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Topic: WDW Hurricane Policy & Travel Plan Advice< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
CarolKoster Offline
Carol Koster




Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter

Group: Members
Posts: 21926
Joined: April 1992
Posted: Aug. 27, 2006, 2:21 pm Quote

Updated 3:00 pm CDT Sat., September 6, 2008

Click here for the projected path of Hurricane Ike..



Updated 10 am CDT Sat., Aug. 16, 2008



Tropical Storm Fay is expected to be a hurricane when it goes over central Florida.

Scroll down this page for more information as well as clicking here.



I know this is long, but it's packed with useful info based on the hurricane seasons which did affect WDW and travellers, please bear with it, pick through it all carefully.  Thanks for your understanding.  Something for everyone within it, so read, don't skim, or print and highlight what pertains to your Disney trip to Orlando during hurricane season.

In the 2004 hurricane Season Rich and I took Disney Echo on in-depth coverage of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne as all four went across Florida.  Not only did we follow those storms, we followed published reports of how Orlando and WDW in particular fared, prepared, treated guests, and so forth, including at Fort Wilderness Campground.  Since that storm season was so significant, Disney learned a lot of things and since then actively implements what they learned.  

RichKoster, the Site Administrator here on Disney Echo, currently works in the TV newsroom of WVUE-TV, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans.  I used to work as a radio news and public affairs announcer/producer as well as an associate producer and producer of newscasts for the CBS affiliate in Mobile AL.  I was born in Mobile AL and except for 7 years in California have lived either in Mobile or New Orleans all my life, have grown up with hurricanes, I'm used to them (but don't like 'em either) and went through Hurricane Frederic in Mobile in 1979, so did Rich, and we were affected by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 (Rich's TV station got flooded, our house fared well with minimal damage).  So bear with me....

Here is a link to an existing Disney Echo Topic, WDW's Hurricane Policy.  Follow links in the postings, it will take you to Disney's official website where you can read exactly how Disney will work with their guests.

http://new.disneyecho.emuck.com/cgi-bin....rricane

Hurricane tracks can and do change.  But we can work with the information and forecasts available now and simply monitor news developments ongoing.  So you do that too. :)  Monitor the news, sit tight.

Here is the National Hurricane Center's official website:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Where is says "Hurricane Ernesto" on the home page, scroll down and find the graphic of "5-Day Cone" and click that.  It will show you where they estimate (means they think, rather than they know, best guess based on data, etc.) Ernesto will go, ongoing, for the next five days.  

So if today is August 27, five days from now is September 1.  The chart indicates Ernesto's landfall will be between Thursday August 31 and Friday September 1.  You say your trip is starting September 8.  The storm will be over by then.  Anyone else, at tother times:  Know the date of travel you will be starting, use the five-day cone, "do the math", a hurricane can cross the state from one body of water to the next in a few hours if forward motion is fast, or less than a day if it is slow-moving.  So duration is a few hours to less than a day.  

If your travel date is after such a storm makes landfall, your will want to know "aftermath"-type news.  If you're about to arrive the same date as landfall, you have some decisions to make about cancelling or postponing.  If you're there, your options are to shelter in place or leave in advance of the storm, and cut your travel plans shorter.

The bad news:  Orlando will be on the "bad side" of the storm, the eastern half is always the roughest, the western half always the easiest.  Think of a hurricane's shape as a round clock face, and it heads in the forward direction of "12" on the face of the clock.  The hours 12->6 will be the rougher half, more severe.  The hours 6->12 are the easier, less severe.  Why did God/Mother Nature make hurricanes that way?  Ask them, ask scientists!  But the matter at hand, this is the way they are, handy to know a bit of what to expect if you are travelling.

The good news:  In the 2004 Hurricane season Charley, Frances and Jeanne either went very close to Orlando or went over it on their ways to someplace else.  What's good about that is that WDW and the hoteliers developed procedures for guests, and there is now a pattern of aftermath to know what to expect.

Caveat:  No two storms are alike, and with increased intensities, even over land as a storm habitually weakens over land, there can still be damage.  Storms love warm water, it's like this is their food and energy source.  Over land, they weaken.  Over lots of land, they weaken a lot.  It takes time, days, over land for a storm to fully weaken.  There can be wind damage, tornadoes, flooding due to heavy rains, roads can wash out or be blocked by fallen debris.  Some storms are minor, others major.  So no two situations alike.

