Disney World has seen its fair share of hurricanes over the last few years.
And according to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane forecast that was just released, a few more could be on the way this year.
While Disney World is currently taking new reservations starting June 1st, the date also marks the beginning of Florida’s hurricane season which runs through late November.
The new report which was compiled by several meteorologists and led by AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, Dan Kottlowksi, is predicting up to 14-18 tropical storms this year. Of this estimate, 7-9 are predicted to become hurricanes, while 2-4 might strengthen into major hurricanes.
“It’s going to be an above-normal season,” the 43-year chief meteorologist Kottlowski said. “On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, 6 hurricanes, and roughly 3 major hurricanes.”
Accuweather when on to state, “The 2019 season marked the fourth consecutive year of above-average activity in the basin and was tied with 1969 for the fourth most-active hurricane season on record.” Based on this recent trend, another above-average year for hurricane activity could certainly be in the cards.
Disney World experienced its first hurricane-related closure in September of 1999 when Category 4 Hurricane Floyd approached. As a result, all of its theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney (known then as Disney Springs) closed down in the early afternoon. Most parks remained closed the following day as well, but eventually, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney were able to reopen with the other parks opening the following day.
On August 13, 2004 the parks closed again due to Category 4 storm Hurricane Charley. All of Disney World were able to resume their operations the following day while some storm damage delayed a few attractions from reopening right away.
The following month the parks were forced to close again on September 26, 2004 because of Hurricane Jeanne, but this was the Disney World’s last hurricane-related closure for over a decade.
In recent years, Category 5 storm Hurricane Matthew caused all of Disney World’s parks to close on October 6, 2016 at 5 PM. and they remained closed the following day as well. Then in 2017, Hurricane Irma struck. Parks were closed starting at 9:00 PM on September 9, 2017, and they stayed closed until September 12th. There was minor damage to buildings and trees, but otherwise, the parks fared the storm well.
Disney World’s most recent unscheduled closure happened on September 3, 2019 as a result of Hurricane Dorian. Most parks were closed at 3:00 PM, but since the storm changed course, Epcot hours were extended until 7:00 PM.
As you can see, Disney’s had a lot of experience with handling hurricanes, but also, it’s a major relief that the vast majority of these storms haven’t interfered too much with Disney World’s operations in the past. In fact, Walt Disney World Resort was one of the first places to earn the National Weather Service’s StormReady certification which meaning they’re super-prepared and ready to take care of its guests should the weather take a turn for the worse.
Even though hurricanes have forced the parks to close a few hours early or remain closed for up to a few days, the Disney World Resort hotels have always remained open for guests safety and ride-out teams of Cast Members have been assembled to provide some unique experiences such as rare character meetings and special sing-alongs. Since you’re technically still on vacation, these hard-working guys and gals still want to make sure you’re having a magical time, hurricane or no hurricane!
But with that being said, it’s always smart to be prepared! Therefore, you can read up on what you need to know if a hurricane threatens Disney World. Currently, Disney World also offers a hurricane cancellation policy that allows guests to cancel or reschedule their trips 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.
We certainly hope these weather predictions don’t pan out, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any and all updates!
In the meantime, if you have any unused plastic rain ponchos hanging around in your closets, one of our readers who works in the NYC medical care system could really use them! Click here to find out how to make a donation!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Has your Disney trip ever been impacted by a tropical storm or hurricane? Let us know in the comments below.