Even with the most impeccable planning for your Disney World trip, there’s always the possibility that something might go a little off track.
And, though there are a lot of things you can anticipate — an afternoon rain, a child meltdown, you lose something (or someONE), what about the times that something that you couldn’t necessarily plan for…happens. Well, that’s what we’re talking about today!
Attraction Power Outages
When you’re vacationing at Disney World in the summer, you can almost always expect at least one afternoon sprinkle but from time to time, a stronger storm passes through that causes some technical issues with attractions.
For example, last year, lightning struck Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios causing the attraction to close for a full day. And, more recently, crazy storms have caused power outages (and surges) that have shut down rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom twice and once even impacted almost ALL of the attractions in Disney World for a short period of time.
When these things happen, the outages don’t normally last too long, so head into a shop, grab a snack, or do some of the activities that aren’t rides (like the walking trails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom). If the outages are lasting longer than expected it could be a good time to go back to the hotel and check out some of the activities there. Many guests don’t know that Cast Members host activities throughout the day at the pools and, depending on where you’re staying, you might even be able to find activities like crafts, movies, and even s’mores making. Plus, Disney World hotel pools are a blast if you need a cool-down break mid-day!
Now, if you happen to be in line when the rides go down, decide how long you’re willing to wait before hopping out of line. Cast Members won’t normally be able to tell you how long the attraction will be down for so you’ll have to make the call. And, if you’re on the ride when the shut down happens…well…you can be stuck on it for some time and end up needing to be evacuated by Cast Members so try your best to be patient (more on that later). Just note if you ARE in line or on a ride when Cast Members make the call to evacuate it, you’ll usually (but not always!) be compensated with a FastPass to ride that or another attraction later.
Ride Vehicle Malfunctions
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have an attraction ride vehicle break down while you’re still on it? Well, turns out, that has happened.
At the beginning of 2020, a group of guests was enjoying their ride down the Nile River (or was it the Amazon?) on Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom and the boat unexpectedly began to sink. Water filled the main seating area and guests were forced to stand up on the seats and the edges to keep from going down with it.
And, just a few months later, shortly after the parks reopened, another boat went down — this time over at Splash Mountain. When the guests noticed that water was filling up the log they stepped out onto the surrounding platform and watched as the water took over.
First of all, this is MEGA rare, but obviously can and has happened. Now, if this happens to you, it’s important to keep in mind that Disney Cast Members are trained to keep you safe, so just follow their instructions. In both instances, the guests were evacuated from the boats and the ride eventually resumed shortly after.
And, while a ride vehicle sinking is certainly one of the more bizarre catastrophes in Disney World, there are more instances of rides having technical difficulties and needing to be evacuated. If you find yourself on a ride when it’s being evacuated, there’s no need to panic though — each ride normally has an evacuation path and you’ll be directed every step of the way. And, you might even get a FastPass+ to hop back on the ride later (though this doesn’t always happen).
We’ve talked a little bit about inclement weather in Florida, but if you’re planning your travels between June 1st and November 30th, it’s important to know that you’ll be visiting during Hurricane season which can result in some extreme weather or even (you guessed it) a hurricane. But, that doesn’t mean that you should entirely avoid visiting Disney World during those five months (that window of time encompasses most of summer!) — instead, you should just factor it into your planning process!
All Disney World Resort hotels are equipped for extreme weather, but some are certainly more convenient to be in when bad weather is expected than others. Some resorts are particularly spread out and require a lot of walking (often between buildings) to get to any amenities. And, in the middle of a torrential downpour or severe weather, a walk outside to get to food is something you’ll want to avoid. So, instead, consider staying at a resort that has indoor commutes to common areas like dining and shopping. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a great pick for a fully enclosed hotel!
When it comes to spending time in the parks, be prepared for many outdoor rides to close when there’s bad weather including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Test Track, and Jungle Cruise, to name a few. We recommend planning to ride those outdoor attractions in the morning as rain tends to come later in the day. And, if a severe weather warning is issued be sure to get inside as soon as you can. (PRO TIP: The perfect time to experience the Hall of Presidents is during an afternoon rainstorm — you get out of the rain, get a cozy seat, AND a patriotic tribute to America’s leaders!)
You’ll also want to pack extra pairs of shoes even if there isn’t a hurricane predicted for Disney World — it’s bound to rain and you’ll want to have an extra pair in case yours get soaked through. They’ll also come in handy if your log gets an extra Zip-a-dee-doo-dah dunk on Splash Mountain, or you’re a victim of the tidal wave on Kali River Rapids. 😉
Now, if you ARE there when a hurricane hits, here’s what to expect (based on what Disney did during Hurricane Irma in 2017). At times, Disney will provide your family with flashlights in case the power goes out and you’ll be able to purchase packaged meals and snacks in the resort food courts and dining locations so you have some food on hand. And, if you’re in the main building where the amenities are, you can take advantage of movie marathons, character meets, and things for the kids to do. Disney knows that you’re stuck inside so they try to make it a somewhat enjoyable experience. Options and provisions will vary from resort to resort.
