State of Emergency Declared for Disney World, Universal Resort

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

A split photo showing Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort with a red sign saying "state of emergency"

Credit: Inside The Magic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially declared a State of Emergency for the county where Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort reside. Here is the latest update as Hurricane Idalia approaches Florida.

state of emergency - A hurricane evacuation sign with the Magic Kingdom castle and stormy weather in the background
Credit: Inside The Magic

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State of Emergency – Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World – Recent Updates Amidst Hurricane Idalia’s Rapid Approach

Some new updates have been released from Disney World concerning Hurricane Idalia as it makes its rapid approach toward Florida. Universal has also removed some updated statements for guests and those seeking shelter.

Here is the information pulled directly from the official Disney website:

  • For Guests staying at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: As we continue to monitor the weather, we are asking that all Fort Wilderness Guests remove and stow all outside items, including décor, and take in camper awnings by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29. If you’d like to depart early or discuss alternate vacation options, please contact us at (407) 939-2744.
  • Travel Flexibility: At this time, change and cancellation fees imposed by Disney will be waived for check-in dates of August 28, 2023, through September 5, 2023. Guests staying at our Disney Resort hotels whose travel plans have been impacted by the storm may receive a discounted rate to extend their stay through the evening of August 31, if needed, by visiting the front desk.
  • Evacuees & First Responders Support: Florida residents evacuating from the storm and first responders assisting in storm-related recovery efforts may also receive 50% off Disney Resort hotel stays on the evenings of August 29-31, 2023. For evacuees, please call (407) W-DISNEY for details. For first responders, please call (407) 828-3200 (Option 3). This applies to new bookings only and is based on availability.
  • Storm Recovery: Walt Disney World is prepared to once again serve as a staging area for storm-related recovery efforts for Florida.

For Guests looking to modify or cancel their Disney Resort hotel reservations, please visit

state of emergency - Aerial photo of Universal Orlando Resort taken by Bioreconstruct on Twitter
Credit: Bioreconstruct on Twitter

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Universal Orlando Resort has also released some official statements regarding its stance on operations as this storm rapidly approaches Florida.

Last Updated: August 28 at 4:05 pm

At this time, our park operations and hours are continuing as normal. We are closely monitoring the weather. Please check back for updates.

For guests looking to cancel or modify their Universal vacations, you can contact the Guest Contact Center at 800-711-0080 for more information about the waiving of cancelation and rescheduling fees for guests staying on the property.

state of emergency - on the left: a photo of hurricane idalia as it heads towards Florida. on the right: a photo of a cloudy and stormy day inside Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Credit: Inside The Magic

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As stated above, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a State of Emergency for Orange County, where WDW and Universal Parks are located. This announcement came just moments ago as Governor DeSantis signed the document, making this declaration binding and legal.

Here is an official snippet of what DeSantis has said about Hurricane Idalia:

Because of the foregoing conditions, which are projected to constitute a major disaster, I declare that a state of emergency exists in Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hemando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, [Orange], Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla Counties.

– Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as of 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

For those of you wishing to evacuate now, your time is running out. Tampa International Airport has suspended all operations as of this morning. Orlando International Airport is still in process, but flights are expected to be canceled in the coming hours as Idalia makes landfall sometime tonight into early morning tomorrow.

Be prepared, be advised, and make the necessary decisions to keep you and your loved ones safe during this impending storm.

Public Health Emergency, Emergency Management, public safety, emergency services, human services, and any other state agency work together to ensure everyone makes it out okay. Flooding and more are to be expected from Hurricane Idalia in the coming days. Take emergency measures into account and follow the guidance of your government officials during this unknown time. The affected area from the hurricane will be widespread. If you need assistance from the federal government, now is the time to act and ensure you know the proper channels to contact. The emergency declaration will be in effect until further notice.

Follow Inside The Magic for more updates and news regarding the latest on Hurricane Idalia.

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