Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, and even at the most Magical Place ever, Disney World, the weather can put a kink in the plans. One of the big weather problems is a rain!
So Let’s Talk about the rain.
There’s lots of different kinds, from a light afternoon shower, to a torrential downpour and the kind of rain determines the closure. There’s also the rains that comes like sleet in abnormally cold winters and the more common rain from an afternoon shower.
Does Disney World Shut down in the Rain?
Nope! Things get modified of course, and there’s special protocols for inclement bad weather, but otherwise they stay mostly open. Rides and pools will still run in light rain, but splash pads and playgrounds will be closed. Carts might move locations, and photopass photographers will head to stand under cover.
What Happens when it Rains at Disney World?
Rides, Parades and Outdoor Shows will all see modifications or closures depending on the type of weather. Disney Transportation will change from skyliner/boat/monorail over to buses. Many Cast members will have to change where they are working (As photographers will go under a canopy, and other cast members have to don rain gear.) But, things will still be open, even in inclement weather.
Sometimes, depending on the year, there are rains for days from large thunderstorms and inches of rain from hurricanes. And that’s why we have to plan ahead with the weather so we know what to expect! You can start your rain planning by checking out this helpful Magic Kingdom Rainy Day Itinerary, or planning for the top 9 things to do at Walt Disney World Resort when it rains.
So do Disney World Parks Close when it rains?
If it’s a light shower- it’s unlikely that anything will close. Especially if it’s just a quick sprinkle most of the activities will go on like normal- I’ve even seen the photographers and balloon people that will stay out in a really light shower. We’ve ridden Slinky Dog and Dumbo in a very light rain. Even the pools at the resorts stay open for a soft afternoon sprinkle.
Disney will close certain rides and attractions if the weather is severe, or they have reason to believe it could harm Cast Members or Guests.
Does Disney World Close for a Thunderstorm?
If it’s a thunderstorm with lightning (and lighting is the concern here), much of the outdoor activities will cease. Parking Guides will come inside, Photographers will take shelter, All outdoor rides (and some special indoor rides) will close, and transportation options will be modified as they push visitors towards buses and close the boats, skyliner and monorail.
This is one of those situations where you will see people ducking for cover. Lightning is no joke in Florida, even at Disney World! You will see all the cast members come in from the streets and the guests huddled under the overhangs and packed in the stores. If you are in the right spot (like a show) you might even get the opportunity to watch or ride it multiple times (As no one is coming to get in line!)
The best kind of situation is having rain, but no lightning. This means the parks generally clear out- because no one wants to get wet, and you can score some really cool pictures and reservations with the limited amount of people present!
If you are at the parks when it rains, you’ll want to make sure you’ve pack and plan to wear the right rainy day items so you can get the most out of your day!
Disney World Rain Refund Policy
That leads to the next, ever important question.
They don’t have one!
Let me clarify- it is very rare to get any compensation from Disney for the weather, with the exception of Hurricanes and special event tickets. Generally, with a hurricane, Disney will bend over backwards to get you rescheduled or home before the hurricane hits (and maybe a little more depending on the circumstances)
Disney World is very careful what they offer compensation for. Things like rides breaking or a weird fluke with a restaurant often result in special fast pass tickets and food vouchers.
Special Events also tend to offer compensation. If you are at a rained out Special Event, speak with Guest Services before you leave. Typically it will need to be so rainy that the special shows and parades are cancelled resulting in a ‘rained out’ special event.
Do the Water Parks close, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, when it rains?
The water parks are a great way to cool off while on vacation, but that also means that we’ve had our fair share of afternoon thunderstorms while we are at the water parks.
So do the Disney Water Parks close? Yes and No. If there are thunderstorms or lightning in the area (or it’s actively pouring) they will close the attractions. An Annoucement will be shared throughout the whole parks, and the Cast Members will help to guide you to areas while they wait for the storms to pass. If it’s just cloudy or there is a light sprinkle but no lightning, Disney will keep the Water Parks open.
It’s actually one of our favorite things to go to the water parks after there was a good rain- because they will be pretty empty and we will be able to jump on the rides and just have a good time!
Disney World closure policy for Hurricanes
If it’s a hurricane- one that will directly impact the Central Florida area, Disney WILL normally close the parks, maybe only for half a day, maybe for several days at a time.
They tend to wait till they get a definitive answer on the hurricane before they start closing things, which could be up until the day of the bad weather.
Many people will reschedule or cancel their trip if they suspect a hurricane coming- which can be a wise choice after what happened with the people stranded at Disney in 2017! They were essential trapped in their resort rooms with limited food options. It was crazy for a few days!
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What if it rains while your at Disney World?
First things first, make sure you check the weather for the day, especially on the day of. I know, your on vacation… but these things happen and it’s good to know ahead of time that your day might be modified because of rain.
The Right Foot Wear is also incredibly important. Not only do you not want to fall, but you also don’t want to get blisters. I swear by crocs for the kids (with socks when it rains).
What if it Rains while your at the Park?
If it happens to be a light sprinkle while you’re in the parks- no worries. There is plenty to do in every one of the parks to get you through an hour or two of rain.
The real problem is in those rainy days that just don’t quit! Those are the days that I recommend heading over to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. These two parks are often more “rain proof” (though Hollywood might be a runner up in 2019!)
Enjoy all the indoor attractions and shows, and of course, time to SHOP! You can also catch up on some of the restaurants that you might not have normally have eaten at- people tend to cancel reservations.
Raining at the Resort
I much prefer to get caught in rain at the resort! It makes planning that much easier.
If you get caught at the resort you can decide if you want to change plans (like go to different parks) or have a relaxing rainy day! Sometimes its nice when the rain forces you to take an unscheduled break. Then you can hop over to the parks after the rain has died down for the day.
Another great option is to go resort hopping! Especially if its just a gloomy day, the monorail will still be running. You can just hop on the monorail resort loop and check out all the beautiful resorts (and yummy restaurants!) while staying almost 100% dry.
Rain doesn’t have to ruin the vacation… there’s a lot of workarounds for a Rainy Disney World Day
Basically, it’s going to rain- even in the Sunshine State. Disney isn’t super big on refunds, but they do try to make accommodations to make up for the rainy mess.
If you are prepared with your rainy day gear and have a good attitude about getting soaked on your vacation, you can have a lot of fun!