Health Crisis for Disney Travelers: Report Verifies Immediate Risk, Urges Cancelation of Future Vacations

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort

Disneyland incident - A wide shot of the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in California.

Credit: Disney

If you are planning on visiting Disneyland or Universal Hollywood in the near future, one recent report is suggesting that perhaps you shouldn’t. 

Disneyland Resort in California with a lightning storm in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

When guests fly into LAX for their theme park vacation, they typically do not expect to be in danger the moment that they exit the airplane, but sadly, that is the case — and it is even worse for locals who live in the Los Angeles area.

It has been widely known that the air quality in L.A. is not fantastic, Disneyland Park, for example, often has to cancel its fireworks shows due to high winds as the dry climate can allow the pyrotechnics to start forest fires, which is an ongoing issue in the state of California, and one that drives the quality of air down. Add on the pollution generated in the city, and things get a lot worse.

The most recent State of the Air report by the American Lung Association outlines the top five U.S. cities affected by ground-level ozone air pollution, commonly known as smog. Southern and Central California dominate this list, with Los Angeles taking the lead, followed by Visalia, Bakersfield, and Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California, respectively.

Disneyland Resort in California with stormy weather.
Credit: Inside The Magic

According to Dr. Sarah Rees from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, numerous factors contributing to ozone pollution stem from human activities.

“Most of the pollution that forms ozone in our region is coming from mobile sources, so things like trucks, ships, trains and aircraft, and those are subject to federal authority,” Dr. Rees said. The report also stated that wildfires and diesel engines are another major cause for the dangerous air quality.

This poor air quality is affecting over 20 million residents and roughly over 65 million tourists who travel to LAX each year.

“Air pollution can shorten lives. Particle pollution can contribute to lung cancer. Ozone and particle pollution can add to asthma burden and cause asthma attacks,” said Will Barrett, national senior director for Clean Air Advocacy, according to ABC.

“The amount of commerce going through the valley,” Barrett said, “You’ve got the heavy-duty trucking corridors. You have a lot of agricultural equipment, you have the oil and gas operations there, and it’s a valley. So a lot of the time, those particles can get trapped and settle for days on end.”

It is reported that, “When we breathe in air pollutants, they can enter our bloodstream and contribute to coughing or itchy eyes and cause or worsen many breathing and lung diseases, leading to hospitalizations, cancer, or even premature death.” While this is the outcome after sustained intake of hazardous air over a long period of time, it is certainly worrisome for those looking to travel to L.A. to visit Universal Hollywood or the Happiest Place on Earth.

Universal Studios Hollywood entrance with red carpet
Credit: Universal

Universal Studios Hollywood is in the most danger, as the theme park is located directly in Los Angeles. The park has also been recently linked to a measles outbreak, so this new news of danger is not particularly great for the park. That being said, it seems that these ongoing issues are not slowing down guests from visiting.

“In Hollywood, we also continue to benefit from the positive consumer reaction to Super Nintendo World, which opened earlier in 2023. Driving strong attendance and growth in per capita, and resulting in Hollywood’s best fourth quarter EBITDA in its history,” said Jason Armstrong, chief financial officer of Comcast.

Disneyland is located less than an hour from Los Angeles in Anaheim, making the air quality at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure less than ideal. As we mentioned, the pollution in the air can make it more difficult for some guests to breathe and can affect those with asthma issues.

This has been a trending issue in California for years now. In the video below, Fox also confirms that 98% of the air in the state of California is unhealthy and should not be consumed.

On the other hand, the Orlando metropolitan area, encompassing Flagler, Hardee, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties, achieved recognition for being among the least polluted regions in the United States in terms of both ozone and short-term particle pollution.

This means that visiting Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios Florida could also give you a healthier vacation in terms of air quality. That being said, with hurricane season approaching, there are also cons and safety risk issues that can be debated for the East Coast theme parks as well.

Do you have an upcoming trip planned to California? Does this report make you rethink your travel? 

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