One thing you can count on for sure is if you are at Walt Disney World or planning a trip and a hurricane occurs, there are plans in place to be sure all guests will be safe.
CURRENT HURRICANE 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.
In my experience the Disney companies have been a bit flexible with their policies allowing some cancellations and refunds closer than 7 days prior. Unfortunately, discounts or special offers may not apply to rescheduled travel dates. If you have already arrived at Walt Disney World when a storm occurs, be assured that Disney will do everything in their power to keep you and your family safe. They may ask you not to leave your resort room, they may close the parks, they may cancel some transportation ~ but they will take care of you. Some guests, such as those visiting in campers at Disney’s Fort Wilderness will be relocated to resort rooms for safety. If you are asked to remain at your resort, it is for your safety. Disney has done an excellent job in the past of keeping guests safe and then getting everything up and running again as quickly as possible. They will most likely host special movie screenings, buffets and even some extra special activities to keep everyone as happy as possible while you are isolated at your resort. It’s important to remember to do as you are asked, keep calm and follow all the instructions that are in place for your safety.
If any of the parks do close completely because of a storm, Disney will run a full inspection for damage or debris before re-opening to guests. This sometimes leads to things opening in phases or certain areas being roped off. Be patient if you are on property. We all know that the day after a storm the sky often looks blue and pretty. However, Disney wants to make sure everything is safe for the guests. During these times it is also possible that Disney may only open the parks to resort guests to keep crowd levels a bit smaller while they assess and/or repair.
I wrote about this same issue last year ~ Will a Hurricane/Tropical Storm at WDW Ruin My Plans ~ Only if You Let It!
Today’s Update from Disney:
Walt Disney World has issued a notice on the website indicating they are waiving cancellation fees for guests with travel dates that include October 5-12, 2016. (Some pre-paid experiences–like Cinderella’s Royal Table–are not officially included in this cancellation fee waiver policy, but there is a good chance they will issue refunds here also). Guests already at Walt Disney World are receiving voicemails messages and information at the Disney resorts regarding Hurricane Matthew.
The statement: “Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions as we continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew.” This statement will change as the storm nears.