When Hurricane Matthew Closed Disney World

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Several of our blog fans have asked us about doing a follow-up blog to what happened after Disney closed WDW in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival and Disney activated their Hurricane Rideout Teams.

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4:45pm on Thursday afternoon, the Magic Kingdom is closing.

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5pm:  The WDW parks are all closed.

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5:30pm:  The Magic Kingdom is closed and deserted!  Really raining hard!

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Everything is closed!

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The cast members on the Hurricane Rideout Teams worked 48-72 hour shifts making magic for guests.

Some cast members expressed disappointment that the hurricane changed course slightly and went about 20 miles east of expected… 20 miles for a storm the size of Texas!

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Friday, October 7, 2016:  The Magic Kingdom is closed!

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The WDW parks closed on Thursday afternoon and didn’t reopen until Saturday morning.

Real Floridians were thankful that the storm stayed offshore until making landfall in northern Florida near St. Augustine.

From there up through the Carolinas, especially North Carolina, there was terrible flooding and widespread power outages effecting millions of people.

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The path of Hurricane Matthew.

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Hurricane Matthew stats:  Over 1,300 killed by the storm.

Over a thousand people died from Hurricane Matthew, mostly in Haiti from drowning.

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The view from the Swan Resort on Friday morning.  Rainy and windy.

We were thankful the hurricane caused little damage in Orlando.

This city is still recovering from the triple tragedies over a 5 day period in early June 2016 when the Orlando area suffered a trio of horrific events: The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that killed 49 clubgoers and wounded 53 more. The slaying of a young singing sensation Christian Grimmie from The Voice. The tragic disappearance and drowning of a 2-year-old boy snatched by an alligator at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.  #OrlandoStrong

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Some people were sad that it wasn’t more destructive I guess.

We didn’t need the destruction of a Category 4 hurricane blowing though Orlando too!
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hurricane-mickey

Disney will need to make a new hurricane pin!  Summer of 2004 WDW closed 3x for hurricanes!

Disney World closed its parks for just the fifth time since its opening, due to Hurricane Matthew.

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Thursday morning at 10am.

Since opening in 1971, the WDW parks have only had four unplanned closures, all in anticipation of hurricanes.

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The MNSSHP party events were cancelled for both Thursday and Friday night.

On October 6, 2016, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said, “Based on the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will all be closed today (Thursday, 10/06/16) by 5 p.m., and will remain closed through Fri., Oct. 7, 2016.”

Disney World shuttered its gates on Sept. 15, 1999, for Hurricane Floyd; August 13, 2004 for Hurricane Charley; Sept. 4 and 5, 2004, for Hurricane Frances; and Sept. 26, 2004, for Hurricane Jeanne. [2004 was a very bad year for Florida hurricanes!] It was also evacuated in a brisk 30 minutes on 9/11/2001 due to the terrorist attacks in NYC and Washington DC, but the parks were not closed beforehand.

Sometimes hurricanes can delay the parks from opening. Back in 1995, category 1 Hurricane Erin hit Walt Disney World in the early morning hours, delaying the park opening until 11am that day so that all the wind damage could be cleaned up.

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The grocery shelves around Orlando really were wiped out of water, bread, eggs, milk…and soup!

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How Floridians prepare for hurricanes…

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working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

 

Hurricane Ride Out Teams Have Been Activated at Disney World – Hurricane Matthew Arrives

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Crazy!

 

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BREAKING NEWS FOR WDW CAST MEMBERS!

HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE:

September 5, 2017:  We are posting WDW operational updates for Hurricane Irma on this blog:  Hurricane Irma is Coming!

We’ll be updating the blog twice a day at 9am and 9pm.

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Hurricane Matthew Arrives!

BREAKING NEWS!  Oct 6th, 2016, 11am EDT:

All WDW Disney Parks and Disney Springs are closing at 5pm today and remaining closed tomorrow, Friday October 7, 2016.