Re: Fort Wilderness:  You should monitor news developments.  You can go online to the Orlando Sentinel website, WESH-TV's website, Local 9 Orlando's website, WFTV-TV's website.  If there is news on Disney's status, trust me, it will be promoted in the local media down there.  And we will monitor it on Disney Echo too and report about it in appropriate Forums.  Also, Fort Wilderness Campground Moderator Jeff Spencer is very in tune with the Campground, any news/information he specifically finds he will report in his Forum.  You can also scroll through the Fort Wilderness Campground Forum from August 2004-October 2004 for Topics matching those dates to see for yourself how FTW handled situations with guests.

Here is what to expect if a storm is coming and you are already there at FW (FW means Fort Wilderness, in case readers who are new are unfamiliar with acronyms) :

You WILL be notified by Disney, timely, of what is going on as affects you being a guest at the campground.  Of course, you follow the news too.  You will be asked to leave Fort Wilderness, the reasons being winds being dangerous for those in trailers, campers and RVs, and the danger of falling trees and tree limbs.  Your options (as offered by Disney) will be to move to existing resorts to shelter there at Disney aka move to a on-site hotel of Disney's, or simply to leave.  They handle check out with courtesy and a friendly smile.  In 2004 the campground suffered significant tree damage.  Those who left and reported back later said Disney handled matters calmly and with friendly courtesy.  And those moved to resorts say the same things.  When the storm passes and wind speeds in the aftermath are safe enough to venture out, damage assessments will be carried out.  The miracle after the 2004 storm season storms is how quickly Disney was able to clear out debris from their resorts!  They were back in business within 1-2 days of each of these storms.

If you are already at WDW in a regular resort:

You WILL be notified by Disney, in writing in a flyer in your room or on or under your door, of what is going on as affects you being a guest at that resort.  Of course, you follow the news too.  You will be asked to:  Bring in any patio furniture there may be outside your room on a patio or balcony, and store that in your room.  Shut the drapes.  Don't go outside.  Buy non-perishable food and drinks for you and your travel party or family, some of which you can buy from Disney, or you can go off-site for this (if a storm is coming, residents are doing the same things, so there will be heavy traffic, long lines, perhaps shortages).  Make sure for cans you have a manual can opener, perhaps also plastic utensils and paper plates.  If you have a car, top your gas tank off to full, also possibly long lines, maybe shortages developing.  You will be told to stay in your room for your own safety.  Things fly around in high winds so quickly you really don't want to be hit by flying stuff, which could include roof shingles with the nails still attached, boards flying around, etc.  Disney has been known to furnish flashlights for their guests in case the power goes out.  As long as electric power stays up, you stay in your room, can watch the cable TV system, can watch Weather Channel or CNN (no Fox News Channel offered) or better is local TV because they are familiar with Orlando and can be among the first to tell you Disney World status news, status of the airport, status of highways in/out of town, etc.  If you're stressed out, or the kids are, there are ample Disney cartoons and movies to watch in your room.  If you are at some of the resorts, they provide "ride out crews":  These are employees stationed to see to guest needs and safety, and report how the buildings are faring so they can quickly get damage assessments or emergency situations taken care of.  Sometimes they even provide some Disney characters to interact with, to help relieve the situation and find some fun in all the hubbub.  Do not expect room service or maid service.  Disney at a certain point allows all their staffers, except ride out crews, to go home to prepare their homes and be with their families.  Do not expect any kind of room service, no meals, special treatments (unless a genuine emergency) or turn down services, do not expect old room service dishes and trays to be removed right away, do not expect fresh towels or bed linens.  You are in "shelter in an emergency" mode.  The building codes in Florida are tough, and got tougher after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Disney buildings can withstand a Category 2 or so (I forget which) storm!  Be confident about that, Disney's hotel buildings meet Florida's building codes!  You may be asked to stay out of corridors that face outside.  Or you may be asked to shelter in interior ballrooms or parts of lobbies away from windows where you can be with other people, be comforted by the Disney characters if they are there, etc.  You may not go outside 'til winds are deemed safe, and that is probably below 20-30 MPH or lower.  For your own safety, don't go outside 'til it's deemed safe, even if you see news media reporters doing it.  Damage assessments will be done.  The miracle after the 2004 storm season storms is how quickly Disney was able to clear out debris from their resorts!  They were back in business within 1-2 days of each of these storms.  If there should be damage to a hotel residential building the residents will be moved to undamaged areas, or you can elect to leave and return home early, etc.  Disney will work case-by-base about this.  Normal resort operations will resume when staff can be called back in to work and clean up to the point that guest services can resume normally or as normally as possible, which is a case by case thing depending on the severity of the weather system moving through.  The key is "when the staff can come back".  If significant numbers of staff have home damage, car damage (no transportation) or if roads are not clear, public transportation not up and running yet, then guest services and operations returning to normal will take correspondingly longer.  It's not Disney's fault, it's not the staff's fault, it's a disaster that's just happened, so keep your perspective about you.  It is frustrating, scary, a pain in the keister, yes we know.  It is for Disney, too.  So keep patience and perspective.  They are in it with you, and doing their best under extreme circumstances.  Flow with it, let go of the aggravation, if Disney could wave a magic wand and keep weather conditions in this part of the world even keel and safe 100% of the time, they would.  The argument could be made that preparation and asking the right questions and making Alternate Plan B plans beforehand (which is exactly what you're doing ) could save time, frustration, and uncertainty in the long run.  Those who rode out the storms in WDW in 2004 rave about how the experience went.  They posted Disney was courteous, hospitality oriented, helpful.  At first for Charley the communication was not good, but Disney fixed that.  There was one woman staying at the Polynesian who complained about the lack of room service or housekeeping, however it had to be explained to this guest by us on the Echo that hurricanes are extreme situations, that Disney takes care of their employees by relieving them of duties so they can protect their homes and be with their loved ones, and that when hotels are turned into shelters reasonable care is given to guests but in emergencies like that it's "survival mode" and you have to suck it in and understand the situation at hand.  People on Florida's coasts consider Orlando "inland" so you will see an influx of state residents taking shelter from low-lying areas inland and that includes staying at Disney resorts.

