Hurricane Irma – September 7, 2017 Update

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Last update – September 7, 2017, 7:00 PM

Florida continues to prepare for Irma to make landfall. Current forecasts say the storm will hit South Florida Saturday with Central Florida seeing the worst of it late Sunday and early Monday morning.

Follow the latest news on Hurricane Irma at the National Hurricane Center.

Central Florida

Orlando International Airport will close at 5PM on Saturday is operating normally, but advises travelers to contact their airlines to find out about any cancellations or delays. The airport is also on Twitter at @MCO. You should contact your airline for information on other cancellations.

Central Florida theme parks are operating normally for now, though guests are able to cancel their plans without penalty. Because of heavy call volume, some guests are being to routed to the general information operators when they phone with questions about their trips which has resulted in conflicting answers about cancellations. We’ve confirmed with multiple travel agents that Disney is not charging penalties. If you’re booked under a promotion like a free dining offer this week and reschedule, you may not necessarily be able to get it again. It’s technically based on availability. We at TouringPlans simply do not know how Disney will handle these situations. If you get an answer, please leave it in the comments.

Fort Wilderness will close Saturday at 2PM.

Night of Joy on September 9 is cancelled. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on September 10 is cancelled.

Blizzard Beach will not be open Friday and Saturday, September 8 – 9.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal are not scheduled to begin until September 15.

The Saturday night Rock the Universe and Sunday morning worship service at Universal are cancelled. Friday night’s Rock the Universe is still scheduled.

Anyone in Central Florida who has not evacuated is advised to be where they need to be, with supplies, by 5:00 PM on Saturday. It is needlessly dangerous to plan to arrive at your Central Florida vacation this weekend.

Information for Disney guests is on the Disney web site.

Information for Universal guests is on the Universal web site.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has cancelled 3 cruises and ended two early:

Fantasy:

  • September 2 cruise – ended 2 days early, passengers to debark today, September 7
  • September 9 cruise – cancelled

Dream:

  • September 4 cruise – ended 1 day early, passengers to debark today, September 7
  • September 8 and 11 cruises – cancelled

The Magic and Wonder are in Europe and Alaska respectively, and not affected by Irma.

St. Martin, a port on Disney’s Eastern Caribbean cruises was hit hard by Irma earlier this week. St. Thomas and St. John, also on the Eastern itineraries in the USVI were hit. The DCL Blog has an article about damage to these ports;.

Castaway Cay in the Bahamas could see damage today.

Information for Disney Cruise Line passengers is on the DCL site.

 

The Rest of Florida and the Southeast

The Florida Keys and parts of the Miami area are under mandatory evacuation orders. The Florida National Guard has been called up to assist residents during and after Hurricane Irma.

Traffic on I-95 and I-75 North out of Florida is very heavy with people evacuating.

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have declared states of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma.

The National Hurricane Center describes Irma is “life-threatening” and Florida governor Rick Scott says the storm surge “can kill you.”

What Happened During Hurricane Matthew

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a smaller hurricane, was projected to go through the Orlando area, though it did turn east at the last minute. Here’s a reminder of how that went:

I-95 through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina saw substantial flooding during Hurricane Matthew last year. Flooding lasted well after the storm had gone through.

Orlando area airports closed before the storm and flights were delayed and cancelled as planes and crews made their way back in place.

Universal and Walt Disney World closed early the day before the storm and were closed for one full day.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was cancelled and guests were offered refunds or rescheduled tickets.

Halloween Horror Nights were cancelled and guests were offered refunds or rescheduled tickets.

Resort hotel restaurants were not serving guests who remained onsite though box meals were available for purchase.

Guests at Fort Wilderness, the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs, and the Polynesian Bungalows were relocated to more secure accommodations. This year that list would include the Cabins at Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

Stay tuned to the TouringPlans blog for more information as it comes in.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

9 thoughts on “Hurricane Irma – September 7, 2017 Update

  • September 7, 2017 at 9:33 am
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    I just spoke with Disney asking if I could cancel without penalty and they said no. Can you confirm where you got the info that we can cancel now without penalty? This is a bit confusing to me.

    • September 7, 2017 at 9:40 am
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      A travel agent spoke to Disney day before yesterday and was told no penalties. Apparently Disney hasn’t gotten the word out to all its agents. It wouldn’t be the first time Disney gave 2 different answers to the same question. I suggest calling back.

  • Pingback:Hurricane Irma: Cancellations, Closures, and What to Expect - TouringPlans.com Blog | TouringPlans.com Blog

  • September 7, 2017 at 11:31 am
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    I also called Disney last night as I am scheduled to arrive on Saturday morning and was told they are not offering refunds or rescheduling at the moment. They said they may reconsider on a case-by-case basis. Or if a hurricane warning is issued or the airport is closed they will work with us.

  • September 7, 2017 at 11:50 am
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    I was able to cancel my Sunday reservation at the Yacht club this morning with no penalty. They were very accommodating and rescheduled me for later next week. Be prepared to wait on hold for an hour or more due to increased volume.

  • September 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm
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    Our week long trip was to begin on Saturday the 9th. With the help of our travel agent we were able to reschedule the trip for mid-November. Unfortunately, our free dining plan is not being honored as there was no more availability for the promotion even though we were trying to move to other free dining promotion dates in the fall. We did get a room discount which helped with cost but overall paying a few hundred more dollars for the trip due to keeping the dining plan in our package but paying for it instead. There were no cancellation fees of any kind and we were told if we just wanted to cancel we would get a full refund because our check-in day was within 7 days of September 4th. Now begins the process of re-doing our dining reservations and Fast Passes. While not an ideal situation, overall pretty satisfied with how quickly we were able to establish a new vacation plan. Hoping everyone in Orlando and Florida stays safe.

  • September 7, 2017 at 10:25 pm
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    After SIX hours on hold, I was able to reschedule without penalty and keep the free dining promotion. You have to speak with guest services. The first person you talk to doesn’t have the authorization to allow you to keep free dining.

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