This Day in Disney Parks History: The Closing of the Parks in the Aftermath of 9/11

By Lindsay Brookshier

Updated 9/11/18. Disneyland has only ever experienced three unexpected closures in its history: the national day of mourning after JFK was killed, the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, and after the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11.

On September 11th, 2001 Disney Parks announced it would be closing the parks for the first time since 1994. Due to the time difference, guests had already started filling the parks at Walt Disney World but on the West Coast Disneyland simply did not open that day. After the horrific terrorist attack that shook our nation, the Walt Disney Company announced the park closures immediately (likely) due to concern that the parks could also be a target.

The interviews with cast members and guests at Walt Disney World tell a grim tale of what happened that day.

One cast member described that day and the instructions they received for closing Walt Disney World to well-known entertainment writer, Jim Hill, at the Huffington Post:

We were told not to tell the guests what had happened unless they asked us. I remember one guest asking me and — after I told them — they just stood there blank faced and didn’t move for a bit.
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