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4 Things Happening Right Now as Hurricane Matthew Heads for Walt Disney World

Though Walt Disney World is no stranger to tropical weather, this week Hurricane Matthew is making headlines as the first major hurricane to target Florida in nearly a decade, threatening to pound the resort with winds in excess of 50mph and very heavy rainfalls.

Now, while Walt Disney World has plenty of safeguards in place for guests staying on property during severe weather, the resort will be taking some additional measures over the next few days to ensure that if this storm does hit before the end of the week (which is looking all but certain according to current projections), the effects will be as minimal as possible.

1. Waiving cancellation fees due to storm activity

Right now, if you are planning to arrive at Walt Disney World in the next few days, you might be a little nervous, especially as air travel may be restricted due to the storm in the coming days. Fortunately, guests who contact Disney in the next week are now able to modify their plans without fear. 

As is standard practice, now that a hurricane watch has been issued for all of central Florida, Walt Disney World is currently working with guests who have vacations booked between Wednesday, October 5 through Sunday, October 9, and is allowing those who need to either reschedule or cancel their trip due to weather to do so without having to pay the usual cancellation fee. Though there are some exceptions to this policy (if you booked a package with airfare for instance, you’ll need to talk to your airline as Disney can’t forgive other companies' fees, and if you change dates and upgrade from a moderate to a deluxe resort in the process, you'll still have to pay the difference) Disney is very accommodating to those who are understandably uneasy about traveling to central Florida when severe weather is in the forecast. 

2. Theme park tie-down is happening now

With the aforementioned hurricane watch now in effect for Orange County, Walt Disney World has deployed a number of specialty-trained Cast Members to begin what is known as a park-wide “tie down” which essentially involves removing all loose items around the parks and hotels, including trash bins, tables, chairs and anything else not firmly attached to the ground, and storing them in a secure location where they won't be blown around by the wind. In addition, anything that is loose but attached to a building (like a hanging sign or banner) is being tied down and secured with rope and zip ties (which, as you might suspect, is where this process gets its name).

In addition, you'll probably see a scale back for in-park entertainment over the next few days (especially those that require any substantial props), as Disney will be putting away everything it can in preparation for the storm. 

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There are 11 comments.

My family is coming down next Monday night for 5 days. I am trying to convince my brother that Matthew will be gone by then, but, what can we expect in the way of recovery (if any) of the Disney parks grounds. Will everything be up and running by Monday? Thanks (a pass holder member)

Disney moves quickly to restore operations. I was there the day after Orlando took a direct hit from Hurricane Charley (2004) and while the surrounding area was still regrouping even a week later, the Disney property was pretty much back to normal in a day or two. It's too early to tell how badly Disney will get hit, but I would not cancel a trip unless the airlines cancel for the days you plan to be there.

The hurricane should definitely be gone by then. If you google "Hurricane Matthew" you will find lots of weather sites showing the prediction. By Sunday it should already pass Florida and even the Carolinas. By Monday it *should* be long gone (of courses weather can always change).

The question is really how fast will Disney fix things if needed, but I would cancel - worst case the first day will be a little bit off-beat, but the rest of your vacay should be awesome. I'm arriving Tuesday and not gonna cancel. Just hoping for the best.

We're traveling to WDW on Tuesday, I'm assuming the storm will be over by then - how likely is that the parks will still be closed or partially closed? How fast can WDW get back to running smoothly after a hurricane?

So, is there a chance closures will last into Saturday/Sunday or longer? We are not scheduled arrive til Saturday afternoon and we are driving. Any idea what we should expect?

You can expect horrible traffic. The storm could last until Halloween if the right conditions exist. Dumb question

They could move the outdoor entertainment into the vacant buildings in epcot.

Hope the storm will bound to the sea and everyone will be ok.

I only used two of my four days before the party I was with decided to evacuate before the crowds. I used two of my four days before we drove home yesterday. We were supposed to be leaving tomorrow, right during the height of the storm. Is there an option to have those days saved for my next trip without having to pay?

I'm at a Disney hotel now and they aren't advising guests at all here. I even called the front desk to ask if I should do anything to prep and was only told that they were watching the weather and there was no prep I needed to do at this time! It's 10pm on Wednesday night and everything is going on as usual at the hotel from what I can see. (Tie down has started though in the parks). I also asked if I could get a late check out on Friday due to not wanting to drive in that and they were unable to do it. So, looks like I'll have to walk through the storm to get to the lobby to check out. I'm hoping it's not as bad as it sounds.

Our family is scheduled to fly down on Sunday from D.C. Staying in the Park through Wednesday. We are keeping a close on hurricane updates. Hoping our flight will not get canceled and that the worst of the weather is over by then.

We have tickets to Mickey's Not So Scarey Halloween Parade for Monday night. Will that be canceled?

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