Disney World closure phases – when they occur and what they mean
Disney World parks can hold a lot of people, but certain times of year are so busy that they have to throttle the crowds coming into the parks as they approach full capacity.
Here's a list of what the closures mean, when they usually occur, and some tips for dealing with it if you're traveling during a busy time of year.
Disney World has used different nomenclature for the closure phases over the years. It used to be phase 1, 2, 3, and 4, but they have recently also started using A and B. It seems they often jump from A and B to phase 2 closure, so it may be that phase 1 has just been replaced by A and B.
Generally, the idea is that as they move through the phases, fewer and fewer people are allowed in to the parks. Details on each phase are in the chart at the bottom of this post.
These phases can change throughout the day as crowd levels in the parks change. For instance, Magic Kingdom may be in a closure phase mid-day and then have the closure lifted later in the day as guests leave.
When and what closures occur
There are a few times throughout the year that closures are often seen:
- Easter week - usually just Magic Kingdom
- July 4 - Magic Kingdom
- Christmas through New Year's - definitely at Magic Kingdom, and occasionally at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom as well
If you're going during 1 of those times and want to avoid the crowds, here are my suggestions:
- Choose a park other than Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is my favorite choice on a busy day since it's the least popular of the 4 parks, but Epcot's large capacity makes it a good choice as well.
- Consider watching July 4 fireworks from 1 of the Magic Kingdom-area resorts, but know that they often will scan MagicBands for people on the beach to see if you're a resort guest. The best way to do this would be to have a reservation at 1 of the restaurants in the resorts.
- Take advantage of early Extra Magic Hours and then leave once the park starts to get busy.
- Of course, you could always avoid the parks on busy days, but that's often difficult to do during Christmas week when closures occur often.
Who gets in
Except for phase 4 (which is rarely ever seen), these people will always be allowed in the parks during a closure phase:
- Disney World resort guests
- Walt Disney World Premier, Annual and Premium Passholders
- Guests with dining reservations in the parks
- Magic Kingdom guests w/reservations at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop or The Pirates League
Park phase closure chart
Here's a chart summarizing the phases, when they occur, and who is allowed in during each phase.
Any questions or additional thoughts on park closures? Feel free to share in the comments.