If there is one downfall about having Disney World be located in Orlando, it is that the weather can get quite stormy during the summer months — and at times, hurricanes may affect the theme park as a whole.
When Walt Disney was scouting where he should put Disney World, ensuring that there was enough room, it was accessible, and keeping it away from hurricanes was a major priority. Miami and Ormond Beach were options; however, they were much too close to the ocean, and Ocala did not have enough roadways, so Orlando, a city 60 miles from the coast, was chosen.
Although hurricanes do hit Orlando, the effects are typically not as bad as towns close to shore. When wondering how many times Disney World has had to close due to a hurricane, some may think that the number would be quite large considering how often Florida receives hurricanes, but the number is actually under 10.
Disney World has only had to close six times due to hurricanes since opening in 1971. Below is a list of each hurricane closure recorded since Disney World opened:
- Hurricane Floyd – 1999
- Hurricane Charlie – 2004
- Hurricane Francis – 2004
- Hurricane Jeanne – 2004
- Hurricane Matthew – 2016
- Hurricane Irma – 2017
- Hurricane Dorian – 2019
Considering Disney World is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, six closures due to hurricanes is not a bad number at all. It seems Walt made a pretty good location pick when scouting Florida for a good theme park spot!
Plus, if you are ever in Disney and stuck in a hurricane, you are in a very safe place! All of the Walt Disney World Resorts are well-equipped for hurricanes and have been built to withstand them. Most recently, when hurricane Elsa arrived in Florida, even though Orlando did not strongly feel her effects, many Disney Resorts had Hurricane Meal Kits ready to go if needed. This way, Guests would not even have to worry about leaving their room if they did not want to.
At Magic Kingdom, major structures like Cinderella Castle are also hurricane-proof, and Disney has even noted that the 50th anniversary decor on the castle will be hurricane-proof, as well. We have seen some of the decor fall off without a hurricane, however.
Have you ever been to Disney World during a hurricane? Let us know in the comments below!