The parks:  Disney will keep the parks open as long as they can, 'til local conditions warrant closing down, having the staff batten everything down.  They will reopen the parks only after damage assessments have been done.  Attractions with significant damage will not reopen.  The parks can be closed as long as 1-3 or 4 days, depending on the aftermath and damage assessments.  They work absolute miracles in cleaning up debris and reopening what they can as soon as they can, depending on the availability of staffing.  Employees not on "ride out crews" are sent home to be with their families and also prepare their own property to withstand the storm.  Some homes can be damaged, sometimes trees fall on cars, local roads need to be cleared of debris and fallen trees and poles in order to be able to drive out, public transportation needs to be restored.  All these represent challenges in the immediate aftermath about returning to work to reopen parks and normal operations such as restaurants, shows, park attractions, shops, characters greeting guests, etc.  Pack your patience and understanding about this if you travel to Disney in hurricane season.  Argument can be made that preparation and asking the right questions and making Alternate Plan B plans beforehand (which is exactly what you're doing ) could save time, frustration, and uncertainty in the long run.  The park most affected by storms in 2004 was Animal Kingdom.  Loss of trees, heavy wind damage.  That park took longer to reopen and restore than others.  Animals all survived, were sheltered very humanely and cared for.  Mostly it's tree damage and wind damage that had to be repaired or cleared to the point guests could be let back in and enjoy the experience.  Due to weather some shows and dinner shows may be cancelled on short notice.  Contact Disney regarding reimbursements or losses if this happens to you.  Their rules are their rules, unfortunately, so read the fine print when you book your plans, ask questions about their policies before booking plans.  Contact the Dsiney Hurricane Policy Website, above, for more information, or phone Disney if you need fine-point clarifications.  If not happy, stay calm and polite, ask to speak to successive supervisors in a polite way, until your matter is resolved to mutual "common grounds".

