Hurricane Dorian and Its Potential Effects on Your Disney World or Disney Cruise Vacations


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This post will be updated [at least] twice daily at the top with the 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. updates from the National Hurricane Center as well as any updates from the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Disney Cruise Line, and SeaWorld.

Below is an interview that Pete Werner, the owner of The DIS, did with CNN about Hurricane Dorian. In the interview, he discusses why he feels that the Walt Disney World Resort is a safe place to ride out a hurricane including why he sends his mother there whenever there’s a storm threatening the Orlando area.

9/4/19 – 12:00 p.m. UPDATE

Disney Cruise Line has announced a delay in the return of the Disney Dream as they don’t feel that Port Canaveral will be ready for their return today.

This sailing has been extended and is now expected to return to Port Canaveral on Thursday, September 5.



Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort remains closed due to projected weather. When the Resort is prepared to reopen, another announcement will be made.


9/4/19 – 9:00 a.m. UPDATE

The Orlando International Airport (MCO) has just announced that they will resume operations today at 12:00 p.m.

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The National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Dorian is moving north-northwest up the coast of Florida at 8mph this morning. As we noted yesterday, the hurricane has gotten much larger so authorities are advising folks to use extra care and to pay close attention to local advisories.



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In case you missed our post that includes today’s operating hours for the Walt Disney World theme parks, you can find that information HERE.

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9/3/19 – 3:00 p.m. UPDATE

In the 3:00 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, reports state that the core of Dorian is continuing to move away from Grand Bahama Island. Dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge will continue over that island through this evening and tropical storm force winds are beginning to occur along the Florida east coast.

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Walt Disney World has announced their operating hours for Wednesday, September 4. There will be no morning Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom. See the image below for the full details.

In case you missed our earlier update, Epcot will stay open until 7:00 p.m. and Disney Springs will close at 8:00 p.m.



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9/3/19 – 11:00 a.m. UPDATE

The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Dorian is now a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph. It is beginning to slowly pull away from Grand Bahama Island and is now moving northwest at 2 mph.

Along with that update, Walt Disney World has announced that instead of closing at 3:00 p.m. today, Epcot will remain open until 7:00 p.m. and Disney Springs will stay open until 8:00 p.m. All the other closures and adjustments noted previously will remain as stated and will be updated at the top of this post should any changes come.

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9/3/19 – 8:00 a.m. UPDATE

For most of the night, Hurricane Dorian remained stationary as it battered Grand Bahama Island and finally with this morning’s 8:00 a.m. update, it is moving northwest at 1mph.



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While the hurricane has been downgraded to a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 120mph, it’s important to continue to watch updates and follow the recommendations of local authorities.

There are quite a number of early closures and adjustments in effect today at the Walt Disney World Resort – you can find them all listed HERE.

At this time, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s CityWalk will open as scheduled on Tuesday, September 3, however, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park will be closed.

There has been no word as of this update as to when the Orlando International Airport (MCO) will reopen.

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9/2/19 – 5:00 p.m. UPDATE

Hurricane Dorian remains at a Category 4 with winds up to 145mph and is completely stationary just north of Grand Bahama Island.

The Orlando International Airport has just announced that it will cease commercial operation beginning at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

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Additionally, the Walt Disney World Resort has announced modified operational hours and entertainment adjustments for Tuesday, September 3:

*Guests with pre-purchased Disney After Hours tickets for Tuesday, September 3, 2019 are able to exchange their tickets for one of the following:

To redeem these other options, guests should call (407) 939-7818 by Dec. 15 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., or send an email to [email protected] It’s important to have your tickets available so your request can be processed as quickly as possible.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom will take place on Monday, September 2, 2019. An altered version of Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular will be presented due to high winds.

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth has been canceled for Monday, September 2, 2019.

A modified version of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will be presented on Monday, September 2, 2019.

The 9:30 p.m. presentation of Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been canceled for Monday, September 2, 2019.

