Hurricane Irma – News September 5, 2017

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Updated 9-5-17 2:40

Thank you to Annette Johnson with Build A Better Mouse Trip for passing this on.

As Florida prepares for Hurricane Irma, Disney is allowing guests with trips in the next seven days that could be impacted by the storm to cancel without penalty. This doesn’t include any airfare that would have been booked as part of a package.

Update – According to the Orlando Sentinel, Universal and SeaWorld both are allowing guests to refund or reschedule.

Be safe out there. We will update you with any news we hear.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center web site has a dedicated page for Irma.


Laurel Stewart

Laurel has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1971 when she was negative-15 years old and running the Disney races since 2007. Her favorite attraction is Big Thunder Mountain.

28 thoughts on “Hurricane Irma – News September 5, 2017

  • September 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Can you confirm this to be true? There is no official announcement on Disney World’s website or Facebook page. And the Cast Member I just spoke to said that the hurricane cancellation policy has NOT been put into effect at this time (because Florida has not been issued a Hurrican Warning as of yet).

    • September 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      The travel agent we spoke to had talked to a Disney reservations agent. The reservations agent said Disney isn’t requiring a watch or warning for refunds. That’s all the news we have on it.

    • September 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Ok, thanks. That’s a completely different story than I was just given by a different Disney reservations agent…fortunately, there’s still plenty of time to wait for the official word!

  • September 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Does anybody know if we can reschedule and keep our free dining plan? Or if we would lose the free dining?

    • September 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Wondering as well.. I really have my fingers crossed we can keep the promotion if we are within free dining dates.

    • September 5, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      We are scheduled to arrive on Sept 13, with the free dining plan. I cound this on their website:

      Hurricane Policy – Frequently Asked Questions
      I received a special offer when I booked my vacation with the Walt Disney Travel Company. If a hurricane warning is issued within 7 days of my arrival date and I reschedule, will I get the same special offer?
      Only if an identical special offer is available for your rescheduled vacation dates. All amounts you paid to the Walt Disney Travel Company for rooms, park tickets, dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation.

      Any discounts or special offers applicable to your original confirmed vacation may not apply to the rescheduled vacation travel dates. You are responsible for applicable package pricing for the new vacation dates.

      This policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.

      Hurricane Policy – Frequently Asked Questions
      If I reschedule my vacation to a different date because of a hurricane warning, will I be able to get my same accommodations?
      If you are scheduled to arrive within 7 days of a hurricane warning, you may call us in advance to reschedule without a Disney imposed change fee. We cannot guarantee availability of similar accommodations for the new travel dates. All amounts you paid to Disney for rooms, theme park tickets, dining plans and other Disney products and services will be applied toward your new reservation.

      Any discounts or special offers applicable to your original confirmed vacation will not apply to the rescheduled vacation travel dates. You are responsible for applicable package pricing for the new vacation dates.

      The policy does not apply to certain special events and dining experiences.

    • September 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      So Disney CM informed my TA that if I move dates (even within original free dining offer) I would lose free dining.
      So we are trying to come up with plan C.

  • September 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    We have annual passes that expire 09/18 and have a trip planned for 9/11-9/15. We don’t plan to renew them just yet. Wondering if they will extend the passes or give us some extra days to use later. Offsite hotel booked, car rental booked, passes and FastPass+ booked.

    • September 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

      As with all things at Disney, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Make sure to check with your airline, as cancellations probably will start this weekend and normal air travel may not be restored until this time next week, depending on how much damage the airports take.

      Also make sure to budget extra for fuel — right now, many gas stations locally are sold out, and so if you can find fuel for your rental car, you will likely be limited to how much you can buy, you will need to pay cash (no credit or debit cards), and prices will be a lot higher than you’d expect ($5/gallon wouldn’t be out of the question).

      If you are able to get a flight down, call your hotel before you arrive to see if they have electricity and to see how much damage they’ve taken.

      • September 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Julia Mascardo, your input and expertise are invaluable, especially since you live behind MK! I am still hoping against hope for Irma to turn sharply East and spare Orlando since it is inland. If it does, may I get an update from you as to the conditions there? Thank you SO much!

        • September 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

          That’s certainly my hope as well, that it heads on out to sea and leaves us all alone. Assuming I have cell signal, I’ll be tweeting out a couple updates on the TouringPlans twitter account to keep everyone updated. Currently, the most significant impacts during the storm will happen between Sunday noon and Tuesday morning.