Cruises, Disney Cruise Line:  Cruises will sail as long as weather conditions are safe.  Many times they might skip port of call if storms are happening in the area, and sail elsewhere.  The Port of Canaveral, where DCL is based as are other cruise lines, will close to maritime interests for safety, reopen when weather is passed and damage assessments and repairs allow it to.  Contact your cruise line, or DCL, work with them on a case by case basis about postponing a trip if you have concerns, getting refunds, etc.  Castaway Cay is vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm damage.  Some of the 2004 hurricanes went over this island in the Bahamas.  If the level of damage is severe, you might not be able to have that day's shore excursion as planned.  Again, contact DCL or your cruise line, and monitor Orlando news, they do cover the Port of Canaveral and will issue press releases about when normal operations will shut down and then resume.

If you want to leave early, cut short your trip:

Read any confirmation paperwork Disney sent you in advance of your trip.

Go to Disney's Hurricane Policy part of their website and read it, don't skim it.

If flying:  Contact your airline and ask all the "What if..." questions before you book during the peak months of hurricane season of August and September, even spilling into October.  The airport in Orlando will close at some point, for flight safety.  The airport is NOT a shelter, and you will not be permitted to go or stay there if a storm is approaching and the airport has announced closure.  Airline seats outbound fill up fast by other visitors wishing to leave.  You will need to contact your airline, not the airport, and make changes in outbound arrangements.  Since there have been security changes this year, make sure you pack in carry-on what is supposed to be there, and in regular baggage what is supposed to be there, and get rid of banned items, to further speed your way through check-in and security checkpoints and searches.  Pack a big load of patience and understanding, too.

Ground transportation:  For residents leaving coastal areas or low-lying areas some Interstates and roads will have all lanes head inland or outbound, this is called "contraflow".  Lanes inbound, or coastal bound, will be reversed, all lanes going in the same direction.  Some roads may be blocked by law enforcement in order to facilitate contraflow.  Otherwise there will be very heavy traffic, people stocking up on non-perishable groceries, survival supplies, batteries, filling their cars and gas canisters to "full", flash lights, building supplies for temporary repairs (Home Depot, Lowe's type places) and so forth.  If you arrived to WDW via your own car/vehicle and decide to leave early consider  travelling at off-peak times, perhaps leaving middle of the night or early early morning might mean less road headaches than if you waited 'til later.  Expect a lot of traffic even for miles outside Central Florida as folks head farther north to inland safety.  Keep your gas tank topped off!  In Hurricane Rita, Houstonians in Texas were running out of gas quickly even while they were still in the city, since they were stuck in heavy outbound traffic.  If you arrived via taxi, limosine-town car service or bus service such as Mears, phone them early as possible and ask their policies on early departures or their hurricane policy, check their websites, check any paperwork you were issued after you booked with them.  If they can get you to the airport with a confirmed outbound flight, leave hours and hours ahead of your flight time, to accomodate traffic, crowds at check in, security checkpoints, etc.  If you haven't booked yet, before you book ask these services their hurricane policy, in case you may decide to cancel the remainder of your vacation or in case you decide not to do your vacation at all (refund policies, etc.)  Roads and bridges can be closed to utility poles fallen over, trees in the road, washed out roads or bridges, sinkholes, traffic control due to contraflow and many other reasons.  High water can disguise that roads are more underwater than they are or that under the water there is a sinkhole or that the road may be washed out, so do not attempt to drive in unfamiliar areas or you may inadvertantly drown your car.  Car rentals you should call the agency to determine their hurricane plan and determine how they want you to proceed if you are returning the car early or want to cancel having the car if you are cancelling or postponing your trip.  Return the car in as undamaged a condition as possible, you will also need to fill it's tank before you return it.

If you have condominium reservations, medical equipment rentals or special care providers such as sitters for children or those who are ill needing special care, pet care providers such as kennels, car rentals, show or dinner show tickets, tours, excursions, any kind of special pre-booked or pre-paid arrangements, tickets to any parks other than Disney, a travel agent who booked "everything" for you, a cruise from the coast, your airline, taxi-towncar-bus airport-to-resort transportation:  Contact anyone you made booking or travel or accomodations arrangements with to find out their cancellation policy, or their hurricane policy.  Best to know all this before you make the arrangements in the first place.  But if it's a "done deal" and you want to leave earlier than planned and you're already there in Central Florida, call all these entities as soon as possible, find out about their cancellation policy, refunds, rain checks, availability at another date and season, etc.  If you're about to go at the same time a storm will make landfall near Orlando, you will also want to contact all these entities as soon as possible and see what can be done.  Again:  It's best and ideal to ask all these things at the time you want to book, so you can formulate Alternate Plan B and have contact information and procedures already in hand, so that you can have the confidence of knowing how to procede under changing conditions, not be stressed in the moment, etc.  If I can predict there will be at least tropical storms every hurricane season June 1-November 30, with peak months of August and September, travellers can too, and if travellers can predict it, travellers can pre-plan for it by asking all these things in advance.  But if a traveller is "in the moment" pick the phone up and call, call, call.  Lines are going to be busy...  Be patient, keep trying.

