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Despite Record-Breaking Rain, Tourists Keep Storming Anaheim

A costumed Mickey Mouse in bowtie and tails and white gloves stands on a bridge gesturing toward a castle with turrets.
Mickey Mouse poses in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
(Joshua Sudock/Walt Disney World Resorts
Getty Images)
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The relentless onslaught of rain and snow this winter has been a curse to many, but who hasn’t been bothered? Anaheim’s tourists.

Jay Burress, CEO of Visit Anaheim, said this winter’s march of storms hasn’t stopped visitors to the city and its world-renowned attractions, such as Disneyland and the West Coast's largest convention center.

“Crowds have been great,” he said. “We have not seen a drop at all. We've seen some of our highest numbers to date.”

Burress said a combination of travelers having to make reservations early and stick to them for theme parks like Disneyland, as well as post-pandemic “revenge travel” are the main factors for keeping tourism strong.

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Just last week, the convention center hosted the Natural Products Expo West. Some 68,000 people attended, making it the biggest event in the city since before the pandemic, Burress said. Hotels in the city were at 95% of their capacity.

“It's really a consistent flow of visitors from now for the next five weeks and so that takes us right up into the almost summertime, and that's another great season for us,” Burress said. “So things are very positive here right now in Anaheim.”

The numbers for 2022 are even better than just before the pandemic: In 2019, Anaheim received 24.2 million visitors. In 2022, preliminary reports show there were 25.5 million visitors, according to Visit Anaheim’s data.

Burress said Knott's Berry Farm and Magic Mountain were forced to close just one day this month due to stormy weather.

And for many locals, rainy days can be some of the best to attend Southern California’s often-crowded attractions. Temecula resident Johnny Lund grew up going to Disneyland. The rain didn’t stop him from going on Tuesday.

“Space Mountain only had like a 30-minute wait and it was raining,” Lund said. “It was just a lot of fun. Rain or shine, I'm always there. It’s a spot that I would go to as a child, and I continue going to as an adult just because it holds a special place in my heart.”

Lund said that, if anything, the rain enhanced his experience.

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