Received an interesting email today asking about Disneyland’s guest capacity and if they shut their gates this holiday weekend. I’ll post my answer here since it’s sort of a general interest question.
I don’t know for sure if it happened on Christmas day this year, but Disneyland does not have an official capacity. For instance, Fire Marshall codes only apply to indoor spaces, it says nothing about how many people could be out walking around in the park. At somepoint things would become unsafe and the park does take steps to ensure the safety of the guests, the cast members and the physical plant. When they absolutely need to the park management tries to cut down in park guest numbers a number of ways.
The first step is to no longer sell tickets to those who walk up and
want to get in the park. Those with annual passes and those who have
pre-purchased admission are still allowed in. Believe it or not this
usually does the trick. With a second gate now open they can also sell
tickets to California Adventure with a promise of admission into
Disneyland after a certain hour when the park will have cleared out
If at this point the park still seems too busy management will only
allow admission from guests staying at Disney hotels and readmissions.
Other guests will be directed to California Adventure and told to check
back later to see if the gates have reopened. If it is still too full
they’ll close the gates accept for hotel guests. Finally, they’ll close
the gates all together.
The number for initiating this process at Disneyland used to be around
82,000 total attendance for the day or about 70,000 in park. The park
has a much lower capacity right now (many rides are closed for
refurbishment or closed with no replacement). So that number is
probably significantly lower today.
The big question is what will that number be for July 17th 2005 when the park observes its 50th Anniversary. As one who camped out overnight to be among the first paying guests to enter California Adventure (I was number 7), let me say I don’t think I’ll have to repeat that experience (although it will be much warmer in July instead of February). They were expecting 22,000 to line up and the real numbers were less than 2,000. I expect that was due to the many soft openings California Adventure experienced prior to its official opening. Disneyland will have been celebrating its 50th since May 5th, I expect the novelty to have worn off by mid July.
Please don’t prove me wrong everyone. Come enjoy the park’s birthday early with fewer crowds.