Cell phones and land line telephone service, Internet:  Service before, during and after a tropical storm or hurricane emergency can be very spotty.  A few rationales for this:  Other people are on too, and the lines are getting overloaded with use, lots of busy signals or dropped calls or poor quality of signal.  There can be service shut downs in order to protect the system when the winds are blowing.  Post-storm damage to towers, downed lines, can interrupt the "normalcy" of taking for granted you can pick up the phone and make a call.  This can go on for days, depending on severity of regional damage and how quickly repair crews from around the US can arrive to help restore lines.  In the mean time:  Designate a family member or friend back home to be The Person you'll call to let The Person know you and travel party are OK and your status, status of the trip or when coming home post-storm.  Leave The Person with important telephone numbers to call in order to be a Grapevine to pass along accurate information about how you are faring, you're OK and not to worry, etc.  Phone numbers to leave with The Person:  Your employer, children's school (if you think you'll be delayed getting home) close family members on both sides of the family.  Minimize calling, minimize the length of the call.  Service may be spotty, and emergency crews, emergency personnel need all the working phones and cell time they can get to further recovery and helping those in great need, so be considerate and keep it brief, get to the point, save long conversations for when you get home or at least to an area where services are more normal.  Regarding Internet, services can also go down, be restored based on level of damage to regional networks.  Designate The Person here, too, to E-mail how you are doing and to pass that along to anyone who needs to know.  Or pre-trip get a E-List of all E-mail addresses for family, friends, schools, employers, neighbors, etc.  And write a single message, put all the E-mail addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy BCC: part of the header (to protect others' privacy) and send it out.  Explain if Internet service is spotty you might not be able to reply right away, but assure them of status, how to contact you if services of telephone or Internet get restored, and what your plans are about staying or coming home.  Keep it to the point.  Pre-writing this and uploading it to a pre-set list of recipients means you are online less, and can relinguish connection if services are spotty, much more likelihood your message will get out.  If it's too long and unwieldy or if the address string is too long, that will delay the server from processing it.  You may notice very slow connections before and after the storm.  That's because the whole area is online notifying people too and the system is overloaded.  Be patient.  Save long travelogues for when you get home.  Get to the immediate point of your message, say "More later, when we're back we'll tell you all about what it was like."  Bookmark certain websites if you bring a computer with you:  WESH-TV, WFTV-TV, Local 9 TV, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando International Airport, your favorite national news source, Weather Channel, National Hurricane Center, service providers such as your travel agent, transportation company, your airline, etc., and the Florida Department of Transportation (for road conditions on Interstates, etc.).  Monitor online LOCAL news media:  They will inform you Disney's status, the status of the airport closing or reopening, the status of local roads, Interstate highways, and bridges.  They will inform you of shelters, where meals are being served and medical facilities open and available to treat injuries and emergencies.  National news doesn't do that, and it's information you will need.  The local media in Orlando are 'Net savvy, and will post and do live streaming video on the Internet.  Tell family and loved ones at home you are monitoring such and such local news media, and they can know as much as you do if they will also log onto those sites and monitor them.

