Damaging Ice Storm Hits Disney World Area

in Walt Disney World

Lightning striking during story at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Cliff Wang / Flickr

In Central Florida, where the magical worlds of Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort captivate visitors year-round, Mother Nature recently put on an unexpected show that had residents both astonished and concerned.

Guests running through a Walt Disney World rain storm.
Credit: @waltdisneyworldparks on TikTok

In an interview with News 6 (Click Orland0), Vicki Higgins, a resident living near the University of Central Florida (UCF), found herself at the center of a weather phenomenon that felt more like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster. She captured the extraordinary moment when her rain barrel began to overflow and hailstones descended, some as large as golf balls.

“It got extremely loud,” Higgins recalled, her voice trembling with the memory. “You could hear everything, and I was actually afraid of the windows breaking more so than the roof.”

Meanwhile, a few miles away in Oviedo, Florida, where snow is a distant dream, Grayson Smith had a similar encounter with the unexpected weather and shared it with News 6. Smith was in the middle of reading stories to her grandchildren when the cacophony of hailstones striking her home caught their attention.

“We heard bang, bang, bang on the side of the windows,” Smith recounted. “I told them to pick it up and look at it. That’s the closest thing you’ll see to snow here in Oviedo, Florida.”

Rain and flooding at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: ITM

According to reports, hundreds of homes in Central Florida and surrounding areas suffered damage at the hands of the ice storm.

Assessing the damage at Disney World

As far as Disney World is concerned, no major damage was reported. Many fans were fooled by a recent viral video showing a leak inside World of Disney at Disney Springs. However, this was posted back on January 26, meaning that this was not from this past week’s storm.

New water feature inside World of Disney
byu/tuskedandconfused inDisneyland

As you can see from the video, rain is steadily pouring into the area of the beloved Disney Springs store. During the storm on Sunday, though, multiple Disney World guests confirmed that they visited the store, and there was no such leak.

Tips to enjoy a bad weather day at Disney World

First and foremost, be prepared. Florida weather can be unpredictable, so packing rain gear like ponchos and waterproof shoes is essential. Consider bringing a small, portable umbrella as well if you don’t mind carrying it around.

Embrace the rain and let it enhance your experience. Most attractions at Walt Disney World Resort are indoors, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, so use rainy weather as an opportunity to explore these attractions, hopefully without long lines. While it used to be a guarantee that bad weather meant lower crowds, that is not the case anymore. So, understand that wait times can vary, and they may fluctuate throughout the day.

Walt Disney World in the rain resized
Credit: Disney

Typically, if it is raining all day, the wait times will be at their lowest by the late afternoon and evening after many families have elected to call it a day. In this case, getting a later start on the day may prove to be a valuable tool for you.

Don’t forget to check the daily show schedule for indoor entertainment options like The Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which can provide a wonderful respite from the rain. Additionally, take advantage of character meet and greets, as they often move indoors during inclement weather, providing a unique and more intimate experience.

Finally, embrace the cozy atmosphere of the parks during rain showers and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many dining options, such as Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, where you can dine in the Beast’s enchanted castle. With the right mindset and preparation, a rainy day at Disney World can still be a magical and memorable experience.

A family dining in the Ballroom at Be Our Guest restaurant.
Credit: Disney

Most importantly, remember to listen to the directions of Disney Cast Members. If you are wearing a poncho, they will ask that you remove it before you board the attraction. They will also be able to give you directions and assistance should you need it.

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