By now the once-dreaded #Hurricane Irma has literally faded away as it lost power heading well inland of the southeastern US. Still, the storm’s devastating path across the Caribbean and the west Florida coast left so much ecological damage, wrecked urban infrastructure, and over fifty deaths. Speaking of infrastructure, Irma practically shut down business across the Sunshine State for the duration of its “visit.” In particular, #Walt Disney World in #Orlando had needed to close up and buckle down once the storm made landfall over the weekend, with hotel guests and sheltered evacuees staying indoors. Once Irma has passed however, and while not in full operational capacity yet, the “most magical place on Earth” resumed business on Tuesday.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Magic as usual

On the dot at 9 AM, Eastern Time of September 12, four components of Walt Disney World – The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – once again opened its doors to welcome guests and visitors. One hour later Disney Springs followed suit. Fans of the House of Mouse from Orlando and elsewhere who have braved the trip through the post-Hurricane Irma clutter were for the most part satisfied with the rides. Certain attractions however remained closed like Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, though Disney is confident that they will be okay again before the week was out. Guests who stayed in during the storm did get to see some of the cleanup work prior to reopening.

Advertisements

The stories told of the first-in guests of Disney World after the storm showed remarkable nerve even after the shadow of calamity. For instance, 28-year-old Paola Pedroso, a bride-to-be from Brazil, had arrived at Orlando on Sunday with her bridal party and waited out Irma at a hotel near Universal Studios, before joining the Tuesday crowd. She claimed that her family back home had been more scared of Irma than she was at the scene itself. Of course, that morning’s visitor numbers were more restrained. One does not usual get into Space Mountain after waiting just ten minutes.

Helping hand

Walt Disney World also proved how magical it was beyond just the entertainment value. While Hurricane Irma was still in town, they offered emergency accommodation and shelter for a number of people in the Orlando area. Among these groups were utility crews from Florida Power and Light, needed to restore electrical power where it was lost after the storm left.

Advertisements

Others were senior citizens evacuated from flood-prone centers for the elderly, who were in turn cared for by Disney staff and other guests such as actress Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna from “Frozen.”

Being located in Florida, Walt Disney World is frequently beset by some bad weather during the stormy season. Not only has it survived, but also extended help to the community in its own way to help put back together what hurricanes break. As one Disney guest remarked on Twitter after Irma passed, Cinderella’s castle is still standing.