VIDEO: See How Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Prepares for a Hurricane

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Walt Disney World’s theme parks have only closed unscheduled on 4 occaisions in history, so the announcement today that the parks would be closing early and would remain closed through Friday is still surreal to many of us. With today being such a historic event, I decided to travel to the Magic Kingdom just to see what the atmosphere was like. What I found was a rather odd scenario.

Guests had shown up, more than I would have expected in fact, just to make the most of the little time they had. What was interesting, shocking, and honestly really cool was the number of steps Disney has already taken to prepares the park for the storm. Tarps around construction projects had been taken down, banners around the park removed, and all manner of flags tied up for safety. Here’s a video of many of the preparation taken to keep The magic Kingdom safe during Hurricane Matthew:

Pretty neat, huh?

While Walt Disney World is closed for the next day and a half, be sure to stay tuned to WDWNT.com for the latest developments. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel this evening, please contact us and let us know how it goes! We would love to hear about the experience (but most importantly, stay safe of course).

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Amy G
Guest
Amy G

We are at OKW and so far they have brought flashlights to our door and the message on our phone has asked that everyone stay in there rooms until tomorrow afternoon! They also mentioned that they have boxed meals for purchased until 10pm tonight at the lobby.

wdwfan
Guest
wdwfan

Yep pretty cool . A lot more people there than i thought would be.

Jeffrey
Guest
Jeffrey

Be safe and be careful to those at WDW and for all people involved.

Justin Rager
Guest
Justin Rager

We’re at Port Orleans Riverside. Supplies are thin for bottled water and snacks at the shop – 30+ min line to checkout. Waiting for $12 box meals, which Disney is advising you buy enough for 24 hours. No clue what’s in them, but there are at least 400 people in line. We’ve been waiting for over 20 minutes and have barely moved. I appreciate the scale of what has to be done, but this seems like an oversight.

Raquelle
Guest
Raquelle

We feel your pain. They should have just evacuated all the parks and hotels. But that would have required refunds. :( Disney didn’t cause the storm, but their staffing and management is worse than I thought, and we came in with very low expectations.

jeannielynnblog
Guest
jeannielynnblog

Where would people go if they checked our of the hotel? The headline would read, “Disney throws tourists out in eye of a storm”. And even if they did, since the seaside Flordians are looking for hotels, Disney would get blames for closing them. The hotels are generally safe/strong buildings, so they should be used during the storm. Now, if Disney raised prices for the rooms during the storm, then I would say Disney was “just wanting money”.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Raquelle really? Just tell people they have to leave the property! What if they live out of the state or out of the country? Think mcFly think!

Claire
Guest
Claire

Then why did you even go? I think they have done an amazing job during a natural disaster. You know the storm was coming, why didn’t you leave. Do you have any idea how many people were in Disney hotels, what do you mean close them, where would all these people go? Did you not get the memo there were no flights out. Were you safe? Upset because you didn’t have enough snacks? Take responsibility for your own decisions. Personally I’m glad they did such a good job securing the parks so my family can continue making memories. Get home… Read more »

Alan
Guest
Alan

In the past 10 years ago I work for the company for 26 years retired ,and Disney has always done a phenomenal job of looking out for the Guests and staff.
They have a 72 hour watch crew for every park and resort to make sure everything was locked up tied down
And the guests are safe .!!

Raquelle
Guest
Raquelle

This post from Alan is BS Guaranteed it’s posted from Disney public relations. We’re at Contemporary and this staff is disorganized beyond belief. Building is safe, but there’s ZERO about the staff nor managers who give 2 cents about our safety, or comfort during the storm. All smiles and don’t worry, bur no substance.

We’ve always found all Disney safety was a “show”, just like an attraction. We’re living proof of it. We hope this storm doesn’t make a turn for the worse or we are screwed.

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

It’s a natural disaster. Take care of yourself. Probably a Clinton Lib or Berne fan. They all think everything should be provided to them. You knew the storm was coming, you should have made plans to high-tale it out of there.

Justin Rager
Guest
Justin Rager

We’re finally through the line after 3 hours. Very poor communication from the staff and once you got to the food court to make your purchases, it was a bit chaotic.

I completely understand the scale and severity of the situation. I know the staff working are busting their tails, and they should know we do appreciate their efforts. My dissatisfaction comes from the poor plan and execution, not the individuals on the front lines.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Raquelle you are not very bright, stop talking.

