“Monster Hurricane” Intensifies, Disney World at Risk

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Hurricane Lee projections for Walt Disney World

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

It looks like Florida is once again at risk of being hit by another hurricane, just after the reign of Hurricane Idalia.

One of the unfortunate things about Walt Disney World’s location is that Florida is prone to hurricanes, and it is hit nearly every year. Although Disney is located in Central Florida, which is much more inland than other cities along the coast, the theme park tends to get hit quite often by hurricanes.

Storm rolling in over Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Kevin-Davis-Photography / Flickr

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin is from June 1 to Nov. 30, but tropical cyclone activity sometimes occurs before and after these dates, respectively. The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is Sept. 10, with most activity occurring between mid-August and mid-October.

That being said, infamous storms such as the Galveston Hurricane 1900, the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane 1935 and Hurricane Hugo in 1989 have made landfall in September, keeping the month true to its notoriety of producing some of the worst hurricanes of the season.

Last year, Hurricane Ian formed in late September 2022 in the Caribbean and struck Florida just five days later as a powerful Category 4 cyclone. Now, Hurricane Lee is being projected to hit Florida as a Category 4 storm as well, this weekend.

storm at walt disney world lightning striking cinderella castle
Credit: Reddit (@Its_a_secret2012)

Related: Multiple Disney Attractions Break During Hurricane, Completely Inoperable

Previously, we announced, “the National Hurricane Center has issued an update on Tropical Depression 13, which is forecast to “become a powerful hurricane” by the end of the week. A major hurricane is considered Category 3 or higher.”

Now it has been confirmed that The National Hurricane Center expects Lee to rapidly intensify into a hurricane on Wednesday and strengthen into a dangerous major Category 4 hurricane by Saturday because the wind shear will lessen and it will be over very warm water, according to CBS.

Today at 5 a.m., an official advisory was launched for Hurricane Lee. Eric Burris (@EricBurrisWESH) Tweeted, “5am #Lee advisory issued. Live coverage now on @WESH 2 News…”

For a closer look at how the storm is currently forming, Eric posted another view of what is going on in the Atlantic.

Last night I was really watching the motion of #Lee, and I wanted to take another close look;

One viewer took a look at the storm model and said, “It looks impressive. Gonna be a monster.”

At the moment, projections of the storm are unclear, as there are two paths that it may take. It may turn and head north, staying in the water for much longer and not hitting land until it weakens. The other option is what is currently projected, which is that it will hit Florida as a Category 4 storm this weekend.

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

There is still plenty of time for the storm to turn, but the current path is not one that Mickey Mouse would like to see. At the moment, neither Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort has referenced the hurricane or discussed their plan of action, likely as they are waiting for more concrete details on the path of the storm before making any decisions. With Hurricane Idalia, neither theme park announced a closure even though the hurricane was approaching as a Category 4. That being said, we have certainly seen Disney shut down for hurricanes in the past.

ABC did note that, “Lee is expected to intensify into a major hurricane on Thursday night or early Friday.”

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
hurricane dorian
Credit: NOAA

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.

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.

For now, Inside the Magic will continue to monitor the situation as the hurricane approaches potential landfall.

Have you ever been in a hurricane during a Disney World vacation? 

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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