Tip of the week: Check the weather before you travel
Published: October 30, 2012 at 9:05 AM
You might think that the weather in Southern California or Central Florida is always gorgeous. And it very often is. (Sorry, friends up north!) But even in LA and Orlando, nasty weather strikes from time to time. You'd be surprised how many visitors forget that fact. They carelessly pack their shorts and swimsuits, thinking that they'll be enjoying stereotypical weather, no matter what's actually in the forecast.
My mother, who lives in the Orlando area, and I kid each other that whatever weather one of us is having - the other's weather is the opposite. If it's raining in Orlando, it's dry in Los Angeles. If it's warm in LA, it's on the cool side in Orlando. There might be something to that - Orlando's summers bring daily thunderstorms, while summer's the dry season in Southern California. Winters? Kinda the opposite: more rainy in LA and drier in Florida. So while LA and Orlando typically enjoy nicer weather than the rest of the country, rain, extreme heat, storms and even snow can happen.
A few weeks ago, the temperature hit 108 degrees in Anaheim. Hurricane Sandy blew strong winds across Central Florida before moving up the coast to New Jersey. I've seen theme park visitors shivering because they didn't prepare for a forecast cold snap, and wet and miserable tourists complaining about their day because they didn't change their plans to accommodate the rain. (Here are six tips for enjoying a day at a theme park in the rain.)
If you pack the right clothes and adjust your schedule to deal with the weather, you can enjoy a theme park visit in almost any weather. But if you don't look at the forecast and plan ahead, you can end up having a miserable day if you're caught in weather you didn't expect.
So go online, look in the paper or check your phone's weather app just before you pack to go. Find out what the weather will be at your destinations, and come prepared. And if you're facing extreme weather, such as a hurricane, call ahead to see if you can rebook to another time. If a hurricane warning is imminent, most places want to keep you out of the area and would be happy to rebook you to another time without penalty. But you have to ask.
Have you ever been caught by extreme weather while on vacation (or while working in a theme park)? Please share your story in the comments.
For more tips on how to get the most from your family vacation, visit our 100 Travel Tips for Visiting Theme Parks page.