Disney World is usually safe from hurricanes since it is inland and Florida has been lucky to avoid a major storm for years. Unfortunately hurricane Matthew is looking to change that. At the time of this writing hurricane Matthew has strengthened to a category 4 and is expected to make landfall in Florida as soon as Thursday night. Orlando is under a hurricane warning and Florida has declared a state of emergency. Walt Disney World is obviously taking precautions to ensure guest safety. Hit the jump for details on what Disney is doing during hurricane Matthew and how it can impact your travel plans if you’re in Walt Disney World or coming later this week.
The biggest impact that hurricane Matthew will have on Walt Disney World is park hours. As of right now we’re seeing that Disney plans to close the parks at 5 PM EST on Thursday and completely closed on Friday. There is a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party scheduled for tonight and tomorrow which both have been cancelled. The closures also apply to both water parks, Disney Springs, ESPN & the miniature golf courses. If you have ticket’s to the MNSSHP tonight you can call Disney to see what your options are. For guests with party tickets Disney is allowing you to cancel, move to a different MNSSHP date, change to a Very Merry Christmas Party date or exchange the ticket for a 1 day park hopper.
In addition to the park closures Disney is in the process of evacuating a couple of their resorts The campsites at Fort Wilderness are under a mandatory evacuation with the resort set to close at 2 PM today. Guests are being asked to seek other accommodations on Disney property or leave to Tampa to avoid any damage to their RV’s. Disney was originally allowing guests to park RV’s in one of the Magic Kingdom lots but I’m seeing reports of that no longer being the case.
The bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort were also under a voluntary evacuation. However I’m seeing unconfirmed reports of Disney moving this to a mandatory evacuation. Disney will assist guests will finding alternative accommodations during the storm.
Orlando International Airport is planning to cease all airside operations at 8 PM tonight in preparation for the storm. They haven’t announced plans for Friday yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, flights are cancelled. If you’re flying in or out of MCO make sure to check with your airline for the latest.
Disney’s policy for hurricanes allows for guests to cancel any arrivals within 7 days. So if your Disney plans include the arrival dates of October 5 – October 13 (as of right now) you have the option of cancelling. Current forecasts show Matthew to be back out over the ocean by Monday and no longer a hurricane. However the storm system can still cause higher amounts of rainfall into the week. Make sure to check the weather forecasts!
Even though Orlando and Disney have not experience a hurricane in about a decade it does not mean Matthew is going to fizzle out. If you’re in Florida you need to take this storm seriously. Check the media for any updates on the hurricane and of course if you’re a Disney guest please follow any instructions given. I know it sucks to have your vacation impacted by a storm, especially if this is a once in a lifetime trip but guest safety should be the top priority. Also, make sure to be extra nice to the Cast Members helping you out! They’re looking out for your safety and comfort and may be dealing with some unpleasant guests…
We will of course be watching the storm and will update the post if any new information is released. For the most up-to-date info make sure to follow our Twitter!
UPDATE: Disney has posted on their Parks Blog about the storm. They have just confirmed everything we wrote about above.