Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, along with Matterhorn, don't operate when it's raining, or at least they haven't the times I've gone.
For ALL roller coasters, if there is a chance of lightning, then the rides shut down. Rain does not truly affect a roller coaster, gravity does.
Big Thunder has run in the rain, I remember laughing throughout the entire ride while getting wet!
BTMRR and Matty will close when the rain becomes too much (both have segments of track that have ponding of water in a major down pour- not good). Usually the rain isn't that much per hour. Cali rain is more of a drizzle as compared to most places on earth. When those clouds open up and it is pouring down outside, they will shut BTMRR and Matty down until they can displace the ponding water. If there is enough time left in the operating day after the big rains have let up, they will re-open.
W/ RSR and TT (in Florida), it isn't about the rain per se. It is about cloud-to-ground-lightning. If the NWS (National Weather Services) detects and/or has predicted lightning, RSR will shut down and stay shut down until the threat has passed. It has nothing to do w/ pelts of rain drops, nothing to do w/ breaks being too wet on RSR, nothing to do w/ ponding on RSR roads, nothing to do w/ sensors. In fact RSR has the best drainage system of any landscaped attraction.
There is at least one lightning rod embedded within the RSR mountain range for "insurance". But this is not enough when ppl are on the ride. So what can be done? Remove the riders and shut it down. My research shows that there is a holding system that can be used temporarily for different issues, one of them is lightning.
When it rained last Summer 2012, it was the lightning associated w/ the storm that kept the ride closed (a storm generated by the southwest monsoon season). However, I believe that the initial reason was a power-outage (mentioned above by another MCer). If all the reports were correct, there wasn't enough time to cycle all the guests who were in mid-ride off the ride, and it just shut down so ppl had to be walked off. For anyone who went thru this, please tell your stories!!!
Many winter storms in California will have almost no threat of cloud-to-ground-lightning. It will be very interesting to see (as also mentioned in a diff post above) to see how DLR deals w/ winter storms this year - will they keep RSR running when it is a light drizzle w/ a 0 - <5% chance of cloud-to-ground-lightning???
PS: I am hoping to be able to take my first DLR Rain Day trip this winter! I did a ton of research on it and I am passing some of this info on to you guys! :)
Disney in the rain is great! Especially if it's a light drizzle like we get in So Cal. The crowds are low, and people with small children tend to stay home. Plus you can check out the lovely generic Disney umbrellas they wheel out to the front of the stores when it's raining. Like Dory from Nemo says "Just keep selling, just keep selling" or something like that. :lol:
---------- Post added 10-13-2012 at 04:17 AM ----------
Even if RSR gets shut down, I will still be quite happy to be there and shell out some cash for an umbrella and def a poncho!
Yeah, rain can really scare some crowds away. When I was in DL last spring, it had rained fairly heavily the night before, in fact the rain only stopped around 5 in the AM. Yet, when I got to the park at around 8:30, there was hardly anyone there! I live in Vancouver Canada, one of the wettest climates there is, so I wasn't the least intimidated by the puddles on the ground but it was enough to keep crowds small for a good portion of the morning. For example, Space Mtn had about a 10 minute wait for the first hour or two the park was open!