We’ve all been to theme parks when the weather has been less than perfect. Heck, anyone who’s ever been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach has probably been there in the rain at some point. Occasionally when weather is particularly bad, i.e. the rain is really heavy or it’s snowing or thunderstorming, rides have to close, and there are incidents where whole parks have to close due to particularly bad weather. But what happens when the weather is so bad that it forces a theme park to close permanently due to irreparable damage?
The most prolific incident of this that comes to mind is Six Flags New Orleans, which was forced to close permanently in 2005 after the state was hit by Hurricane Katrina. The park is still standing, with many of the attractions still there, despite suffering 11 years’ worth of neglect. Several blockbuster films and TV shows have been filmed there, but the bottom line of the story is that, ultimately, the weather has all but destroyed what was once a thriving theme park.
The reason I bring this up today is because everyone and his dog is talking about Hurricane Matthew, which is currently circulating the southeastern United States. All I’m getting lately in my theme park news feed is that theme parks in Florida are monitoring the situation carefully, with the net result that pretty much all of them are closed today, much to the disappointment of tourists, apprently. Frankly, the tourists would complain if the parks were open and all the rides had to close anyway, so I think shutting the whole park is a sensible thing to do in this instance.
Now, I know that Florida is susceptible to extreme weather because of its tropical climate and location, so in theory they should be fairly well-equipped to deal with this sort of thing. I just think it’s a scary thought that something as iconic as a theme park could be effectively wiped off the face of the earth by a force of nature like this. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to downplay the impact things like this have on the thousands of people who are forced to evacuate or relocate, or have their homes and possessions destroyed. My thoughts are with the people who have already been, and will unfortunately be, affected by this disaster, and my only hope is that it passes leaving as many people unscathed as possible.
But yet, at heart, this is a theme park blog, and I intend to talk about issues as they relate to theme parks. So while I think (and hope) it’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat performance of New Orleans at any time soon, I just thought it was something worth pointing out. It’s really quite humanising to think that our endeavours can be so easily torn down by the forces of nature, and really should teach us a newfound respect for the world we inhabit. Stay tuned for further updates on the impact of Hurricane Matthew, and hopefully more optimistic posts in the days to come.
See you around =] x x