-28, 2013; July 4, 2013; December 31, 2013.

Only these guests will be allowed entry to a Phase 3 theme park:

  • Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin using Disney transportation.
  • Annual Passholders who don’t already have a block out date
  • Guests with in-park dining reservations or appointments (BBB or Pirate’s League)

Phase 4

Magic Kingdom reached April 7, 2009

Closed to all guests until the Phased closing is lifted.
(Only happened once in last 10 years!)

All four parks of Walt Disney World has closed 3 times, all in anticipation of hurricanes:

  • Sept. 15, 1999, for Floyd
  • Sept. 4-5, 2004, for Frances
  • Sept. 26 of that same year for Jeanne

It took less than 30 minutes to evacuate thousands of guests from the theme parks on Sept. 11, 2001

5 thoughts on “Disney World Phased Closing Outline”

  1. I remember MK closing park admittance over Christmas and New Years 2009. We were there….thankfully, we were Resort guests and the only thing that affected our fun was the amount of people in the park. Shoulder to shoulder Disney goers. Overwhelming. At least for our family. We stick to week nine, now. Fun to experience the insanity at least once, though!

  2. That is just nuts. I can’t imagine even being in the park for a Phase 1 closing. It would be a madhouse. I’ve been during pretty busy times – I remember Spring Break 2010, I could barely walk in Fantasyland in the afternoon (took us forever just to pass through!), and I’m sure they were nowhere near even Phase 1. Hopefully I will NEVER experience a park so busy they have to start refusing entry to certain folks!

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