Disney World Was So Crowded, Magic Kingdom Had To Turn Away Guests On New Year's Eve

Disney Parks fireworks display 2019
(Image credit: Photo Courtesy of Disney)

It’s the most magical place on earth, but if you try to go to Disney World on a holiday, sometimes the most magical place on earth can become a bit hellish. That seems to have happened at the tail end of the year, as Disney World’s Magic Kingdom had to turn people away at the gate on New Year’s Eve.

Why Did Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Turn People Away?

In fact, the popular theme park did attempt to warn people who were heading in for the day, noting on twitter via the Walt Disney Guest Service’s account that the other parks were open but Magic Kingdom was not letting any more enterprising individuals in for at least a time.

We’re experiencing a busy day at the Walt Disney World Resort. We invite you to visit Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, while Magic Kingdom Park is not admitting new Guests at this time.

The message also included a number to call if people were hoping for availability later in the day. The closure was a Phase B closure for the parks, meaning people with certain passes or magic bands were still let in, but others with single day passes were turned away. Given the tweet went out at 1:17 yesterday, that may seem like a pretty early time for the park to hit capacity.

However, it’s worth noting the early afternoons at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and its other parks are often the most crowded. Theoretically, this is because the morning people who go for the first part of the day are still there in the early afternoon, and the people coming in for the latter part of the day have filtered in at that point too. While some people will stay in a given park for the entire day – and probably did in higher numbers if they found out they wouldn’t be re-admitted – a lot of people go for just a portion of the day often including some part of the afternoon.

What Magic Kingdom And Other Parks Had Planned For New Year’s Eve

Magic Kingdom had some special festivities planned for New Year’s Eve, including a fireworks program and dance parties. In addition, the parks are always open very late on the holiday to give you more bang for your buck. Still wait times can be longer and tweets from yesterday showed how some rides had a two-hour or even three-hour wait!

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The other parks also had special events planned. This includes fireworks at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Like Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom also had a dance party planned. Finally, at Epcot there was an additionally cool program in the countries at the back of the park, which featured a celebration in each country as the clock struck midnight in those countries’ respective time zones!

Related: 8 New Attractions Coming To Walt Disney World

So, if you missed out on Magic Kingdom’s celebration, hopefully guests hopped over to one of the other parks and were able to get in with no fuss.

Generally, while park hopping is strongly encouraged most of the time at Walt Disney World and park hopper passes are very popular, sometimes park hopping can be a detriment on overly crowded days. This includes holidays, but also days when big attractions open, like what recently happened when Walt Disney World opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If you exit, you run the risk of not being let back in.

In particular, the holiday season is a big deal at both Walt Disney World and its California arm Disneyland, as the parks are decked out in displays of festive cheer. It’s easy to see why people would want to go around the holidays, but it does often mean more planning and longer lines.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.