Disney Confirms Beloved Theme Park Closure, Thousands Affected

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Guests entering Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Paul Hudson, Flickr

Disney has just confirmed that they will be closing one of their beloved theme parks, and guests are deeply saddened by the news.

Streetscape at Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

When guests visit Walt Disney World Resort, they are in for a jam-packed magical vacation. They have the option to visit four parks including Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On top of that, there are two water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, as well as Disney Springs, where you can eat at delicious restarunts like Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Boathouse, while shopping for souviners at World of Disney.

Guests also have the option to stay at one of 25+ Disney resorts! Guests can jump into movies like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and Cars at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort where you can also enjoy the skyliner, or you can ride the monorail back “home” if you are staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The options are truly endless.

Skyliner in operation over Caribbean Beach
Credit: The Family Vacation Guide

At the theme parks, not only can you meet Mickey Mouse, and all of your other favorite chacters, but there are so many iconic attractions to enjoy. Get spooked on The Haunted Mansion, blast to space on Space Mountain, ride the wildest ride in the wilderness on Big Thunder Mountain, enter the fifth dimension on the Tower of Terror, jam out with the Guardians on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, and so much more. With so much to do in the theme parks, many guests rope drop the park (arrive at opening) and stay until closing so that they can get the most out of their ticket.

One way for that to be ruined, however, is to have a park shut down while you are there, much earlier than expected.

Typically, Disney does not shut down their theme parks. We have seen Disney shut down in the past, typically due to hurricanes.

Disney World Monorail
Credit: Disney

In Florida, one thing that is unfortunate about the state is that it is prone to hurricanes. When guests visit Disney World in the summer, especially from July to September, it will likely rain every day, which is not a huge deal as the storms in Florida leave as quickly as they appear. However, if you are in Disney World during a hurricane, the weather may not be what you expected for a theme park day.

Disney World has only had to close six times due to hurricanes since opening in 1971. Below is a list of each hurricane closure recorded since Disney World opened:

  • Hurricane Floyd – 1999
  • Hurricane Charlie – 2004
  • Hurricane Francis – 2004
  • Hurricane Jeanne – 2004
  • Hurricane Matthew – 2016
  • Hurricane Irma – 2017
  • Hurricane Dorian – 2019

Then, there are instances in which the theme parks might shut down earlier than scheduled. Sometimes, this is due to a cast member event, or an after hours event. Right now, Magic Kingdom is heavily prone to early shutdowns as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party closes the park at 6:00 p.m. for regular guests on party nights.

This means that guests will be forced to leave, and miss nighttime offerings like the firework show Happily Ever After on Cinderella Castle. On these days, ticket costs are not discounted, and for some tourists, it may be the only time they can go to Magic Kingdom, leaving them to choose between having a partial park day, or not going at all.

One park that is not typically hit with closures is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That being said, the theme park which is home to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the Chinese Theatre, Toy Story Land, Sunset Boulevard, and so much more, is set to entirely shut down early in December.

Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Brittany DiCologero

On Sunday December 10, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will close down at 7:00 p.m., hours before their typical park closure at 9:00 p.m.

Fantasmic! will still be shown that day, just at 7:30 p.m. as opposed to 9:30 p.m.

This means that guests will have much less time in the theme parks to conquer all of the attractions and shows.

Many have assumed on an ongoing Reddit thread that this is due to a cast member function, while others have expressed their disappointment as this was their day to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests visiting Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

This is not the only day that Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be affected when it comes to early closures. The new Christmas / holiday event Disney Jollywood Nights will be causing the park to shut down to day guests by 8:00 p.m. during the months of November and December, on select party nights.

The event will run from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on ten select nights from November 11 to December 20 of this year. Guests can expect “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” to return for this year’s limited-time event.

Aside from this new event coming, WDW also announced “Frozen Holiday Surprise,” a brand-new Frozen (2013) inspired entertainment experience “that will illuminate the castle in a whole new way, according to the official Disney website. The castle show will happen every night during regular Park hours and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

BREAKING: Brand-New Holiday Event Coming to Disney World - Disney Jollywood Nights
Credit: Unknown

The price per ticket will range from $159 to $179 per person. The dates for the event will be as follows:

  • November 11, 18, 20, 27, 29
  • December 4, 6, 16, 18, 2o

Disney also announced that Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy will host a live show that will be a holiday special located at Theater of the Stars with some of their Disney friends. The show will be live during the select nights for Disney Jollywood Nights.

Guests would not be aware of these closures unless they were checking the park calendars in advance for their specific park date. Many guests tend to look at the current hours of operation and go from there, however, Disney often shifts their park hours so it is important to be date specific in order to avoid disappointment.

Will you be affected by the upcoming Disney’s Hollywood Studio early closures? 

If you are planning on visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can get ready to enter the movies! Walk down Sunset Boulevard and see the looking Tower of Terror attraction with Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith right next door. The Chinese Theater is now home to the new attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. If you love shows, get ready to enjoy Beauty and Beast – Live on Stage, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! and more. Head into the wild west with Toy Story Land. Ride Slinky Dog Dash, and dine at the newly added Roundup Rodeo BBQ. Then blast to a galaxy far, far away in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where you can meet Rey, Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and more. Ride Rise of the Resistance and make your own lightsaber! At night, enjoy Mickey’s dreams as you enter the world of Fantasmic! For more Disney information, information on Disney Genie+, and to look at booking a vacation, the Walt Disney World website is a perfect one-stop shop for all things Mickey Mouse.

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