P.J.
Guest
P.J.

IF Disney is working to protect anything, it’s their assets, such as the park itself, not the people. They’re not providing good service to us @ Coronado Springs. Is a comedy show of them talking about how great things are, we’re in the best and safest place there is, as people stand in line for food and no more bottled water here. They’re very minimally staffed with the “B” team.

Pauline
Guest
Pauline

We are at CBR, issued with flashlight and extra towels, toiletries and told we can purchase sandwich boxes at 12 dollars, food court is a joke, hundreds of people queueing, took us 1.5 hours to get our meal, people are panic buying, we have crisps and biscuits to last us tomorrow as i am not queueing for another hour for a sandwich box.

Alexandria from NYC
Guest
Alexandria from NYC

Best part, is with the people who work for Disney who post here aside, a majority of Disney fans would deny how Disney isn’t treating you over the top, service beyond expectation, and you’re safety and comfort is paramount to the cast members and management. I can’t imagine what it’s going to look like over there if there’s a problem, and I certainly hope there are none. Most of the hotels and such are much better prepared. We’re weathering it out at Reunion Resort and they seem like they’ve brought in extra staff and double the food and free bottled… Read more »

Alexandria in NYC
Guest
Alexandria in NYC

…and should add they have a shelter already set up in in the resort in the event of major emergency. No food line, and plenty of service. Have been watching boards to see if we will go to Disney for an afternoon after clean up. Unimpressed with what have read and seen on TV how Disney handled this. Hurricane planning in Florida should not be a surprise, like when it snows in NY. Its abundant Disney World has some major problems with management and services. Good luck to all in the storm!

Justin Rager
Guest
Justin Rager

After nearly 2 hours in line at Riverside, we were just told they are out of box lunches. There are still hundreds of people waiting to buy meals for the storm.

Alexandria in NYC
Guest
Alexandria in NYC

So sorry Justin. No excuse for that, honestly. Hopefully no significant events and you can get out and find food off property if stores still open. I have zero faith Disney would do anything correctly like this. Am sure they’re singing a good song of don’t worry, be happy though.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

I was stuck in our room at the Polynesian during hurricane Frances in 2004 for 2 days. (They closed the parks then as well) We weren’t allowed to go to the Grand Ceremonial house during that time until it had cleared and suggested we go to the nearby Publix to get food. Back then we took a taxi before it goot non-perishable foods before the roads closed. Good luck, and rest assured that you are in a pretty safe place during the storm- they have back up power sources. You may go crazy watching the Disney top 10 with Stacey… Read more »

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

Do you people think it is any different outside of the park at supermarkets? Suck it up buttercup. One day without grease ain’t gonna kill you.

John
Guest
John

Yea, it’s different. There’s food off site, and no broken Disney promises. Supermarkets don’t put 100% of their effort into marketing hype and no substance. It just makes Disney untrustworthy. I have no faith they’d look out for any of us, or even their own staff.

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

Good. Then don’t go. Less crowded for moi.

Patricia L.
Guest
Patricia L.

Please Hurricane Matthew, take the life of Samuel and that of his family. Less crowded for moi, and fewer issues for the human gene pool.

Temco
Guest
Temco

Wow Patricia! That’s the most horrible comment I’ve seen on here.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

stores have no food or water also .why did you wait till the last min ?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Exactly. But I guess we are missing the point. But what do I know I’m just a pompous jerk.

Price
Guest
Price

I just talked to my family at Wilderness Lodge who are getting fabulous treatment. Very happy and safe.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I would like to read someone’s real expectations. Aside the realm of free water what else do you folks want? This hurricane has been out there since Friday. Everyone knew Florida was going to get some type of impact. Go to publix or Home Depot or gas station. Are you going to expect something for free. Or the best experience ever. No. so please. Shut it.

P.J.
Guest
P.J.

Brian you come across a pompous jerk, they ran out of food, supplies and have lined up guests repeatedly to believe they’re ‘in good hands’. NOTHING is/was or expected to be provided for free. Get a clue. Hurricanes happen. Disney was not prepared. Period.

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

They have no obligation to you, period.

Patricia L.
Guest
Patricia L.

Yea, in the USA there’s no lawyers, and companies and individuals can do anything they want, or neglect anything they want. NOT! Give me a break Samuel. Get smarter dummy.

