DIS & Dreams Event - Disneyland Resort in California
August 4 - 5, 2023

Why do people visit the Disney parks for the major holidays?

Have you ever visited the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day or Epcot for New Year’s Eve? For some reason, people love to visit the Disney theme parks during the holidays. For a long time I never really understood this connection to the parks on what are some of the busiest days of the year. They are so busy that riding Space Mountain might mean waiting for three hours; even walking from one side of the park to the other can take a long time because of all the people walking shoulder to shoulder with each other!

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My first experience being in a Disney park for a major holiday was in 2013 for the Fourth of July when I was working as a cast member in the Magic Kingdom. The entire day was madness. Screaming guests, frustrated cast members, and long lines. I didn’t understand why so many people wanted to come when the parks felt so un-magical. Yet, year after year people pour into these parks on the biggest holidays of the year. I am privileged enough to visit the parks on some of the slowest days of the year and I don’t take that for granted. But after thinking logically and asking people who do visit on these busy days, I began to understand why people come to the parks on these holidays.

For some people, it is a tradition they aren’t willing to give up. If going to the Magic Kingdom every Christmas is something they grew up doing they aren’t going to stop now. It is more than just riding the rides or watching the fireworks, it is just physically being there that is important to them. There are some people that will literally just go in and sit on a bench to people-watch on Christmas morning. Others love seeing the fireworks on the Fourth of July in the Magic Kingdom because it is a family tradition, and so they are willing to put up with the crowds because it brings them gives them a feeling of nostalgia.


Another huge reason people love the parks on the holidays is because it might be the only time they can visit due to work or school. Depending on someone’s schedule and vacation time allotment, visiting on the holidays might be their only time to come. If I was only allowed to visit the Disney parks one day a year, I wouldn’t care what day it was; I would be there Christmas, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween, you name it. So, I can’t ridicule someone for visiting a Disney parks if it is the only time they can come.

One of the biggest mistakes and reasons the parks are so full for the major holidays is because some guests come to Walt Disney World or Disneyland without knowing that the parks get crowded. Obviously for Disney experts this is extremely obvious, but not everyone is an expert. Some choose to visit on the major holidays without realizing what they are signing up for. These are the guests that usually end up being the most upset. They’ve just spent thousands of dollars without realizing what they were walking into. Should they have done some research, sure, but I can’t be too critical we’ve all been novices of something before.

Have you ever visited the Disney parks on a major holiday? Why do you visit on some of the busiest days of the year? I’d love to know!

Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!


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