Guests have been evacuated from both Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground (and all events and entertainment) will be closed starting Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show presentations at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be canceled on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

The entertainment and food and beverage offerings on and surrounding the Boardwalk Promenade might be limited during the storm.

Advance Dining Reservations for theme park locations will be honored on September 3 up to one hour before park closing. Dining reservations for resort locations will be honored until 5:30 p.m. Walt Disney World will not be enforcing cancellation policies for dining and experiences through Tuesday, September 3.

A note regarding the transportation options at Walt Disney World: The ferry boats will not be an operation while winds are over 20 mph. If Walt Disney World is experiencing tropical storm force winds (over at 39 mph), the monorail and buses will not be operating. These transportation systems will not operate on Tuesday, September 3 after theme parks and Disney Springs have closed.

The following information was released from the National Hurricane Center with the 5 p.m. update:

The Storm Surge Warning has been extended northward to Altamaha Sound Georgia.

The Hurricane Warning has been extended northward to Ponte Vedra Beach Florida.

The Storm Surge Watch and Hurricane Watch have been extended northward to South Santee River South Carolina.

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9/2/19 – 2:00 p.m. UPDATE

Dorian remains nearly stationary at the 2 p.m. update as it moves west-northwest at 1 mph. The winds have come down to 150 mph and the pressure has risen to 938 mb which is a small sign of the weakening we’ve seen over the last 12 hours.

SeaWorld Orlando will close at 5:30 p.m. today (9/2).

Aquatica Orlando will close at 4 p.m. today (9/2).

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9/2/19 – 12:00 p.m. UPDATE

The 12 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center shows that Dorian remains over Grand Bahama Island and is moving WNW at 1mph. Maximum sustained winds are at 155mph with gusts up to 190mph.

The Storm Surge Warning has been extended northward along the east coast of Florida to the Flagler/Volusia County Line.

The Storm Surge Watch has been extended northward along the Georgia coast to the Savannah River.

The Hurricane Warning along the east coast of Florida has been extended northward to the Flagler/Volusia County Line.

The Hurricane Watch has been extended northward to Altamaha Sound Georgia.

Additionally, the Walt Disney World Resort is partially located in both Osceola and Orange Counties and the National Weather Service has just placed both counties under Tropical Storm Warnings.

Disney Cruise Line has issued an update to their original statement regarding their crew on Castaway Cay.

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9/2/19 – 8:00 a.m. UPDATE

Hurricane Dorian remains at a catastrophic Category 5 with maximum sustained winds of 165mph. The hurricane is barely wobbling to the west at 1mph as it batters Grand Bahama Island.

Hurricane watches and warnings have been issued along the Florida coastline to include:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* North of Deerfield Beach to south of Lantana
* Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Mouth of the St. Mary’s River

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas
* Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet
* Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Mouth of the St. Mary’s River

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* North of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach
* Lake Okeechobee

Folks have expressed their concerns about the Castaway Cay crew with Disney Cruise Line and the following statement was issued:

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The Walt Disney World Resort is currently operating under normal conditions as they monitor the status of the storm’s path.

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9/1/19 – 6:00 p.m. UPDATE

The Disney Dream sailing currently taking place was scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on Wednesday, September 4, but due to the impact of Hurricane Dorian that has now changed. Disney Cruise Line released a statement saying, “after careful review of the currently forecasted path, and conversations with port officials in Florida” the Disney Dream will now return to Port Canaveral on September 5, which is three days later than originally scheduled. With additional time at sea Disney Cruise Line has added Grand Cayman as a port call for tomorrow September 2, on that sailing.

Unfortunately, this change means that the originally scheduled September 2 sailing has been canceled. This sailing was previously changed from a 4-night to a 2-night sailing. Compensation for this unfortunate cancellation includes a full refund of traveler’s voyage fare, as well as “a 20% discount on a future cruise.”

