Vote of the week: How cold is too cold to visit a theme park?
With arctic cold enveloping much of the United States this week, pushing freezing temperatures all the way down into the theme parks of Central Florida, perhaps this is the week to ask... how cold is too cold to visit a theme park?
Before some of you reflexively answer "it's never too cold!," let's think about this for a minute. You want to get the full value from your theme park trip, right? And when temperatures drop below the comfort of the 70s, water rides begin to look a bit less attractive. So they're out. Roller coasters don't run when temperatures drop too low. Waiting around outside gets miserable when there's no snow to play with, and crowding into limited indoor spaces within a park doesn't sound like much fun, either.
So what's the tipping point here, for you? At what temperature do you say, "to heck with it, let's do something else"? Let's also assume for a moment here that saying to heck with it is an option - that you're not locked into visiting on a specific day due to long-distance travel, as is the case with many Orlando-area visitors.
Tell us your rationale for your vote, in the comments. As always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider... and keep warm, east coast readers!
Why someone looks spoiled for thinking 60 degrees cold! It is roughly 10 where I live!
I used to love Winterfest in the old days. I thought they should do Turkeyfest, ValentineFest, EasterFest and that should take them to just about opening day :)
The coldest its ever been when Ive been at a theme park has been in the upper 20's with flurries at a fright fest at SFGAM. And I dont recall many rides being down and having a great time. As long as ride/shows are open its never too cold to be in a theme park!!!
Are you serious? 10% (at this moment) feel that 60 degrees is too cold to visit a theme park? What it's no "fun" unless it's 95 and humid in Florida?
It would have to be as low as the 20's for me not to want to venture into a theme park. We were at Hallow-Scream this year in Williamsburg. It was cloudy and drizzly most of the day. We still hit Roman Rapids late that evening. Cold, shivering, very wet we ran to Bansbury Crossing to buy Jack's Back t-shirts to have something dry to wear. To us it was a great excuse to buy some really cool souvenirs.
We have a foot of snow in Michigan today..
I feel this poll is going to get skewed by us southern Californians with annual passes to their favorite park that can skip out if conditions aren't ideal.
It's never too cold. Bring the pain.
I'd rather have it cold than 100 degrees with 100% humidity. You can always put on another layer. But taking off another layer may get you into trouble ;)
I think it depends on what you are used to. In So Cal it feels cold when it gets into the 50's. We bundle up like it is 20 below. All of you hearty snow folk can put up with far harsher conditions.
The trick on riding water rides when its cold is wear a rain poncho or rain coat. Some water rides like "splash mountain" are not worth missing. But, as to temperature as long as its not below 40 if u dress correctly, theme parks can be a lot of fun when its cold out. I love going to Disney and Universal off season, crowds are smaller and u can sometimes even get repeat rides very quickly when its cold.
I think the wind has a lot to do with tolerating colder temps. I live in the northeast and if it is in the 50's but calm then the weather isn't too bad but riding a roller coaster on a windy day changes my threshold for the cold by a good 10 to 15 degrees.
We visited Disneyland one November when in dipped down into the high 30s. We went to the nearby Target for hats, scarves and gloves and kept on having fun. It actally made the Christmas overlay feel appropriate!
I am used to a pretty cold climate during winter and most of autumn and spring and whilst I prefer to visit on a warm and sunny day I would pretty much visit at any other temperature provided that there wasn't any snow or ice on the ground. I wouldn't even consider the water rides at a temperature of less than 80F though (maybe colder with a poncho but they just aren't as enjoyable without blazing temperatures). It was pretty chilly one day on our recent vacation to Orlando and it ended up being the busiest theme park visit of our trip by a long way. In my experience this isn’t always the case though and the queues can be the lightest on a cold or rainy day.
It really depends on the park and how much indoor activity is available. A park like Magic Kingdom that has a lot of indoor attractions I could probably enjoy in lower temperatures. However, a park where the majority of the attractions I'd like to see are outside and the que line involves standing outside, I would not want to visit in whether less than fifty degrees (and even that low may be too low for me to pay full price the same as if I were paying for a 80 degree day).
I was at Six Flags Magic Mountain during a cold snap where it was in the 30 during the day in California no joke all the rides were open when the wind hits your face on the rides it made it extra cold
When I went to Silver Dollar City in 2009 for the Christmas Festival the day started at about 38 and dropped into the low 20's by the end of the night. Once it got below freezing it was really very, very cold. We still had a good time, and we expected it to be cold, but above freezing would have made for a much more comfortable evening.
Id say somewere around 45 is m limits...before foguring in wind chill on coasters...
I said 40s. The low temp for the day has to be 50 or above for me to go.
Relatively speaking - it's never too cold considering the fact that one can head for the indoor shows and enjoy the day. In Central Florida, I frequent the park in January and Febraury in 30 degree weather in the early morning and leave the park shortly after 2:00 p.m. after the temps reach above 60 degrees.
One of my favorite memories is an early season solo ride on Alpengeist -- it was somewhere around 45 degrees, and the theming was most appropriate. When I got off the ride, I truly felt like I had been schussing Alpine slopes. My ears were red, my nose frozen, and I felt chilled to the core. So, can it be too cold for a park? Yes, but you're only as warm as you feel!
I believe we had some 30-40 degree nights at Cedar Point during Halloweekends. Makes for some freezing Magnum marathons, but it's still a good time :)
We were at Hersheypark for Christmas Candylane one evening this year when the temperature was around 20*. Brrr! Lots of fun though, and it definitely was Christmassy! I might not be up to Disney in those temperatures, but if the highs were in the 40's, I'd probably be okay.
We've visited Hersheypark in the high 20s to mid 30s. Dress warm and plenty of hot-chocolate!
The Alpinegiest story reminded me of an early june trip to Busch Gardens. It was about 65-70 degrees and slightly raining and I went on Alpinegiest. The rain on the coaster hit like ice bullets. LOL Very interesting experience.
I live near Chicago and have been to Great America's Fright Fest all bundled up when it's been below 50 -- hats, gloves, etc. and it has been fine. But I expect that up here in Chicagoland and am prepared for it. (Same thing for Cedar Point.) You aren't prepared for that in Florida! Went on my annual 3 day visit with my Florida resident daughter to Walt Disney World for the Christmas holiday early December this year. It rained on and off most of the time -- and one day it rained constantly -- I am used to being at theme parks when it is cold and rainy -- but it was absolutely miserable. If this was my first trip to Disney World, like it may have been for some, I would have been very upset -- but you can't control the weather! We tried to stay for the Candlelight Processional, but were met with a torrential downpour. Coupled with the cold and wet clothes it made for a miserable experience and we left the park at 6:30 p.m., along with the masses. The following day Magic Kingdom was open until 1 a.m. -- after Cinderella lit the castle for the evening -- there was a mass exodus because it had gotten so cold!
For the record, the minimum of doing Disney or any other CF (Central Florida) theme park is 60 degrees. I agree that January is the best time to visit the parks, as children are suffering classroom fever and crowds are not hokey (save for the turismos - both Argentinean youth herds and Brazilian tour groups). This weekend sees me at DHS (that's Disney's Hollywood Studios for you), where a bulk of their attractions are indoors. (In fact, almost all the high-liner rides are indoors!)
Just got back from WDW, was there this past Sunday through Tuesday.
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