Does Disney Close For Thunderstorms & Lightning Strikes?

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Rain ending in Hollywood Studios (photo by Bayley Clark for Magical Guides)

If you visit Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida, it’s important to understand the weather there. In a single afternoon you could easily experience bright sunshine followed by an enormous thunderstorm only to have clear skies again just an hour later. Needless to say, the weather is unpredictable in Florida. No matter what month you visit your pal Mickey in Orlando you should prepare for rain at some point.

This is especially true if you are traveling during the summer into early fall. Always use your best judgment when it is raining and find shelter if needed.

So, you packed an umbrella, and you are ready for your trip to Walt Disney World!

But what happens to the parks when it rains outside?

Do The Parks Stay Open During Rain?

The parks remain open during rain. Walt Disney World very rarely shuts down all park operations. If the rain is very light and there is no thunder or lighting everything will remain open as normal. You will see some cast members in rain jackets, and everything continues. Normally with rain like this it will stop quickly.

Read More: The Guide to Rides in EPCOT

In the event of a thunder and lightning storm (and they happen very often in Florida) some rides may get shut down temporarily. If there is lightning in the area within a certain milage they close down outdoor rides until the lightning passes. Many indoor attractions will continue.

You can tell if it is a thunderstorm versus a light rainstorm when the cast members go inside. Boats, the Monorail and other modes of transportation will also pause to maintain guests’ safety until the storm passes.

Although extremely rare, Walt Disney World will close in the event of a hurricane. This has not happened very many times, but it is a possibility. Hurricane season in Florida is from June 1st to November 30th. Typically, in the hotter months is when this would be a bigger threat. If a hurricane were to hit Orlando while you are visiting Disney World, they will work with you to fix the missed days.

Read More: Rain at Walt Disney World

Will I Get A Refund If There Is Bad Weather?

The simple answer is no you will not get a refund for bad weather. Hurricanes are the exception to this rule. But unfortunately, if it rains the day you are visiting Disney World and you couldn’t ride your favorite ride or see your favorite parade you will not get compensated for that. If you buy a ticket to a special event such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and it rains the entire night you will not be refunded.

Read More: Can You Cancel or Refund a Disney World Ticket?

What Do Guests Do When They Are In Line When It Rains?

If you happen to be waiting in line for an attraction while it was raining a few things could happen. In the event of a light rain everything will continue as normal, and you might get a little wet in the outdoor portions of the line.

If you are in line for an attraction and it has to close because of the rain, cast members will stop the line from moving and they will not let others join the line. The attractions host will go on the loudspeaker to let you know there is a weather delay, and they will reassure you that things will be up again soon. Sometimes this is just a few minutes, while other times these delays can last over and hour. Whenever the announcement comes on the loudspeaker you will see guests start to sit down in their spot. Many people leave the line because they don’t want to wait for it to restart. In my opinion you might as well wait! If things are starting to close, then you are going to be stuck with not much to do anyways and you will be outside in the rain. Most of Walt Disney World is not covered so there is a potential you may get stuck in the rain. Many people do leave the line which also moves you a bit closer to the front. Most Florida storms don’t last too long normally. Even the extremely loud storms pass by relatively quick. That’s not true of all storms but waiting it out is always a good idea.

How Should I Prepare For Rain At Disney World?

There are a few different options for how you can prepare for your Disney World vacation in the event it rains.

First, you will need a good backpack or bag that you can put everything into. Look for something that water would have a hard time getting into. If you have it on your back or on the stroller it could very well get soaked. Something with a zipper that closes all the way is perfect.

If you and your party would like to wear ponchos when it rains, I suggest buying them outside of the parks. The Walt Disney World ones are very expensive (but they do have that magical Disney logo on the back). Walmart or Target has ponchos typically in the camping section. If you pack an umbrella that’s okay, you will have to take it out for security so have it in your hand and hold it out in front of you as you walk through the metal detector. You could also purchase light rain jackets that zip up for when it’s raining.

I always recommend wearing close toed shoes at Disney World because of how much walking you will do but they are important for when it rains too. You don’t want your feet to be soaking wet if you are walking through a storm.

If you have a stroller or wheelchair, it’s a good idea to pack a cover to put over these if you are going on a ride. That way if it ends up raining while you are on the ride your stroller or wheelchair will not get soaked.

Read More: Disney Park Bag: Essential Items You Should Pack

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1 comment

  • Jorge Ansaldo

    Thanks for all these comments. I’ve been in Disney World in a rainy day some years ago and I enjoyed it a lot. Ponchos were a good help, and as you say, Many people left the parks and we lines were not so long. We really has a great day… as all days at Disney

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