Amusement parks in the rain... what's the standard?

Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:13 AM
GooDFeLLoW's avatar

I am very curious about how different parks deal with rain. During a trip to SFMM last year, at about 11 AM it started raining; not too hard but pretty steady. After about 30 mins, they shut the ENTIRE park down. As in... everyone had to leave, ASAP. They had a system where you could get full refunds, but you had to wait in an enorrrrrrrrmous line that took about 2 hours to get the refund. So depressing. Especially since we drove 6 hours for this trip. But in my younger years when hanging out at California's Great America (then Paramount's Great America) all the time, I feel like a lot of rides kept operating in the rain, even in the pouring rain. At least flat rides and indoor rides like bumper cars, etc. I can't remember if roller coaster closed down or not.

How does everyone's home parks deal with rainy days? Do parks shut down completely often? Do roller coasters ever keep running in the rain? I am supposed to go to CGA tomorrow morning, but it just started pouring rain and now I am very curious. What are the safety issues with running coasters in the rain?

--Josh--

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:48 AM

Many coasters can run safely in the rain. Exceptions tend to be those with tyre drives (which don't work when wet) and old-fashioned braking systems (same problem). That said, riding can be very uncomfortable for passengers, especially in the front of the train. I rode Dragon Kahn about fifteen years ago during a torrential downpour, and it wasn't fun at all. It was probably the best face washing I've had in my life mind :)


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Saturday, April 8, 2017 7:18 AM

It seems that rides with mechanical breaks do not run in the rain, neither do rides with too many sensors. For example, at Cedar Point, usually Millennium Force runs in heavy, heavy rain (most brutally awesome thing ever), but Dragster will stop at the smallest drizzle.


Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 8:25 AM

We suggest you take in a show or browse our shops until the severe weather passes and we can safely resume operations!

Lightning within X amount of miles from the park is usually the reason for an entire park to shut down. But as others have suggested, policy varies from park to park and depends on the mechanics and speed of the rides. And said policies have a way of changing from season to season as well.

Last year I took a friend to Cedar Point on the last day of the season, which if any of you recall was cold and damp. We went for Valravn first and I was so happy to finally snag a ride in the front row. Well, until we left the station in the midst of a sudden downpour. We cried all the way up the lift then again as we rode the entire ride trying to cover our faces with our hands. We staggered off the ride soaked to the underpants and with my epic mustache looking like something that belonged on the Lorax. Despite the benefit of free dermabrasion, we were pretty unhappy and jumped puddles until we got to Perkins to have breakfast and dry out. While we were there I realized I *still* didn't know what a front row ride was really like.
Around 2p we finally said "goodbye, Cedar Point... see you next year!"

Rain sucks, and can totally ruin an expensive or far away trip. I don't think I've ever been to Kennywood when it didn't rain, and the last time it was a full blown tornado resulting in "Nighty Night" being played around 2:30. And there's a park with not a lot of indoor space to provide shelter from a storm. Most of the guests were either packed into the Casino building, under the carousel roof, or (like dummasses) standing under trees.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 9:18 AM
Jeff's avatar

The worst is Legoland Florida. They close everything if there is any lightning within 12 miles or something. In Florida, that's pretty much all of the time, all summer.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 10:31 AM

I experienced the sudden down pour at the end of the evening on Valravn. Not really pleasant but they didn't shut down. They keep a lot of things going in the rain at Cedar Point and the only time I remember it ever being suggested that we leave the park because of the rain was one fall evening about an hour or so before close when they announced the storm was expected to last the remainder of the evening. I think things have to be very bad before CP will give up on the day.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 11:51 AM

Cedar Point has been pretty strict in terms of keeping stuff open in even moderate rain since the Magnum train bump back in 2007.

As a kid I remember riding stuff at Geauga Lake/Worlds of Adventure in total downpours. As a teenager I loved it. Today, I'd probably pass

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 12:04 PM
rollergator's avatar

Three recollections: First, having Dueling Dragons to ourselves in the rain and getting to ride through the station on a day when there were literally dozens of guests in the park....many years ago. Second, riding MForce at 7am in a drizzle...I have no tattoos, but an idea of what it feels like to get one. Third, at LC, watching the train slide through the station brakes with my buddy in the front seat in a total downpour. A kid in the back starting screaming to get out, so they stopped the train half-way out of the station. Must have taken ten minutes to get that kid out of the train so they could re-start the ride...

The only "standard" is fun. :-)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:39 PM

Knotts will shutter with a what many would consider a drizzle. If there is a forecast of a heavy rain they will not schedule to open that day. I've been told that it's for the guest's safety, translate into slip trip and fall protection, coupled with not enough people to justify opening the gates.

Ever since the tragic macro burst incident a number of years back, Kennywood will close early due a forecast of severe weather. My experience with that is they issue rainchecks at the exits after the announcement is made.

Last edited by Dutchman, Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:49 PM
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Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:54 PM
Pete's avatar

Go Intamin said:
It seems that rides with mechanical breaks do not run in the rain, neither do rides with too many sensors. For example, at Cedar Point, usually Millennium Force runs in heavy, heavy rain (most brutally awesome thing ever), but Dragster will stop at the smallest drizzle.

