Hurricane Irma is now heading towards Florida expecting to make landfall this weekend. People are being told to prepare for destruction, however, how does the land of magic protect itself from pure chaos.

This week the Walt Disney Company donated $1 million to the American Red Cross that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. With Hurricane Irma now on the way, the park has begun preparations to protect as much as of the park as possible.

Although the hurricane isn’t set to hit central Florida directly procedures have been put in place should the park be directly on the path. Now, there are hurricane watches over Walt Disney World, as a state of emergency has been set for the whole of Florida.

The resort is continuously staffed with a disaster relief centre which is on official alert with trained professionals. Should the worst happen these individuals are trained to support and keep guests safe should the worst-case scenario arrive.

Previous precautions

Even during a low-level tropical storm, all outdoor attractions will naturally be closed even if the park is still open. It applies to part outdoor rides such as Splash Mountain and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If the park is affected by flooding in low-level areas the whole section will be roped off as well.

In 1995, a category 1 hurricane hit Walt Disney World in the early morning delaying the park opening until 11 am. Although the storm produced more rain and wind throughout the day, it wasn’t severe enough to shut down the park.

However, 2004 saw Charlie the first to cause multi- day closure, closing four parks in 2 days. Unlike previous storms Floyd directly hit Walt Disney World, damage to the park was minimal.

Park closures

The park will only close if such drastic measure should it be needed. The park closed its doors for the first time in 10 years after the threat of Hurricane Matthew. They canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween party. But with Irma developing into a category 4 by the weekend the potential closure is growing more likely.

With Hurricane Irma changing direction each day, the parks will continue to keep watch before the weekend and will announce their operational hours by Friday.

Should guests be visiting when a hurricane warning has been in the Orlando area, and you are due to visit in the next 7 days you can cancel. Guests are allowed to call in advance or even reschedule their vacation package. If booked with Disney no cancellation or change fees will be carried out by Disney.