lightning spaceship earth epcot
Credit: TikTok/@StreamingtheMagic

VIDEO: Lightning strikes Spaceship Earth at EPCOT!

Tonight, as storms rolled through the theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida, a video posted online appears to show the Spaceship Earth structure at EPCOT being struck by lightning.

spaceship earth

Credit: Becky Burkett/Disney Dining

As two Guests were live-streaming from EPCOT during the storms tonight, the sky was filled with the illumination of episodes of continual lightning. At one point during the live stream, a huge lightning bolt pierced the night sky and reached down toward the Spaceship Earth structure, seemingly striking the structure.


Wow! Lightning strikes spaceship earth at Epcot Disney World during Kristen & Adam’s live stream on Streaming The Magic #disneyparks #spaceshipearth #lightningbolt

♬ original sound – Streaming The Magic

RELATED: This “Beacon of Magic” is still the Beacon of EPCOT, and there’s far more to it than meets the eye

However, since Disney has hidden hundreds of lightning rods throughout the parks, it’s unlikely that the bolt actually hit Spaceship Earth; it’s far more likely that it hit a lightning rod atop the nearly 200-foot-tall structure.

According to Weird Disney, Central 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.


Credit: NYT

That’s why there are lots of hidden lightning rods scattered around the Walt Disney World Resort–many in plain sight, but you might never know they were lightning rods. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Mickey Mouse that stands atop the high tower of the Crossroads kiosk near the entrance to the park is a lightning rod; well, his right ear is. It’s made of copper and, as with any other non-Mickey lightning rod, it attracts the lightning to it. Once a bolt strikes the rod, the rod channels the millions of volts of energy produced by the lightning through the copper around the structure and into the ground below.

crossroads of the world disney hollywood studios

Credit: Disney Parks

The weather vane atop the Hall of Presidents structure at Magic Kingdom‘s Liberty Square is also a lightning rod, as are the spires at the topmost point of the Hollywood Tower Hotel that houses the Tower of Terror attraction at Hollywood Studios. (That place was struck by lightning back in 1939, and 5 people in the elevator disappeared and have never been seen again. Or so the story goes.)

lightning rod hall of presidents tower of terror disney world

Credit: Disney Parks

Seeing a lightning flash can be fascinating, but because of the dangers associated with lightning    Disney has very specific procedures in place in the event of a lightning storm anywhere within 10 miles of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Per Disney’s website, the Walt Disney World Lightning Policy states the following:

“Event operations will shut down when lightning is 10 miles out from the event areas. Event operations will not resume until the lightning is 10 miles out moving away from the event areas. The event management team will consult with Walt Disney World Resort Management on a course of action to utilize the operational rain plan, delay the event or cancel the event.”

How Lightning Works | HowStuffWorks

Credit: HowStuffWorks

Here’s hoping a thunderstorm doesn’t dampen your day at Disney World, but if it threatens to, check out these ideas for saving your day at the parks if inclement weather is forecast.

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!