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

Judging from your previous reply to me, the Karma train will take care of you.

Ryan B
Guest
Ryan B

And you’re certainly not obligated to keep posting the same response over and over.

So make like a Disney Park manager, and disappear.

Brian
Guest
Brian

PJ. Thanks that’s exactly what I was shooting for. Again. What did you expect. That they will have food for days stocked just because. I live in Miami. Gas stations have been out of fuel almost 2 days before Matthew. publix was a mess too. So what clue do you want me to get? Please elaborate. That hurricanes happen? Yeah I know. This isn’t the first one I’ve experienced. Disney was not prepared? life happens. So when you encounter a problem. Solve it. You where there since when? Did you monitor the storm. Did you think hey we should go… Read more »

Justin Rager
Guest
Justin Rager

I don’t think anybody expected anything for free. Nor should anybody be shocked by the severity of the storm. But some people didn’t arrive until a few days ago, when supplies at Publix and other areas were already scarce, and before Disney invoked their “change your plans for free” policy for the event. Speaking for myself, and myself alone, we got here in time to get water and some snack foods. However, when EVERY Disney staff member, from random cast member to concierge to resort management, tells concerned customers “we’ll provide food and water”, “we are well prepared”, “we have… Read more »

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

We were at Epcot today and cast members were rolling away benches/picnic tables, lamps were wrapped in plastic, and several food stands closed early. We are staying off site after Disney informed us that there were no open rooms on property (which I know isn’t true). We were supposed to be boarding the Disney Dream tomorrow, which wasn’t canceled until we were boarding our flight to Orlando.

James
Guest
James

Be very very glad you’re not on Disney property. This is not the company it was years ago. Dangerous.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Lauren, they were busy making staff put away their assets (tables and lamps) and your family got shafted with lack of communication and lies and now stuck, as if they hadn’t cancelled the cruise, and you cancelled out of concern, you would have had to pay. I KNOW Disney can do better. They gotta get their stuff together. Very sad. And agree. Have become dangerous.

Samuel Ralston
Guest
Samuel Ralston

You booked a cruise during hurricane season. What did you expect?

Brian
Guest
Brian

What’s a hurricane Samuel? Is it like a thunderstorm. Nah. Nothing is going to happen. I know everything…says the pompous jerk.

James
Guest
James

I called my cousins there out of concern, and they left Coronado Springs for a shelter in Kissimmee saying that Disney was ‘clearly not even close to prepared and felt staff incapable to deal with basics much less if it got worse’. They said the accommodations and staff were much better prepared at the free shelter than on Disney property. THAT is saying something.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Staying at Art of Animation. Food lines were insane and disorganized.

James
Guest
James

I’m not down there, but would find a shelter Trevor. If there’s power outages, broken glass, anything out of ordinary, you’re at the mercy of the disorganization you speak of. Looking like it will not be that bad…but if it is…

Keith
Guest
Keith

We are at the World…..it is after 11:00 pm on Thursday, and it is still not really raining. All of the valet and restaurant staffs for all Disney resorts have panicked and gone home. Thank God, Artist Point switched to a buffet to satisfy all of the “survivors”. Luckily “Capa” at Four Season’s still had their faculties…we had a fabulous dinner there. Probably will have to head back over there tomorrow as Disney seems to have left town.

Smyth
Guest
Smyth

Shockingly disappointing, and not just on this forum, but other news and internet avenues too that Disney dropped the ball BIG time and were criminally neglectful.

Kim
Guest
Kim

Sounds like nothing has changed since 2004 when we were at POR when Charlie came through. Long, long lines, no food, no water. I heard later they had box meals down at the food court, but not while we were there, and no one had sent a message around to let us know. They need to get some planners on the job to help prepare a plan for when these things happen.

confidential cast member
Guest
confidential cast member

Is much worse than 2004 Kim. Trust me. We’re not given nearly the resources we were before. Management left early for THEIR own safety and sanity. It’s not the Disney it should be. And there are no ‘voluntary shifts’. that post was crap.

Bobbie
Guest
Bobbie

Yes there are. Cast members signed up voluntarily to assist guests on then assigned where to go where they will stay for the next 72 hours

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Cast members are on voluntary 72 hr shifts. My son works at Art of Animation and is sleeping in the Ink and Art shop while most of you are in a bed in your room. Have some respect for the people, some young college students, who are sleeping on the floor away from their homes, in order to be available for you and your families.

