As we await more information on the exact path of Hurricane Dorian and anticipate its potential impact on Florida, we can’t help but notice the countless questions on social media about how the storm may impact people’s WDW vacations.
While there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Dorian, we would like to take this opportunity to share some information that everyone should keep in mind while planning a WDW trip during hurricane season.
Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st and continues through November 30th. It is important to remember that tropical weather can develop at any time, but the months of June through November are the time of year when tropical development is most likely.
Now, before this turns into something you would expect to find on The Weather Channel’s website, let’s focus on the Disney side of things.
One of the most common questions we have seen on various social media pages has been, “Will Disney close the parks if a hurricane hits?” The answer to that is, maybe.
Since WDW first opened, the parks have only closed due to hurricanes a total of eight days. The parks being shut down completely due to weather is highly unlikely. Unless the guests and cast members are in serious danger, the parks are unlikely to close because of the weather.
WDW was built to function as its own city, essentially. Because of this, the entire resort is able to continue business as usual through most weather-related events.
If you’re wondering what it would be like to stay in a WDW hotel during a hurricane, we can answer that in one word: safe. WDW is widely known as the safest place to be in central Florida during a hurricane. The hotels are built to withstand a category 5 hurricane, far exceeding building codes. Cast members working in the hotels go above and beyond expectations to make sure guests remain safe, entertained, and as comfortable as possible when hurricanes and tropical storms hit Orlando.
When Hurricane Irma hit Orlando back in September 2017, I actually looked into staying at one of the Disney hotels, before finally deciding to ride out the storm at home. Living so close to WDW, it was nice to have that safe option, if it had been necessary.
In regards to what happens if you decide to cancel or reschedule your trip due to a hurricane, you can read Disney’s full hurricane policy, as well as other related information, here.
In the event that a hurricane directly impacts Orlando and Walt Disney World, a curfew may be put in place to keep people off of the roads and out of danger. Most recently, this was the case during Hurricane Irma. These curfews are put in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Only during extreme emergencies is anyone allowed on the roads while these curfews are in effect. To put it very simply, if you are on the roads during a curfew issued during a hurricane, you had better be driving to the nearest hospital, otherwise, you are subject to arrest.
If you are staying on Disney property during a hurricane, you will have access to water and food, but restaurants may be closed if the storm is severe enough. You will want to purchase food at a grocery store before the storm hits. Stock up on enough food to last you and anyone staying with you for at least a few days. Grocery stores and gas stations tend to completely sell out of supplies before a storm arrives.
An option that is available, if you allow enough time, is to order food and other supplies on Amazon Prime and have them delivered directly to your hotel. Many locals have used this option to have supplies delivered to their home as supplies have sold out in stores ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s potential arrival. Other delivery services may be available for guests staying in Disney hotels, as well.
Everyone has a different level of comfort when it comes to dealing with storms. Only you know whether or not you feel comfortable riding out a hurricane at WDW. As we said, WDW is widely known as the safest place to be in central Florida during a hurricane, but some people still may not feel comfortable staying through a storm. As expensive as WDW vacations are, and as much as you may have been looking forward to your vacation for a long time, we urge you to always keep in mind that your safety and the safety of your loved ones is far more important than any vacation. If you don’t feel safe in the path of a hurricane, then there is no reason to take such a big risk. You can always come back and visit again another time.
We hope we have helped to answer at least some of the questions you may have about what happens if a hurricane impacts your WDW vacation.
Did you find this information helpful? Have you ever experienced a hurricane while vacationing at WDW? Do you have any other questions that we did not answer? Let us know in the comments.
XOXO, Halie and Danny