When Walt Disney chose central Florida to be the home for his new theme park and city of tomorrow project, one of the major reasons was the weather. It didn't snow in Florida or even get all that cold, so the park wouldn't need to be seasonal; it could be open all year round. That's not to say of course, that Florida doesn't have weather that impacts Walt Disney World, and yesterday we saw an unusual example of that in the form of a massive funnel cloud within sight of Epcot.
Not technically a tornado, as the cloud reportedly never actually touched down, it's still a fairly unusual sight, and the pictures and video that people took in the park are quite impressive. The cloud feels ominous as it sits there, some unclear distance away from the most magical place on earth. Check it out.
#tornado #DisneyWorld No lines on this ride pic.twitter.com/GWWmNoMDi2September 15, 2022
People usually see theme parks as a place to escape reality but I suppose that's tougher to do when there's a funnel cloud within sight as you're drinking around the world.
Usually the biggest weather issue that Walt Disney World has to deal with is rain. Epcot has flooded before when the rain got to be too much. And of course, there are the occasional hurricanes that have closed Disney World when necessary, but a funnel cloud or tornado (while not unheard of in Florida) is a rare occurrence.
And the situation was more significant than just an interesting photo. The severe weather that led to the funnel cloud also resulted in the Epcot nighttime spectacular, Harmonious, being cancelled for the evening. It also reportedly made transportation out of the park a bit complicated.
Harmonius show was canceled tonight at Epcot due to a lightning strike on a barge and severe weather in the area. Guests kept in park until exit transportation could resume service. https://t.co/lFrBEqcsOiSeptember 16, 2022
The weather also caused havoc at the other Disney World theme parks. Magic Kingdom saw significant rain, which included some minor flooding. It caused guests to all find cover where they could.
Very crazy storm down in Magic Kingdom tonight… Until I was told the tornado touched down right near Epcot 🙁Currently taking shelter under the Frontierland station with all the awesome Splash Mountain cast members (thank you for letting me join!) pic.twitter.com/91jQmIHBM0September 16, 2022
When hurricanes happen at Walt Disney World, they know about the storm in advance and can act accordingly. The park has closed when necessary, and while this situation wasn't the sort that would have required closing, it certainly could have taken a turn.
Luckily, since the funnel cloud never actually touched down it doesn't appear that there was any significant damage. If anything, it is a good reminder to future theme park guests that this is a possibility, so knowing what to do if this happens when you're visiting is knowledge we should probably all have.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.