Since Hurricane Irma is on track to reach Florida by this weekend, your Walt Disney World vacation will be impacted. The parks will close early Saturday and will remain closed on Sunday and Monday. Last year it was closed for Hurricane Matthew, the first time in over a decade the park closed for a hurricane.
Disney issued a statement on Irma, which reads: “Walt Disney World Resort is operating under normal conditions and continues to monitor the path of Hurricane Irma. Form more information, review frequently asked questions regarding our hurricane policy.” You can find the hurricane policy below. You can also call (407) 939-5277 for information.
The following Disney events have been cancelled:
– Night of Joy Event (Saturday, September 9)
– Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Sunday, September 10)
– Blizzard Beach is closed for Friday and Saturday.
The Friday, September 8 Halloween Party is still on track, as is the ESPN Wide World of Sports show that night. You can call (407) 939-7818 or email Ticket.Inquiries@DisneyWorld.com for ticket exchanges.
In the public advisory from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at 2:00 p.m. ET, the agency said Irma is still a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds at 170 mph. It is moving west at 16 mph. Hurricane watches are in effect for Jupiter south, including the Florida Keys.
By Sunday morning, the outer bands of the storm are expected to reach South Florida. Although the storm is several days away, Florida Governor Rick Scott has already declared a State of Emergency for all 67 Florida counties. That includes Orange County, where Disney World is located. Even if the storm doesn’t make a direct hit to Central Florida, you can still expect rains and winds to impact your dream vacation.
Walt Disney World has closed for hurricanes only four times in the past. Last year, all four theme parks closed early on Thursday, October 6 and was closed for Friday, October 7. The parks were back up and running for Saturday, October 8.
According to Disney’s Hurricane Q&A page, if a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or where you live, you can call 407-939-7675 to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company “Magic Your Way” vacation package. Room-only reservations can also be cancelled easily without facing charges if booked through Disney. If you booked your vacation through a third-party, you have to contact that firm directly, not Disney, the company says.
Here’s the policy from Disney’s site:
If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area—or for your place of residence—within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. If you have products and services provided by third-party suppliers included in your vacation—such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies—you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.
Although no hurricane warnings have been issued for the Orlando area yet, Scott’s State of Emergency declaration means that Disney’s disaster relief center is on alert, Theme Park Tourist notes. This means that staff members will be ready to implement a “tie down” process to secure areas that could be damaged by wind if needed. They will also be planning on taking care of guests at the park when the storm hits.
In the case of Matthew, Disney staff allowed guests at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds to be moved to other hotels at no extra cost. An episode of ABC’s The View was supposed to be taped at EPCOT, but that was cancelled. Other events, including “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party,” were cancelled and cast members started the “tie down” process to make sure everything was secure at the parks on October 5.
Before Hurricane Matthew, Disney hadn’t closed for a hurricane in more than a decade. In 2004, the park was closed from September 4 to September 5 for Hurricane Frances and on September 26 for Hurricane Jeanne. The first time the park closed for a hurricane was on September 15, 1999, for Hurricane Floyd.