Thursday, December 29, 2011

Insane Crowds

I love Disney World.  You know that, obviously.  But, I've also come to really love it without crowds.  Our standard June trips are around a 5 on the Touring Plans crowd calender, which means there is a fare amount of people, but if you plan correctly, you can still do everything over a few days.

And, back in my college days, we would often drive up the day after Thanksgiving or in between Christmas and New Years.  I also remember going the days before bowl games - walking around the World Showcase is unbelievably crowded.  But, I've never known about park closures or anything.  I knew Mellie said they had reached capacity during her Christmas visit a few years back, but I luckily hadn't experienced that.

In fact, until yesterday I didn't even know that they have a 4 part system - phased closures -in place for crowded closures.  Of course they do.  Walt Disney World had a plan in place before the U.S. Government on how to handle 9/11, so of course they're prepared for everything, right?

I prefer 10 minute wait times!

Well, here's the plan - it's pretty straight forward, but I still find it very interesting!

  1. Close the Parking Lots to Casual Visitors
    1. Have a 1 day single park pass and are starting your day late?  Nope, not today.
    2. Trying to get in with a Cast Member friend?  Try again.
    3. Haven't purchased your tickets yet?  Time to explore your resort.
  2. The people getting in the park are the following
    1. Those staying at Disney Resorts.  If you're like me and stay off property to save a few money or to enjoy extra space, peak periods may not be the best idea.  Of course, if you have more room, you can spend the crazy peak time enjoying a movie or relaxing in your own personal heated pool...
    2. Annual Passholders - as long as you don't have one of them with blackout dates..  Apparently, this is a big problem at Disneyland Resort!
    3. Re-entering the park - Went home for a nap and trying to get back in?  You're safe!! Another reason not to sleep in and miss rope drop!
    4. Park hoppers - coming from one of the other parks?  You'll be allowed in.
    5. Those with ADR's or other reservations - a good excuse to make a reservation for a haircut at the Harmony Barbershop or splurge on someone at the Bibbity-Bobbidy-Boutique
    6. Those arriving on Disney transportation - leave your car at your resort.  That bus guarantees you entrance in the 2nd phase
  3. Restrictions are much tighter - now only the following can enter:
    1. Those staying at a Disney Resort
    2. Annual Passholders
    3. Those with in park reservations/ADR's
  4. No one
    1. In the 4th phase of Park Closures, no one is allowed to park or come through those turnstiles.

If you do plan to attempt the parks on crowd breaking days, relax and expect to do more people watching than attraction viewing.  With a 2 hour wait for pretty much everything, you won't get in and out of everything, but you'll still have a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy!


  1. No problem! I was so intrigued that I did some research.. it's my way :) I kept seeing on twitter that DLR AP holders were locked out though. I would be frustrated!

  2. Haha yes 1st or even 2nd week of December is great! Past that is insane!

  3. Very interesting! I love insider info and I wish I had taken the time in college to do the CP, but it wasn't part of my major/career path. It's still something I would have loved to experience and hope to some day! I'd love to hear more stories!

  4. I worked as a CP in 2009 in EPCOT, and during that time I witnessed many events, from the fatal monorail crash in July to many closures. It was interesting to see how even Disney treats the Cast Members in a phase 4 closure. I worked on New Years Eve. That morning, my two best friends and I went to Ohana's for breakfast, and the line to get into MK was a nightmare (luckily as Cast Members we know hidden routes). But when it was time to go to work, we figured we just wear our pants and a white shirt and walk onstage and get into costume at our work location. Not happening. They had security guards ALL OVER the backstage area making sure that Cast Members were in costume BEFORE they stepped onstage. They didn't want any stupid Cast Members, CP or regular, to go sneaking in to enjoy the festivities. And they REALLY checked our bags to make sure we didn't have a change of clothes in there.

    On July 4th, I witnessed a phase 2 closing of MK. It wasn't as intense, but there were a lot of restrictions for us Cast Members, mainly being that we couldn't get into the park with our ID's.

    Just some interesting tidbits from the working part of the world.

  5. I read this yesterday and was glad my last trip was in October. Our first day there (October 19th) we did all of Frontierland, Adventureland, and most of Fantasyland before lunch! It was great and weird at the same time. Got some amazing photos as well because of the no people situation.
    I take back last weeks Facebook comment that I want to go to WDW during Christmas. Maybe the first week of December, not the last.

  6. Jenn once again very informative information. Thanks for sharing. Looks like AP holders will most-likely get in no matter what. I will share on Guru a bit later. Thanks!

  7. I find this very interesting too. I was wondering yesterday about what it all means. Thanks!!