As you probably know, Hurricane Dorian is heading to Florida. For Florida locals, this is not a big deal. We usually throw hurricane parties! 🤪
However, it can be a little scary for tourists visiting Disney World. The media makes hurricanes sounds like it is the “end of the world.” For locals, it is just a little wind and rain. Like anything Mother Nature throws at us, you just need to be prepared.
I am going to share some Hurricane Dorian tips for Disney World visitors and even some videos from the Disney Parks.
Before I jump into my Hurricane Dorian, I wanted to share a little bit more about surviving hurricanes in Florida.
It is NOT the Hurricane, But Afterwards
I know I joked that we throw a hurricane party. It is true! The hurricane (itself) is not scary. It is wind and rain. It is sometimes even relaxing to just watch the palm trees swaying in the wind. For the Jones Family (who has been through a lot of hurricanes) it is just a storm. We have seen worse lightning storms over the summer months than some of the hurricanes that breeze through Florida.
What scares us is after the storm leaves. This is when there is damage, power outages, shortages of gas, and shortages of food and water. With all of the planning for a hurricane, you are really planning for the aftermath. I will get into a few tips to below to make sure you are prepared for the aftermath.
Go to Disney World
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort, you are in the safest place in the entire state of Florida! No kidding! As a Floridian, I evacuate from the beaches and go to Disney World.
Disney World is their own city. They have their own electricity, water, and sewer. All of the electricity is underground. This means the power never goes out. You may lose the satellite TV, but you will never lose power. This is the #1 issue with hurricanes in Florida. My parents (that live in Florida) went 2 weeks without power during Irma. Staying at a Disney World Resort, you will not have this problem because the power is all underground and is not affect by the wind and damage.
You are in the safest place in Florida!
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How Long Does Hurricane Dorian Last
Most hurricanes really last only a day. You may get a little wind and rain a few days prior and then usually the day after a hurricane, it is sunny skies. Gotta love Florida!
Here is a video of what it was like at Epcot (the day of a hurricane). Hurricane Matthew was heading to Orlando (later that evening).
The kids and I went to Disney World the day after Hurricane Irma. You could not even tell a hurricane blew through the day prior.
Hurricane Dorian Tips
As a local (who has lived through hurricanes for over 40 years), here are a few tips on how to survive Hurricane Dorian.
Can I Go to the Disney Parks?
There are only a handful of times that Disney World Parks actually closed. Most of those times were due to a hurricane. Disney will keep the parks open as long as it is safe for the Cast Members and guests. Sometimes they will keep the park open a half day vs closing the whole day.
If you are visiting the Disney Parks or even the other Orlando Parks, plan on wet weather gear. Pack the ponchos or umbrellas and be sure you wear good shoes for rain. Flip flops can get slick on the concrete, so wear shoes that are safe in the rain.
The weather before a hurricane is like our typical Florida weather. It may rain for a bit and then sunny skies! The day after a hurricane, is usually sunny and beautiful. It is really just the one big day of the hurricane eye.
Plan on Spending Time in Your Room
During the eye of the hurricane, plan on spending a lot of time in your resort room. The current track looks like it may be in the middle of the night. This is great! You can sleep right through it. LOL!
You still want to prepare your family for Hurricane Dorian.
- Charge all of your devices (your devices and the kids)
- Download games, movies, and books to watch on the devices
- Have board games or books to read
- Have food and water in your room, because you will not want to leave your room during the eye of the hurricane (especially if you are staying a hotel with exterior doors). This one is important, because most guests will think they can walk up to the food court or restaurant to get breakfast or snacks. Sometimes the power is off, sometimes the snacks are sold out, and sometimes you will not want to battle the wind/rain for safety. Plan on having food in your room during the hurricane.
- Fill up your tub with water (don’t get grossed out, but you may have to use this water to flush the toilet). Sometimes there are water issues and the toilet may not flush. You can use the water from the tub to help flush the toilet. Touch base with your hotel to see if you need to follow this extra step.
- Check with your hotel to see if they have bagged meals that you can purchase. Disney learned several years ago to create and sell bagged meals that you can pre-order and take to your room. Check with your hotel to see if you can pre-order any bagged meals to enjoy during the hurricane.
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort, you will still experience Disney Magic! For hotels that have interior rooms, you may find Disney Characters wandering the hall ways. You can also walk down to the lobby area to find Disney Recreation playing games with the kids. For hotels (like many of the Disney Value and Moderate Resorts) with exterior rooms (this means you walk outside when you open the door) you can find characters and entertainment in the main lobby of the hotel.
I love that Disney creates these extra magical moments, even during a hurricane! You may not be able to hit the parks, but you can enjoy the Disney Magic!
During the hurricane, most hotels (including Disney) will have limited staff. Remember, all of these employees have families and homes. They may need to be home with their kids and family. With that in mind, most of the hotels have a limited staff during a hurricane.
This means sit down restaurants may not be open or food courts may have limited menus. Plan ahead and have food stored in your room now and pre-order any meals so you do not have to depend on extra service during the hurricane.
Fill Up Your Car with Gas
If you drove to Orlando or are driving down to Orlando, be sure you fill your car with gas. You will want to head out today (do not wait until the last minute) and get a full tank of gas.
Locals are already filling up their tanks and gas cans with gasoline. I was filling up my car yesterday and I saw three other cars filling up their car and extra gas cans (for backup). The locals know gas is limited after the hurricanes, so fill up your car today.
Traffic After a Hurricane
Traffic is going to be standstill if you try to leave Florida (this week/weekend). I would recommend just extending your Orlando vacation for a few more days. It is a lot less stress!
Most Floridians on the East Coast of Florida are already on the road heading North. If you have to drive home over the weekend, stay inland on I-75 more than I-95. Make sure you get a full tank of gas, before they leave your destination. Use Waze to help get around some of the traffic. Traffic will be really really bad, so if you have to leave plan on a lot of traffic.
There are a few rooms at Disney World that may get evacuated. This includes campsites, cabins, and treehouses at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. You will want to reach out to the front desk if you are staying in any of these locations to see if you will be moving to another location.
Hurricane Dorian will only disrupt your vacation for just a day or two. I know it may seem stressful now, but it will bring your family closer together. Some of our favorite family memories are during a hurricane. It is eating all of the ice cream out of the freezer before it melts or playing a game of heads up (at 1 AM during a hurricane). Most people take a vacation to spend time together as a family. This is just Mother Nature’s way of making you do that! 😉
My biggest piece of advice is being prepared with food, water, and gas in the car. Then just ride out the storm at the most magical place on Earth!