Disney World and Hurricane Floyd: The First Time Disney World Closed

Cinderella Castle Disney World With Dream Lights During the Day

Disney World has only closed a few times over its nearly fifty-year long history, the current coronavirus pandemic being by far the longest of all of the closures.

As the coronavirus closure begins to wind down we thought it was a perfect time to look at the first time Disney World closed for an unexpected reason, Hurricane Floyd.

Hurricane Floyd Disney World Closing Letter

In September of 1999, Hurricane Floyd, a Category 4 storm was heading straight for Florida. All of the parks would close by 3PM on September 14th and preparations were being made to ride out the storm with resort hotels full of guests.

While the majority of Disney World facilities are designed to survive a hurricane of this size, a few areas would not be safe during a storm of this size. A shelter was set up at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort for hotel guests that were staying at unsafe locations in the resort, including notably several buildings in Disney's All-Star Resorts. 

Hurricane Floyd Disney World Safety Guide

For guests who were still staying in Disney hotels, they were given guides to safely ride out the storm in their rooms.

Disney World Hurricane Floyd Decreased Housekeeping

Guests were informed of the lack of housekeeping services and other methods that would be taken to keep them safe while the parks were closed.

All of this would end up being mostly unnecessary, as Hurricane Floyd would end up turning north and mostly missing the Orlando area. Disney was able to get Disney's Animal Kingdom open earlier than intended the next day, only for guests who had ridden out the storm at the Disney hotels.

This would be the first time Disney World would ever close for unintended reasons, and since then the parks have only closed for three reasons. Hurricanes, 9/11, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Disney is a place to escape from the problems of everyday life and Disney does everything they can to make sure that every day the parks are safe, clean, and ready for guests, but sometimes there are things they can't control. Walt Disney himself always said that safety was put above all else when it came to the parks. As the parks look to reopen in the near future we can see them taking all precautions to make sure a day at Disney is accessible once again, but also as safe as possible.

We would like to thank Database Disney, our sister site, for providing us with the documents from Walt Disney World during the Hurricane Floyd closure. Be sure to check them out for records from the history of the Disney Parks.