Disney attacks Antarctica with a 24-hour invasion
Written by Robert Niles
Disney announced tonight in Orlando that it will keep theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando open for "One More One More Disney Day," another 24-hour operating day this May 24 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim.
Thousands lined up before 6am in Downtown Disney in Anaheim to get into Disneyland on February 29, 2012.
If that May 24 date sounds familiar and significant, it's because that's also the date when SeaWorld Orlando is unveiling the biggest investment in that chain's history, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
That sets up a bit of conflict for Orlando-area theme park fans, and visitors who'll be in Central Florida at the start of this year's Memorial Day weekend. Do you head over to SeaWorld for the debut of its multi-million-dollar, high-tech new dark ride and penguin exhibit? Or do you hit up the Magic Kingdom for another Disney marathon? Or do you hope that the crowds flock to those parks and head to one of Orlando's other theme parks, instead?
In Anaheim, Disney's got no competition for the day. Knott's is opening its new wild mouse coaster the next day, and Magic Mountain's Full Throttle won't be ready until later in the summer. (Universal Studios Hollywood won't have anything new this year, as Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem isn't scheduled to open until 2014.) It's telling that Disney's opted to include both parks for this go in California, while leaving the event in just the Magic Kingdom in Florida. The original One More Disney Day drew tens of thousands of fans to Disneyland, overwhelming local streets and backing up traffic for miles on Interstate 5, as Disney had to close the park's gates as after-work crowds swamped the park. The larger Magic Kingdom actually drew fewer guests, as the Orlando area simply doesn't have anywhere near as many local Disney passholders as Southern California does, and late February isn't exactly prime time for tourists in either place.
But Disneyland's largest tier of annual passholders -- owners of the lowest-priced SoCal Select pass -- will be blocked out of the parks this time. And Memorial Day is a huge attendance weekend for tourists. So I'm wondering if the Magic Kingdom won't end up the more crowded park this time. Unless Orlando-area visitors opt for SeaWorld instead, of course.
What would you choose? Let's make that our Vote of the Week.
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