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Capacity crowds force Legoland, Islands of Adventure, 3 Disney parks to halt admissions

With kids out of school across the country, several Central Florida theme parks were hit Wednesday with capacity crowds.

Legoland Florida closed its parking lot about 12:30 p.m. and officially stopped allowing guests into the park at 1:25 p.m., according to the Orlando Sentinel. The park, which opened in October in Winter Haven, said it was extending operating hours until 8:30 p.m., 90 minutes later than usual.

"We're definitely busy, and you can definitely feel that we're full. However, people are still smiling and having a great day," Legoland spokeswoman Jackie Wallace told the Sentinel.

Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure park — home to the very popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter — also hit capacity and stopped admitting guests about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. A spokeswoman told the Sentinel that the park set up a temporary queue for guests to wait outside and delayed Islands' closing from 11 p.m. until midnight.

At Busch Gardens, the main parking lot filled up and visitors were sent to Adventure Island to park their cars. But while the theme park was packed, it wasn't in danger of reaching capacity, spokeswoman Jill Revelle said.

"Big crowds are typical for us the week between Christmas and New Year's," Revelle said. "I'm actually out in the park now with the Outback Bowl teams, and the energy in the park is fantastic."

The Sentinel also reported that Walt Disney World had to temporarily restrict access at three of its four parks Wednesday: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Admission was limited to guests staying in Disney hotels, people with higher-priced tickets such as park hoppers or premium annual passes, and those with dining reservations, among other categories.

Disney said it resumed full admission to the three parks about 2:30 p.m. The Magic Kingdom also had to limit admission on Christmas Day because of crowds.

Interstate 4 was crammed at times with cars heading toward the attractions, according to the Sentinel's report.

Times staff writer Sharon Kennedy Wynne contributed to this report.

Capacity crowds force Legoland, Islands of Adventure, 3 Disney parks to halt admissions 12/28/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 10:27pm]
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