Jody
Guest
Jody

We were staying at Pop Century…decided to grab a rental car and leave early Thursday morning…The night before while spending our snack budget on a few Extra waters and chips, I asked the young cashier if we were freaking out like some of the others I saw….he said he was scared too but management had asked for the 72 hour volunteer and he signed up. He said “we will try to do our best” I felt for the kid. We had to make decision to stay and hope we were allowed to stay beyond our Friday check out ( they… Read more »

Cheryl D.
Guest
Cheryl D.

Bullshit Michelle. You are an idiot to let your son be at mercy of corporation who has no regard for guests or it’s staff (that didn’t leave on their own intelligence). I realize they put plenty of staff into effect to save parks physical assets and plans to get it opened fast to make money. Not the issue here though.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Wow, I sure don’t believe myself or my child are idiots. My son has made himself available to help where he is needed. He is not a high paid executive, just a college student, but he is there voluntarily. His shifts were cancelled, however, he’s there anyways. He is at nobody’s mercy. If you need anything while you are there, find him, he’ll do everything he is capable of to help you =]

No SJWs
Guest
No SJWs

Yes and he’s getting paid time and a half and double time to be on that shift. People fight to get to work cleanup crew because of how well it pays. Don’t act like he’s making some huge sacrifice, he’s being paid to sleep!

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I’m not sure exactly what the pay is, I never said he was working for free. But he is there regardless. Working to help all of the many people who are complaining about long lines and poor food options. All of the people there had the option to buy food and snacks and flashlights prior to being shut in the hotel. Many people are complaining that the parks are closed! Seriously, what Disney is doing is for your safety not your comfort and entertainment. Maybe it would have been more comfortable for people to be out taking cover on their… Read more »

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Employees were given the option to sign up for the 72 hr shift voluntarily, many chose to sacrifice the comfort of their own safe place to wait out the storm, with their own unlimited choices of food and comforts, and many chose not to. Some might fight for a shift now, only after the storm passes but we are all aware that understaffing doesnt happen when people are “fighting” for these shifts as you said.

Linda
Guest
Linda

Everyone needs to chill and not be so much in the “what’s in this for me” bad attitude! Hundreds of people have died in Haiti because of this hurricane. This is a very dangerous and life threatening storm and emergency. Pull up your big boy and girl pants and show some love and concern for human lives. Look out for one another. Save lives. You can go without a fancy meal and the Best of a Resort’s bling. Right now focus on the safety and well being of human lives. College kids and cast members have families and pets and… Read more »

Perelandra
Guest
Perelandra

No matter how prepared Disney is, this is still a logistical nightmare, with long lines and inconveniences to be expected. In a normal day people are eating at probably over a hundred different restaurants spread out over all the parks and Disney Springs that are now currently closed. Now all those people have to stand in just a few lines for sandwich boxes. Of course those lines will be long. It stinks, but natural disaster times are going to require extreme changes and it could be a lot worse.

Larry
Guest
Larry

They weren’t prepared and portrayed they were is the issue. They should have evacuated the resort properties based on their preparedness.

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The Downlow | Friday, Oct. 7 – The Dis Downlow

[…] wonder how a theme park prepares for a hurricane? WDW News Today has posted a great video of the cast members in Magic Kingdom readying for the […]

Cliff R.
Guest
Cliff R.

ANYONE POSTING THAT PEOPLE AT PARKS SHOULD CHILL WHO ARE NOT THERE HAVE NO ROOM TO TALK. I honesty feel most are Disney themselves posting here telling people to suck it up, or just complete imbeciles who are so self absorbed they can’t see past their own nose in the comfort of their home. Hurricanes happen. Every outfit in Florida has a plan. We got cancelled from a cruise Disney didn’t cancel until we were on board. Disney has poorly laid out plans and obviously having problems making things work in perfect weather, but they have cut it back severely… Read more »

Dana Draper
Guest
Dana Draper

We are at Saratoga; there is no food available; NO Communication, even now there isn’t even info on the tv. The food they said we could order last night wasn’t possible because no one answered their phones. A manager said they couldn’t staff anything due to the danger for their employees; but it’s ok that we stay here. Weather wise it’s not bad here but I am disgusted by Resort Mangement. If they had taken the time to worry about their guests as much as their physical assets, guests would have been at least satisfied, I think.