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Expect Crowds at Disneyland and Disney World

When I lived in Southern California during the 90s there were a few weeks where you knew it was going to be crazy busy. As a regular you just altered your plans, perhaps taking in a few more shows than usual or eating at off hours. But it was still quite rare for the park to close its gates. With the advent of Fastpass the park’s capacity was effectively reduced and phased closings upto and including full closure of the gates (turning away even those with tickets) has become more common. This week has been one of those crazy weeks, perhaps the craziest, for the Disneyland Resort. The OC Register even reports that both Disneyland and California Adventure reached the next to last phase of closure by stopping ticket sales and only admitting guests who already held a ticket (slightly updated).

Now that I live in the Orlando area, I’m more familiar with the ebb and flow of Walt Disney World. Of all the parks here only the Magic Kingdom gets to the point of phased closure these days. But so far this holiday season I haven’t heard of any phased closings. The parks have been crowded, but they’re not slammed. This is probably due to the bad weather up and down the east coast.

Either way, it takes a special brand of courage and a unique strategy for enjoying your day. What are some of your tips for visiting Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom on days when the park is so busy it closes its gates?