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Which attractions are open during a thunderstorm at Disney World and which park is best?

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Which attractions are open during a thunderstorm at Disney World and which park is best?

It rains at Walt Disney World, a lot.  When it rains, it’s often a major thunderstorm with brilliant lightning striking through the sky.  While it creates beautiful photography opportunities, it creates danger for guests and cast members, so many attractions must close during these storms.

“Which attractions can I count on being open during a thunderstorm?”

Many character meet and greets are located outside and the characters may create a makeshift meet in a nearby covered area or they will likely just cancel until the weather clears.  I’d make a sexy infographic for this info, but it’s easier to keep updated as a bulleted list.  Too many Disney World attractions come and go regularly.

  • Parades run early, are canceled or postponed on rainy days.
  • Fireworks are canceled or postponed due to inclement weather
  • Large scale shows that are not full enclosed like Beauty and the Beast may cancel or postpone
  • Small scale shows like Dapper Dans or Epcot shows may move indoors or cancel.

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar – Flight of Passage
  • Conservation Station – but Wildlife Express Train may close which leaves you stranded until re-opening
  • Dinosaur
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo the Musical
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – may continue to operate, but could close depending upon conditions.
  • Navi River Journey
  • Outdoor meet and greets may cancel or move to a covered location.

Epcot

  • Epcot Character Spot
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with Land
  • Meet Aladdin & Jasmine
  • Meet Anna and Elsa
  • Mission: Space
  • Pixar Film Festival
  • O’Canada
  • Reflections of China
  • Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Soarin’
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The American Adventure
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Visa Character Meet

Hollywood Studios

  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
  • For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Meet Chewbacca
  • Meet Kylo Ren
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Meet Olaf
  • Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Star Tours
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

Magic Kingdom

  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Festival of Fantasy – may offer a “Rainy Day Character Cavalcade” parade of characters in cars provided there is no lightning
  • Hall of Presidents
  • Haunted Mansion
  • it’s a small world
  • Meet Ariel
  • Meet Cinderella & Elena
  • Meet Daisy & Minnie
  • Meet Goofy & Donald
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Meet Rapunzel and Tiana
  • Meet Tinker Bell
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Monster’s Inc Comedy Club
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirate’s of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

So, with the list provided above I recommend the following parks on day when thunderstorms are imminent:

  1. Epcot
    My first choice on rainy and stormy days is Epcot.  Epcot loses only 1 actual ride, Test Track, to poor weather, so you can throw on a poncho and continue having a blast.  If you have a Test Track Fastpass+ and it rains, they will honor that FP+ all day or allow you to switch to another ride.
  2. Magic Kingdom
    Magic Kingdom can lose up to 15 rides during a thunderstorm, but there’s still a lot of attractions open, including ones I’d normally do in the afternoon to see air conditioning.
  3. Hollywood Studios
    Hollywood Studios will lose its 3 major shows during a thunderstorm and I dislike the poor drainage that is offered along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, so I choose to avoid this park on really rainy days.
  4. Animal Kingdom 
    During a thunderstorm with lightning, almost nothing is actually open and no one wants to view animals on trails in a pouring rain.  However, one of the best times to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris is right after a good rain shower.  The animals become active and munch on the low lying grasses.

Another special note would be to include some flip flops or water friendly shoes in your park bag, so your nice tennis shoes don’t become water logged.  If they do, stuff them with newspaper to draw out the wetness.

A rainy day at Disney is better than a sunny day at work!