The Happiest Place on Earth was one of the wettest places on Earth on Sunday, August 20, 2023. With the arrival of Tropical Storm Hilary, the entirety of Southern California received a deluge of water throughout the day. Tropical Storm Hilary brought 2.1 inches of rain (according to the Apple Weather App) around Disneyland. Despite the rain, it seemed that most people in the parks, both guests and Cast Members, were having a magical day.
The rain started before dawn on Sunday morning. Before the sun came up, the rain came down on supporters of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) who were arriving at the Disneyland Resort for the 31st Annual CHOC Walk in the Park. Thousands of people participated in this 5k stroll through the parks to raise funds and awareness for CHOC and the important care it provides for the children who enter its doors. As the sun came up, the rain continued to fall as walkers made their way through both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure before arriving in Downtown Disney District. For many, this was a walk that will go down in the record books, both literally and figuratively. It was a different walk with lots of smiles and lots of memories made.
As the day continued on, so did the rain. In fact, it seemed to come down throughout the entire day around the Disneyland Resort. It was a fairly steady rain throughout the day. The wind gusts that one assumed would come with a Tropical Storm didn’t really materialize during the day. Instead, an earthquake did. It was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit near Ojai, California. This is about 100 miles north of the Disneyland Resort. However, it could be felt at the Disneyland Resort where it didn’t seem to cause any damage. For this correspondent, it felt like everyting was off balance. Attributing it to just two hours of sleep the night before, the planned livestream walk-through of Disney California Adventure was started shortly after.
The walk around Disney California Adventure livestream showed a lot of rain coming down but not a whole lot else. The park was pretty quiet but the people who were there looked to be having a good time. Some attractions were down either due to the weather or the earthquake. The Pixar Pier entrance restaurant and stores were all closed and evacuated after the earthqake it appeared as well. Watch the tour of Disney California Adventure that was taken just before 3:00 PM.
After the tour of Disney California Adventure, some time was spent drying out. Although the rain rain rain came down down down, the weather was quite warm and humid. A raincoat was quite warm, even though just a shell, due to the warmth of the weather. It was quite weird to have warm weather, high humidity, and warm rain coming down in Southern California.
As the evening began to descend on the Disneyland Resort, the winds began to strengthen. A second livestream was broadcast to show what it was like during Disneyland with Tropical Storm Hilary’s impact. At the start of the stream, the rain continued to come down fairly steadily. However, this changed as the wind began to pick up. At one point, it blew the umbrella covering the livestream broadcast inside out. The rest was done without an umbrella. As with the first tour of Disney California Adventure, the tour of Disneyland showed a park that was fairly empty of guests. The guests that were there often were wearing ponchos and seemed to be enjoying the evening. As the sun fell, the conditions really felt more comfortable as things cooled off a little bit. It was actually quite refreshing. While there was an occasional gust that was stronger, the wind in general was not that crazy (as can be seen in the video). There also weren’t really any areas that were flooded with big puddles. There were some puddles to enjoy, but nothing that was more than a couple of inches deep that the Daps Magic team found.
The arrival of Tropical Storm Hilary was not without impact on Southern California. While the Disneyland Resort was not hit super hard and did not appear to receive damage, other areas around Southern California were not as lucky. Flooded roads, mudslides and downed trees were found throughout the region. This was the first tropical storm to arrive in Southern California since 1939.
Tropical Storm Hilary made history by being the first tropical storm to hit the Disneyland Resort, or even put it under a Tropical Storm Warning. The weather was more of what one would expect to experience at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and not California. It arrived quickly and departed the area just as quickly. By Monday morning, the sun could be seen beginning to burn away the remaining clouds as Californians began to clean up what was left behind by Tropical Storm Hilary.