A friend yesterday looked at the list of Disneyland's currently closed attractions and exclaimed, "Is it even worth going to the park?"
It's a fair question. Obviously, most people aren't visiting this time of year. That's why so many rides, shows, stores, pathways, and restaurants are closed. With schools in session and holiday crowds at home, the year-'round theme parks use this time of year to make needed repairs while inconveniencing the minimum number of visitors. But parks keep their gates open during the refurbishments and charge the same amount for a day's visit as they do during the busy summer months. If you are able to visit right now, should you?
Here's the conundrum: If most people believe it's a bad deal to visit right now, then it's a good deal. But if people think it's going to be a good deal to go now, then it's a bad deal. (Welcome to the Yogi Berra School of Vacation Planning!) The value of a visit to a half-closed theme park relies entirely upon the attractions that remain open being available with little or no wait, so that you can end up doing just as much on a visit during this time of year that you'd be able to get done on one of those busy summer or Christmas-week days.
You lose that advantage if bargain-hunters decide to crowd the park during this relatively slow season. I visited Disneyland on a Wednesday two weeks ago, and everything was a walk-on. Sure, many attractions were closed, but I breezed through Pirates, Mansion, and Thunder in less than an hour. Yesterday, however, crowds filled those three queues. Even worse, there was a 10-minute wait just to get into the French Market, a slide-tray cafeteria! The half-closed Disneyland offered a bargain two weeks ago, but I suspect many visitors wouldn't have felt the same way about yesterday.
So what do you think?
Obviously, many of us care about certain attractions more than others. So long as Pirates remains open at Disneyland, I'll easily overlook a bunch of closed Fantasyland rides. But parents with small kids might feel the opposite. What are the deal-breakers for you, if any, when considering a theme park visit? Please tell us in the comments.
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Locals get a bonus from the locals discount.
We are going to DLR in September, presumably when the crowds will be reasonable. At the same time, pretty much everything will be up and running.
For locals I can see it being fine, but for those of us looking for dream vacations, it is more important to have as much running as possible.
Best times to visit for us are May and September/October, crowds are not too massive and the water parks are open, while the weather is not at its peak heat.
Bottom line though: who cares. We've been on all those rides plenty of times, and the money I saved (5 nights at the Grand Californian/4 days park hopper for the price of 4/3), plus the lack of crowds, meant we still had a fantastic time. We definitely missed Splash Mountain, and the kids missed the Matterhorn, but we still had four full days of fun, and it was worth every penny.
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