How a Hurricane or Tropical Storm May Impact Your Disney Trip

in Walt Disney World

Tropical Storm Disney World

On the Eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, just past the Leeward Islands, a Storm is brewing. And it appears to be heading for Florida.

This is the beginning of a story that is, unfortunately, told over and over again between June 1 and November 30. It is the time of year when Hurricanes and Tropical Storms have a habit of forming and can seriously impact would-be Walt Disney World Guests.

For our readers preparing for or currently enjoying their Walt Disney World Vacation, we at Inside the Magic will continue to share news of developing storms and how they will or could potentially affect your stay at Walt Disney World as more information comes to light.

2020 Storms Potentially Impacting Walt Disney World

So far, the 2020 hurricane season has produced two storms that posed a risk to your Walt Disney World vacation: Hurricane Isaias and Tropical Storm Laura.

Tropical Storm Laura

Tropical Storm Disney World
Credit: Fox35 Orlando

When Tropical Storm Laura formed off of the Lesser Antilles in mid-August, the first tracks had it heading for Walt Disney World. However, it now appears to be moving further and further west, over Puerto Rico, Hispanola, and Cuba, and it is now expected to completely miss the Florida Penninsula entirely.

Click here to read our up-to-date coverage.

Hurricane Isaias

“Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine” formed into Tropical Storm and then Hurricane Isaias at the end of July with meteorologist putting Walt Disney World almost directly in the center of the cone of uncertainty.

However, as Isaias developed, it was also pushed further and further east until it completely missed the Florida Penninsula.

Potential Path of Soon-to-be Tropical Storm Isaias
Credit: NOAA

Monitoring the Storms

We based our hurricane coverage around the moment when Walt Disney World and the rest of Central Florida are placed in “The Cone of Uncertainty.” This area contains the probable path the storm can take in the coming days.

But that predicted path often changes due to a variety of factors.

For example, as these two tropical depressions evolved into Tropical Storms or Hurricanes, they have also had to overcome a lot of distance and terrain before they reach Florida. Most notably, they have to climb over the mountainous islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, and possible wind shear over the Straits of Florida.

Tropical Storm Flag.
Credit: shootingmyuniverse.com

“Simply put, there are a lot of hurdles in the system’s way, so it is best to stay on the conservative side at the moment and continue to stress the large uncertainty after it leaves the Caribbean,” a Hurricane Center advisory said about Isaias.

How Hurricanes Impact Florida, Disney World

If a storm reaches a certain size and trajectory to where it poses a serious risk to Florida, it will gain the attention of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. During Isaias, for example, DeSantis tweeted the following.

We are closely monitoring a tropical system with @FLSERT. Forecasts are predicting heavy rainfall and strong winds will impact Florida beginning Saturday through early next week. Floridians should prepare now by having at least 7 days of disaster supplies.”

If need be, Governor DeSantis will also declare a state of emergency for certain parts of Florida.

The Walt Disney World Resort will also issue a statement notifying and reassuring Guests of the status of the resort, precautionary measures being taken, and the value they put on their Guests’ safety. They will also reach out to Guests and communicate available options. However, neither Isaias nor Laura has posed a big enough threat to require such actions.

The last time Disney World issued a statement regarding an impending hurricane was during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and they said the following:

The Walt Disney World Resort is operating under normal conditions. We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather, as nothing is more important than the safety of our Guests and Cast Members. 

We are taking precautions, including cancelling weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park on Sunday. We are also contacting Guests with current and upcoming reservations at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to plan for anticipated weather impacts.

Read More: Disney World issues special statement ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes bring with them a lot of wind and a lot of rain. Tropical Storms have minimum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. A category 1 hurricane has sustained winds between 75 and 95 miles per hour. A category 2 hurricane brings sustained winds between 96 and 110 miles per hour. A category 3 hurricane records sustained winds between 111 and 129 miles per hour. A category 4 hurricane has sustained winds between 130 and 156 miles per hour and a category 5 hurricane has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or higher.

These storms do not have to hit Disney World at all to deliver heavy rains and dangerous winds. Depending on the intensity of the weather, events will be canceled, airports like Orlando International will close, and in the event of a really strong impending storm, entire Disney World theme parks will be closed and Guests will be confined to their resort hotels.

hurricane disney world

But if you find yourself staying on Walt Disney World property when a storm makes its way there as well, we at Inside the Magic want to reiterate what we said last year: there is no safer place to be in Florida during a major storm than Walt Disney World property. 

We understand that Walt Disney World Resort vacations are continuously beginning, ongoing, and ending. For those poor unfortunate souls with the same check-in dates and Disney Park Passes scheduled as a hurricane, we want you to be aware and understand the potential conditions so you can make informed decisions about whether to leave early or even go through with the trip at all.

This is the reality of Hurricane Season, and when it comes to visiting the Walt Disney World resort during hurricane season, it is always a good idea to know your options. That is why we continue to recommend our friends at Academy Travel. Academy’s agents will work with you to keep you informed and well aware of your options in case certain situations arise where you need to modify your trip. Click here to learn more and receive your free, no-obligation quote today.

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