Anytime between June and November, there is typically a hurricane out there with its sites set on a Disney Destination. Whether it’s Walt Disney World, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, a Disney Cruise Line port-of-call or Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa, any of these storms can put a big crimp in your vacation plans.
Some of these storms are serious business! Even a ‘small’ Cat 2 storm packs a wallop with sustained winds at 96 – 110 miles per hour. Check out this video compiled by the Weather Channel to show how devastating hurricanes can be:
For those with a Disney vacation planned when a storm is bearing down on your destination, while you might have the vacation of a lifetime planned, it’s just not worth putting yourself in harm’s way. Typically, there are millions of people in that area who are making the difficult decision to stay or go. Please do not put yourself in the situation where you will be stressing the already spread-thin emergency response systems which need to be there to help the residents. Like I said, it’s just not worth it.
So what do you do if a hurricane is bearing down on Walt Disney World, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa or even where you live when you are supposed to be headed to your dream vacation? If you booked directly through Disney, they make it very easy for you:
“If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area—or for your place of residence—within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.” – From Disney Hurricane Policy
The policy only applies to Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way Packages. It does not apply to sports, youth, or other group or special event rooms or packages and does not apply to meetings and conventions.
If you booked your vacation through a travel agent you should contact your travel agent or tour operator directly for information relating to the cancellation and change policies that apply to your package.
No matter how you booked your reservation, if you have purchased products and services through a third-party suppliers such as airlines, car rental agencies, grocery/package delivery or vacation insurance you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers.
Something else to remember is that any discounts or special offers you received for your original vacation such as free dining will not apply to the rescheduled vacation travel dates if that offer is not available during your new travel dates.
If you have questions or you want to reschedule your vacation due to a hurricane warning, please call (407) 939-7675
A HURRICANE AT DISNEY
So now the question becomes, what if you are already at Disney? Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Listen to Cast Members. Ultimately, they want to be safe too. If they are telling you to stay in your hotel room – STAY IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM. If they are telling you to evacuate your room – EVACUATE. Listen to their instructions exactly!
- Charge your electronic devices before the storm hit. This should include phones, iPads and external chargers.
- During the storm put devices on do not disturb, low power, low light mode to save the battery. You can also put it on Airplane mode when not in use.
- Stay connected, when possible. Follow these news channels and organizations on Twitter or Facebook.
- Have a small piece of luggage packed and ready in case you need to evacuate.
- Make sure any toiletries and medicines are in the bag
- Fill the bathtub, sinks and even trash cans with water in the event of the loss of power.
- If not already asked to do so by Cast Members, bring the patio furniture into the hotel room so it doesn’t become a weapon of the wind.
- Close curtains and stay away from windows.
Good luck and our prayers of safety go out to all in the path of what could be a devastating storm!
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She is a team mom extraordinaire who has filled her time serving as secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for 10 years before becoming a team owner in 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @TeamMom365.