Hurricane Idalia is heading toward Walt Disney World, and if you have a vacation planned for the next few days, you are probably wondering what to do and how your vacation will be affected by this event.
In this post, we are going to share the latest updates regarding Hurricane Idalia and Walt Disney World. We’ll tell you what is still running at Disney World up to this point, and even if any of the 4 theme parks have closed.
(Updated 8/29/23 at 8:39 am EDT) – Due to Hurricane Idalia, Walt Disney World has just announced it is waiving the change and cancellation fees for most guests with check-in dates of August 28, 2023 through September 4, 2023.
Overnight, Tropical Storm Idalia grew in strength and became Hurricane Idalia. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the Walt Disney World area in Orange and Osceola counties as we are waiting for it to make landfall Wednesday morning.
Keep reading below for the full story…
Now that Idalia is a hurricane, we could start to see Disney announce more closures as the day goes on.
We’ll also show you how Disney works together with the local authorities to make sure that all of its guests and Cast Members are safe and well cared for. If you are looking for the latest info on getting a refund for your vacation and Disney’s hurricane policy, we’ll explain it all here.
Basically, we have everything there is to know about this storm and if it is going to hit Disney World.
The National Hurricane Center has given its latest update on Hurricane Idalia which is expected to intensify to a Category 3 Hurricane.
For a couple of days, we were writing updates for Hurricane Idalia in our main Hurricanes at Disney World guide, but since there are multiple updates daily, we thought it was a better idea to create a new post with information directly about this storm.
If you are looking for more general info on how often hurricanes occur at Disney World, how Disney prepares for them, and what to do if you are there when it happens, make sure to read that article.
With Hurricane Ian having hit Walt Disney World just over one month ago, we know that guests are getting tired of this same story, and if you are going or are stuck there, we know it can be a scary time. August and September are very common times for major storms to hit Florida, so we are not shocked this is happening now.
That said, even if you are in Disney World during the storm, it can actually be pretty fun as Disney keeps you super-occupied with games and other activities if for some reason you can’t go outside or the parks close.
Here are a couple of articles if you want to know anything about our past hurricane experiences at WDW:
- Surviving Hurricane Irma at Disney World
- Preparing for Hurrican Dorian at Disney World
- Hurricane Ian at Disney World
- Damage from Hurricane Ian at Disney World
There are going to be a ton of updates in the next couple of days, so scroll down for the latest updates and keep checking back for more!
Table of Contents
Is Walt Disney World Closing?
At this point, no it is not closing. Disney has not yet made an announcement if any of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom) are closing during the next few days in preparation for Hurricane Idalia.
Usually, Disney will announce 1 or 2 days in advance if they plan on closing the theme parks early or in some cases, for an entire day or more.
Disney should release an official statement about the potential closures within the next 24 hours.
Current Walt Disney World Closures
Let’s look at the status of some of the various locations and experiences around Disney World and see which ones are closing or staying open. Here is an updated list of everything closed at Walt Disney World due to Hurricane Idalia:
Theme Parks & Water Parks
- Typhoon Lagoon – Currently Scheduled to be Open on Tuesday August 29 and Wednesday August 20, 2023.
- Blizzard Beach – Currently Scheduled to be Open
At this time, all 4 theme parks are scheduled to be open on on Tuesday August 29 and Wednesday August 20, 2023.
- Disney Springs is scheduled to be open on on Tuesday August 29 and Wednesday August 20, 2023.
- Orlando International Airport – No closures have been announced yet.
Disney World Resort Hotels
At this time, all Disney World Resort hotels are remaining open.
No Walt Disney World transportation closures have been announced yet.
All Attractions – If the parks reopen, these will also remain open. It is possible that some outdoor rides like Test Track could remain closed when the weather is at its worst.
All Walt Disney World are scheduled to stay open at this time.
It’s possible we could see an announcement today with more info on closures and cancelations, so stay tuned.
Latest Hurricane Idalia Updates
(Update 8/29/23 8:39 am EDT) – Florida is still recovering from the devastating Hurricane Ian that hit the state hard at the end of September 2022, and already residents and travelers have to start preparing for another storm over the next couple of days, Hurricane Idalia.
In fact, Tropical Storm Idalia was upgraded to Hurricane Idalia overnight as it moves past Cuba and heads closer to the Florida coast.
