Though preparing for tropical storms is fairly common for Central Florida theme parks, massive storms are extremely rare on the west coast. In fact, a tropical storm has not made landfall in Southern California since 1939, nearly a hundred years.
However, when Hurricane Hilary, which is expected to weaken to a tropical storm, passes over the southern California area, all that will change. This powerful storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall, flooding, power outages and more to a region that has never dealt with this type of storm in the modern era.
Fortunately, theme parks in the area, including Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego and more are preparing now for the impact of the storm.
Most theme parks are taking a wait-and-see approach to the approaching storm
Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California are monitoring Hilary’s approach and preparing for potential impacts on August 20-21. Thus far, no major theme parks are scheduled to close for the day, but several are closing early to give employees and guests the chance to get to a safe place to ride out the storm.
This includes the Disneyland Resort, which has announced that it will close early on August 20, with Disney California Adventure Park closing at 9 p.m. and Disneyland Park closing at 10 p.m. The Downtown Disney District will close at 11 p.m. Currently, no operations at the resort's on-site hotel have been impacted.
Curiously, the only theme park that is scheduled to close for a full day is the Legoland California water park, which is shut down for now but has tentative plans to reopen on Monday. Even SeaWorld San Diego, which is in the direct path of the storm has not announced reduced hours as the Hilary approaches.
Theme parks encourage guests to stay connected
As the storm makes landfall and impacts are felt, conditions will likely change at the theme parks, with all major parks issuing statements telling guests to monitor their official apps/websites for updates on operations as the storm makes its way into the region. While it is certainly possible that the theme parks are unaffected by the storm, considering the once-in-a-lifetime nature of this event, guests will want to be extra vigilant in the next few days to ensure that they are staying safe in the face of this unusual tropical weather.
According to current projections, Southern California will start seeing major rain on Sunday and potentially lasting through Monday as well. Millions of people in the state are currently under a tropical storm warning that stretches from Los Angeles and San Diego to as far inland as Palm Springs. Governor Gavin Newsom has already declared a state of emergency for the region, and residents are being advised to brace for a years' worth of rain in just a few hours.
You can get more information on the impacts of the storm from the National Hurricane Center here. We will also update this article as and when new information is announced.