Dragster has magnetic brakes just like Millennium. I think the reason Dragster closes is because at the speed it goes the rain drops could actually cause injury to the eyes.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 4:07 PM

The strangest experience I've had was at Kings Island, where "Dinosaurs Alive!" was closed due to rain.


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Saturday, April 8, 2017 4:19 PM

On the day we were all forced into a premature departure from Kennywood they were at the gate with stacks of raincheck tickets. And that was nice, sure. I felt like I had actually made money on the deal as they gave us a regular ticket and I had gotten in on a senior discount. Muwahahahaha.
So I carried it around with me for the rest of the summer, but no matter- I never made the trip from Columbus again that year. Come to think of it, I haven't been back since.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 8:57 PM

Great Adventure will run almost anything in the rain except Kingda Ka if it is more than a drizzle. With lightning, only The Dark Knight and Skull Mountain run. They will close the park if attendance is bad. There was a season pass night a while ago where it rained the entire day and stopped at 5 when the park opened and around 400 people showed up. They closed at 7:30 although it was fun getting 23 rides in 2 1/4 hours. There are days they also won't open if the rain is bad and supposed to rain most of the day or if it's really cold out, under 30 degrees for a high.

Dorney will run the coasters until rain gets heavy. If there is lightning, only The Whip and Music Express operate. They don't close often for rain. Even when Hurricane Irene hit in 2011 and all other parks in the area closed, they still opened. I happened to be in Allentown that day and stopped at the park for an hour and the skies opened up right after a Steel Force dispatched. It was a painful ride and the heavy rain and low attendance did cause them to close at 6 instead of 10.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 2:49 AM

Luckily for me I have only ran into a few really bad weather days over the years at parks.

Cedar point I am most familiar with. They most certainly changed the whole run rides in the rain policy after the magnum incident. They generally will shut the rides down with a sustainable rain heavier than a drizzle. I remember for sure last day of last year they were keeping many rides down because of rain.

My favorite day ever was at kings dominion in 2007. We were caught within the remnants of a tropical storm. They ran all of the rides in rain. I actually have to look through old Polaroid photos I have to prove how unpacked the place was, but I do have a picture from the Eiffel Tower that showed maybe 5-6 rows of cars in the parking lot.


Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 5:55 AM

Pete said:

Go Intamin said:
It seems that rides with mechanical breaks do not run in the rain, neither do rides with too many sensors. For example, at Cedar Point, usually Millennium Force runs in heavy, heavy rain (most brutally awesome thing ever), but Dragster will stop at the smallest drizzle.

Dragster has magnetic brakes just like Millennium. I think the reason Dragster closes is because at the speed it goes the rain drops could actually cause injury to the eyes.

Dragster would qualify as a ride with too many sensors ;-)


Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 5:01 PM
LostKause's avatar

I rode front seat on Wicked Twister in a downpour about ten years ago. It was amazing! The water was funneled in the middle of the twisted spike, and as we traveled up it, a waterfall poured onto us.

A few years ago, A thunderstorm was seemingly a billion miles away, and there was not a dark cloud in the sky. The park was practically shut down for hours while this invisible storm passed through. It was pretty irritating.

Millennium Force in the rain, during one of the first years it was open, in the front seat, hurt. It felt like pins and needles on my face. So much fun though.

Last edited by LostKause, Monday, April 10, 2017 9:33 PM
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Monday, April 10, 2017 1:48 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I've only had a park kick people out because of lack of attendance (Six Flags Great Adventure). Back in 2003,iIt was 6:00 on a Friday evening of Fright Fest, it was pouring rain, and Nitro was a walk on.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, April 10, 2017 2:31 PM
Bobbie1951's avatar

Great Adventure is extremely sensitive to the threat of lightning even if it doesn't hit. If lightning is in the forecast they'll shut down the rides well in advance of an approaching storm. As others said, most park will operate coasters in the rain. I remember riding X-Flight in a cold rain and while I can't say that it was one of the most enjoyable rides I've ever had, it wasn't awful either.


Bobbie

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Monday, April 10, 2017 4:25 PM

I remember the KennyKon back in 2000, it has become known as the "Monsoon on the Mon". They ran everything in the rain back then as long as they had power. I recall being really pelted on the Racer that day, not an enjoyable experience.

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Monday, April 10, 2017 6:55 PM

Speaking of Dorney, I got tossed out of there around 2:30 one afternoon when they made the decision to close due to weather and low attendance. It rained off and on in the morning and severe storms were expected in the afternoon. Nobody came to the park that day except me and one church group. In the morning I rode everything I wanted to and some things twice just by dodging showers. I rode Steel Force in the rain, which was not pleasant. Too bad too, because I had a feeling I would've really liked that ride if conditions had been better. I rode the Whip a lot.

And it was all good- the early closing gave me a head start on the way to my next stop, Hershey, where the weather went back to being gorgeous. I visited 5 or 6 parks on an east coast swing that summer and I was glad if I had to lose one to an all-day rain it was Dorney.

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