Hurricane Season and Disney World Travel
We are in the midst hurricane season, and that means the whole East Coast is on guard from now though much of October. With Tropical Storm Gonzalo swirling out in the Atlantic possibly threatening Florida in the next couple of weeks, now is a good time for a refresher on Disney and hurricanes.
Florida’s Hurricane Season spans a surprising 6 months. It begins at the start of June and runs through the end of November. Hurricane activity can happen at any time but storms tend to be more plentiful from around the middle to end of August through the end of October.
Steering completely clear of the Hurricane Season isn’t an option for most Disney-goers who must travel on school holidays, during Fall Break etc. Storms aren’t frequent enough to avoid visiting Florida six months out of the year entirely. But I do recommend preparing yourself with some helpful information on what Disney does in the UNLIKELY event that a hurricane impacts your visit.
How Many Times Has Disney Closed Due to a Hurricane?
In all honesty, not that many! Since 1971 there have been 7 Park Closures due to hurricanes. These are as follows:
- 1999- Hurricane Floyd
- 2004- Hurricane Charley
- 2004- Hurricane Frances
- 2004- Hurricane Jeanne
- 2016- Hurricane Matthew
- 2017- Hurricane Irma
- 2019- Hurricane Dorian
Now those are pretty good odds over Walt Disney World’s 48-year history!
This is where Disney’s Hurricane Policy comes in. Many visitors worried about potential hurricanes should read this closely as it will hopefully help to put your mind at ease.
Disney’s Official Hurricane Policy is as follows:
- If a Hurricane Warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando are OR your place of residence within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, guests have the option of calling in advance to reschedule your vacation package or room reservations to another date.
- Under these circumstances, cancellation or change fees would not be imposed by Disney.
- Products and services provided by third-party suppliers included in your vacation (like flights and car rentals) are not refundable by Disney. You would need to contact the companies directly to find out what their individual policies are.
For those looking to reschedule- Disney will make every attempt to match the booking that you are cancelling to a future booking. However, it should be noted that Disney CANNOT guarantee you that the same resort/room category will be available for your new dates. Similarly, if you booked under a promotional discount but want to book at a time that the discount is not available, you will have to forgo your discount.
Since full theme park closures are rare, it is more likely that the parks will remain open in the event of a storm but with restrictions. In the event of bad weather (including lightning storms) Disney will typically close outdoor rides first. Coasters are usually the first to be suspended. Indoor attractions are another story. As long as the park remains open indoor rides and attractions typically stay open as well. That’s why a great rainy day strategy is to head to a theme park where there’s lots to see and do indoors. My favorites in the event of a bad weather day are Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom.
If a hurricane were to make landfall in Florida it could increase the chances of rain for Disney World visitors. Disney is very good at keeping guests updated as to the potential impact of inclement weather.
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