Disney parks on both coasts close temporarily on Christmas

Disneyland closed its gates on Christmas for about four hours due to crowding

The Happiest Place on Earth became pretty miserable for guests who showed up on Christmas morning only to find Disneyland Park temporarily closed after reaching maximum crowd capacity.

In fact, the Magic Kingdom in Florida reportedly also reached capacity on Thursday, forcing the park to temporarily close its gates until the crowds thinned out.

The park in Anaheim closed its gates for about four hours, starting around 11 a.m., according to park officials. Park guests who couldn't get in were urged to visit Disney's adjoining California Adventure Park or return later in the day.

Disneyland officials wouldn't say how often they must close entrance gates because of excessive crowding, adding only that it happens very rarely.

The park also won't reveal attendance numbers, but a Los Angeles-based engineering and construction-management company has estimates that Disneyland attendance grew 1.5% in 2013 over the previous year and attendance grew 6% at the Magic Kingdom.

Theme park experts say the park has two options: keep hiking daily admission rates until the crowds become manageable or expand the park.

On Twitter, several Disney fans who were turned away at the gate expressed their sorrow with crying emoticons.

A Disney fan from Washington state wrote on Facebook: "Very disappointed! Drove from Seattle in an RV WITH 5 kids and no Disneyland!" 

Even guests who got into the park before the gates closed complained.

"Shame on you Disneyland! Horrible experience on Christmas day! Hours of waiting on lines," a Los Angeles woman wrote on Facebook.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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