Important Hurricane Resources
Please take a moment to read Disney’s Hurricane Policy
NOAA Hurricane will provide you with the latest news and updates about dangerous weather conditions.
Hurricane season in Florida officially starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th. A hurricane can happen any time during the season; however, peak season is mid-August to mid-November. While the odds are low that you will be at Walt Disney World during a hurricane, it’s always best to know the facts and be prepared.
In 2006, Disney World became the first theme park and resort designated “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service. At the time, Disney was the only commercial location in Florida to receive this recognition. Disneyland in California is also Storm Ready.
To be recognized as StormReady, Disney formed an emergency operations center and established multiple ways to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and alert the public. They also have a system that monitors local weather conditions and a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training for cast members.
Here is more information about Storm Ready Status.
Disney’s Hurricane History
Did you know that since opening in 1971 Disney World has only closed 7 times? Six of those closures were weather-related, and the 7th was after 9/11.
1999 – First weather-related closure in Disney history. With Hurricane Floyd bearing down, on September 14th, 1999 Disney closed all four theme parks, Downtown Disney, and the water parks for the first time. They expected to remain closed on September 15th as well, but Floyd took an unexpected last-minute turn and the resort escaped any significant damage. They re-opened two of the theme parks the next day.
2004 – Disney suffered three hurricane-related closures. On August 13, 2004 Hurricane Charley forced the closure of the parks. Less than a month later on September 4-5 Disney closed for Hurricane Frances. Hurricane Jeanne followed on September 26 and the resort was once again forced to close for one day.
2016 – The next closure did not come until Hurricane Matthew on October 6-7, 2016.
2017 – The most recent closure was for Hurricane Irma. The parks closed at 9pm on September 9 and remained closed for the 2 following days.
What happens when Disney gets hit by a hurricane?
If the park is experiencing serious rain and lightning the outdoor attractions will close first. This can happen when a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching or even just an everyday rainstorm. In this situation, the parks will remain open unless they experience dangerous high winds.
If a hurricane is approaching, you may see cast members doing hurricane preparations to protect the park from damage. Occasionally, they will evacuate the park earlier than the normal park closing time. When the park closes, you will be asked to return to your resort to ride out the storm.
Disney will keep you safe and well informed during this process. You will receive frequent updates on your hotel room door and the Disney information channels on your television.
Disney makes guest safety their priority in an emergency. The resort is built to withstand hurricane-force winds and all windows are impact resistant. Because of their inland location, do not expect to see dangerous storm surge and flooding that the coastal areas of Florida experience.
During hurricane preparations, they may ask some guests to move to other resorts. Generally, this applies to guests staying in the Treehouse Villas of Disney Saratoga Springs Resort, and the Fort Wilderness resort cabins. If you are staying in a tent in the campground, you will receive the option to move to another resort. Those with RV’s must remove their vehicles and are encouraged to drive out of the hurricane zone to protect their vehicles.
Disney World transportation will stop before the hurricane hits.
Huffington Post wrote this article about how Disney World prepared for Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Buy Travel Insurance! If you cancel your trip because of a hurricane, this will make it much quicker and easier to receive your refund.
If you’ve brought a vehicle, we suggest you top off your tank if possible, because there may be fuel shortages immediately after a storm.
Fully charge all your devices and backup batteries in case the electricity goes out.
If you have prescription medication, make sure you have an extra 3 days of medication just in case.
Talk to the resort if you need to extend your stay because of the weather.
If your hotel has indoor corridors, they will allow you to walk around the hotel during the storm as long as you don’t go outside. If your hotel door opens to the outside, they will require you to stay inside your room until the storm has passed.
Stock up on food and water and other essentials to keep in your room before the storm hits. Go early because the grocery stores will be packed right before the storm hits.
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