Hurricane Matthew is making a mess down in Florida, and as we speak, the Walt Disney World theme parks are shut down and preparing for the storm. Folks on vacation at the magical land must be disappointed to miss visiting the parks and the MNSSHP events, I would be! Some comments have been made that it’s risky to travel to WDW during hurricane season, however, it should be pointed out that it is a truly rare occasion that the parks have to close due to the weather.
A flyer handed to all guests exiting the parks on August 13, 2004 explains admission refund policies. Image from Chris Barry. Source: MousePlanet.com
Hurricane season in Florida runs from the end of June to November, believe it or not! But since opening in 1971, the parks have only been closed because of the weather a few times. Hurricane Floyd rushed through in 1999. and this caused the all four parks to close down for the first time in WDW history! And then in 2004, which was a crazy hurricane season in Florida (I know, I was there for Hurricane Charlie!), the parks saw a few different full-day closures.
My trip wasn’t interrupted, however, we were leaving the day it got really bad. But I remember seeing the cast members, all calm and collected, as they had to prepare to shut down some of the attractions. Obviously the rides that are outside get shut down first.
Being in Florida during a hurricane can be unbelievably nerve-wracking! In 2004, during Hurricane Charlie, my family and I were staying with my grandmother who lived in Kissimmee at the time. We were there to help move her up to Boston so should could live with us. Of course, my family planned a couple of nights at the Walt Disney World parks, and, we actually stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort!
That resort is absolutely GORGEOUS and I remember feeling very posh and important whenever I walked onto the property!
Anyways, Hurricane Charlie rushed in, and my whole family (including the dog) had to bunker down in my Grandmother’s pantry! It was crazy. There was six of us all huddled together in an 8×8 room, holding hands, praying, and panicking. The destruction was craziness! My Grandmother’s trees were pulled from the ground, roof shingles were littered all over the yard, but the worst thing was the weather afterwards.
Obviously, we had no power, and the humidity was super oppressive. Without AC, we were getting pretty snippy with one another. Also, we were packing a house full of things by candlelight, mind you, so it was just awful! I remember the need for ice was also in high demand, and the lines… oh my GOODNESS the lines to get ice, gas, just the necessities. It was completely surreal for a New England gal like me.
Don’t get me wrong, we have our Nor’easters to contend with. But to be honest, it’s easier to make a fire and warm up then go without the use of a fan or AC. Horrible.
While I understand that Central Florida does not usually get hit by this Hurricane Season, having lived through one 10+ years ago, my thoughts go out to everyone who is being affected by this right now. I hope that proper aid and help comes swiftly, and everyone remains safe.