Sometimes people are surprised to hear that Disney World is open on all major holidays.
Christmas. New Years. Easter. You name a holiday and Disney World is open and ready to receive guests.
But surely they can't be open ALL the time, right? So, does Disney World ever close?
The answer is - sometimes but it is very rare indeed!
Update: May 27, 2020
Back on March 12, 2020 Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Disneyland Paris Resort, and Disney Cruise Line all announced that in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of guests and employees, that they will be temporarily ceasing operations.
In a phased re-opening plan, Disney Springs was the first to partially re-open on May 20, 2020.
At that time, third party businesses and restaurants opened with reduced capacity and enhanced procedures to ensure the safety of both Cast Members and guests. 3 Disney-owned shops and restaurants (World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger (mobile order), and Marketplace Co-Op) re-opened.
On May 27, 2020, Disney also announced plans for the re-opening of the theme parks and resorts:
- June 22: DVC resorts at WDW will reopen to members and guests, along with Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- July 11: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Resort hotels will reopen
- July 15: Epcot and Hollywood Studios will reopen
As you can see from the historical information below, this extended closure by the Walt Disney Company was unprecedented.
Read more about the re-opening of Walt Disney World.
If you had a vacation booked to Walt Disney World during the scheduled closure, Disney has posted on update to help guide guests through the cancellation process.
Disney World does sometimes close, but it is rare
The entire Disney World Resort has only closed its doors a few times since it opened.
Not surprisingly, even though it lies in the center of Florida, hurricanes can sometimes play havoc there and whenever guest safety from the weather is a concern Disney has closed.
Disney World has closed for hurricanes 5 times since it opened:
- Hurricane Floyd: September 15, 1999
- Hurricane Frances: September 4-5, 2004
- Hurricane Jeanne: September 26, 2004
- Hurricane Matthew: October 7, 2016
- Hurricane Irma: September 10-11, 2017
There were also several times the parks closed early or opened late due to hurricanes.
In addition to weather closures, the parks closed their doors early for guest safety on 9/11. During that harrowing time, there was concern that perhaps the parks could be a target. In response to the concerns, Disney decided to close the parks early. They reopened the following day.
Other reasons the parks might close
Did you know you can rent out entire parks for parties? You can. I mean, it costs a pretty penny but if you've got the cash (and some corporations do!) you can rent out a park to host your own celebration.
In addition, Disney likes to reward its hard working Cast Members with celebrations where they can enjoy the parks with other Cast Members.
Private parties (which usually happen in the evenings) and Cast Member parties are 2 reasons why you might see a particular park with a funny or early closing time. While the resort is not technically "closed" (since it was open for a large part of the day) we still receive questions about it whenever those weird closing times pop up.
Those early closures for private events are rare (as in they only happen a couple times a year) so they don't impact most people's vacations.
Closing because a park is at capacity is also a thing that happens sometimes. While not super common, during the holidays the parks have been known to go into a phased closure once the crowds get to a certain level. If you're planning on traveling during that time you'll want to read about the Disney World closure phases so that you're prepared.
Find out more about Disney World during hurricanes: