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Thread: Walt Disney World Versus the Hurricanes

  1. #1
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    Walt Disney World Versus the Hurricanes

    Walt Disney World Versus the Hurricanes by Jim Korkis

    Jim chases down the stories behind the storms and how they affected the resort.

    Read it here!


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  3. #2
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    "For much of its 50-year history that has been true for WDW, with a few notable exceptions but as we all know, significant things have changed in the usual climate profile in recent years putting Central Florida in the path of hurricanes."

    Hey Jim, interesting article. I was taken aback by the statement above however, "significant things have changed in the usual climate profile...."? I realize the climate changes in various ways and due to various factors but I am missing what we all know?
    My former home has had one of the coldest and wettest winters in decades. I think we all might know different things from our different experiences. Of course I am jealous that some people have made billions of dollars crying that the sky is falling? Yes, I wish I had thought of that. What I know is that some people think the world is getting hotter and others think nothing is happening and others think we are getting ready for a long cooling phase. Were you talking about some other thing that we all know?


  4. #3

    Warm Waters

    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    "For much of its 50-year history that has been true for WDW, with a few notable exceptions but as we all know, significant things have changed in the usual climate profile in recent years putting Central Florida in the path of hurricanes."

    Hey Jim, interesting article. I was taken aback by the statement above however, "significant things have changed in the usual climate profile...."? I realize the climate changes in various ways and due to various factors but I am missing what we all know?
    My former home has had one of the coldest and wettest winters in decades. I think we all might know different things from our different experiences. Of course I am jealous that some people have made billions of dollars crying that the sky is falling? Yes, I wish I had thought of that. What I know is that some people think the world is getting hotter and others think nothing is happening and others think we are getting ready for a long cooling phase. Were you talking about some other thing that we all know?
    I was referencing that the waters in the Gulf and in the Atlantic have gotten much warmer in the last few years and that warm water acts as fuel to make the hurricanes stronger, last longer and I am sure other climate issues are involved as well.

  5. #4

    Anyone who thinks that the planet is not heating up and that climate is changing is wrong. Flat out, completely and totally mistaken wrong. Your former home had record cold, why? Because the planet is heating up. As the waters heat up, warm air forms over the arctic, which acts as an atmospheric block which redirects the jet stream and the bitter cold air southward. In terms of hurricanes, air temperatures are warmer which allows for more water to be held by the atmosphere which results in higher rainfalls when storms strike. Sea Levels are rising, which puts low lying communities at risk from storm surges driving water onto shore. The atmospheric currents which keep weather systems like hurricanes moving are growing weaker, which result in slower moving storms of all types, which is why you not only saw colder temperatures but more precipitation by them. Nobody is crying that the sky is falling.


  6. #5
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    We spent Hurricane Charley in Walt Disney World. I'll never forget walking out of the Magic Kingdom at noon the day they closed down and seeing signs tied up and things like the popcorn stand strapped down to the ground. Living on Long Island, I knew enough about hurricanes, but it was interesting to be back in the food court at French Quarter talking to a family from Ohio who had never been through a hurricane before and asking me what it was like. The food court by the way was a crazy scene. Nobody was in the parks, so therefore the resort was packed. People were stocking up on food to bring back to their rooms. I remember one poor cast member appeared with a box of granola bars to hand out to guests for free and he was absolutely mobbed! It was like they were never going to see food again. Jasmine and Aladdin were in the lobby greeting kids and taking photos to keep the kids occupied. We bought some games and crafts from the gift shop and went back to hunker down. They added several movie channels to the lineup to keep us busy in the rooms.

    My daughter who was 5 at the time, slept through the whole night but I have to say the third floor room we had at French Quarter was facing the river, so there were no other buildings obstructing the wind. that door was rattling all night.

    Next day around noon though we were walking into Epcot! Pretty shocked at how open things were. I know they had a cast member shortage because people couldn't get to work or were home dealing with damage. We were on the bus back to the resort and struck up a conversation with someone who said that tough to get dinner reservations were now up for grabs because the airport was closed and tons of guests couldn't arrive. Next morning we walked up to Cinderella's at the Magic Kingdom and were able to walk right in and be seated. Never saw that before or since.

    My biggest takeaway from the whole thing came from my cousin who lives in the Orlando area. I spoke to him that next day and he asked how things were on property. Told him things were great. Never lost power. Things are open. he replied that his job, his wife's job were both shut because of loss of power. School had started and both kids schools were also shut down. So he booked a room and came to spend time with us at Disney where just about everything was functional! Goes to show you how prepared they were versus how ill prepared the local communities were.

