Hurricanes at Disney World can occur anytime from June-November. This is the hurricane season in Central Florida. The peak season runs from September-November. For Florida locals, hurricanes are not a big deal. We usually throw hurricane parties! 🤪
However, it can be a little scary for visitors coming to Walt 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. As a lifelong Floridian, I am going to share some insider tips on how to stay safe if a hurricane hits Disney World during your visit.
We want to share what it is like at the Disney Resorts, Disney Springs, and Disney World Parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park).
Hurricanes at Disney World
It is NOT the Hurricane, But What Happens 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.
YES, Go to Disney World During a Hurricane
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, we always get evacuated from the beaches. When this happens, we always go to Disney World and stay at a Disney World Resort. This is one of the safest places to stay in Florida.
Why is Disney World Safe During a Hurricane?
Disney World is their own city. They have their own electricity, water, and sewer. All of the electricity is underground. This unlike other cities in Florida.
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 (also Floridians) went 2 weeks without power during Hurricane 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.
Staying at a Disney World Resort is one of the safest places you can be during a tropical storm or hurricane.
How Long Do Hurricanes at Disney World Last?
Most hurricanes really last only a day or two. 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.
Hurricanes at Disney World Tips
As a local (who has lived through hurricanes for over 40 years), here are a few tips on how to be safe during hurricanes at Disney World.
Can I Go to the Disney Theme Parks?
There are only a handful of times that Disney World Parks actually closed due to hurricanes at Disney World. 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 Disney Resort Room
During the eye of the hurricane, plan on spending a lot of time in your resort room. Over the past few hurricanes we have been lucky. The eye of the storm was in the middle of the night. This is great! You can sleep right through it. LOL!
However, if the eye of the storm is hitting during the day, you will want to prepare for extended time in your Disney Resort room. Here are some tips to help prepared for extended time in your Disney room.
- 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.
There is Still Magic at Your Disney Resort
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!
Limited Staff at the Disney Resorts
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. Do not wait until the last minute to fill up your car with gas.
Locals are already filling up their tanks and gas cans with gasoline (once they heard a storm is coming). During the last hurricane, I filled up my car (3 days before the storm hit). 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 as soon as you hear a storm is heading to Florida.
Traffic After a Hurricane
Traffic is going to be standstill if you try to leave Florida right before a hurricane. I would recommend just extending your Orlando vacation for a few more days or leaving several days (before it hits). It is a lot less stress! I always extend my Disney World vacation for 2-3 days after the hurricane. More time to play with Mickey!
Based on the hurricane tracks, many beach cities in Florida may get evacuated. Due to this, the interstates going North (I-75 or I-95) can get super crowded. 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.
Walt Disney World Resort Evacuation
There are a few rooms at Disney World that may get evacuated due to Disney’s Hurricane Policy. This includes campsites, cabins, and treehouses at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground 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.
Hurricanes at Disney World 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!