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emporium disney world magic kingdom
Credit: Disney Parks/Canva Creation

Lightning Strikes Magic Kingdom’s Emporium, strikes fear in Guests on Main Street

Central Florida is notorious for its rainy weather.

Recent nationwide dry conditions excluded, Guests who visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida–especially in the spring and summer–can be almost guaranteed a rainshower (or several) if they spend any length of time in the area.

state of florida with sun and rain

Credit: Canva Creation

The Orlando area is known for its humid subtropical climate, per TripSavvy:

Central Florida, which includes the Orlando area, has a humid subtropical climate. The area gets an average of 53 inches of rain every year, while the average in the U.S. is 32 inches per year. Its rainy season is from May through October, so you’ll need an umbrella for sure at that time of year.

But the area isn’t as prone to severe thunderstorms with lightning as other areas are, although many Guests of Disney World can recall times when they’ve visited and have been caught in storms with lightning, thunder, and even heavy rains that result in the temporary flooding of Guest areas in the parks.

Disney guests swim in flooded Magic Kingdom streets (Credit: Cassie Claire Chase)

Credit: ClickOrlando/Cassie Claire Chase

Recently, Guests at Disney World have been seeing lots of rain from time to time while in the parks, and some of that rain has been ushered in with thunder and lightning.

Over the weekend, TikTok user AllCentralFlorida posted a video in which loud thunder can be heard, and a flash of lightning can be seen as the camera faces Cinderella Castle. It’s raining, and Guests can be seen taking cover when all of the sudden, a loud crash can be heard, and the flash of lightning can be seen, though the lightning strike itself is out of the view of the camera.

@allcentralflorida When lightning hits the emporium. #wdw50 #waltdisneyworld #lightning #fyp #xyzbca #magickingdom #disney ♬ original sound – James | AllCentralFlorida

In another video from the weekend, TikTok user WorldofWilsons captured a lightning strike over Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Her video is shared in slow-motion so viewers can see the terrifying bolt of lightning as it pierces the sky and touches down briefly.

@worldofwilsons I love it when I’m at home lol makes me a little nervous when I’m out in it 😂⚡️🌩 #livinginflorida #lightningstorms #floridalife #floridaweatherproblems #floridaweather #floridastorms #floridalightning #floridaliving #disneyworldweather #distoks #disneytiktoks #distokfam #lightningbolts #magickingdompark #disneyworld #florida @Disney Parks ♬ original sound – 2NurseGals

According to Weird DisneyCentral Florida sees more lightning than any other part of the country–on average, the area sees more than 50 lightning strikes per square mile. Lightning can be beautiful and awe-inspiring from a distance, but it can be deadly too.

lightning strike grand floridian resort disney world

Credit: TikTok/@WorldofWilsons

But Disney World takes measures to keep Guests safe from such threats. Scattered across the Walt Disney World Resort are several hidden lightning rods: hidden, but in plain sight, really; although Guests may never even realize they’re looking at a lightning rod.

crossroads tower disney's hollywood studios

Credit: Becky Burkett

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the right ear on the Mickey Mouse that stands atop the Crossroads kiosk tower near the entrance to the park is lightning rod. It’s made of copper and, as with any other non-Mickey lightning rod, it attracts the lightning to it. When a bolt of lightning strikes the rod, its millions of volts of energy are channeled through the copper around the structure and into the ground below, keeping Guests safe.

Also, the weather vane atop the Hall of Presidents structure at Magic Kingdom‘s Liberty Square is lightning rod, and at the highest point on the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, spires that look like finials on the structure are actually lightning rods as well.

tower of terror getting struck by lightning

Credit: Disney Parks

(Note: the Hollywood Tower Hotel was struck by lightning during a freak storm back in 1939, and 5 people in the elevator disappeared and have never been seen again. Or so the story of the attraction goes.)

It’s important to keep in mind that although there are safeguards in place at Disney World to prevent injuries to Guests during storms, if you see lightning in the area, it’s a good idea to seek shelter indoors until the storm passes. 

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!