Disney World Abandoned During “Catastrophic” Hurricane

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Storm rolling in over Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Kevin-Davis-Photography / Flickr

Today, Hurricane Idalia has made landfall and will unprecedentedly potentially move into a catastrophic category five hurricane as it continues to rip across Florida. It landed as a life-threatening category-four storm.

NBC2 News weather report on hurricane Idalia, heading towards Florida
Credit: NBC2 News

Hurricanes are unpredictable in nature, and the power of Idalia is seemingly stronger than many expected. The New York Times shared, “Hurricane Idalia made landfall about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday in Taylor County, a sparsely populated section of Florida’s swampy Big Bend coast, with powerful 125 miles-per-hour winds that toppled trees and pushed torrents of dark water onshore, flooding the small fishing villages that dot a vast swath of shoreline.”

Related: Orlando Airport Reveals Disney World Flight Cancelation Prediction Amid Vicious Hurricane Reports

Briefly a Category 4 storm overnight, Idalia dropped back to Category 3 strength just before sunrise and will hopefully not pick up winds again. “Don’t mess with this storm,” Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida warned in an early-morning news conference, telling residents not to put themselves in jeopardy. “It’s going to be a significant, significant impact.”

ICON Park with hurricane-like clouds forming in the sky
Credit: ICON Park

As of 7 a.m., the “catastrophic” storm had 125 mile-per-hour winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its winds had previously reached 130 m.p.h., the threshold for a Category 4 storm.

At least partial evacuation orders were in place for 30 of Florida’s 67 counties as of early Wednesday. Some areas could be submerged by 12 to 16 feet of flooding and hit with destructive waves, according to the Hurricane Center.

Walt Disney World Resort, located in Orlando Florida made the decision to remain open today, and to not have the storm deeply affect their operations. At the moment, there is stormy weather and wind gusts in Orlando. However, it is in much better shape than many other areas of Florida. Disney would never make the choice to remain open if the storm was dangerous to the guests visiting, or the Cast Members working. 

A group of people walking under the rain at Disney
Credit: GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

Walt Disney World Resort as a whole is actually one of the safest places to be if you ever find yourself in Central Florida during a hurricane. Disney World Resorts are all built to withstand any storm and have backup power supplies to ensure that guests are always feeling immersed in the magic of the resort’s theme and not thinking about the terrible weather outside.

Related: Time Traveler Prediction Comes True, Hurricane Headed for Disney World

They do this so well that many locals even book a stay at a Disney Resort when they know a bad hurricane is on the way. So, if you are visiting Disney World during hurricane season, rest assured that your Disney Resort hotel will keep you safe and warm if any bad storms hit Orlando during your trip.

Now, even though the theme parks may remain open, it was interesting to see what would happen in terms of guest attendance. Below, you can see that the majority of the attractions are only at a five-minute wait, including Toy Story Mania!, Na’vi River Journey, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and more! Rise of the Resistance is a low 20-minute wait!

Credit: Screenshot via My Disney Experience
Credit: Screenshot via My Disney Experience
wait times at Walt Disney World during hurricane Idalia
Credit: Screenshot via My Disney Experience

Overall, if you are at Walt Disney World Resort today, you are in fantastic hands. Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT clearly remain a ghost town as many have chosen not to go out in the storm, leaving wait times at an all-time low.

haunted mansion storm
Credit: Mike Buchawiecki / Flickr

Cinderella Castle as a whole was also constructed to be able to withstand any hurricane. The Magic Kingdom centerpiece is made up of gypsum, plaster, and fiberglass, and contrary to what some may think, nothing needs to ever be removed from the castle during a hurricane, not even the spires! This is something we have seen proven with hurricane Dorian, hurricane Irma, hurricane Matthew, and many other tropical storms.

Disney World has only had to close six times due to hurricanes since opening in 1971. Below is a list of each hurricane closure recorded since Disney World opened:

  • Hurricane Floyd – 1999
  • Hurricane Charlie – 2004
  • Hurricane Francis – 2004
  •  Hurricane Jeanne – 2004
  • Hurricane Matthew – 2016
  • Hurricane Irma – 2017
  • Hurricane Dorian – 2019
storm at walt disney world lightning striking cinderella castle
Credit: Reddit (@Its_a_secret2012)

It should be noted, however, that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon did close for the day, which is not surprising being that it is a water park with only outdoor attractions, and a hurricane is not the most appealing day to hop on Crush ‘n’ Gusher.

Would you go to Walt Disney World in a hurricane?

If you are looking to visit Walt Disney World Resort for a magical vacation, the Walt Disney World Website can be a great tool to begin planning your trip! You can begin exploring their theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. You can also take a look at their water parks where you can splash around in the chill of Disney’s Blizzard Beach (alongside new Frozen characters, Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Kristoff), or hit the waves at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. When you get hungry or want to go shopping, Disney Springs is the place to be, especially with World of Disney there ready to help you pick up some souvenirs! You can also begin looking for your Disney World Resort! If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe monorail Resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a Value Resort where you can hop on the Skyliner like Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it is always fun to begin looking for a room that would best suit you and your party. Plus, it has all the information you need to know on Disney Genie+ so that you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.



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