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pathDisneyWorld.com Update October 6, 2016
Based on the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will all be closed today by 5 p.m. and will remain closed through Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Theme Park is also canceled for tonight and tomorrow.
***

Thursday, Oct 6th, 2016,  1pm Update:

From the National Weather Service – Orange County

Wind:

Latest Local Forecast: equivalent Cat 1 Hurricane force winds.

Peak wind forecast: 65-85 mph with gusts to 105 mph.

Flooding Rain:

Latest Local Forecast: Flood Watch is in effect.

Peak rainfall amounts: additional 3-5 inches, with locally higher amounts.

***

Oct 5, 11pm EDT:  Operational Closures at WDW

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First closing notification

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MNSSHP has been cancelled for Thursday night.  Official MK closing was 7 pm, but now it’s closing at 5pm to secure the park.

******  Stay tuned for more announcements*****

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Oct 5, 2016, 3pm  Hurricane warning for Orange County

*** Hurricane Ride Out Teams Now Activated at Disney World ***

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 3:15pm MDT

Fort Wilderness, Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villa, and Polynesian Bungalow guests are being asked to voluntarily relocate to other resorts at no extra cost by Thursday morning and the WDW resort is not presently accepting new reservations. (Relocation will become mandatory if winds exceed 30 mph.  It’s not safe to be under trees or over water during hurricane winds.)

Guests who decide to cancel WDW hotel stays between October 5 and October 9, 2016 due to the storm will receive full refunds.  WDW Hurricane Matthew Updates.

Cast Member Hurricane Ride Out Teams – Activated!

Disney cast members are known to go above and beyond for resort and park guests.  This includes during a hurricane!

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Hurricane Ride Out Team info

Every location has a written hurricane safety plan.  Remember, Safe-D begins with me!

Cast members on Hurricane Ride Out Teams will be on shift for 72 hours straight. CMs are paid their normal rate until hour 8 worked, then from hour 8-16 is OT, and from 16 onward would be DT.

CMs will hang out at their location during the storm and do tasks as needed, mostly centered around keeping things safe and comfy for guests. Meals and a place to sleep and shower will be provided at no cost.  Example: Magic Kingdom cast members will spend their entire time in the park and not be released to leave until the storm has passed and the park is clean and safe for guests.  No park will reopen until all storm debris has been cleaned up and all rides have been reinspected.  Stay connected via the Hub for Saturday park status updates.

Remember, Disney World has its own power station and water treatment plant.  Even though DCP housing is only 4 miles away, the housing complexes are on the Orlando power grid and may lose power.

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Very high winds, and maybe even tornadoes, are in the Friday forecast!

Park Tie Downs

Cast members are beginning what is known as a park-wide “tie down” which essentially involves removing all loose items around the parks and hotels, including trash bins, tables, chairs and anything else not firmly attached to the ground, and storing them in a secure location where they won’t be blown around by the wind.

In addition, anything that is loose but attached to a building (like a hanging sign or banner) is being tied down and secured with rope and zipties.

Disney is taking all appropriate steps to ensure that the storm has as minimal an impact on a guest’s vacation as possible.  They are updating their main page hourly with advisories:  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

CPs Living in Disney Housing Complexes

Disney is bringing in about a dozen people for the next 72 hours (starting today, Oct 6th) that will be working 24/7 at all of the DCP housing complexes making sure that all cast members are safe. They will be handling any emergency situations such as apartment flooding or wind damage, ensuring that all damage reports are taken care of immediately.

No guests will be allowed into the DCP housing complexes after 4pm. Residents are only allowed in their own complex (i.e., Vista Way residents are not allowed in The Commons after 4pm.)

Taping of windows is not allowed.

Florida Airports are Closing Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights as Hurricane Matthew sweeps along the Florida coast.  Across the state, nearly 1,500 flights have been scrapped, according to FlightAware.com.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) officials said commercial operations will cease Thursday around 8 p.m., but passengers with an in-bound flight around that time should contact their airline for specific information.

