Traveling to Walt Disney World during hurricane season can feel like a risk. With Hurricane Ian’s recent destruction, we are hearing different stories from people who were traveling during Hurricane Ian and their experience.
Shannon’s Cruise Experience
When Hurricane Ian was scheduled to make landfall, Shannon was on a Disney Cruise with 20 people. They sailed from Miami on Monday, September 26. Shannon was not worried because cruise ships can sail around storms.
However, the hurricane did change their plans. This cruise was supposed to go to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, twice during the trip. However, they only ended up spending one rainy day on the island.
They changed the itinerary and went to Nassau earlier in the trip, but Shannon and her group did not get off the ship. They were kept up to date on the storm and Disney handled things very well.
By the time they got to the airport on October 1, everything had passed and the airport was operating as usual. While on the ship, Shannon was trying to keep up with all of the news. Parks were closed and there was some damage.
Shannon and the WDW Prep team was supposed to stay at Fort Wilderness to do all of the activities there. However, Fort Wilderness remained closed until October 7 and a lot of the activities are still closed so that trip has been rescheduled.
Kenzie had a birthday trip planned and her first DVC trip so they opted to continue on the trip and hope for the best… However, that’s not exactly what happened.
Kenzie’s trip was at Copper Creek from September 22-October 2. They had a few park days where everything seemed normal but then things took a turn for the worst.
On September 26 they started to receive notifications that things were closing. On September 28 the resorts were on lockdown.
They woke up on September 28 and the wind was really rough. Surprisingly, the pool was still open. They walked outside and it was very windy.
The pool was open until 3 p.m. but most people were hanging out in the lobby because of the incredible plans Disney scheduled. The Country Bears were in the lobby for two days, movies, and lots of fun activities.
They also had Roaring Fork and Whispering Canyon open for meals. They had food boxes as well but Kenzie and her family didn’t use those.
Kenzie and her family had a wonderful experience with beautiful cast members that made it a great experience. There were a few scary moments because they had a first floor room, but thankfully it was fine.
They only had to shelter in place overnight on the 28th. They were told to stay in their rooms on 9 p.m. at night but by the next morning the storm had passed.
Kenzie and her family had to rearrange their plans on the 29th but rebooked their Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party for the 30th.
Once the hurricane passed, Kenzie and her family were able to have two relatively normal park days.
Natali and her mom had an epic trip planned after her mom had some health challenges. When the hurricane was looking like it would cause her plans to change, they extended their trip a few days in order to have a good experience.
Natali’s mom had an ECV because of mobility issues. Natali is a veteran Disney traveler and she was with her girls and her mom.
They opted to continue with the trip because of her mom’s health concerns. She says it was either now or never, so they decided to go. Their first night was supposed to be at the Hyatt hotel at the Orlando airport.
However, on the plane on Tuesday, September 27 Natali was getting a lot of alerts that her reservation at the Boardwalk might have problems. She panicked so she had friends pick them up from the airport at 11:30 p.m. on the 27th and they went straight to the Boardwalk.
Thankfully they were able to get the same room type for that night and didn’t have to change hotels…or sleep in the lobby.
Natali woke up on Wednesday morning on the 28th and went to the lounge for coffee. There were lots of things happening in the lobby. Arcades were free, movies were playing, and lots of activities were happening!
The buffets set up were very reasonable at $15 for adults and $7 for kids. Natali said the food was really good.
On Wednesday night everyone was given a flashlight and brought in their patio furniture. When they woke up, there was some debris on the lawn, but no damage.
On Thursday the parks were closed, so they walked over to the Beach Club. Everything was very crowded. Cape May Cafe was open and there were characters in the lobby.
By Friday the parks were open again and everything was back to normal. Natali and her family went to Hollywood Studios and it was business as usual.
Originally she was scheduled to arrive September 29 but prior to their trip Southwest gave them the option to move their flights. They moved their flights up a few days to arrive a few days early.
They arrived on Tuesday, September 26. Their trip was originally scheduled to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge but when they added a few days at the beginning of their trip they booked those nights at All-Star Movies.
