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NEWS: Disney World Announces Widespread Closures & Cancellations, Important Policy Announcements

With a direct hit from Hurricane Irma on the State of Florida nearly certain, including a projected path that takes the storm directly over Orlando, Disney World is busy preparing for this potentially dangerous storm. The Walt Disney World Resort has been monitoring the situation and has announced widespread closings ahead of the storm. Get all the details below. We will continue to provide updates as they come in as well as reports from the parks after the storm passes.





 

This list is current as of 3:00 pm on Friday, September 8, 2017. We will update this if any more cancellations and closings are announced.

Park Closings

  • Magic Kingdom: Closing on Saturday at 9:00 pm.Happily Ever After fireworks on Saturday is cancelled.
  • Epcot: Closing on Saturday at 9:00 pm – Monday. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth on Saturday is cancelled.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Closing on Saturday at 7:00 pm – Monday. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and Fantastmic! on Saturday is cancelled.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Closing on Saturday at 7:00 pm – Monday. Rivers of Light on Saturday is cancelled.
  • All parks will be closed Sunday and Monday. Pending damage assessment Disney World hopes to reopen parks on Tuesday, September 12.

Other Closures

  • Disney Springs: Closing on Saturday at 9:00 pm – Monday.
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park will closed Friday-Monday.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: Closing on Saturday at 5:00 pm – Monday.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports: Closed Saturday – Monday.
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be closed Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 pm. In addition, Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ will be canceled on Saturday September 9, Sunday September 10, and Monday September 11.
  • The Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs will be closed beginning Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 pm.
  • Disney’s Vero Beach on the east coast of Florida will be closing at 2:00 on Friday, September 8, 2017. No word on how Disney is handling the evacuation of its guests.
  • Orlando International Airport will stop flights on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm. Orlando Sanford airport, will close at 5:15 pm on Saturday, September 9. Both airports have not stated when they will re-open. They will likely assess any damage and make that decision after the storm goes through Central Florida. If you have been affected with the airport closures, contact your airline for more information.

Dining Updates

  • Effective immediately Disney will not be enforcing dine reservation cancelation policies so there is no need to cancel dine reservations through Monday, September 11.
  • Pre-paid dining and premium experiences will automatically be cancelled and refunded.

Cancellations

Disney has announced that the Night of Joy concerts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on September 9 has been cancelled. The Friday concerts planned for Friday, September 8 will still run as scheduled. Those guests with Night of Joy tickets for Saturday can attend Friday’s event instead by exchanging their tickets at the Wide World of Sports ticket office starting at 4:00 pm on Friday. Those who are not able to attend either night, may request a refund. Those requests for a full refund will be honored.

Also, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been cancelled for Sunday, September 10. The event will take place as planned on Thursday, September 7. Guests are invited to exchange their Sunday, September 10 ticket for one of the following options:

  • 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.
  • Receive a full refund for event tickets.

To redeem these offers, Guests should call (407) 939-7818 by January, 2018 between the hours of 7:00 am – 11:00 pm or email Disney at Ticket.Inquiries@DisneyWorld.com. Have your tickets available when contacting Disney.

Disney’s Hurricane Policy

Disney has a Hurricane Policy in place. Here is the official 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 Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.

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. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.

This policy also applies to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.

If you need to cancel a reservation due to a hurricane you need to be aware of the rescheduling policy. Here is the policy:

Disney cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, theme park tickets, dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation.

Any discounts or special offers applicable to your original confirmed vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation travel dates. You are responsible for applicable package pricing for the new vacation dates.

See the related article below for more information on hurricanes at Disney World. We pray for the safety everyone who will be affected by the storm.

RELATED ARTICLE: Hurricanes and Disney World – What You Need to Know

by Chad and Cindy N

Central Florida is no stranger to severe weather. Being the lightning strike capital of the world, those that live in central Florida have come to expect the afternoon thundershower as a normal part of life. But what about when the weather turns really nasty and a hurricane is barreling toward Disney World? Knowing how good Disney is at the smallest of details, it’s not surprising that Disney World has plenty of safety procedures in place for guests and cast members alike during such a weather event. Here is what you need to know about hurricanes and Disney World.





