So Hurricane Irma just upgraded to a category 5 storm and Walt Disney World is officially in the "cone of uncertainty". If things continue on this path a landing looks possible as early as this weekend.
What does that mean?
- The cone of uncertainty is the POSSIBLE track the storm could take. Hurricanes have a mind of their own- unfortunately it is impossible to have much time for planning because you never know for sure where it will land.
- A category 5 hurricane is as bad as it gets. The wind speeds, surge from the ocean or gulf, and rainfall are all at their most dangerous. Also expect tornados to nearby communities. Cat 5's are also typically very large and affect even more people.
- Walt Disney World is not on the coast, that does help, but in a storm of this magnitude it can still be dangerous inland as well.
What to Expect if the Hurricane hits.
- Power Outages
- Interruption in Water Service
- Extremely Slow Traffic
- Slow Reaction Time from First Responders
- Gas Lines
- Damage to your Car if it's in a Parking Lot
- Closed Air Ports
But I'm headed to Disney World?!?!
Here is the official Disney page concerning hurricane policies.
Questions I still had after reading the official policy.
- Unfortunately any re-scheduling or cancelling of a trip with full refunds can not happen until a WARNING is issued.
- Warnings are typically not issued until the storm is about 2 days away (with a storm this strong maybe 3 days).
- If you are using a travel agent that IS the same as a direct Disney booking.
- Hurricane Season and Free Dining are the same time- If you need to reschedule the free dining is MAYBE still included. Availability is the key, another reason to make a decision and call as soon as you have a plan if you need to re schedule!
Whoo Hoo- here's my chance at experiencing a Hurricane Party!
Well, Maybe! I'll admit I've had a couple of fun nights waiting out a hurricane by candlelight, BUT we never had a hurricane party for a big storm- we left. At a hotel (even a Disney Hotel) there are some other things to consider.
- Most rooms at Disney Hotels open to the outside. Only some deluxe resorts are entirely indoors and connected to restaurants and the lobby.
- Nobody is in the parks- therefore EVERYONE is in the restaurants, arcades and lobby.
- Getting snacks, water and beverages in the room will be a challenge. Grocery stores are bare!
What if we stay?
- There is often special entertainment at the resorts if the parks do need to close.
- The resorts have boxed lunches to help with restaurant issues (they're not great, or cheap, but they have them)
- If the parks close, your tickets will be refunded (but not your room).
- Disney has very good generators, but that doesn't mean they are 100% reliable, or that full power will be on.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
There is a party scheduled for Sunday the 10th. If the event doesn't happen there will be refunds given. If there is a hurricane warning issued and you chose to re-schedule, a refund is possible. Please remember to specifically mention this when speaking with your travel agent or Disney Reservation about re-scheduling or cancelling your vacation.
Tips for booking a vacation during Hurricane Season
- Use a travel agent, then they can be on the phone for 2 hour hold times... I can suggest a great agency with practical experience for guests with special needs. www.exclusivetravelpartners.com
- Be aware that the season is from August through November, most activity is in September and October- but patterns continue to change and become more intense.
- Strongly consider trip insurance. Refunds and rescheduling only happens with a WARNING. Families with special needs can't always wait that long to take action. The risk of heavy traffic, being stuck in an airport, or being without essentials like electricity and water are to high.
Whatever you decide please be safe!