What Do Disney Fans Need to Know about Hurricane Season 2022?
As of June 1st, we officially enter hurricane season.
Will the weather impact your Walt Disney World vacation? Unfortunately, even Madame Leota’s crystal ball cannot say for sure right now.
Still, you need to know plenty about hurricane season at Walt Disney World.
Let’s Talk about Recent Hurricane Seasons
Let’s start with what we “know” about the upcoming hurricane season.
Basically, that’s a lot of projections based on historical data and current weather trends. Realistically, some of the information I’m about to present is as reliable as a coin flip.
During a “normal” season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) tracks 14 named storms.
Out of those 14 weather events, half usually turn into hurricanes. So, that’s seven per year that can cause problems.
On average, three hurricanes qualify as major. Those are the ones that we all live in fear of experiencing.
During the past two years, weather events have escalated in frequency. The NOAA recognized 21 named storms, out of which seven evolved into hurricanes.
Four of them worsened until the NOAA listed each one as a major hurricane. Those were Grace, Ida, Larry, and Sam.
Three others – Fred, Elsa, and Henri – impacted the Atlantic coast enough to cause problems.
The most devastating hurricane of 2021 was Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Katrina. It was a horrific reminder of one of the worst hurricanes of the 21st century.
Still, 2020 proved even worse, as it featured an unprecedented number of named storms.
The NOAA identified 30, more than double an average year. Due to naming conventions for such storms, the NOAA ran out of letters in the English alphabet.
In a rare turn of events, some named storms gained Greek letters for names. Eleven of these storms reached landfall in America.
That brings me to a significant point. 2021 marked the sixth straight year of more named storms than average.
Weather events are growing more frequent. Read into that what you will.
What about 2022?
Experts believe we’ll experience an above-average amount of stormy weather during the upcoming hurricane season.
Given recent trends, that strikes me as a safe bet, albeit one I’d love to lose.
Even worse, named storms can occur before the start of hurricane season on June 1st.
America may face such a scenario this week. Some indicators suggest that a tropical wave off the coast of Africa is just getting started.
If the storm grows in ferocity, measured by the miles per hour of the winds, it’ll elevate to a tropical depression.
Should the winds pick up even more, the NOAA would give the storm a name. Some early reports suggested it’s Anna, but that’s incorrect.
They’ve picked up an old story from last year, as Anna was a named storm in May of 2021. Still, the name doesn’t matter. All we care about is the threat of severe weather.
Even so, pre-hurricane season weather events rarely prove dangerous, just inconvenient. Ergo, we should be fine until June.
At that point, we could be in for a frustrating few months. Colorado State University’s Dr. Phil Klotzbach has published his 2022 predictions.
These forecasts call for 19 named storms, nine of which will turn into hurricanes. Four of them should escalate into major hurricanes.
That would cause a significant amount of tension during hurricane season.
Four major hurricanes are a LOT, and it could mean that we get multiple events during the same month. That’s usually the worst-case scenario.
When multiple major hurricanes reach land within the same month, the cities on the Atlantic coast struggle under the burden.
How Do Hurricanes Impact Walt Disney World?
Disney has modified its hurricane policies over the past decade. Historically, the parks only closed for major hurricanes like Floyd and only when they approached land.
Recently, Disney has adopted a more cautious approach to inclement weather. Now, any hint of a hurricane making land could cause the parks to close.
When that happens, Disney refunds park tickets and takes the best possible care of guests.
In 2019, I wrote a recap of the first day of Hurricane Dorian’s impact at the parks.
The gist is that the hurricane never proved a threat. However, Disney proactively closed its parks early and treated resort guests to some unprecedented experiences.
Various characters hung out in hotel lobbies, performing extended meet-and-greets with the tourists.
The restaurants also served food at massive discounts. For example, Whispering Canyon Café served its all-you-care-to-enjoy skillets for $15!
That’s about 60 percent off the standard rate. Other, less expensive options were readily available as well.
Cast members handed out box lunches that satisfied guests and cost less than $10.
Also, you never know who you might meet when you’re all trapped at the hotel together.
Kristen Bell famously entertained the crowds during Hurricane Irma in 2017. I wrote a recap about it at the time. She’s the absolute best.
Of course, from a tourist perspective, you’re probably the most worried about the financial loss.
Happily, I can assure you that Disney takes care of its guests during hurricanes. You’ll likely receive refunds for the various parts of your vacation.
Also, cast members will go overboard to find you safe transportation home. That’s invaluable to people who don’t want to vacation in a hurricane.
Could a Hurricane Impact Your Vacation?
Obviously, the answer is yes. However, you should understand the math here.
Walt Disney World has closed its parks due to inclement weather less than 15 times in 50 years.
So, the odds of a hurricane impacting your trip are extremely low. And even if it does, you can take heart in the knowledge that Disney will take care of you.
I’m not joking when I say that some of the Disney resort stories over the years have made me wish I was there during weather events.
That may sound crazy, but I’ve written many times about the impeccable nature of Disney architecture.
For example, Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth are hurricane-proof.
Since there’s no reason to worry about anything untoward happening, I wouldn’t mind experiencing Disney’s improvisation during stormy weather.
I doubt you’re quite so ambitious. Still, in reading this, you should recognize that you’re perfectly safe at Disney during hurricane season.
The parks close about once every three years on average, and the worst weather you’re likely to experience is rain.
If the situation appears dire, Disney will contact you and explore options for your trip. So, you’re completely covered no matter what.
Still, I think we’ll all be happy if the 2022 hurricane season proves to be a non-factor. We’re overdue for one of those.
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