It's bound to happen: inclement weather at theme parks. Photo: Lum3n Pexels

Into every theme park, a little rain must fall. Depending on their location and attraction mix, theme parks respond to inclement weather with tips on toughing it out, partial closings, or, in the worst case—temporary attraction shutdowns. Don’t forget the silver lining in those clouds: showery days can mean shorter lines and a more relaxed visit overall.

Different venues manage weather differently depending on prevailing weather conditions in their location. Walt Disney World builds more sheltered space, including covered queues, than Disneyland because South Florida gets more storms than southern California (not to mention that the Florida parks have published cancellation policies in the even of hurricane or tropical storm warnings). The extra shade can help ease heat wave discomfort as well as protect from rain.

Check the rules online before you make the trip to avoid disappointment. Dollywood published a detailed list of the temperature at which each ride closes. Disneyland list the outdoor attractions that close temporarily during rain or lightning. At Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, storms come and go quickly. Rain checks are issued when Alpine Coaster, Cliffhanger Coaster, Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, Giant Canyon Swing, and Glenwood Canyon Flyer are ALL closed for an hour or more.

Visitors should also pack more prudently than destinations’ stereotypes might suggest – you might need a light jacket or long pants to stay comfortable in a Southern cold snap. Theme Park Insider Robert Niles recommends taking a rain jacket, but not an umbrella; making reservations at indoor eateries; and checking packages so you don’t have to carry souvenirs around when rain is predicted at Disneyland. “Embrace the rain and ride anything outside that’s a short wait time instead of huddling with the crowds trying to stay dry inside,” he says. “The upside to bad weather often is smaller crowds.”

Learn more about Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, America’s only mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.
Gene Stowe

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