Why Disney Rides Close When It’s Not Raining

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: January 18, 2023

There is something special about enjoying the magic at Walt Disney World but on occasion, you may find that the magic is canceled. This can happen when inclement weather is in the area.

Both Disney and Universal will close down many of the outdoor rides and attractions when they detect high winds or lightning in the area. This can be a frustrating experience, especially if it only seems overcast and the lightning is not evident.

A Rainy Day at Magic Kingdom

Of course, we all hope that it is sunny skies and perfect weather while we are staying in Orlando, but we realize that doesn’t always happen. At some times of the year, Florida is prone to afternoon thunderstorms and there may be times when it rains all day long.

You will be happy to know that Disney World parks and Universal do stay open if it rains and even during a storm. They only shut down the rides outside as a safety precaution for those who would be riding the rides.

There are a lot of different factors to consider when it comes to the weather at Disney. We will take a look at how Disney makes their decisions and even how those decisions are made at Universal.

The weather at both Disney and Universal is constantly monitored. If lightning is detected within 10 miles of and theme park, there is a warning sent out and the rides are shut down. There is no debating this with the parks, but you aren’t left completely out in the rain.

Fortunately, the theme parks in the Orlando area are well-known for their indoor attractions.

Unless you happen to be at a water park, which is almost completely affected by thunderstorms in the area, you will be able to take part in many of the indoor attractions that continue to stay up and running during storms.

At times, the weather may be so inclement that Disney shuts down the parks altogether. This doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen when a hurricane or similar event is pending.

Neither Disney nor Universal want to shut down the parks unnecessarily and lose money in the process. In order to protect the health and well-being of their employees as well as anyone who is planning to come to the parks on those days, however, they will close them completely down.

If you have never been to Orlando you should be aware that when it does rain it comes down hard and fast!

Check out this YouTube video of a rainy day at Disney.

Do They Cancel Fireworks At Disney If It Rains?

As you can imagine, there are some attractions that are affected by storms and others that are not as affected. One of the questions that may come up is if the Disney fireworks are canceled as a result of rain.

In most cases, Disney will continue to have a fireworks display, even if it is raining. If there are high winds or if there is lightning in the area, however, they may decide to cancel the fireworks for the night in order to protect those who would be outside.

So, what can you expect if it is raining out and they move forward with the fireworks? You can expect to see an awesome show, although it may not be quite as nice as if the skies were clear.

The rain will limit visibility in some cases and if it is cloudy, you may get some reflection from nearby cities that will light up the sky and make the fireworks a little less spectacular. The show will still go on, so to speak, but it will not be quite so awesome.

The best time to watch fireworks is when the skies are clear. The dark sky makes the perfect backdrop for the fireworks as they light up one after another. It also makes any light show that is associated with the fireworks a lot better as well.

If it is raining and you intend on watching the fireworks, you should grab a poncho. It will help you to be comfortable while standing out in the rain and looking upward as the fireworks pop overhead.

Although this may not be the ideal experience, it is going to be a memory, nonetheless. Undoubtedly, it will be something that you remember about your Disney trip for many years to come.

Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios should always be part of your plans so be sure to check the weather ahead of time. I have personally sat waiting for Fantasmic to start for it to be canceled just 5 minutes before show time, due to “inclement weather” and it was on the last night of my vacation!

Cast members sweeping away the rainwater at Magic Kingdom

What Rides Shut Down At Disney World When It Rains?

If it rains outside, Disney will have to make a decision as to whether they will shut the rides down or not. If the rain is heavier or things become severe with lightning or high winds, then certain rides will shut down automatically.

At all of the Disney parks in the Orlando area, the outdoor rides will shut down in the event of very heavy rain, lightning, or high winds. If any lightning strikes occur within 10 miles of the park, it is enough to shut things down.

Fortunately, there are many indoor attractions that can still be enjoyed during inclement weather. Magic Kingdom Park has the highest number of those indoor attractions, numbering about 30. Some of those are completely indoors, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and Space Mountain.

So, if the weather looks rough out there, head for one of those indoor rides and get in the queue. You can stay dry while you’re waiting for a ride that is going to continue.

It’s A Small World Indoor Ride at Magic Kingdom 2022

What Rides Close In The Rain At Universal?

Does Universal also close down similar rides to Disney when the weather gets rough?

Outdoor rides and water rides at Universal will close temporarily if the rain is heavy or if thunderstorms and high winds are in the area. Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor attractions at Universal Studios that will remain open. They even outnumber the outdoor attractions!

Who Monitors Weather At Disney

Disney is quick to react when there is lightning in the area. Who sits and monitors the weather to make that determination?

Disney takes advantage of Earth Networks, which provides weather monitoring and safety solutions for the parks and resorts in Orlando. They use different types of technology to determine when there are lightning strikes in the area.

One of the apps that many people, including some who work at Disney, use to determine when lightning is in the area is WeatherBug. They own the Spark lightning program, which is a very accurate way to determine where lightning is striking and how often it is striking.

Will Disney Reimburse Tickets Due To Weather?

If you have tickets for Disney and it rains, will they reimburse you or delay your visit?

The policy at Disney is not to give a refund if it is raining. Disney will remain open, and they expect you to come prepared for a rainy day.

If there is a major weather event, such as a hurricane, Disney may decide to close down the parks for the safety of everyone. If that is the case, then a refund will be issued.

It can be frustrating when you are visiting Disney and suddenly, all of the outdoor rides are closed because of the weather. It is a part of the experience for many people, and you can be happy that they want to keep you safe.

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