When you pack for vacation during hurricane season:  Manual can opener, small stash of plastic eating utensils that you keep washed in your room if you have to eat canned/non-perishable things riding out the storm, pre-soaped dishwashing wipes or liquid dish soap for cleaning glasses and plates and utensils after you've consumed food or beverages from them, prescriptions and know a local way to refill, local doctors on your health care plan.  Plenty of clothes so you won't have to do laundry (in case electricity is out), your own laundry detergent and plenty of quarters for the machines at $2/each.  Patience and understanding and a pioneering spirit.  Contingency plans if a storm brews while you are there and you decide to leave early or ride it out, contact information to tell others you are OK in a brief way.  How to contact travel agent, transportation, airline, car rental, shows, services, etc.  How to contact The Person back home via E-mail and/or phone to let others know you're OK and what your status and future plans are.  How to find out status of local roads (local news media tells you, City of Orlando might, Orange County and Osceola County might, State Dept. of Transportation).  Batteries for your cell phone or any device you use for communications, so you can replace what's in there with fresh ones if the power is out or what you ahve get to running low due to unexpected heavier than usual use.  A flashlight.  Ways to comfort or entertain young children under the circumstances.  Over the counter medicines if you need them.  Patience.  Tolerance.  Understanding this is an emergency, you are not the only one it affects, others are affected too, so work with what you can, be patient and calm, and keep trying to get through, and that Disney is doing it's level best under extreme circumstances to deal with their own property and employee status concerns, to get back up and running normally as soon as conditions allow, and to provide hospitality and shelter to all seeking Disney's brand of safety. Certain things are out of your control here, let it go, understand that, be prepared to work with it and "go with the flow" rather than be frustrated by thinking everything can go back to normal in the snap of fingers, 'cause it can't, so your choice is simply to suck it in and deal with it.  If you have an Alternate Plan B in mind, implement it as early as possible.  If there are closures, heavy traffic, etc., you are more apt to "get out" or "ride out safely" or "avoid altogether and cancel or postpone" towards the earlier than towards the later.

It's up to you to pre-plan, do the legwork.  Make your own decisions.  Have patience to wait 'til storms blow over and you hear status reports about Disney operations, parks, resorts, services before deciding too early to cancel or postpone.

We happened to have had plans to visit WDW for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in early October 2004 a week after Jeanne blew through.  We were concerned about piling on our presence so soon, since we live in hurricane alley, too, and we know it can be devastating.  But we heard all was well, reopened, they wanted the business to keep going, so we figured "Why not?" so we went anyway.  Yes, you can determine a LOT of tree damage, in fact you can still see some felled trees in the undeveloped parts of WDW from the roads.  Fort Wilderness on commercial TV looks more "bare" now than when we stayed in 2003, because of tree damage in 2004 and loss of limbs.  But the trees are growing back, and that resort today is still beautiful and pleasant.  We did tour around in a rental car to check things out for ourselves.  When I say Disney pulled off a miracle in clearing roads and public areas of debris and breakage, it really did!  How Disney handles future storms will depend on those storms' individual and unique severities, labor coming back to work after storms, etc.  But based on 2004, you do not want to cancel or postpone a trip to Disney in Orlando too soon.  Wait to hear damage assessments from Orlando news media, then make your decision.

Those in the 2004 hurricane season who rode it out with Disney came through unscathed, praising Disney for the experience and their caring protection of them in trying circumstances, the quickness with which Disney could reopen and allow guests to resume their vacations and normal interactions with Disney.  

The rest is decision making and legwork and pre-planning and pre "planning Alternate Plan B" that is up to you.

If you want to investigate travel insurance, look up policies from companies rated as AAA as possible by A. M. Best, an insurance rating company.  

More information about travelling under possible hurricane conditions can be found at radio talk show host Clark Howard's website

http://www.clarkhoward.com

He specializes in saving money, spending less, getting bang for the buck, avoiding scams and ripoffs, finding the best deals, and travel and how to do it smartly.  He writes books, too, which are published by Hyperion (Disney).  Play around with the home page menu about travel, in the left hand side menu choose Show Notes or Clarchives for past show notes, or "Search", or visit your favorite book store and browse one of his books in the financial advice section.  I wouldn't refer you if it weren't info you can use.  Amazon.com ad at the bottom of this page, use the link, head to "Books" and "Search" for Clark Howard, or just go to your favorite bookseller online nor brick and mortar, or visit his site and explore, play with key words.

