Alright, Disney fans. The concerns about Hurricane Irma are real, and you have a lot of questions about the Walt Disney World Hurricane Policy.
I get it.
Who wants to see all that money, time, effort, and planning get blown away? It’s not very magical, Mother Nature!
The good news is that Disney World has a plan in place and, like everything they do, they want to cater to their guests with safety in mind. They know you will be worried about, well, everything if you are trapped on site when a hurricane hit.
Know your options if a hurricane warning is issued for the Disney World area or your area before you travel.
Here is the official policy Walt Disney World Hurricane Policy and what it might mean for you.
Walt Disney World Hurricane Policy
First of all, hurricanes are predictable- and not-so predictable. While the current forecast does look daunting for Florida, these storms can and do change course, often at the last minute.
So don’t panic. Just yet anyway.
As a side note- I lived in central Florida during the summer of 2004 when we were hit 4 times by hurricanes. And Disney still stood strong!
I remember how shocked the community was when they decided to close for one day in anticipation for Hurricane Jeanne because, well, Disney World never closes.
In fact, Disney World has only closed four times previously due to hurricanes, and usually for just one or two days at a time. The likelihood that your vacation can continue is high, even if you’ll get a little wet in the process.
While it’s likely too late to hear this for trips planned during Irma, if you have any travel to the Orlando area scheduled through the remainder of hurricane season (November 1), you might want to consider travel insurance.
It is non-refundable, but it’s also invaluable should a major event like a hurricane interrupts your travels.
Disney sells it with their packages through Travelex, and it costs $77.50 per adult.
There are other reputable stand-alone providers available as well such as Allianz and Travel Guard.
Hurricane Cancellation Options
Here’s the scoop from the Disney World website.To sum up: if you or your travel agent booked directly through Disney, you could reschedule or cancel without fees.
If you have products and services provided by third-party suppliers included in your vacation—such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies or vacation insurance companies—you will continue to be responsible for any non-refundable payments, as well as cancellation or change fees assessed by those suppliers.
You can read more in detail on Walt Disney World’s Hurricane FAQ page.
Can I Keep My Free Dining?
Or any other discount that I am currently booked with if I change dates?
Unfortunately, Disney will not be able to honor discounts such as free dining if you need to reschedule to another date.
If the same discount is available on your new date, then yes, of course, you can book it! But Disney won’t create a free dining opportunity if one does not exist due to the hurricane.
Your travel agent can help you navigate those waters and rebook.
Cancel Those Dining Reservations
When you booked your dining reservations, you provided a credit card and clicked a box saying that a no-show would end up costing you $10 per person.
Welp. That is still the case with inclement weather.
Be sure you cancel any reservations you will not be able to make.
Third Party Resort and Air Reservations
If you booked through a third party such as Expedia or Orbitz, the Walt Disney World policy will not extend to these reservations.
The same applies for your airline reservations.
You’ll need to contact each one and see what their policy will entail.
You Can Stay At Disney World Through the Storm
It’s not a bad idea, honest!
Last year Disney World was impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
As a travel agent, I witnessed firsthand the good (and bad) of weathering the storm at Disney World.
- they didn’t lose power
- everyone was safe
- food and water were generally available
- the parks opened as soon as possible for guests to enjoy
- the communication among cast members varied from resort to resort
- reports that some folks were able to order from the kitchens; but some were only offered the opportunity to purchase pre-made sandwiches.
- some resorts requested guests stay in their rooms; others embraced the storm with activities and characters in the lobbies
The usual hurricane suggestions will remain in play: keep phones or IPads charged, listen for announcements, stay away from windows when possible, and go ahead and fill the bathtub with water so you can keep flushing as needed!
While the likelihood of a hurricane making a direct impact on Walt Disney World is not huge, it’s always wise to be prepared and know your options.
SUPER IMPORTANT: If you need to make changes, it’s best to wait until the hurricane watch is actually in effect for the area; at that point, Disney will be able to work with you on your travel needs.
Until then, your reservation will be under regular operating policies.
Stay safe, travelers!