On Friday, July 3rd, 2015 a lightning storm rolled over the Magic Kingdom created some beautiful photos that were shared all over social media.
A lightning bolt can contain up to one billion volts of energy in a single strike and is hotter than the surface of the sun. Also, did you know that Central Florida is the lightning capital of the United States?
Which begs the question, what do theme parks do to try and protect their buildings, guests and employees from lightning strikes? Next time you are at an Orlando theme park, look at the roofs of nearly every building.
Lightning rods dot the rooftops of nearly every single building in Orlando theme parks.
Some are cleverly disguised like this weathervane.
….. or as an antenna…..
Even atop the skyline in the Streets of America, you’ll find plenty of lightning rods.
What is a lightning rod exactly? Developed by Benjamin Franklin (you remember the key being attached to a kite experiment?), it’s a metal rod that extends into the air above a building. All lightning rods on a particular building are connected through a system of copper or aluminum wiring. That wiring runs down the side of the building straight into the ground.
While the metal rods don’t exactly “attract” lightning, they provide a solid conduit for the electricity to travel so it will end up in the ground and not charge the building.
One of my favorite pieces of theme park trivia is at Crossroads of the World at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The 5’6″ tall Mickey Mouse featured on top of the structure features one of the most unique lightning rods on the world. Mickey’s right ear is made out of copper and serves as a lightning rod for the building!
Make sure to follow Theme Park University on Instagram, on Twitter, subscribe on YouTube and like our Facebook page! Want to support Theme Park University? Donate via Paypal! Doing any online shopping? Click on any Amazon link on this page and it helps TPU pay the bills and costs you nothing extra!
Images Copyright: Instagram, Theme Park University