    Wrote an article about it years back. Here's a link.

    https://www.mouseplanet.com/11570/My...t_Disney_World

    Main Street Bakery Hurricane Charley.jpg
    Main Street Hurricane Charley 1.jpg


  7. #6

    I was there on the tail end of my vacation for Hurricane Matthew in 2016. While I was aware it was coming (at least in the last day or 2 before), I'll admit I probably didn't think EVERYTHING through quite enough as I was getting ready to finish up my trip. I'll be smarter if there is a next time when a hurricane and I are down there at the same time.

    (similar to Chris, I grew up on Long Island, NY, so I am familiar with hurricanes, just had never been to WDW when one was imminent before this)

    That trip, I had been staying at Port Orleans Riverside, but it being my last day, I did what I do a lot. I had arranged for a room at a hotel near the airport for the night of my last park day, with a flight out of MCO (pre hurricane arrival) scheduled for the next morning (generally, it works for me to avoid any unknowns with traffic from WDW to MCO in the morning - you can always get up with a little less sleep if something delays the evening drive, but you can't speed up a traffic delay when your plane is leaving that morning!). So obviously with plans like this, I'm a car renter, I wasn't relying on buses or Magical Express for any of what follows.

    So the morning of the day the hurricane was arriving (the day the parks closed early), I was smart enough to call my airport hotel and find out if they had availability for me to extend one night, since the airport was preemptively closed for the day of my originally scheduled flight. (obviously with the whole airport shut down for a day, that was not a given they would have space, but I was lucky so I just changed from one night to two). So I was smart enough to make sure I had somewhere to stay for the area's shut down day before leaving POR. I also did my flight change with my airline before leaving the room. So I thought I had the most important things covered before I left the room.

    When I went down to check out of POR, obviously the lobby was a mad house. But there were extra CMs all over trying to make sure everyone was OK as they tried to help them do whatever was needed due to the storm. I believe the CM that tended to me in the line even asked me if I was OK with arrangements since I was checking out the day of the storm's arrival when so many were trying to extend in some way, so I assured her I had arranged for my airport room and would be fine in that regard. I'm pretty sure Disney wanted to make absolutely sure they would try to help anyone who might be in need to get a room somewhere if they needed one for the unexpected day. So I never experienced the actual on-site experience during the height of the hurricane, but could tell the prep seemed pretty good as I was leaving.

    I then pretty much went through a sort of normal (though windy and rainy, obviously) partial park day before the closure. The big hurricane related things I noticed that stuck in my mind were the wrapped up lamp posts at Epcot and the waves/ripple patterns that could be seen on World Showcase Lagoon as I mentioned in a comment on Chris' article he references above. I seem to recall I did both Epcot and Animal Kingdom on that day. I didn't stay until quite the last minute (maybe left DAK an hour before), but I did make the mistake of trying to do another routine of mine. I went to the Poly to see if I could buy any of a snack that is not always easy to find in the parks, but they somewhat regularly have at that resort's gift shops.

    Um, yeah... thinking I might find any sort of comfort food left in a Resort gift shop with every visitor staying there preparing to hunker down was not a smart thing to assume would be a success...oops!

    So that was mistake #1 that wasted a bit of time that I could instead of have been driving up towards the airport. While I was at the Poly, it was just as bustling with people everywhere as POR had been in the morning, of course, as it was approaching the park closure time for the day. Aside from some of the shelves being a bit bare in the store, things still looked to be running fairly smoothly. At this point, I'm probably within an hour or so of the designated shut down time.

    So mistake number 2 was not making the realization that Disney did not really pick the shut down time for the parks, that was the area wide government specified shut down time (for EVERYTHING!) due to the hurricane's imminent arrival. I miscalculated thinking I would be able to drop in at a 7-11, Wal-Mart, etc to try to buy any sort of dry food and a few bottles of soda/iced tea, etc to survive the extra day. Except I still needed to do the actual drive up to the MCO area from the parks... so I basically didn't allow enough time to get up there and also try to buy a few things. I visited the parking lot of a local 7-11 and it was basically closing by the time I arrived, so I did not bother trying anywhere else, as I then realized my error and knew it did not make sense to do so.

    Luckily the hotel I was staying at has a small convenience store. It's more of a closet with some shelves of dry goods and some refrigerators and freezers for drinks and microwaveable meals near the front desk, really, but it's handy, even in non-emergency times. So they amazingly still had a pretty good stock when I arrived and I was able to buy a few hot pocket type things and some iced tea for the shutdown day.

    So I almost had a bit of a situation (would not have been the end of the world), but I will be better prepared for next time, if there is one. This would of course have been much different if it was in the middle of my trip, it just had some additional considerations since it happened right on the last day.

    -Dave

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