Are you wondering what the Orlando Theme Parks hurricane policies are? In this guide we will explain what happens at most of the large Orlando theme parks during a hurricane as well as explain your rights in relation to cancellation and rescheduling of your trip.
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Note: Hurricanes are dangerous, health and safety should always be at the forefront of your mind at locations where hurricanes may hit and you should always follow local safety and travel advice.
The truth is if you are visiting any of the Orlando theme parks during the rainy season which runs in Florida from September to end of November then there is a chance that you may experience a hurricane during your trip. This guide will look at the following Orlando theme parks in relation to their hurricane policies and your rights:
While this guide explains your rights more broadly at each park regarding rescheduling or cancelling your trip we recommend clicking on one of the above links for a more in-depth look at how each park deals with hurricanes.
Do Orlando Theme Parks shut during hurricanes?
Yes Orlando theme parks have in the past been forced to close during hurricanes but it is not as often as you expect. In its history Disney World has only shut or closed early on 8 occasions due to hurricanes.
Most recently the parks have only shut for Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Before that the parks hadn’t shut since 2004 due to hurricanes.
How Long do Orlando Theme Parks shut for during hurricanes?
This is a really hard question to answer as each theme park will have its own policy and conditions for closing and reopening. In the past the parks have either closed early or closed for up to three days for hurricanes but it could be longer if a hurricane was particularly strong and lots of damage occurred.
The parks will shut until they are safe to reopen. Each of the parks put safety front and centre and although they will want to reopen as soon as possible it will not be done until the parks have been deemed safe and fit for visitors.
How Much notice do theme parks in Orlando give for hurricane closure?
Hurricanes are fast moving and change in severity constantly. The parks will always give as much notice as they can of a closure. Usually the Orlando theme parks aim for giving at least a days notice for closure however this can not be always guaranteed.
Do theme parks in Orlando have hurricane policies
Yes the theme parks in Orlando do have hurricane policies. They generally share the same terms and conditions for cancelation which tend to be
- Cancelation or rescheduling is allowed if a hurricane or tropical storm is forecast for the central Florida area within seven days of your vacation
- Cancelation or rescheduling is allowed if a hurricane or tropical storm is forecast for your place of residence within seven days of your vacation
- That your theme park tickets or theme park resort hotel or accommodation has been booked directly with your chosen theme park.
While all of the theme park hurricane policies are generally the same it is worth checking on the policy at the specific park you are visiting. You can see the Disney World, Universal Studios and Legoland Florida by clicking on these links.
I have also tried to find the Seaworld Orlando hurricane policy but have been unable to find a publish and up to date hurricane policy online. We there fore recommend contacting Seaworld directly to find out more information however we would assume the policy is similar to the parks above especially as Sea World does have an inclement weather policy that allows you to apply for a ticket for another day if you get 120 minutes of impacted time in the park due to bad weather (terms and conditions do apply).
General Tips for Orlando Theme Parks during Hurricanes
My first tip if you are visiting and there is a potential for a hurricane at any of theme parks in Orlando is do not panic. Unfortunately hurricanes are not a rarity in the Orlando area so the theme parks in Orlando are well prepared for what to do in case of a hurricane hitting. So all you need to to is
Listen to Staff
The staff at all the theme parks in Orlando are are well trained in the policy for hurricanes. Just be sure to follow their instructions to the letter. They will have contingencies for every hurricane related event, all you need to do is listen and follow them carefully.
Check the Forecast regularly
Be sure to listen to news and weather updates regularly. Hurricanes and tropical storms can change in trajectory and strength very frequently so you should listen to local news updates regular and adjust your plans accordingly.
Staff at resorts and parks are also able to provide regular updates on weather and contingencies in the parks.
Pack for the Weather
It is important whenever you travel to theme parks to pack for the weather accordingly but it is especially important if you are traveling during hurricane or storm season in Florida.
We recommend packing ponchos, an extra set of clothes and shoes that can deal with getting wet. And maybe an extra pair of socks and sandals just in case of terrible weather.
We also recommend packing some items that will help protect your electronics. If you are going to the water parks in Orlando such as Aquatica, Universal’s Volcano Bay or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, we recommend taking a water proof phone cover. If you have one of these and you are going to be in the parks during severe downpours we recommend putting your phone in this as your bag is likely to get drenched and your electronics will not be well protected without one.
If you don’t have one of these we recommend going to the parks with a few plastic bags and some ziplock bags which you can use to protect some of your more valuable or sensitive items and any important documents that you are carrying with your.
Have food and bottled water in your room
Whether you are staying on site them park hotel or off site, if a hurricane hits and is severe enough to close the parks for a day then you will want to have plenty of food and drink with you.
Even in a resort hotel you will be asked to wait out a hurricane in your room and the dining and room service menus will be limited and likely have very long waits. Therefore we recommend having a good amount of food and snacks just in case.
We also recommend having plenty of bottled water with you in case the water goes out during the hurricane.
some people have also suggested that the best place to go if a hurricane is hitting the Orlando area is one of the Disney World hotels. Some of these have the best hurricane protection in the area so you may want to consider moving your booking to one of these hotels. Even if you weren’t staying on site previously it is worth thinking about depending on where and what accommodation you have booked.
Also many people will take parks up on their cancellation or reschedule policy so you may find good availability at this hotels.
Cancel or Reschedule your Trip
If a hurricane is forecast 7 days before your arrival then there are some caveats at some resorts relating to cancellations and rescheduling of holidays. If you don’t fancy dealing with a hurricane on your vacation and you have refund options then you could consider canceling or rescheduling your trip for outside of rainy or hurricane season.
Should I cancel my trip if there is likely to be a hurricane in Orlando?
This is such a hard one to say as it is such a personal choice. While I am not going to recommend anyone actively go to a place during a hurricane things you might want to consider if and when you are considering cancelling your trip are:
How far out is the hurricane and how far out is your trip
if the hurricane is due to hit tomorrow and your trip starts tomorrow it is probably wise to cancel or delay by a few days. However if your trip and hurricane forecast is seven days away then you may want to wait it out before canceling. Hurricanes can change path and strength quickly so monitoring is worth while.
how long is your vacation
if you are going for a month and the hurricane is one day of it then you may want to postpone however if you are only going for a couple of days and the hurricane is hitting over this period then you may well be better rescheduling
Have you traveled to Orlando and experienced a hurricane? We would love to hear your experience below?