Hurricane Hilary is due to make a historic landfall as a tropical storm in California on Monday, August 21. Although the rare and dangerous storm has been downgraded to a category two storm, California residents are being warned as conditions are still expected to deteriorate rapidly once the storm arrives. In response, Governor Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency. Disneyland Resort, which sits 26 miles from Los Angeles, finds itself in the path of the now hurricane.
Hurricane Hilary is expected to pack a significant punch according to CBS News, potentially dumping heavy rains over the impacted area. Over-saturation could lead to landslides, rock falls, mudslides, and dangerous debris flows. According to the National Hurricane Center, areas around Baja California Peninsula are already experiencing the outer rims of the storm, with torrential rainfall creating “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.”
Although hurricanes in California aren’t nearly as common as they are in the Eastern part of the United States, Disney Parks are well prepared to enact emergency plans to protect Cast Members and guests. For this reason, Disneyland Resort theme parks will close early on Sunday, August 20, at 10 p.m., with Disney’s California Adventure closing at 9 p.m. In addition, the Downtown Disney District will close at 11 p.m. All resorts will remain open.
The official update is now live on Disneyland's website: pic.twitter.com/EoXDWxUBLF
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) August 20, 2023
As Disney World calls the state of Florida home, Disney is no stranger to handling hurricanes. In 2022, Walt Disney World closed down operations for a period as Hurricane Ian made landfall on the western side of the state, causing extreme damage in the Fort Myers area. Although Hurricane Hilary is not expected to have similar impacts compared to recent Florida storms, the system should still be taken seriously.
Although Hurricane Hilary will hit the Los Angeles area as a tropical storm, heavy rains, and saturated grounds could mean that the risk of falling trees and other structures increases as wind gusts could reach 40 mph. Guests to Disneyland can expect operations to resume normally once Disney has surveyed any potential damage or threat to guests on their California property.
Hurricane Hilary is unique as it is the first storm of its kind to impact Southern California in 84 years. A tropical storm watch is in effect as rain totals could reach anywhere between 6 to 12’. The main concern surrounding this latest storm is flooding, although tornadoes are also a danger. As the storm races towards California, coastal and inland areas like San Diego and Los Angeles can expect output from the storm as early as Sunday. For more information regarding early closures at Disneyland, please refer to Disneyland.com or stay tuned to Disney Dining as more news develops.