However, because of the hurricane they were unable to transfer to Animal Kingdom Lodge and spent their entire trip at All-Star Movies.
On Tuesday evening they were alerted via the My Disney Experience app that things would start to close down on Wednesday. In preparation, Jenn and her family stocked up on groceries and Gideon’s cookies.
On Wednesday the restaurants were still open and the pool closed in the afternoon. There were hurricane lunch boxes available on Thursday but nothing was open on Thursday and they were told to stay in their rooms all day Thursday.
The arcade was free and there were activities for children in the resorts. Jenn and her family didn’t leave the room much because of the wind. They didn’t want to go outside to get to the main lobby.
Housekeeping came by and gave them a shelter in place pack with flashlights, toiletries, trash bags, and coffee.
On Friday Jenn and her family left and saw some down trees, but everything was anchored down and damage was minimal. They did get some water in their room during the storm and could hear the wind blowing in the middle of the night.
On Tuesday night Jenn went to Guest Services at Disney Springs to find out about their party tickets for Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party for Thursday. They would have been able to transfer them to Friday night, but they opted to just receive a refund.
On Friday Jenn was supposed to do Savor the Savanna but it was closed for them. The Safari was also down during their trip. The rest of their trip went along as planned.
Kyle was scheduled to be at Disney September 24-October 1. Hurricane Ian hit right in the middle of the trip.
Prior to the trip Kyle watched the weather very closely. His mom was not worried because she is a Florida resident but Kyle was concerned.
They stayed at All-Star Movies and stayed there for two nights. They checked into the Rancho section at Coronado Springs for the duration of the trip.
Originally Kyle didn’t book the tower because he didn’t like the elevator situation. However, he didn’t like being so far out from everything in the Rancho section.
Before the hurricane hit, Kyle stocked up on bread and sodas in the gift shop at Coronado Springs. They stayed in their room on Wednesday and Thursday because the parks were closed.
Kyle called for housekeeping to be sure they had enough coffee, toiletries, and towels in case they were in there for long. He was really pleased with that experience. However, he felt like they were vague with regard to what if scenarios.
There were special things happening in the hotel while the parks were closed. Toledo had a buffet for $20 for adults and $10 for children, so they took advantage of that. There were also some activities in the convention center and characters available.
On Thursday after the storm passed there was some tree branches down and higher water levels.
Kyle planned to go to Animal Kingdom on Wednesday and then Thursday was his son’s 10th birthday and planned to do Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It was a fun Star Wars day planned but they didn’t get to do those plans.
On Friday they’d planned to go to Beaches and Cream but Kyle cancelled it and instead did all 4 parks! They started their day at Magic Kingdom before going to Animal Kingdom for Flight of Passage and lunch at Satu‘li Canteen.
After Animal Kingdom Kyle took his 7 year old to ride Slinky Dog Dash before ending the night back with his mom and other children at Epcot. Kyle said it was a great experience.
Leave me a message
Please use the SpeakPipe link below to leave us a message.
- For trip report submissions please include your first name, location, and trip info.
- For Quick Tips please include your name and your quick tip.
You can do this using your computer or phone at https://www.speakpipe.com/WDWPrepToGo.
Subscribe to get new episodes
There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep To Go (if you’re used to listening on the website, subscribe so you can take new episodes with you on your phone)
- Subscribe in iTunes (and please leave a review!)
- Subscribe in Google Play
- Subscribe to the feed
- Listen on Stitcher
Follow on social media
Get a quote request for a future trip from Small World Vacations
Check out the new WDW Prep merch!
- Walt Disney World Temporarily Closing Due to Hurricane Ian
- Walt Disney World Closing Theme Parks Due To Tropical Storm Nicole
- Disney World Water Park Ticket Offer Available For Florida Residents
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Returning in June at Walt Disney World
- Disney KiteTails at Animal Kingdom Is Ending For Good
- Things to do outside the park– PREP 349 - March 21, 2023
- Sailing Concierge on the Disney Wish– PREP 348 - March 14, 2023
- Flower and Garden Festival 2023 – PREP 347 - March 7, 2023