And, if you’d really like to avoid being in Disney World when severe weather hits, keep an eye on the weather before you go. According to Disney’s hurricane policy, “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 Disney Resort Hotel Package and most room-only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.” So, you can reschedule your trip to a time of year when you can fully enjoy the parks without inclement weather.
Getting Stuck on the Disney Skyliner or Monorail
Disney transportation can be a really convenient way to get between the parks and your resort without having to worry, but it certainly isn’t perfect. And, over the years we’ve seen a few unexpected issues occur on both the Disney Skyliner and monorail. So, let’s start off with the times that the seemingly impossible actually happened on the Skyliner.
Just a few days after the new transportation option first opened in 2019, two gondolas crashed into each other at the Riviera Resort station, causing a massive shutdown of the transportation system with many people stuck in the gondolas for hours. And, since then we’ve seen a few more crashes that have caused temporary shutdowns of the Skyliner as well.
So, what happens when you find yourself stuck up in a gondola suspended over Disney? Well, each car is equipped with emergency packs under the seats. These include cold packs, emesis bags, notepads, and water and, if you’re going to be up there for an extended period of time, Cast Members will direct you to open them up over the speaker system.
In most cases, Disney was able to get the crash cleared fairly quickly and restart the Skyliner to get guests to the nearest station. But, if that’s not possible, then the fire department with come and evacuate guests from the gondolas (which is what happened during the first crash).
Plus, keep in mind that if you find that you’re going to miss a dining reservation (or a FastPass when they return), the Skyliner actually has a dedicated guest services line that you can call to let them know. The number is 407-827-2515.
And, for those who are staying at the Disney Skyliner hotels, the resorts will each offer bus transportation to and from EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios so you’ll still be able to get to the parks or back in the event the Skyliner is closed.
Now, what about the monorail? Well, it’s pretty uncommon to actually get stuck on the monorail, and we usually only see delays of a few minutes as you wait for another monorail to clear the station. But if you do end up stuck for any reason, you’ll likely hear from the Cast Members who will give you directions on what to do (remember, they’re trained for these situations).
And, in all of the situations, try to be patient, and if you have a real emergency when you’re stuck call 911 and then use the emergency call box in your car to speak with Cast Members.
Getting Sick in Disney World
Whether it’s a cold or some other illness, it’s never fun to catch something when you’re visiting Disney World — but it does happen. In fact, we’ve gotten sick, needed prescriptions, AND, in rare cases, needed emergency medical attention before when visiting Disney World.
So, what happens when you need to visit urgent care or pick up some prescription medication? Well, recently Disney announced that Adventhealth is now the official healthcare provider for Disney World, which means that there are even more options for guests who need medical attention when visiting the parks right in the My Disney Experience app!
The new features (known as “World of Wellness”) include a full suite of virtual services available for those who have healthcare questions in Disney World like Emergency Room resources, Urgent Care and Virtual Care, a Care Concierge Call Center, Vacation Planning resources, and Equipment and Prescription Delivery.
Here are the easy steps to find it in your My Disney Experience app,
- Open your My Disney Experience app,
- Tap on the “three bar/more” icon at the bottom of the screen (some tech-savvy peeps call it the “hamburger icon”),
- Scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN to the bottom of the screen — find the “Health Care Services” button (right under “My Profile”),
- Tap on that button to be directed to the World of Wellness Portal
See? It’s that’s easy!
The new AdventHealth app (which you’ll be prompted to download from the My Disney Experience app) includes the ability to meet virtually with a doctor or nurse practitioner 24/7 with no appointment needed, speak with a “Care Concierge” who can help with doctor’s appointments, virtual care, medical equipment and prescription delivery to Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and more.
Plus, you can even get information about urgent care facilities in the area or take advantage of complimentary transportation to Centra Care Urgent Care (which is open 7 days a week). You’ll just need to arrange it through Disney’s first aid centers, front desk Cast Members at the Disney hotels, or by calling the AdventHealth Experience Center.
And, if you find yourself needing a prescription while you’re visiting Disney World, you can contact AdventHealth’s Experience Center 7 days a week and arrange for your medications to be delivered to your pharmacy of choice or even directly to your Disney World hotel.
So, hopefully, you don’t run into any of these unexpected (and seemingly impossible) issues in Disney World, but if you do you’ll be prepared! And, if you want to learn about more weird problems we’ve encountered while visiting the parks, you can check out our video below!
Check out our latest video and let us know: What is the most unexpected problem you’ve run into in Disney World?
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