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Massive Impact on Vacations as U.S. Government Announces Disney World Park Closure

Image split in half: the left side shows Cinderella's castle from Disney World with a clear blue sky; the right side features a silhouetted soldier saluting against an American flag backdrop with an orange sunset.
Credit: Disney Tips

The United States government will close the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort tomorrow. Be sure to make adjustments to your Disney vacation ahead of time.

Left image shows a plaque with "department of defense" on a building wall. Right image features Cinderella's Castle at Disney World during a sunset.

Image Credit: Inside The Magic

Department of Defense to Close down Disney World Park for a Day for Private Sporting Event

Tomorrow, June 21, Walt Disney World Resort will close Magic Kingdom early for a private sporting event that will affect thousands of vacations. The early closure is due to a private event associated with the Department of Defense Warrior Games, scheduled from June 21-30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

On Friday, June 21, 2024, Magic Kingdom will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with early entry for resort hotel guests from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. The operating hours for the other Disney World parks on the same day are as follows:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • EPCOT: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The early closure is attributed to a private event associated with the Department of Defense Warrior Games from June 21-30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Two wheelchair basketball players collide during a game, with one player from the navy team on the ground trying to retrieve the ball, as a player from the air force watches. fans in the background spectate eagerly at the Department of Defense Warrior Games, which will take place at Disney World in two months.

Image Credit: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman DeMarcus Garrett, Team Air Force athlete, powers through Team Navy defenders during the Department of Defense Warrior Games wheelchair rugby finals in Tampa, Fla., June 28, 2019. Warrior Games athletes have overcome significant physical and psychological challenges, not always visible to others, and have demonstrated that life continues after becoming wounded, ill, or injured. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James R. Crow)

The early closure of Magic Kingdom due to the private event for the Department of Defense Warrior Games, running from June 21-30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, will impact thousands of Disney World vacations. Guests planning to spend a whole day at Magic Kingdom must adjust their schedules because the park closes earlier than usual at 7:00 p.m. This limits the time for attractions, entertainment, and dining, potentially causing disappointment for those with specific evening plans.

With Magic Kingdom closing early, visitors may spend the evening in other parks, such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or EPCOT. This can lead to increased crowds and longer wait times at these parks, affecting the overall guest experience. Vacationers must modify their itineraries to accommodate the shortened hours at Magic Kingdom.

This could involve rearranging dining reservations, FastPass+ selections, and other planned activities to maximize their time in the park before it closes. Guests who intend to attend special evening events, parades, or fireworks at Magic Kingdom will be particularly affected. These events may be rescheduled, altered, or canceled, leading to potential disappointment and necessitating alternative evening plans.

2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games parade at Disney World

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Resort hotel guests who benefit from early entry from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. may still enjoy a head start on popular attractions. However, the shorter operating hours may still affect their experience, requiring them to make the most of the early hours. Disney will need to communicate these changes effectively to guests to manage expectations and provide assistance in rearranging plans.

Enhanced customer service and support will be essential to help guests navigate the adjustments and ensure a positive experience despite the early closure. While the early closure is a temporary change, it can impact the overall guest experience by compressing the available time in the park, leading to potential stress and the need for quick adjustments. Disney must manage this carefully to maintain guest satisfaction and address any concerns.

By considering these factors, Disney can mitigate the impact of the early closure on guests and help ensure that their vacations remain enjoyable despite the schedule change.

About Emmanuel Detres

Since first stepping inside the Magic Kingdom at nine years old, I knew I was destined to be a theme Park enthusiast. Although I consider myself a theme Park junkie, I still have much to learn and discover about Disney. Universal Orlando Resort has my heart; being an Annual Passholder means visiting my favorite places on Earth when possible! When I’m not writing about Disney, Universal, or entertainment news, you’ll find me cruising on my motorcycle, hiking throughout my local metro parks, or spending quality time with my girlfriend, family, or friends.

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