 

1 – Hurricane Season in Central Florida

The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. Usually a hurricane in June or July is rare, but it can happen. Hurricanes in August and September are more likely. And while the likelihood decreases, hurricanes in October and November are possible. Most recently in October 2016, Hurricane Matthew impacted Disney World operations.

2 – Past Closings at Disney World

It is rare, but hurricanes have prompted closures at Disney World. Disney World, Universal and Sea World all closed for the first time ever in 1999 as Hurricane Floyd threatened Florida in September of that year. The storm changed course and did not impact the area. In 2004, the big three closed during a string of hurricanes: Charley (August), Frances (September) and Jeanne (September). Frances caused the most problems and closed several attractions for two days. Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (at that time MGM Studios) closed for three days. Charley only affected the parks for one day. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 closed Disney World for one evening and a full day because of the threat to the Orlando area in early October.

3 – Cancellation Policy During a Hurricane

Disney has a Hurricane Policy in place. Here is the official 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 Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.

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. The policy does not apply to certain special events or dining experiences.

This policy also applies to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort or Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in the event a hurricane warning is issued for those destinations.

4 – Rescheduling Policy

If you need to cancel a reservation due to a hurricane you need to be aware of the rescheduling policy. Here is the policy:

We cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, theme park tickets, dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation.

Any discounts or special offers applicable to your original confirmed vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation travel dates. You are responsible for applicable package pricing for the new vacation dates.

5 – Riding Out the Storm in Disney World

What if you happen to already be on property when a hurricane is approaching or affecting Disney World operations? If you are able to get out of a storm, it’s not only the safest option, but will also reduce the strain on limited resources. However, with hundreds of thousands of visitors in Orlando at any given time, many of whom have flown in, what if you are unable to leave? When the State of Florida declares a state of emergency officials begin working to ensure Disaster Relief Centers are manned by professionals ready to offer services as needed. In the most extreme and unlikely situation, guests would be evacuated off Disney property to these secure locations. The more likely scenario would be guests waiting out the storm in their Disney Resort.

As hurricanes approach, the resorts prepare for handling guests in the event of a direct hit. Disney World will have supplies and personnel on hand to ensure guests have adequate supplies such as bottled water and food in the event of power outages. In the days ahead of the storm, guests might prepare ahead of time by purchasing their own packaged food and bottled water for their own peace of mind. Disney World has always kept the safety of their guests a top priority, and during a hurricane, that doesn’t change. Be assured that Disney will do all that it can for their guests.

6 – Cinderella’s Castle will be Dismantled Prior to the Storm

Just kidding. This is a complete (though persistent) myth. The myth started with the circulation of a famous photo of the castle being constructed with the entire top spire being lifted into place with a crane. It didn’t take long for the hurricane rumor to start. While the spires on the castle can be removed, it takes several days and a large crane to do so, neither of which is practical when a hurricane is quickly approaching. Instead the castle was built to withstand winds of over 110 mph with a 600-ton steel frame and 10-inch concrete walls. It’s definitely not going anywhere during a hurricane.



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About Chad & Cindy N

Chad and Cindy met during their college days and both being huge Disney fans, it was a match made in heaven. They took their first family vacation to Disney World in 2004. Chad had gone as a child, but this would be Cindy’s first trip-a trip which she had dreamed of since she was a little girl. The trip was magical and began a Disney obsession that hasn’t stopped since. They traveled back year after year, sometimes many times a year. They watched their three kids grow up at Disney and inherit the same love of Disney. In 2010, their dream of living in Orlando became a reality. With Disney World as their backyard playground, they enjoyed even more time in the parks. Friends and family soon made them their go-to-people for Disney advice. With their love of Disney and desire to share that love and knowledge they gleaned over the years, they decided to launch DisneyLists.com in August of 2015. They still can’t believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!