With Tropical Storm Fay and now Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, we always have a lot of guest questions surrounding hurricanes and other extreme weather with regard to Disney vacations. As we reported last week, Disney rarely closes the parks and because they are a self-sufficient community with their own backup power and water, staying on property can be one of the safest options for extreme weather. Also, in the case of storms that just brush the resort area, the parks may often be deserted with only a slight drizzle hampering your visit, but short lines to make up for the wetness.
For a more official answer, the 2008 Disney hurricane policy states the following:
From June 1 to November 30, 2008, in the event a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or for the guest’s place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the guest may call in advance to reschedule or cancel their Walt Disney Travel Co. Magic Your Way vacation package without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. This temporary policy also applies to most Walt Disney World® Resort room-only reservations booked directly with Disney, as well as reservations at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.
Additionally, Disney notes,
Q. I did not book my package through the Walt Disney Travel Co. Does this policy apply to my package too?
A. No, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator directly for information relating to the cancellation and change policies that apply to your package.
Since we are a travel agent, we can state that we follow Disney’s cancellation policy with regard to hurricanes, except for an extremely rare exception due to individual circumstances. We do encourage our guests to contact us with any concerns related to weather during their vacation.
Disney Cruise will not allow as many exceptions for weather and rarely cancels a cruise or refunds money. When they do cancel a cruise, it will generally be a last minute decision and they will expect all booked guests to act as if the cruise will still sail. This is why we strongly encourage guests to get travel insurance for cruises.
As with Disney resort vacations, we encourage guests to contact their travel agent for the most up-to-date information regarding storms and cancellations. We’re happy to help in any way we can to make your vacation Magical!