Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on Florida, and the Category 3 hurricane may have one of the Sunshine State’s most popular tourist attractions — Orlando’s Walt Disney World — in its sights. Fortunately, the company has multiple hurricane contingency plans in place, and travel bloggers who have been to the resort during previous hurricanes have nothing but praise for the company’s handling of the situation.
First, The Technical Stuff
If you’ve already booked a Walt Disney World vacation for the next few days, and you’re concerned about Hurricane Dorian and want to cancel, fear not. As Yahoo Lifestyle reports, if a hurricane has been declared by the National Weather Service within seven days of your arrival date either for Orlando or for your home, you can get a full refund.
It is refunded if you booked a Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package through the Walt Disney Company and not with an outside agency. Note, also, that the refund applies only to your vacation package at Walt Disney World; you would have to work out a refund for your airfare or rental car with those companies.
So What Happens If You’re There During A Hurricane?
According to Disney blogger Ziggy Knows Disney, who was there during Hurricane Irma, one (or both) of two things will happen: you’ll either have the parks to yourself or you’ll spend quite a bit of time at your resort hotel.
In a blog post, Ziggy wrote extensively about what he and his family experienced when they visited the Most Magical Place On Earth when Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.
In the days leading up to the hurricane’s arrival, Ziggy writes that he and his family basically had the parks to themselves, without having to wait in long lines, or any lines at all.
He also noted some of the safety features in place in case of a hurricane — those that he could see, at least. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there were plastic bags over the gas lamps. That safety feature was in place so there wouldn’t be shattered glass all over the ground if the lamps were destroyed in the storm.
Unfortunately, the parks did indeed close when the hurricane came through Central Florida, meaning that Ziggy and his family were essentially confined to their hotel.
Fortunately, that didn’t stop the fun. Ziggy describes some of the ways the parks tried to make things comfortable for guests who were confined to their resorts.
“There was non-stop things to do. Even though the parks were closed, Disney brought the parks to us!” he wrote.
Some of the activities included a talent show, a scavenger hunt, and Disney trivia.
So, long story short: If you don’t want to brave a hurricane at Walt Disney World and you booked through the company, you can get your money back. If you decide to brave it, you’ll be safe, you may well have the parks to yourself, and if worse comes to worst, there will be plenty of things to do while you’re confined to your hotel.
By the way, according to The Orlando Sentinel, as of this writing, neither Walt Disney World nor Universal Orlando has announced any park closures ahead of Hurricane Dorian.