Hurricane Idalia’s Potential Impact on Central Florida and Disney World
After Central Florida appeared likely to avoid the worst yesterday, some recent forecasts have caused a bit more stress.
Here’s what we’ve learned about Hurricane Idalia and its potential impact on Central Florida and Walt Disney World.
First, the Good News
I referenced this yesterday, but it bears repeating.
We have better and more accurate meteorological data than ever before.
So, when airports and theme parks close, that’s worrisome. When they don’t, that’s a sign that these places believe they will avoid the worst.
Yesterday, we received something of a mixed signal on the airport front.
Tampa International Airport closed its operations starting this morning at 12:01 a.m.
Yes, I realize this sounds like terrible news, and it absolutely is for those of you living in the affected area. Please be safe, friends.
However, most of the people reading this don’t live in Florida and are curious about the impact on Walt Disney World more than anything else.
That’s the (current) good news here. First, Orlando International Airport hasn’t closed yet.
Barring something unforeseen, the airport intends to remain open today and tomorrow.
Our airport is open and operational. We continue to monitor the status of Hurricane #Idalia – we do not foresee any significant impact to our operations at this time. If operational changes occur, we'll post about it. Please check with your airline in regards to your flight. pic.twitter.com/qB5nv6C2b8
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) August 29, 2023
Airport officials wouldn’t do that unless they were confident that Orlando will avoid the worst of Hurricane Idalia.
Similarly, Walt Disney World hasn’t announced any theme park operational changes of note for tomorrow, August 30th.
We will discuss some closures in the final section, though.
As mentioned yesterday, Disney has implemented its inclement weather cancellation policies.
From now through September 4th, guests may modify or cancel their plans without experiencing cancellation fees.
Thankfully, such vacation plan disruptions appear unnecessary. Here’s why.
Orlando’s Mayor Provides an Update
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings spoke on Tuesday. During a 30-minute press conference, the mayor explained Orlando’s status.
You can watch the entire press conference here:
LIVE: Hurricane Idalia Update #2 | August 29, 2023 https://t.co/726hqQTCz9
— Orange County FL (@OrangeCoFL) August 29, 2023
The quick take here is that Central Floridians should expect sustained winds of at least 40 miles per hour.
At times, the wind velocity could increase to 55 miles per hour.
The current forecast calls for these high winds to start around midnight and last for 12 hours or so.
Demings took this information straight from the National Weather Service. It should be reliable.
While the forecast suggests rainfall of as much as 5 inches in parts of Orlando, the extreme wind represents the most significant concern.
Orange County, Florida, has now joined the counties I mentioned yesterday as part of Florida’s State of Emergency declaration.
As a reminder, Orange County hosts most of the Walt Disney World campus.
The other part is in Osceola County, which has also joined the State of Emergency list.
Demings stressed that he has closed several governmental offices tomorrow for safety reasons.
Still, Central Florida appears better situated for this storm than other parts of the Sunshine State.
In fact, Demmings and United States Representative Maxwell Frost, who serves in an Orlando district, encouraged Floridians to stay in Orlando.
The sheer volume of available hotel rooms in the area and the safety of Walt Disney World hotels make Orlando an ideal locale during hurricane weather.
Frost added the following for Orlando residents:
“We want everyone to know, please take today to continue to prepare for the storm.
Go to the store, get the supplies that you need, fill up your tank of gas, go home, and then stay home.
So that way, other folks who are out can ensure that they can prepare as well.”
Impact on Walt Disney World
While the theme parks currently list their planned operating hours, we have noticed a couple of possible changes.
As these images indicate, Disney is closing its mini-golf courses and water parks tomorrow.
That’s the correct move since few tourists would have an interest in Putt-Putt and swimming in a hurricane anyway. And the ones who would probably ought to be saved from themselves.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park will be closed on August 30. Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will also be closed tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/LE1WxNgqhk
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) August 29, 2023
MickeyBlog will update this section throughout the next 24 hours if/when anything changes.
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