What Happens If A Hurricane Hits During Your Disney Trip

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida sits near the middle of the state, but that doesn't mean it is immune to the weather changes that can occur in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, Disney World has weathered its fair share of hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA, says that "hurricane season" has the most activity in the Atlantic Ocean between August and October each year. If you plan to visit Disney World fall during that time frame, you may worry about safety — and wonder whether you should cancel your plans.

While canceling your plans may feel like an overreaction, that may be the safest option if you have not yet arrived in Orlando. According to the official hurricane policy from the Walt Disney World website, "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 reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Disney Resort hotel packages and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney. Most room-only and vacation packages can be modified, or cancelled online, including changes to travel dates."

What happens during a hurricane warning?

Perhaps you decided to brave the few months of questionable weather, but now you are in Disney World, and a hurricane warning has been issued. What should you do when you are already at "The Most Magical Place on Earth?" Many guests choose to stay on Disney property rather than risk driving in unpredictable weather or experiencing a canceled flight and an unintended sleepover at the airport. Is it safe to stay on property or visit the theme parks? That answer depends on the severity of the storm and personal safety preferences.

According to fan site Disney Addicts, outdoor rides will close if a storm is too severe. We have experienced this before with a regular summer thunderstorm. Rides like Slinky Dog Dash or Dumbo the Flying Elephant will pause operations until the threat of lightning or high winds has passed. Though the rain and winds may continue, many indoor rides will stay open unless Disney officials deem it unsafe to do so.

How Disney keeps guests safe during a hurricane

Travel writer and Disney World annual passholder Karyn Locke of Sand and Snow recently experienced what it was like to stay at Walt Disney World during a hurricane. She said that she felt safer staying in her hotel room than she did trying to drive home during the storm. "The Cast Members were highly knowledgeable regarding the latest park updates and closures and made me feel very comfortable in our decision to stay put and ride out the storm," she told Explore.

Locke also said she knew she would be cared for by Disney's Cast Members if she stayed. When Hurricane Ian battered Florida in September 2022, the resort encouraged guests to shelter in place to stay safe. Although it's not guaranteed, many guests reported characters visiting the hotels across the resort. They were also entertained by games and activities that Cast Members organized while everyone waited for the storm to pass.

While we don't recommend traveling to Walt Disney World during a hurricane, if you do happen to be visiting when one occurs, you can expect to be safe and taken care of with the quality and service we've come to expect from Disney.