The Orlando Sanford International Airport said it will cease domestic commercial flights at 10 a.m. Thursday. International flights will cease at 6:30 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale International Airport announced plans to close at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Officials at Miami International Airport will continue monitoring the storm and warned of possible flight cancellations. On its website, officials noted that generally “airports don’t’ operate in sustained crosswinds that exceed 35 mph.”

The Palm Beach International Airport website doesn’t say when flights will be suspended, but asked travelers to stay away, noting that the airport is not intended for use as a shelter.

The Jacksonville International Airport website also advises travelers to check flight status with the airlines before heading to the airport.

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landfallHurricane Warning in effect for Orange County until Saturday, 1:15 AM EDT.

Areal Flood Watch in effect from Thursday, 8:00 AM EDT until Friday, 8:00 PM EDT. Source: U.S. National Weather Service.

warning2HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT:  National Weather Service Update

* LOCATIONS AFFECTED – ORLANDO – APOPKA – CHRISTMAS

* WIND – LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: EQUIVALENT CAT 1 HURRICANE FORCE WIND – PEAK WIND FORECAST: 60-80 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 100 MPH – WINDOW FOR TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS: THURSDAY EVENING UNTIL EARLY SATURDAY MORNING – WINDOW FOR HURRICANE FORCE WINDS: EARLY FRIDAY MORNING UNTIL FRIDAY AFTERNOON

– CURRENT THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: EXTREME – THE WIND THREAT HAS INCREASED FROM THE PREVIOUS ASSESSMENT. – EMERGENCY PLANS SHOULD INCLUDE A REASONABLE THREAT FOR MAJOR HURRICANE FORCE WIND GREATER THAN 110 MPH OF EQUIVALENT CATEGORY 3 INTENSITY OR HIGHER. – TO BE SAFE, AGGRESSIVELY PREPARE FOR THE POTENTIAL OF DEVASTATING WIND IMPACTS. REMAINING EFFORTS TO SECURE PROPERTIES SHOULD NOW BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETION. – EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING WIND IS POSSIBLE. FAILURE TO ADEQUATELY SHELTER MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY, LOSS OF LIFE, OR IMMENSE HUMAN SUFFERING. MOVE TO SAFE SHELTER BEFORE THE WIND BECOMES HAZARDOUS.

– POTENTIAL IMPACTS: DEVASTATING – STRUCTURAL DAMAGE TO STURDY BUILDINGS, SOME WITH COMPLETE ROOF AND WALL FAILURES. COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF MOBILE HOMES. DAMAGE GREATLY ACCENTUATED BY LARGE AIRBORNE PROJECTILES. LOCATIONS MAY BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS. – NUMEROUS LARGE TREES SNAPPED OR UPROOTED ALONG WITH FENCES AND ROADWAY SIGNS BLOWN OVER. – MANY ROADS IMPASSABLE FROM LARGE DEBRIS, AND MORE WITHIN URBAN OR HEAVILY WOODED PLACES. MANY BRIDGES, CAUSEWAYS, AND ACCESS ROUTES IMPASSABLE. – WIDESPREAD POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS OUTAGES.

* FLOODING RAIN – LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT – PEAK RAINFALL AMOUNTS: ADDITIONAL 3-5 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.

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4pm Update:  If the parks are open tomorrow and it’s raining, bring a poncho and wear sandals, especially at the Magic Kingdom!  MK floods very easily…Main Street, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland…all flood with only 2-3″ of rain!

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5:30pm:  The Magic Kingdom is closed for the night!

5:30pm Update:  All the Disney Parks at WDW are closed!  The Magic Kingdom closed at 5pm and by 5:30pm it was deserted and raining hard!  😦

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Several of our blog fans have asked for an update after the parks and resorts reopened yesterday.

48 Hours Later Follow-up Blog:  When Hurricane Matthew Closed Disney World

******************************

working together at DAK

Working together at DAK.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***