Vote of the week: What do you do when severe weather strikes a theme park?
Thanks to Theme Park Insider reader Ben James for suggesting this week's vote.
Spring brings the opening of seasonal theme parks across the country, but it also delivers unpredictable weather. Most theme park veterans have waited out a thunderstorm or two. (Or more....) But what about more severe weather? Hail? A tornado warning? Hurricane-force winds?
It's not weather, but what about an earthquake? A recent quake prompted thousands of visitors to flee Disneyland, leaving the park nearly empty later that evening for those who chose to stay.
You could run for the front gate, and try to drive to the safety of home or hotel. Or you could duck into a shop or waiting area. Or you could say 'to heck with the danger' and take advantage by trying to bag as many rides as remain open while everyone else flees.
What's your pick? What have you seen others do? Share your best "theme parks in natural disasters" story in the comments, please!
I remember one time I was at Universal Orlando and I was in the single riders line for Ripley's and there was a really bad rain and thunder storm for like 30 min. It was bad, but I got to ride it in the rain XD
We were in Orlando last May & we had torrential rain every day for 2 weeks !! We just put on our ponchos & got on with it. Some of the rides were closed but the waiting time for the other rides were definatly shorter.
I think you would expect most of us to ignore heavy rainfall whilst at the Parks but , in my experience, even severe storms with lightning and thunder seem to bring out that "bulldog spirit" ( as we Brits call it ) in everyone.
I'll usually find something to do inside the park until the bad weather subsides. Thrill parks close just about every ride while it's raining these days because most are outdoors. I find that people start heading for the exit in crowds after a half hour or so. Obviously if rain is forecast for the rest of the day, they I would leave, but I usually avoid bad weather like that because I check the forecast.
I saw a tornado come out of the sky at Downtown Disney. We hid in the Rainforest Cafe. It dissapaited before it could come down.
Back a couple years ago, we were in Orlando when Tropical Storm Fay hit, and that storm stayed around for a week. We did not miss a thing outside of shows that were canceled and water rides that seemed, well, unnecessary. Hell, during some of the worst downpours, we were out there in our crappy ponchos, making the best of it.
I had several instances of situations like this - in BGTB, I, my cousins, and uncle have to hunker down in the queue line in Stanleyville Falls with some Argentinean youth herd. When the rain is over, we proceeded on to the flume.
We were in Orlando this January when the temperatures were just shy of freezing.
Riding Hulk when it was raining= a bit painful, but epically awesome
Rain is probably the most common weather downer.
I can handle rain in WDW. You get soaked, so wat. However, when Huricane Charlie Hit, the parks were closed. There was no way I was even going outside. The worst part about it was that it was the first day i came into florida, and i was stuck in a hotel room instead. Thankfully we brought snacks that were consumed as our dinner. Ha and cold, don't even get me started. When we went in february, we found alot of people leaving the parks early or wearing parkas...in like 50 degree weather. Sorry to be so critical, but its hard not to be when I went down to florida from 10 degree weather. That trip found minimal waits, which was excellant!
Rain...You keep going. Rain with thunder and hurricanes and such...you might return to shelter. Right now, I am living in the area that is under the huge Tornado,straight line winds, and seven to ten inches of rain warnings, watches, and such. I need a boat just to get across the driveway. Luckily, Memphis doesn't have anything fun enough to work our way through bad weather. I've been to Disney World during hurricane season. Rain isn't so bad, the high winds, a little much.
We were also at WDW during Tropical Storm Fay a couple of years ago. Rode Test Track in the pouring down rain...hitting the outside portion in that was an invigorating experience.
I think it was back in 05 for our first Disney trip. There was a hurricane set to hit florida and travel through Orlando. We called and set our visist back a day. We left Indiana and drove way out of our way to avoid the forecasted path. We ran into it near Jacksonville and found one of the last rooms there. We finnaly got to Disney and the park was nearly empty all week as there was another hurricane forecast on a similar path at the end of the week. We never used fast pass the whole week and spent a lot of qulaity time with the characters.
Hearshy I was last eyar when it got extemely intense! The first night we get into the park for the preview and it was great! second day on the comforatable side in the morning but extremely hot in the afternoon whcih was the recipe for thunder and lightining. Around 12-1 pm I notice it is getting seriously dark over the perimeter of the park and traveling in over the wildcat. Now it is like night time the lights are coming on on all rides and path ways and winds are gusting probably 45-50 m.p.h. Now after this alarms galore sound and the recording comes on and says because of inclimate wather hersheypark will be closed until the storm pases. Now it starts raining and we hide out in the lightining racer gift shop. It then starts flooding the park and park. Now it gets better and more exciting now we have park employees going around pushing the crowed to the nearest evacuation shelter/ caterd outing pavilion. we said we do not want to go so they said fine. After about 1 hour the rain let up and their was a tornado sighting a few miles away. After that it was great the croweds evend out and the lines were so short until about 5pm then.
I visited Disneyland the day after an earthquake (4.8). Other than a few short term ride closures (after shocks) there was no difference than every other visit. Disney never even said why the rides were closed.
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