It’s not the kind of message you expect to read on the Disneyland website, but for this Sunday, 21st December 2008, the official line really is: don’t visit today.
The urgent notice has only been posted on the ticket pages of the French official website. It reads:
• Attention: Le 21 Décembre nos parcs vont subir une très forte affluence.
• Nos billets ne sont plus disponibles à cette date.
• Il est fortement recommandé aux personnes non munies d’un billet ou munies d’un billet non daté de décaler leur visite sur notre site à une autre date.
Roughly translated, this warning announces that, on 21st December, the Disney Parks will have very high attendance levels. Tickets can no longer be purchased for this date, and it is strongly recommended that people without a ticket or without a dated entrance ticket for this day reschedule their visit for another day.
If you’re staying at a Disney Hotel or you’ve booked a package including tickets at one of the partner hotels, your tickets will be dated and you will be guaranteed access — but do prepare for a very, very busy Disneyland Park, with waiting times in excess of 2 hours at most major attractions.
Image: Yao, Disney Central Plaza forum
This announcement comes just a week after Disneyland Park officially reached its capicity and the gates had to be closed. On Saturday, 6th December 2008, guests arriving late would have been faced with the sudden appearance of a “PARC DISNEYLAND – COMPLET/FULL” sign on the resort hub, with only the choice to visit Walt Disney Studios Park for the day instead.
Visitors on this day described long queues on the resort’s access roads and A4 motorway, with guests being allowed to park for free in a bid to ease the congestion. Disneyland Park’s official capacity is believed to be around 85,000 guests.
Though parks reaching capacity can be quite common at other Disney resorts, particularly Disneyland Resort in California, where the original Disneyland park regularly has to close its gates on exceptionally busy dates, this is a very new thing for Disneyland Resort Paris. Clearly, with now more than 16 million visitors wanting to experience the parks each year, their popularity is becoming too much to handle.
Whilst these kind of attendance levels are obviously incredibly bad for visitors on the day, they do highlight the need for further expansion and make it ever more likely. Notably at Walt Disney Studios Park, which still does not apparently present enough of a draw to sufficiently take pressure off its older cousin.