          • September 6, 2017 at 9:58 pm

            I’m not on Twitter, but please keep safe, Julia.

  • September 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I’m driving down Saturday and am planning to stay for my whole week trip unless we just have no choice; we’ve been planning this for a year and have so many things scheduled that we’ve never done before.

    We have a 7 day park hopper. I’m wondering what happens to the tickets if the park is closed one or more of those days. I also got a room through dvc rental and the tickets through Parksavers. I haven’t read the fine print on cancellations for these things yet because I’m hoping I won’t have too find out. Ugh.

    • September 6, 2017 at 9:19 am

      If you are driving down on Saturday, you’ll want to keep track of the roads — because there are mandatory evacuations already going on in FL, it is likely that some interstates will be closed to southbound traffic. There’s a system that Florida uses where, during an evacuation, all roads are opened to northbound traffic. Also, bring your own water and shelf-stable food that does not require heating — water is sold out at most stores here, and food is getting hard to find. You also may not be able to find gasoline, as most stores are selling out once or twice during the day, so be prepared to ride out the hurricane in your car on the side of the road if you can’t get to your hotel. Also, bring lots of cash–credit cards may not work, and ATMs will likely be out of money within the next day or two.

      If you’re arriving on Saturday, you will likely be arriving during tropical storm-force winds or beyond. The advice that they give the locals here, gruesome though it sounds, is to write your name (at a minimum) and any medical conditions you have in permanent marker on your forearm. This can be useful if you are incapacitated.

      I live right behind MK, and we’re being told to prepare for 1-2 weeks with no electricity. Disney should be able to have power back within the week, but there’s no guarantees.

  • September 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Southwest Airlines has just announced that, “scheduled service on Tuesday, September 5, thru Monday, September 11, may be disrupted (flights may be delayed, diverted, and/or cancelled) at the following cities:

    Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
    Fort Myers (RSW)
    Havana (HAV)
    Nassau (NAS)
    Orlando (MCO)
    Punta Cana (PUJ)
    San Juan (SJU)
    Tampa (TPA)
    West Palm Beach (PBI)
    Customers who are holding reservations on Tuesday, September 5, thru Monday, September 11, and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.” Source:

  • September 5, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I just got off the phone with Disney reservations. They are waiving all cancellation and change fees. Don’t know about free dining plans though. Good luck!

  • September 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    We just arrived today and are booked through Sept. 12. We will just have to ride it out. We have no other option.

    • September 5, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Ouch. Best of luck to you.

  • September 6, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Hi. I have a trip scheduled for Sept 7-14 at Port Orleans French Quarter. I am planning to ride it out, seeing that the path is to uncertain for now. I have read various blog posts of people who were there during Matthew and Charley, and have all faith in Disney to keep me safe for the worst part of it. I made a Grocery delivery for our arrivial day for a few things to help if we are confined to our room for a day or two. I’ve read where previously they have issued park passes for the days that the park is closed to compensate. I read where PO:FQ didn’t loose power during Charley. And, that NOAA designated WDW as a storm ready destination. I should have a few good days on either side of the storm.

    • September 6, 2017 at 9:21 am

      You’ll want to double check with your grocery delivery service as soon as you can. The stores where many of the grocery delivery services pick up their supplies are already sold out of things like water, and so you may arrive and find that your grocery order isn’t able to be filled. 🙁

  • September 6, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Last I heard, hurricanes (aka: reality) were still not the least bit interested in the vacation plans of humans. Even those that vacations that included free dining.
    I’d choose disappointment over drowning any time. I’d choose a healthy respect for Mother Nature over hoping airlines, local and state governments and even Cast Members will risk their safety to protect mine.
    When hubris and entitlement meet reality, reality always wins.

  • September 6, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Does anyone know if they will also refund MNSSHP tickets? I know the FAQ page indicated the refund does not apply to special events, so I know they don’t HAVE to refund. I am more curious what they are actually doing.

    • September 6, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Not sure if it is an option for you, but if you are able to switch to another MNSSHP date, you might have better luck with that than trying to get a full refund. But if refund is the only option that you’d have, I’d call early.

    • September 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      When our MNSSHP was cancelled last year due to the hurricane, Disney did refund our money for the tickets we had purchased.

  • September 7, 2017 at 8:28 am

    We arrive on the 16th and hope that all is well with WDW and the surrounding area by then! Thoughts are with everyone impacted by this storm. Stay safe!

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