Here’s some timely information about what happens in The Orlando Theme Parks when there’s a hurricane.
Severe weather is no stranger to Central Florida.It’s the lightning strike capital of the world, and people who live in or visit central Florida have come to expect the afternoon thundershower as a normal part of life. But sometimes the weather turns really nasty and a hurricane barrels toward Disney World? Disney is so good at the smallest of details, that it’s not surprising that Disney World has plenty of safety procedures in place for guests and cast members alike during such a weather event. Here is what you need to know about hurricanes and Disney World.
1 – Central Florida Hurricane Season
June 1 marks the start of the hurricane season in Central Florida and this runs through until November 30. A hurricane in June or July is rare, but it can happen and hurricanes in August and September are more likely. And the likelihood decreases although they are possible in October and November are possible. Most recently, Disney World operations were impacted by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
2 – Past Closings at Disney World
In the past hurricanes have prompted closures at Disney World.In 1999 Disney World, Universal and Sea World all closed for the first time ever as Hurricane Floyd threatened Florida in September of that year. Luckily the storm changed course and did not impact the area. Again, the big three closed during a string of hurricanes in 2004: Charley (August), Frances (September) and Jeanne (September).Hurricane Frances caused the most problems and closed several attractions for two days. Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (at that time MGM Studios) closed for three days. Charley only affected the parks for one day.In 2016 Disney World was closed by Hurricane Matthew for one evening and a full day because of the threat to the Orlando area in early October. and in September 2017 Hurricane Irma, a category 4 hurricane hit Central Florida directly and Disney World Parks were closed for two full days. Other events like the second night of Night of Joy and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party also were cancelled.
3 – Cancellation Policy During a Hurricane
Needless to say Disney has a Hurricane Policy in place. Here is the official policy:
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.
Universal Orlando has a policy similar to that of Disney but Universal’s also applies to tropical storm warnings. If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning or if a state of emergency is declared for the Orlando area or your place of residence—within seven days of your arrival—Universal will allow you to cancel or reschedule your vacation package, hotel room and tickets without fees.
SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens
There’s a “Peace of Mind” policy at the Seaworld Parks, which is also known as its Named Storm Policy. When under effect, the parks will reschedule or refund vacation packages or park tickets without cancellation or change fees. The policy applies to packages and park tickets booked through SeaWorld Vacations, Busch Gardens Vacations, DiscoveryCove.com, SeaWorld.com, BuschGardens.com, or the contact center.
If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for Central Florida or a guest’s hometown within seven days of your arrival, you can reschedule or cancel your vacation package, tickets, hotel reservations without penalties or fees.