UPDATED: Disney World and Hurricane Irma — Closures and Resources

I’m sure you all know that Disney World may be in the direct path of a pretty strong hurricane this weekend and/or early next week. Cruises have been canceled, flights have been canceled, and we’re hearing form our readers that entire vacations are being canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.

Irma's path as of 9-8

Irma’s path as of 9-8

In this post, we’ll be updating regularly with any cancellations and closures we hear about due to the storm, and any tips and updates that might be helpful for those in Disney World during the storm, or those planning to head to Orlando this weekend. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Disney World and Other Theme Park Closures

Updated 9/8 2:58 PM ET: According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney World’s theme parks and other Orlando area theme parks will be closing starting Saturday evening and remaining closed through Monday.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks will close at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by Magic Kingdom and Epcot at 9 p.m. All four are expected to stay closed through Monday, Disney officials announced Friday afternoon.

Water park Typhoon Lagoon will close Saturday at 5 p.m. and will not operate Sunday or Monday. Blizzard Beach, which was closed Friday, also will be unavailable Sunday and Monday.

Saturday’s end-of-night finales at Disney parks, such as “Rivers of Light” show at Animal Kingdom and the “Happily Ever After” fireworks at Magic Kingdom, have also been pulled from the lineup.

Stores at Disney Springs will close by 9 p.m. Saturday, and they will not be open for business on Sunday or Monday.

NOTE THAT HOTELS AND RESORTS WILL STILL BE OPEN AND DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO CATER TO THEIR GUESTS.

Information for guests staying at Disney World hotels

Information for guests staying at Disney World hotels

Sea World, Legoland, and Busch Gardens have also scheduled closures starting Saturday night.

Resort Hotel Updates

We are seeing reports on Resort Hotel Facebook fan pages that guests are being informed that a 7 p.m. curfew will be in place tonight at the hotels. And, check out this post from Pop Century!

Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport will suspend flights starting at 5:15 pm on Saturday, September 9th. Orlando Sanford International Airport will suspend flights starting at 5:15 pm on Saturday, September 9th. Flights won’t resume until further notice.

If this affects your travels, be sure to contact your airline for more information.

Advance Dining Reservations for Disney World Restaurants

Please be advised of these temporary changes to making or canceling Advance Dining Reservations: new dining reservations are not being accepted for any Disney World restaurants for the dates of September 10th or 11th. Also, the regular dining cancellation policies will not be enforced for reservations through Monday, September 11th. Below is the statement from the Disney World website.

Screenshot from Disney World website

Screenshot from Disney World website

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Cancellation

We have an important update for anyone who has tickets to the September 10th Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The event has been cancelled (September 10th only) in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

If you do have tickets, please note the following options that are posted on the Disney World website. Guests may exchange their September 10th ticket for one of the following:

– Tickets to attend another Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

– Tickets to attend an upcoming Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

– 1 Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper Option, to be used within the next 2 years

– A full refund for event tickets

Call (407) 939-7818 or email Ticket.Inquiries@DisneyWorld.com, and have your tickets available in order for your request to be processed as soon as possible.

Fort Wilderness Closure

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds will close beginning Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 pm (the reopen date has not yet been posted). Remember, this will also impact Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Trail’s End, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ reservations.

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show Cancellation

We were notified that the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been cancelled for Saturday night. We believe the Sunday night performance will also be cancelled.

Night of Joy Cancellation

Additionally, Night of Joy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has been cancelled for September 9th (the September 8th Night of Joy will still take place). September 9th guests may attend the Friday night event or request a full refund.

Blizzard Beach Closure

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will also be closed on Friday, September 8th and Saturday, September 9th.

‘Ohana Menu Changes

Guests with ADR for tonight have been told that dinner at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be treated to a buffet style meal rather than the typical all-you-care-to-enjoy skewered meats and sides. The buffet is priced at $20 per adult, $10 per child (or one Disney Dining Plan credit).

Free Food at Parks

Animal Kingdom has been handing out free food during the day on Saturday, presumably in advance of the park being closed for the next two days. Elephant Ear cookies and Flame Tree BBQ Ribs have been spotted. If you’re in the parks tonight, keep your eyes open!

Elephant Ears Kusafiri Bakery

Disney’s Hurricane Policies and FAQs

Also remember, Disney’s Hurricane Policy and FAQs are posted on the Disney World website!

Disney also has a page dedicated to Hurricane Irma and any related closures and cancellations!

Stay safe, everybody!!

News! Disney World To Add Cancellation Policy and Fee to All Table-Service Restaurant Reservations

Welp, the days of skipping your Disney dining reservations when you’re stuck in line for Soarin’ may be over!

Remember when Disney started requiring a credit card guarantee — and subsequently charged for no-shows — on signature and character meals back in 2011? We’re hearing that starting on October 31, 2013, that policy will apply to all Disney World table-service reservations.

What are the details of the cancellation policy?

If guests fail to cancel their reservations within one day of the reservation time and then don’t show up at the restaurant, they’ll be charged $10 per person on the credit card used to hold the reservation.

For dinner shows and some character meals, guests will continue to be required to pre-pay for the meal and will forfeit the entire cost should they not cancel within the required window and fail to show up for the event.

Guests planning to visit Cinderella's Royal Table could lose their entire payment should they fail to cancel

What does “within one day” mean?

Well, this is usually defined as a 24-hour window, but many guests have had luck with cancelling by 11:59pm the night before the reservation.

How do I cancel a reservation when I’m in Disney World?

Disney’s tried to make it easy to cancel reservations. You can use the [Read more…]

Be Our Guest Restaurant Reservation Information and Issues

3:00pm UPDATE: We’re being told by readers that at this point, reservations made for Be Our Guest via the automated system that do not have a credit card guarantee will not be cancelled (thank goodness). It’s still a roller coaster ride, my friends. I was told this morning that they would be cancelled, but many readers have written to let me know that the tune seems to have changed this afternoon. Call to be sure, but it looks like we’re out of the weeds.
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Well, what a morning it’s been! For those of you who have battled the phone lines as I have, I feel your pain. Here are a few learnings and warnings from this morning…also some action steps:

Automated Booking Service and Credit Card Numbers

For those who booked reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant through the automated booking service this morning (i.e. you did NOT speak to an actual human being), these reservations have not been held with a credit card guarantee and may be cancelled today due to a glitch. You will need to call back on the dining line today and modify your reservation, adding a credit card number guarantee.

My personal experience: I booked via the automated line and ended up battling busy signals for over an hour before finally getting back through to the system. The dining reservation agent I spoke to put me through to the Dining Help line. The Dining Help line agent added my credit card number to the reservations and gave me new confirmation numbers.

If you do this, continue to confirm your reservations today and tomorrow as a precaution.

Current State of Reservations

Currently, I’ve heard nothing negative about reservations that were booked through an actual agent today. Those should still be in place.

For those of us still trying to get reservations, from what I can tell many Disney dining and reservations lines are still busy, and many dates in [Read more…]