Lightning Strikes Giant Disney Attraction During Storm

in Walt Disney World

splash mountain zip a dee doo dah riverboat

Credit: Disney

It is no surprise that at Walt Disney World Resort, the weather can become quite tumultuous at times. Just because the theme park is located in the sunshine state, does not mean it is always clear skies in Florida. When Guests visit Disney World, they will often be hit with a lot of heat, humidity, and massive rainstorms that often have thunder and lightning thrown into the mix.

Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

In the summer months, it is common to see heavy downpours of rain on a daily basis at Walt Disney World. The good thing, however, is that these rainstorms are often very short-lived, and as soon as they concluded, the sun is often back out. When bad weather does strike Guests have the option to stay indoors, or they can brave the rain in a poncho or with an umbrella. There are tons of lightning rods throughout Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so Guests on the ground are often protected from the natural dangers of Florida storms.

splash mountain retheme scaffolding
Credit: ITM

Recently, however, it seems that one Disney Guest saw Splash Mountain struck by lightning! COweatherman decided to take a look at all of the lightning strikes per year at Disney World due to the incident, and as you can see below, it looks like Swan and Dolphin, Disney Springs, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or perhaps Disney’s Wilderness Lodge which has a lot of lightning rods on it, and areas around Disney’s Animal Kingdom seem to be the most likely to be struck.

Because Splash Mountain was struck by lightning yesterday, I decided to look at how much lightning occurs on WDW property every year

Because Splash Mountain was struck by lightning yesterday, I decided to look at how much lightning occurs on WDW property every year from WaltDisneyWorld

One Guest commented an interesting piece of information, stating:

For a very long time, Orlando area was considered the lightning capitol of the world. The people who built Universal didn’t believe that the average strikes per square mile in the area was as high as 1 per day. As a result, most lightning and surge protection was lacking, and every thunderstorm in the first few months of operation, as many as half the rides would go down. Most of the protection on early rides was added retroactively.

This is based on first hand accounts of my friend who still works at the park, on ride tech, especially lasers.

The amount of lightning in Central Florida is absolutely astounding.

Splash Mountain
Credit: ITM

Guests continued to discuss other instances in which they saw lightning strike areas of Disney, including Cinderella Castle and Tower of Terror. Central Florida leads the nation in lightning strikes. As Click Orlando notes, “On average, this zone experiences about 56 lightning strikes every square mile annually with about 90% of these strikes happening from May to October between noon and midnight.” Luckily, the lightning rods which are on top of many of the tall structures on Walt Disney World property not only protect Guests, but also, help to protect the ride itself.

Splash Mountain seems to have taken no injury to this reported lightning strike, which is great news!

More on Splash Mountain 

Nearly two summers ago, Disney Parks officially announced the Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park attraction Splash Mountain, which is based on the Song of the South IP, would be rethemed as part of Disney’s efforts to bring more diverse representation to the theme parks and remove offensive themes. The announcement came over a year ago and was met with a variety of responses from Disney fans. Some were very excited and happy to see that The Princess and the Frog (2009), not only an excellent film, but a film that stars a Black princess, would replace the attraction. While others who found Splash Mountain as classic and iconic went as far as to petition to have the ride remain as-is.

Splash Mountain Concept Art
Credit: Disney

More on the upcoming retheme below:

Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our parks.

The voice of Princess Tiana and Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, shared, “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”

splash mountain tiana
Credit: Disney

The approach to retheming or “plussing” attractions (as Walt Disney referred to it) begins with Imagineers asking the question, how can we build upon or elevate the experience and tell a fresh, relevant story? It’s a continuous process that Imagineers are deeply passionate about. And with this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.

If you have never ridden the fan-favorite ride, the official Disney World description of Splash Mountain reads:

A Hare-Raising Ride

Gently drift through a colorful Southern bayou along with happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit as he looks for his “laughing place.” But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare.

Glide by over 100 adorable Audio-Animatronics geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees, alligators and other down-home critters as they sing classic Disney ditties, including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Ev’rybody’s Got a Laughing Place.”

Then hang on to your hats—this delightful musical cruise ends in an exciting 5-story splashdown into a thorny Briar Patch!

Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

You Will Get Wet

This attraction includes 950,000 gallons of water, 3 dips and a 5-story drop. Where you’re seated will determine how wet you’ll get. Riders in the back may experience a sudden splash or spray; those who opt for the front can expect to get soaked.

For Guests looking to ensure their personal items remain dry, lockers are available to rent near the Main Entrance

Have you ever seen lightning strike an attraction at Disney? 

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disneyland? Or what about Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

At Magic Kingdom there is so much to see and do! Cinderella Castle is decked out for the 50th anniversary and soon Festival of Fantasy and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire will return. You can ride the three big mountains: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain, or calm things down on Peter Pan’s Flight. Rope drop the Park to get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and then enjoy a mid-day snack with some Dole Whip. Be sure to meet Mickey Mouse and enjoy the firework show, Disney Enchantment! 

View Comments (7)