State officials are warning that Hurricane Idalia is forecast to be a major category 3 hurricane and have widespread impacts on the state with potential flooding, tropical-storm-force winds, and heavy rainfall along much of Florida’s west coast and the southeast United States.
Idalia’s exact path is still too hard to predict at the moment, but it’s currently moving through the west coast of Cuba and will make it to Florida’s west coast by early Wednesday morning.
Hurricane conditions are expected across portions of the southwest and west-central coast of Florida.
A Hurricane Watch should be coming in the next 24 hours in Florida.
Even though Idalia isn’t likely to be a Category 4 or 5 storm, it’s still projected to be a Category 3 storm which is still very powerful and is going to produce heavy rainfall across the entire state over the next few days. That means lots of flooding, even in urban areas.
Obviously, if you have a trip to Walt Disney World upcoming in the next few days, you will want to keep a close eye on this situation and see how the storm develops. At this point, it doesn’t look like it will be as strong as Hurricane Ian or Nicole, but it still will cause a lot of damage along the coast.
We don’t anticipate Walt Dinsey World closing down like it did last September, but it still could. Walt Disney World has now made an official announcement about Hurricane Idalia:
“Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions. We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather as we continue to prioritize the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”
They have also waived the change and cancellation fees for most guests with check-in dates of August 28, 2023, through September 4, 2023.
Whether or not the theme parks end up closing for a day or so, we do expect the heavy rainfall to continue during the next week, so you will need to prepare for that during your trip and bring some extra dry clothes and shoes.
As we get more info on Hurricane Idalia we will update this post on the impact it may have on the theme parks and your vacation so stay tuned.
If you want to see what happened during the last storm and how it affected Walt Disney World, read the article in this link: Hurricane Ian at Walt Disney World.
In this post, we wanted to keep it about hurricanes at Disney World in general, how Disney prepares for them, what to expect if you are there during one, and the rest of the hurricane outlook for the 2023 season.
You can also check the National Hurricane Center for the latest updates on any tropical storms or hurricanes that form in the Atlantic or Caribbean over the next few weeks and months.
Orlando International Airport Operational Updates
So far, the Orlando International Airport has not made any announcements for closures to passenger or commercial flights at this time.
However, the Tampa International Airport will suspend all commercial operations beginning at 12:01 am Tuesday ahead of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Idalia. All air traffic will cease by 7:00 am Tuesday morning.
We will update you as soon as the Orlando International Airport makes a statement about Hurricane Idalia.
Latest National Weather Service Update
As of 3:50 pm EST on Monday, August 28, 2023, here is the latest National Weather Service update for the Orlando area:
…TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT…
WIND – LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Below tropical storm force wind – Peak Wind Forecast: 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph
- THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for wind 58 to 73 mph – The wind threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. – PLAN: Plan for dangerous wind of equivalent strong tropical storm force. – PREPARE: Efforts to protect life and property should now be underway. Prepare for significant wind damage. – ACT: Act now to complete preparations before the wind becomes hazardous.
- POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant – Some damage to roofing and siding materials, along with damage to porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings experiencing window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes damaged, especially if unanchored. Unsecured lightweight objects become dangerous projectiles. – Several large trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Several fences and roadway signs blown over. – Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. A few bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable. – Scattered power and communications outages, but more prevalent in areas with above ground lines.
FLOODING RAIN – LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Peak Rainfall Amounts: Additional 2-4 inches, with locally higher amounts
- THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for moderate flooding rain – The flooding rain threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. – PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for moderate flooding from heavy rain. Evacuations and rescues are possible. – PREPARE: Consider protective actions if you are in an area vulnerable to flooding. – ACT: Heed any flood watches and warnings. Failure to take action may result in serious injury or loss of life.
- POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant – Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues. – Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches overflow. – Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations. Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures.
TORNADO – LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: – Situation is favorable for tornadoes
- THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for several tornadoes – The tornado threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. – PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for several tornadoes with a few possibly intense having larger damage paths. – PREPARE: Those living in manufactured homes or on boats should prepare to relocate to safe shelter before hazardous weather arrives. – ACT: Listen for tornado watches and warnings. If a tornado warning is issued, be ready to shelter quickly.
- POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant – The occurrence of scattered tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. – Several places may experience tornado damage with a few spots of considerable damage, power loss, and communications failures. – Locations could realize roofs torn off frame houses, mobile homes demolished, boxcars overturned, large trees snapped or uprooted, vehicles tumbled, and small boats tossed about. Dangerous projectiles can add to the toll.
Disney World Ticket Cancellation Policy
Usually, Disney doesn’t offer much leeway when it comes to canceling your Disney World theme park tickets or getting a refund for them. However, when Disney World enters into its Hurricane Policy as it did for past Hurricanes, all that changes and it becomes much easier for guests to get their money back.
Usually, what happens is the normal Disney ticket expiration window is automatically extended for one year from the current date. That means guests can use them on any dates from now until then without having to worry about them expiring.
This applies to any partially-used multi-day theme park tickets, and normally, multi-day tickets are only valid for a few extra days extra, so this is a big change from the norm, yet standard when a hurricane comes to Orlando.
Of course, this all depends on Disney World going into its Hurricane Protocol, which at this time it has not done for Hurricane Idalia.
However, with the Orlando International Airport officially closing, there may be some leeway regarding ticket extensions so we suggest calling Disney Guest Relations a (407) 939-5277 to see what they can do for you in that case.
Can I Get a Refund for My Vacation?
If you are debating whether or not to cancel your trip to Walt Disney World because of Hurricane Idalia, you are probably wondering what is Disney’s Hurricane Cancellation Policy. Can you get a refund for your trip if you don’t go?
- Right now Disney has started waiving the change or cancellation fees for guests as it has activated the Official Hurricane Policy.
Disney says it is “closely monitoring the path of the projected weather” and will “continue to prioritize the safety of our Guests and Cast Members.”
Whenever Disney does activate its Hurricane Policy, here is what to expect…
Disney’s Official Hurricane Policy on its website reads:
“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 Disney Resort Hotel Package and most room-only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.“
Basically, when the National Hurricane Center issues a warning either for the Orlando area or where you are traveling from, Walt Disney World allows you to get a refund on any vacation package booked through Disney. This includes hotel rooms, theme park tickets, dining reservations, and some special events and experiences you have booked.
Since Hurricane Idalia could potentially have a major impact on Walt Disney World, it’s good to know that if you decide to cancel your vacation you have the option. We’ve experienced this first-hand and can say that Disney is very good at working with guests to either reschedule or get a refund.
How to Cancel or Change Your Disney World Vacation
If you have decided to change or cancel your Walt Disney World vacation plans due to Tropical Storm Idalia, you can call Disney at (407) 939-7675. They will answer any questions you have and help you go through the entire process.
The only thing is that there will be thousands of other guests with the same idea as you at the moment, so just be patient with the cast members as they are doing their very best to help make you happy.
What about Plane Tickets or Car Rentals?
Since Disney no longer books airfare for its guests as part of the vacation packages, you are responsible for any fees occurred by the airline company.
If you booked your plane tickets, car rental, etc through a third-party vendor, you’ll have to contact them separately to find out what their cancellation policy is for tropical storms and hurricanes.
I Didn’t Book through Disney. What Now?
You’ll have to contact your travel agent or third-party vendors that you booked your Disney World vacation through and see what solutions they can give you. That’s one reason we recommend booking directly with Disney or a Disney-authorized travel agent such as Show You the World Travel.
If I Reschedule for another Date, Can I Get the Same Package and Hotel?
The Cast Members at Disney will do their best to rebook your next trip at the same resort hotel and with the same offer as you had in your previously booked vacation, but nothing is guaranteed. It’s possible that the exact dates, hotel, or package may not be available, so you may have to change things a bit.
Also, keep in mind that depending on the dates you choose to go and where you choose to stay, you are responsible for the difference in price. That means your new trip may end up costing more or less money than the prior trip and you need to pay it.
That wraps up our article about Hurricane Idalia and Walt Disney World. I hope we gave you some good tips to keep in mind that help you make a good decision about whether or not to go to Disney World this week and how best to handle the situation.
If you are taking a trip to Disney World during hurricane season, you should definitely consider the risks, and you might want to choose another time of the year. Here is our ranking of the best months to go to Disney World.
I want to know what you think about the potential Hurricane Idalia at Walt Disney World…
- Are you going to Disney World still or did you rebook your trip?
- Have you ever been to Walt Disney World during a hurricane before?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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