Hurricane season is June 1-November 30, the peak months are August and September, and peak of those statistically is from mid-August through the peak statistically September 10, then decreasing to October 1, bu can be active any time and even outside those dates.  2004 and 2005 were unusual, historic seasons at one end of extremes.  Some seasons are more quiet than others.  No two alike.  Just because quiet or mayhem occured "last year" or "two years ago" doesn't mean it's over now, and doesn't mean it will be quieter or just as severe this year.  Scientists and weather professionals keep track of statistics which can be fairly reliable but not 100%.  Mother Nature doesn't always follow statistics and probability.  Technology to forecast and predict storms is better than ever before, but isn't 100%.  If you vacation where hurricanes can possibly go, at times of year they can possibly be active, "Know before you go" the risks and what to do to minimize risks and still ahve good reliable fun, but also to be sheltered or to leave if you feel you must.  In most cases you can vacation with no problem!  But in a few cases you might be "caught".  Go with the odds:  Most cases nothing will happen and you'll be fine, but by statistical nature someone will be in the minority percentage who "get caught" and will have to shelter in place, decide to leave early, or decide to cancel/postpone a trip.  Plan as if you're in the minority percentage, just in case, but live with hope that you'll be in the majority percentage.

Google any terms or businesses or media entities in Orlando you read about in this article, and maintain a Favorites or Bookmark for the contact URL.  Include travel agents, car rental, airlines, ground transportation, entities you book rooms or condominiums, entertainment, admission tickets, tours, rentals, services, etc. from.

I hope this helps!
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Posted: June 01, 2007, 5:29 pm Quote

The above is a lot to take in, I know.

However, if you give it a try, it contains a lot of "news you can use" should you be travelling to Walt Disney World or any coastal state area between June 1-November 30, hurricane season.

Annual hurricane season begins today, June 1 - November 30.  The most active months, however are August and September.

Florida was hit by 4 storms in two months in 2004, three storms (Charley, Frances, and Jeanne) went over Central Florida, and WDW closed for a few days each time, sheltering guests in place.  At the time, these park closures were unprecedented in WDW's history.

Disney Echo monitored developments at the time for our members.

The distillation of what WDW did to assist guests and what park opening aftermaths were like is in the initial message.  This will benefit you, and fellow WDW travellers, greatly.

A link to WDW's Official Hurricane Policy is within the posting above.

Take time now to click that link.

Sometimes people feel safe staying put, other times people want to cancel their plans.  Knowing how WDW will respond to you, no matter which of those choices you make, will aid you with making travel plans that you can feel confidence in.

"Know before you go."  With weather forecasters predicting active hurricane seasons perhaps 10-15 more years, it's better to plan with the contingency of WDW's Hurricane Policy in mind rather than to wonder or not know at all.

Disney Echo's been proactive in assisting members by providing this info in a "one stop shop" placement of Topic.  I hope it benefits you.  But mostly, I hope none of us ever has to go through a Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Katrina or Rita (the major storms of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons).

We went through Katrina, here in New Orleans.  Nearly two years after the storm locals still can't stop talking about it, recovering from it, being frustrated by it, waiting to move on in life from it.  It lasted only a day, it's impact for years and years, and still no end in sight.

If we at Disney Echo can ease your trip, your concerns and questions, and make you confident in your travel choices, even the difficult and reluctant travel choices, then the website is at its best.  And hurricane season is a travel contingency, 6-months out of the year, to not take for granted.  Most times you'll be just fine, and the minority of times this information could be quite useful for you.

Travel well and safely, and refer this Topic to others who also may be travelling, or planning to travel, during hurricane season.  Good luck, I hope it helps.
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Posted: July 29, 2007, 6:44 pm Quote

In addition, the two peak months of hurricane season are August and September.
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Posted: July 30, 2007, 9:59 am Quote

Ok... don't talk about it!  We are a little nervous about this issue.  Our trip is the last week of August...

We dealt with Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 and I was very impressed with the way WDW handled everything.  We had to stay at a resort for a couple of nights while they cleaned up Fort Wilderness but then we made it over there and all was well...

But, I will just forget you even mentioned this, Carol...


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* 1978 - 1987 Disneyland - 10+ Trips * 1990 -2001: WDW - 5 Trips * June 2003: Disneyland * Sept 2004: Fort Wilderness (And 3 nights at All Star Sports thanks to Hurricane Jeanne! ) * Dec 2004:  Fort Wilderness * Dec 2005: Fort Wilderness * Aug 2007: All Star Movies * April 2009: All Star Music * Oct 2011 Disney Magic - Western Caribbean!*
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Posted: July 30, 2007, 10:24 pm Quote

Don't worry too much Amy.  We were there in 2004 for Charlie, and WDW handled things very well.  We went again in Aug 2006, and didn't even have a day of rain.  We were there last week, and it only rained for a few hours all week.  We can only go in the summer, so we take our chances.  Have a blast in August!

