Potential Hurricane - How to Decide?

I know, this is one of those “impossible to answer” questions. But the NHC has forecasted that tropical storm Dorian will gain strength and may become a hurricane by Tuesday. It’s trajectory and impact on Florida is unknown right now. But the general path it’s following right now doesn’t look good to my non-weatherman eye. And the timeline looks like it may arrive in the Gulf or Florida area next weekend … the same time we check in to WDW. What luck! Based on my MVT package I have about 24 hours to decide whether or not to cancel and get a full refund, probably 1 to 2 days before all the uncertainty about Dorian will be cleared up by the NHC. So how do you approach a decision like this? I worry that no matter what I do, I will be wrong. I’m not concerned about visiting WDW in the rain. Been there done that. My concern is navigating potential traffic issues, mandatory evacuation routes and the like since we are driving in from the west.


If I were in your shoes, I’d keep my current plans. Maybe it’ll weaken over Cuba. Maybe it’ll keep curving eastward and go out to sea. Hard to tell right now

I was at Disney during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Parks closed early on Thursday and closed all day on Friday. I think I read that it was one of the only times that parks had been closed for a hurricane. Food courts closed early Thursday and most of day on Friday. Be sure to have snacks/food in your room in case that were to happen again. Orlando is relatively inland. From the weather outside, you would not have known there was a hurricane. Keep your reservation but be prepared for rainy days in the park. On a side note, our Saturday flight home did get cancelled and we couldn’t get booked out until Monday afternoon. Two extra hotel days for us and we ended up adding a park day to our tickets.

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Statistically speaking - I’d go.


I was in your shoes a couple of years ago… It’s so agonizing trying to figure out the right thing to do in this situation. But I agree with the others, I wouldn’t change anything at this point. It’s too far out and even the best forecasters have no idea where Dorian will end up. When it happened to us, I watched the forecasts excessively for days and they were still changing right up until the day before! If it does hit or impact travel, Disney is pretty good about working with you to offer refunds or allow you to change plans.

I was there during Matthew in 2016 and then again last year when the hurricane hit the panhandle. I would go! We still had a blast. Be prepared that you might have to change your plans around last minute. For instance, if you have reservations and a park day scheduled for a hurricane day, you might have to reschedule and do it another time during your stay. However, Disney waves the 24 hour cancellation fee because you essentially are modifying and everyone else is doing it! And, although it wasn’t a direct hit last year, most of the week had some sort of tropical heat and rain. I swear it was warmer during our trip in October last year than this August. This was a picture during our last trip!

We arrive this coming Saturday and are there until the 7th. We’re still going. As of now they are saying it’s going to lose strength and downgrade to a tropical depression as it approaches Cuba, so hopefully it’ll just fall apart and as it comes into Florida it’ll lose strength too, so hopefully that’s what’ll happen. We live in SC, so our biggest concern is if it gets to a 2 we’ll have to change plans then because we have to be home for our pets. We don’t mind being at the parks if it’s raining, ponchos work fine, people tend to clear out and that means shorter lines. :slight_smile: I’ve already got my extra socks lined up and shoes set aside.

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We were there in 16 when Matthew hit and a few years before when a tropical depression came through (can’t remember the year). I would not change my plans. Even though the parks closed in 16, Disney refunded our party tickets and gave us two day park hoppers for the time we missed on our regular ticket. That was one of only a couple of times they’ve closed for weather and really it was over quickly. When we were there during the tropical depression, we spent the rainy days at the water park and it was fantastic. They were empty and the water was heated. We were wet anyway. We had a blast. Those were some of my family’s favorite memories. I would definitely keep my trip as scheduled.

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Do you have trip insurance? If not, figure out if it will help you. I don’t know if you can still get it when there is already a named storm but if you’re interested it would be worth the research to find out.

Do you have trip insurance?

Interesting question. I do not.

I’ve bought it on previous trips, but in all honesty never really understood exactly what that insurance covered … or didn’t, what with all the legalize I read. When I used MVT, I made a deliberate decision to not buy trip insurance when I saw that I could cancel up to 5 days before checking in. That seemed generous enough. And, my MVT agent has been very helpful the last few days as I asked about my options. In this case that might turn out to be a poor decision as the timing looks like it will hit within that 5 day window. Ugh.

WDW has only closed 4 or 5 times in the history of the park. I think hurricanes have shut it down 3 times in the last few years but statistically speaking, you should be safe. We’re going 9/14 to 9/21 through MVT so I’m in the same boat if something comes up.

I was there for Hurricane Matthew also, and we are heading down on Saturday so it feels like dejavu, but according to the website Ventusky it looks like it breaks up sometime on thursday hopefully crossing our fingers that this actually happens. :pray::woman_facepalming::weary:

Even if it strengthens to a 1, the weather will hopefully only impact a small portion of your trip. I dont think there will be mass evacs in FL. Everything im seeing its skirting the east coast.

I’m arriving this weekend too. I updated my room request to Dorian view.


:rofl: That took me a second. I can’t wait to be home again.

Thanks BreaSC. Between seeing your arrival date and my MVT agent’s suggestion we have decided to arrive on Saturday if that can be arranged at this late date. The weather people are all over the map right now with predictions and scenarios. What needs to be know about the storm’s intensity and direction will not be clear for a couple of more days, with the notable exception of timing. Everything at this point is indicating Dorian will reach Florida Sunday, which is a travel day for us. My concern from the git-go has been driving my car thru this tropical mess, not physically being in Orlando. Sooo, we asked to move our arrival date up a day earlier instead of cancelling. :slightly_smiling_face: Got my finger’s crossed right now.

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I’m doing the same thing. My arrival is scheduled for Sunday but I’m going to book an offsite hotel for Saturday to avoid driving in poor conditions. I may drive down Friday night if necessary. Like you, I am ok with being there during a storm but have no interest navigating interstates in one. Safe travels to you.


I’d pack rain gear and go. I wouldn’t scrap a trip that takes so much effort to plan, there is too much uncertainty right now. We live on the gulf coast and more often than not, these storms are nothing, or hit in a way to just be a rainmaker in the area. Cat 1-2 storms only shut businesses for half-a-day or so, unless you are right on the coastline (not 30 miles inland …). You may have a day that is rained out, or it could just pass through overnight, but keep some rainy day planning ideas in your pocket for that possibility. I had a co-worker who drove down when he KNEW a minor hurricane was heading straight for WDW - the resort did some fun activities for the day that the park was shut down, and by all accounts they had a great trip.


If you are driving in from the west, you’ll likely have less traffic to fight. I was driving south a day ahead of Katrina and it was smooth sailing with just me, my dog & baby, the power trucks, home depot trucks and water trucks. Opposite side, heading north, was obviously packed. Hopefully you can get there a day ahead. So many things can change between now and then …

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Timely and informative post.

Good luck!