All eyes are currently on the weather as people watch to see what will happen with Hurricane Irma that is schedule to hit land sometime tonight or tomorrow.
One area for concern seems to be central Florida, which is the home of Walt Disney World.
While people know that weather can dampen their Disney vacation, it is good to know what happens if there is a hurricane projected to hit the area during your vacation.
Luckily, Disney makes safety its top priority and has addressed issues that may arise during the unpredictable hurricane season.
Q: What happens if a hurricane warning is called within seven days of my planned vacation?
Disney A: Disney’s response is that if the National Hurricane Center has issued a warning for either your hometown or the Orlando area, you can call in advance to reschedule or cancel your vacation package and most room only reservations (booked through Disney) without the Disney fees imposed. This does not include any third party products such as airfare, rental cars, etc.
This also includes Disney’s Vero Beach Resort of Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
Q: If I need to reschedule due to a hurricane, will I be guaranteed my same accommodations?
Disney A: Disney says they cannot guarantee the availability of similar accommodations for your newly scheduled travel days. However, all of the money that you paid for your accommodations, theme park tickets, dining plans and other Disney services will be applied to your future trip.
Any discounts or special offers that applied to your original reservation will not apply to your new reservation. This includes, if you were getting the free dining plan offer during your original travel dates, and rescheduled during a time that is not offered, you will need to pay for the dining plan.
Q: Will Walt Disney World close in the event of a hurricane?
A: The short answer is yes. If history is any indication, the parks have closed at least four times due to anticipation of hurricanes: Sept. 15 in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, Sept. 4-5 2004 for Hurricane Francis and later in the same year, Sept. 26 for Hurricane Jeanne. Hurricane Charlie in 2004 was also responsible for a multi-day closure.
Q: Does Disney have an evacuation plan in place?
A: Yes. Disney will evacuate because safety is their top priority. You can believe that Disney has a plan in place to handle this in an orderly and timely manner. Here is a video of the evacuation of the parks for Hurricane Charlie:
Q: I am stuck in a hurricane at Walt Disney World, now what?
A: No one wants to be in this position, but find comfort in the fact that Disney will do whatever they can in their power to make sure that you are safe and comfortable.
TouringPlans.com, a wonderful website, said in a post that on-property guests have participated in movie marathons and ate from sandwich buffets while waiting it out. If things get really dangerous guests will be asked to evacuate their rooms and move to a protected, interior ballroom at the hotel.
And, you can find comfort in the fact that Walt Disney World earned the Storm Ready designation from the NOAA, which makes it one of the safest places in the United States if a storm would strike.
Have you ever been to Walt Disney World during a hurricane? Leave your comments below.