As I write this, Hurricane Isaias is out in the Atlantic. At the moment, Central Florida is not expected to take a direct hit, but these storms can be unpredictable. Plus it’s 2020, we need to be prepared for anything. This storm started me thinking about visiting Walt Disney World during both a named storm and a pandemic. I’m not talking about Isaias, since it’s not supposed to have too much of an impact. I’m thinking more about storms that are predicted to be more severe.
Whenever a storm is about to hit, you’ll find no shortage of people saying that you should still head out for your vacation. They will tell anyone who will listen that lines will be short and that the parks will be empty. While some of that could be true, I think it’s terrible advice. Traveling into the middle of a storm just so you can wait in a shorter line for Flight of Passage is reckless.
Things are even crazier this year. Lines are already short, so that shouldn’t be factored in. Right now, many attractions are closed, and those that are open are either outdoors or have an outdoor queue. If it is storming, it’s not safe for rides such as Slinky Dog Dash to operate. With the limited number of attractions right now, there might not be all that much to do in a storm.
If a storm is predicted to have an impact on Central Florida, Walt Disney World might close the theme parks. I think that this year there’s more of a chance of that happening than in the past, just because capacity is so limited right now. If you traveled here, you’d be stuck in a hotel. In the past Disney has treated guests staying on property very well during storms, but things would be different this year. There would be no games or characters in the lobby, because crowds shouldn’t gather. That would mean spending the entire trip in your room. I know that there are worse fates than being in a Walt Disney World hotel room, but no one travels to Florida to spend a couple of days looking out the window at the rain.
Another thing to consider is travel. If you’re flying, your flight home might be canceled. Even if it isn’t, you could end up on a plane that is more crowded than what you would consider safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Orlando International Airport could shut down for a severe storm, leaving many people stranded. If you’re driving, roads could be flooded or closed due to damage. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere on your way home, but it happens to people every year.
I am not going to tell anyone what to do. But if there is a storm coming, I hope that you will seriously consider postponing this year. Maybe I’m more cautious than in the past, but this year has been unlike anything that we’ve ever experienced before. I know that some people reading this have already rescheduled several trips due to COVID-19, and maybe you just want to finally get to Florida. I don’t blame you, but please carefully follow the forecast before you get on the plane or in that car. And stay safe, no matter what you decide.