Disneyland doesn’t plan to close its gates as holiday crowds fill the park

The annual tradition of Disneyland closing its gates between Christmas and New Year’s Day won’t happen this year thanks to advance reservations and a passholder ban even as holiday crowds fill the Anaheim theme park to near capacity.

The advance reservation system in place since Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened after a yearlong pandemic closure in April 2021, paired with a complete block out of Magic Key annual passholders, will prevent walk-up visitors from inundating the park this year between Christmas and New Year’s.

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This holiday season, Disneyland shouldn’t experience the pre-pandemic need to close the gates previously seen between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, according to Disneyland officials. The advance reservation system allows Disneyland to better manage visitation and park capacity, according to Disneyland officials.

This week has already seen two of the busiest days of the year fill Disneyland and Disney California Adventure with wait factors at a 10 out of 10 scale, according to Thrill Data.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 saw attraction wait times hit an average of 48 minutes at Disneyland and DCA that climbed to 51 minutes on Wednesday, Dec. 28, according to Thrill Data.

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Disney fans determined to visit the “Busiest Place on Earth” were met with longer than usual wait times on Wednesday for Radiator Springs Racers (2.5 hours), Rise of the Resistance (2 hours) and Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout (2 hours).

Touring Plans estimates Disneyland crowds will be at a peak level on Wednesday. Inclement weather earlier in the week likely caused some visitors to delay their visits.

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland occasionally halted visitors from entering when the park reached capacity, which is estimated to be about 75,000 people. Disney doesn’t release attendance figures.

In 2019, Disneyland temporarily shut its gates on Friday, Dec. 27 as crowds filled the park and new visitors were directed to Disney California Adventure across the esplanade until attendance levels declined.

Disneyland introduced an advance reservation system in April 2021 after a yearlong pandemic shutdown that helped manage Christmas crowds and prevent gate closures last year during the busy holiday season.

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