Walt Disney World and other attractions dodge worst of Hurricane Matthew


Update: 6:00pm – Curfew was lifted at 2pm and Disney Springs opened at 5pm with limited locations and primarily to give resort guests something to do tonight.

Update: 12:45 pm – Just heard that all four Walt Disney World parks are now scheduled to open at 8am on Saturday. This is a earlier than normal for most parks. Animal Kingdom will have Extra Magic Hours from 7am – 8am. Disney World’s two water parks and Disney Springs will return to normal operating hours.

Update 11:15 AM – While we don’t advice it, some guests are out and walking about at various resorts. Most damage is some flooding, a few large branches on the ground, and lots fo smaller debris. Hotels are opening their dining facilities to serve guests (Pop Century has limited options but is open). While livestream videos show things are pretty calm across Walt Disney World, it’s still very windy and tropical force wind gusts are still a possibility, so we recommend staying indoors unless you absolutely have to go outside.

There’s a saying forecasters like to use with Hurricanes, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” With every attraction in Orlando closing early yesterday and planning to remain closed today, I’d say that everyone did a good job preparing. The good news for Walt Disney World and other Orlando tourist attractions is that Hurricane Matthew shifted course to the East. This kept hurricane force winds out of the interior of Central Florida greatly reducing the chance of damage at the parks.

The biggest problems seemed to be at Disney resorts as everyone returned from the parks at the same time and tried to get food. The hotel food courts just weren’t meant to handle that demand. So you ended up with crowds like this


It’s not all sunshine and rainbows out there, there are still more than 275,000 people in Central Florida without power right now and there are some reports of property damage along the coast. At the time of writing much of Volusia county, which includes Daytona Beach, is still under extreme winds watch and a flood warning. Flagler County, which is just to the north, could also see serious damage and flooding.

If you do see a downed power line, do not touch it. Report the power outage to the power company. If you absolutely don’t have to get out on the roads for work, stay home. Let the first responders and power crews do their jobs today.

We live about six miles to the East of Walt Disney World resort and can report things are generally fine here with only some heavy gusts. In years past, when the was a severe weather warning but no actual damage, Disney has been known to try and get at least one of its parks open for resort guests only. We’ll keep our ears to the ground to see if any announcements are made today.

Additionally, we’ll see when Orlando International Airport is able to resume flights in and out. A lot of tourists are essentially stranded in Orlando until those flights resume. Be sure to check with your hotel to find out what their policy is in this situation.

Finally, as you can see from the projected path cone for Hurricane Matthew, the storm is expected to loop around and make another landing on the Bahamas and possibly Florida as a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. So keep the folks of Haiti, the Bahamas, and other Caribbean nations, in your thoughts.

As we said, it ain’t over yet for a lot of Florida residents, but it isn’t the worst case scenario either. If you were staying overnight in Central Florida for Hurricane Matthew, either as a resident or guest, what was your experience like?

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12 thoughts on “Walt Disney World and other attractions dodge worst of Hurricane Matthew

  1. Pingback: Hurricane Matthew to bring severe storm to Walt Disney World | The Disney Blog

  2. Jeff

    Appreciate the local report.
    Glad there was no serious damage.

    The guy on the video complained Disney wasn’t ready for this, but what about the guests?
    Were they not aware the storm was coming? That the food facilities would be a zoo?
    Stock up on non-perisables to get you through the next day, bananas, chips, nuts etc., Or at least until the lines die down.

    Disney is doing their best.
    I don’t see them as ill-prepared.
    I see a bunch of clueless guest who frankly, deserve to stand in that line.

    1. Jay

      Wow, Jeff….a little harsh? If you have no car and it’s a major storm, how are you supposed to get the non-perishables? I’m sure the lines at the gift shops are just as bad.

  3. mike stoker

    It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just very unfortunate. Nobody can go anywhere so you just deal with it the best you can.

  4. June Buck

    Disney has been trying to accommodate it’s guests. At least they allowed guests to remain at their resorts. No one should be complaining about being inconvenienced by having to wait for food. Remember the cast members have homes and families too. Hurricanes prediction is not a perfect science and you just don’t know until it makes landfall where it going. I praise Disney for trying to make this their guests as safe as they can. Remember they had to move guests from Fort Wilderness to other resorts to keep them safe. I’m sure that has put a strain on those resorts. So instead of complaining be glad that you and your loved ones are safe. Thank you Walt Disney World for all of the things you do to keep the Magic alive.

  5. Diane

    Thanks for the update. We are supposed to come in to Orlando on Monday assuming the flights aren’t cancelled. Would you recommend someone still coming on Monday? Or would you cancel since you still can? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  6. Laurie

    Google searches of the way Disney handled previous storms might have been the problem. Disney World won an award previous for being one of the safest places to be if you have to be there through a hurricane. I read about sandwich buffets, Disney movies, and character visits. That wasn’t the case this time, for sure. Maybe those websites should be taken down so people don’t have a false sense of security.

    1. Mary

      Some of the resorts (I know for certain the Polynesian and Contemporary) did accommodate guests with movies and character visits in the lobby, but i’m not sure about property wide. I will say the food situation was less prepared this time, but from what i’ve heard it was mostly at the value resorts (which is what’s in the video), which were more crowded.


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