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Robert Niles
Editor

Snow in Orlando... and it is not a Disney special effect

Published: November 22, 2006 at 1:36 PM

Guess some folks saw a few flakes of snow mixed in with the rain in Orlando last night. Which ought to provide a nice peg for readers to share their favorite "it's cold in Florida" stories.

Snow flurries fell in December one year when I was working attractions in the Magic Kingdom. I'd just graduated from Northwestern (in Chicago!), and still had a winter coat in the closet. So I suspended my disbelief at the weather forecast and put it on that morning.

Unfortunately, most of my fellow cast members didn't even own winter gear, and there was much shivering at the bus stop in the employee parking lot.

When I got to my scheduled shift at Tom Sawyer Island that morning, I figured this was going to be a most unusual day. Since the water in the Rivers of America remained much warmer than the now-frigid air, the west side of the Magic Kingdom was shrouded in thick fog. Standing on the back of one raft in dock, I couldn't even see the mast at the front. Forget about driving these things. Or the canoes. Or the keelboats. Or the riverboat.

So that's four attractions "101" right there. Oh, and did I mention that the Mansion was down for rehab? And that Big Thunder Mountain's computers really, really don't like booting up in the cold? That left two attractions open -- and six down -- in Frontierland/Liberty Square. (This was before Splash Mountain opened.)

Since we didn't need five greeters in front of each closed attraction, early releases were there for asking. I took one, and met up with two friends to go play in the quickly-becoming-vacant parks.

Unfortunately, being Florida natives, my two friends didn't have any decent winter clothes either. So eventually we dediced to retreat to the warmth of the Land pavilion at Epcot, where one could eat lunch and hit a couple attractions in indoor comfort.

Too bad, for us, that several thousand guests realized the same thing. And that was the most crowded location I've ever seen at a Disney theme park. Forget Fourth of July. Forget Christmas. Forget opening days. I've never seen so many people crammed into so little space as that afternoon at the Land.

Hey, at least they made it warm!

Replies (7)

Robert OGrosky

Published: November 22, 2006 at 8:13 PM

Ive seen alot of FLA people with winter clothing. The last couple of year we have visited in Dec and being from the midwest we like to go that time of year due to x-mas decorations and warm weather. And we always find it funny when it is in the 50's/40's for temps and we are wearing shorts to see the FLA people wearing hats/gloves/parka's etc.
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: November 22, 2006 at 8:28 PM

Well, there's clothes for the 40s and 50s, and then there's clothes for the 20s and 30s. The first just doesn't cut it for very long when you really need the second.

But you've got a great point about the tourists. In a few weeks, we here in Pasadena will get to enjoy the oh-so-optimistic Rose Bowl visitors wandering the city in their shorts, while we're wearing jackets and long pants.

Derek Potter

Published: November 22, 2006 at 10:13 PM

40's and 50's isn't winter...20's and 30's is borderline winter temperature in Ohio, and many people probably have winter gear because they migrated from the north. Generally it's between 5 and 25 degrees in my neck of the woods with wind chills in the "dear god it's cold" range, so I have no sympathy for those "shivering" in Orlando. I do find it kind of comical when those from the south see a blanket of snow for the first time, especially when they see you walking in it.
Erik Yates

Published: November 23, 2006 at 4:33 AM

And we have no sympathy for you guys who come down here in August and melt. Hell, I wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and work outside in the summer....and rarely break a sweat. So its a bit of difference. Spend five years down here, and you'll bundle up when the temp drops below 60 too.
Robert OGrosky

Published: November 23, 2006 at 8:55 AM

To me if its not in the teens, then it is not winter!!! So i few flurries/30's is not weather for parka'sgloves/scarfs etc.
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: November 23, 2006 at 10:13 AM

Hey, in college, I spent winters in Chicago and summers in Orlando, so I have no sympathy for anyone when it comes to weather!

Of course, I live in Southern California year-'round now, so I guess the weather karma has balanced itself in the end... :-)

Greg Shilton

Published: November 23, 2006 at 11:04 AM

Man, I wish I was there. Being in Southern California we've come very close to snow, and it snowed many years ago once. But the weather lately has been so strange!

On Tuesday November 21st, it was HOT. 90's. November 22nd, it was so NICE. Cold, dark, gloomy, my kind of day. :D

I'll give you a little update at disneyland when it snows here(haha).

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