Earthquake at Disneyland: Here's what to do
Published: March 29, 2014 at 10:46 AM
First, to quote the late, great Douglas Adams, don't panic. In a crowded place such as Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, your greatest risk in the first moments of an average quake is from, and to, the people around you. Don't go running into each other trying to get away from the quake. I know that instinct takes over in stressful situations, but, c'mon — you can't outrun an earthquake. So just stay where you are. If you're worried about something falling onto you, put your hands over your head and duck under something sturdy.
If you're on a ride, it likely will stop during the earthquake. The shaking might trigger an automatic shutdown on some of Disneyland's computerized ride systems, and operators might manually shut down other rides to ensure everyone's safety. Disney's standard operating procedure is to close all attractions in the park following an earthquake, to allow maintenance workers to inspect them for potential damage. If you're stopped on a ride, stay put! Do not try to get out of your ride vehicle. Visitors stopped on rides become Disneyland's top priority after an earthquake, so someone already is on his or her way to get you, even if he or she doesn't get to you right away. Depending upon the severity of the quake, you might simply have to wait for the ride to restart and then to complete your trip back to the unload area, or you might be helped off the ride vehicle to walk with a Disney cast member back to the ride's exit. Either way, simply wait for and follow the cast members' instructions.
If you are waiting in line, keep in mind that all attractions will be closed, reopening only when a maintenance worker has given the okay for that particular attraction. Disney workers don't get to all attractions at the same time, either, so there's no way to predict right away when your ride or show will reopen.
Elsewhere in the park, Disney cast members might start directing people into "safe areas." This is to keep people away from overhanging buildings, trees, signs, etc., until they can be inspected. It's also to help clear the way for other Disney employees, including maintenance workers, to get to attractions where they are needed to help evacuate stranded riders or to inspect rides. Again, just follow the directions from Disney cast members. If everyone would do that, the park would get back to normal operation as quickly as possible.
Should you leave the park? If you are parked in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, you might as well wait around for a while. Mickey and Friends becomes a giant traffic jam after a quake. Let's put it this way: Where would you rather sit around with nothing to do? Inside Disneyland, California Adventure, or Downtown Disney? Or inside your car in a parking garage? If you are staying in a hotel within walking distance, you might head back to your room to watch the TV coverage of the earthquake. Otherwise, unless it's a devastating quake, just be patient and wait for things to start reopening around the resort. If it is major quake, please follow instructions from Disneyland cast members. They might ask you to remain in the park for a while to help reduce the traffic on area roads, or they might direct you to a safer evacuation area. (Remember, no one is coming to Disneyland right after an earthquake. If it's not that bad, and things reopen quickly, you're going to get to enjoy a relatively crowd-free rest of the day as many of the people spooked by the quake will try to leave immediately.)
The area around Disneyland in Anaheim has not suffered major damage from earthquakes since the park opened in 1955, as some other parts of Southern California have. That's no guarantee that Disneyland is safe from earthquake damage, but that history should help reassure you that you don't need to fear an earthquake on a Disneyland visit. Simply use this common sense to prepare yourself in the rare event that one does hit while you are there.
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