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Posted: July 31, 2007, 9:19 am Quote

I don't worry too much about a hurricane happening while we are THERE.  It is of one happening a couple days before and canceling our trip altogether!

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-----AMY-----
Army Wife and Mom to Two Great Army Brats!



* 1978 - 1987 Disneyland - 10+ Trips * 1990 -2001: WDW - 5 Trips * June 2003: Disneyland * Sept 2004: Fort Wilderness (And 3 nights at All Star Sports thanks to Hurricane Jeanne! ) * Dec 2004:  Fort Wilderness * Dec 2005: Fort Wilderness * Aug 2007: All Star Movies * April 2009: All Star Music * Oct 2011 Disney Magic - Western Caribbean!*
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Posted: July 31, 2007, 9:41 am Quote

Quote (DisneyScrapbooker @ July 30, 2007, 8:59 am)
Ok... don't talk about it!  We are a little nervous about this issue.  Our trip is the last week of August...

We dealt with Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 and I was very impressed with the way WDW handled everything.  We had to stay at a resort for a couple of nights while they cleaned up Fort Wilderness but then we made it over there and all was well...

But, I will just forget you even mentioned this, Carol...

Respectfully submitted, after having gone through Katrina and our site covered the 2004 hurricanes very much, I think people should not be "in the dark" when they plan costly travel.  To protect their travel investment, and provide info they can use to make sound financial and time-contingent decisions upon, I bump these topics during hurricane season.  At the time in 2004 a lot of people posted they didn't know what to do.  Knowledge truly is power, and it truly is comforting and instills confidence.  To have to alter vacation plans due to a pending storm, a lot comes undone.  As Jesse Jackson says "If the mind can conceive it, then you can believe it", and it's a fact that tropical weather systems can and do disrupt vacations anywhere along the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts or Caribbean or Bahamas.  Knowing the policies put into place by various travel and tourism industry vendors can help you plan out contingencies in advance, and not be surprised by them out of the blue.  "Know before you go" is simply practical trip planning in action.  If others feel differently, "simply ignoring" works 100% of the time.  Although if something comes up, know the advice was here and is always accessible. :)

Living in Hurricane Country after the 2004 and 2005 seasons is indeed anxiety-laden.  But preparation is the key to handling it, including knowing the latest in policies designed to assist consumers who travel know the processes of dealing with what happens.

The above texts are meant to inform what to expect of Disney, how to anticipate ahead of time, and also to be confident if sheltering at Disney how well they care for families and their safety, but it's not a cake walk, either.  If readers look up Jeanne, Charley, and Frances from the 2004 hurricane season, even more detail how well it went are in those Existing Topics.  Readers are invited to look them up and read for themselves...  Happy Disney fans did post how it went, and you can take their word. :)
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Posted: Aug. 17, 2007, 11:47 pm Quote

If  you will be travelling to Disney in hurricane season the above is meant to inform you of what to expect.   Bumping to make more current now that the season now has some activity to it.
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Posted: July 06, 2008, 8:55 pm Quote

Glean any info you want or need from this topic and it's links, particularly if your dates of travel to WDW involve the two peak months of annual hurricane season, August and September.  You'll also want to know and know how to work with hurricane and tropical weather policies for any vendor of travel services in Central Florida or serving or travelling to and from Central Florida.

Rather than "be alarmed" tuck this knowledge into a spare mental compartment as an Alternative Plan B in case tropical weather may cause you to either shelter in place at Disney or in case you want to depart early or change travel plans.  "Know before you go" is always prudent.

Read through, and hope/pray for a quiet season or that storms always "go someplace else"... Except to the Gulf Coast, we residents had enough of Katrina in 2005 and are still rebuilding!   Out to harmless open ocean is the best destination for these storms, hope they all do that!
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Posted: Aug. 16, 2008, 11:19 am Quote

Updated 10 am CDT Sat., Aug. 16, 2008



Tropical Storm Fay is expected to be a hurricane when it goes over central Florida.

The current projected path of Fay shows that its worse, eastern side will affect the Walt Disney World area as it travels north through Florida.

Click here for the latest on Fay from the National Hurricane Center


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