Guests should call 1-866-325-3905 or 407-566-7032 between Monday, September 9, 2019, and Thursday, October 31, 2019, to let Disney know if they want to apply their refund to a new sailing before December 31, 2020, or receive a full refund. Guests who have already moved their “voyage will be able to apply the discount to their new sailing (some restrictions may apply).”


9/1/19 – 5:00 p.m. UPDATE

According to the National Hurricane Center, a Hurricane Warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line. The National Hurricane Center says, “the hurricane will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday night.” Central Florida and Walt Disney World will feel the impact of the storm Tuesday and into early Wednesday morning. It was also stated that the rest of the Florida east coast should monitor the progress of the hurricane “as additional watches or warnings may be required later today.”

Hurricane Dorian is moving westward at 5 mph, and wind speeds remain at 185 mph, with gusts up to 220 mph. Hurricane Dorian remains at Category 5 storm.

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9/1/19 – 2:00 p.m. UPDATE

Hurricane Dorian has increased wind speeds of 185 mph with gusts up to 220 mph. Other than that not much has changed since the last advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Select tolls have been suspended until further notice to encourage evacuation including Alligator Alley, Turnpike Mainline (SR 91), including the Homestead Extension (SR 821), Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869), Beachline Expressway (SR 528), SR 408, SR 417, SR 528, SR 429, and SR 414. It does not include Osceola Pkwy and Poinciana Pkwy.

Below is a tweet from the National Hurricane Center that shows what the inside of Hurricane Dorian looks like.

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9/1/19 – 11:00 a.m. UPDATE

Hurricane Dorian has maintained wind speeds of 180 mph with gusts up to 220 mph. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Hurricane Dorian is now the strongest hurricane in modern records in the Northern Bahamas. Since the last update, Dorian has grown larger in size according to the National Hurricane Center, “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.”

The Hurricane Watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida. The Hurricane Watch stretches from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line, which is 40 to 50 miles from Walt Disney World. Osceola County, where part of Walt Disney World is located is now under a tropical storm watch.

Remeber hurricanes are unpredictable. Florida residents and tourists should continue to prepare for the storm.

Hurricane Dorian is approaching Disney Cruise Line’s private island Castaway Cay. Hurricane Dorian is now the strongest hurricane to hit the Northwestern Bahamas on record. We will keep you updated on the impact the Hurricane has on the island.

9/1/19 – 9:30 a.m. UPDATE

Brief update; according to the National Hurricane Center sustained wind speeds are now reaching 175 mph with gusts up to 200mph.

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9/1/19 – 8:00 a.m. UPDATE

Since the last update, the National Hurricane Center models have shifted Hurricane Dorian slightly west bringing it closer to South Florida. Parts of Central Florida are still within the cone of uncertainty, so residents and tourists should still remain on high alert. If Hurricane Dorian’s forecasted path is correct, Central Florida will be impacted by the storm on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning. Wind speeds have increased to 160 mph, which means Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 5 hurricane.

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On Friday we reported that Orlando International Airport would be ceasing commercial airline flights on September 2 starting at 2 a.m., but they now lifting the planned closure. Orlando International Airport explained why they changed their plans on the scheduled closure in their statement below.

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8/31/19 – 5:00 p.m. UPDATE

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian is maintaining wind speeds of 150 mph and moving westward at about 8 mph. While Florida is still within the cone of uncertainty, the forecasted path is moving slightly east. This projected path would keep the storm east of the coast. That being said, it is important to note that hurricanes are very unpredictable, so Florida residents and tourists should remain on alert.

Even if the storm does not make direct landfall with Florida, it will still bring thunderstorms, tropical-storm-force winds, and heavy rain. The storm is still projected to hit Florida late on Monday through Tuesday.

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8/31/19 – 2:00 p.m. UPDATE

Not much has changed since the last update from the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Dorian is still moving westward at about 8 mph, with wind speeds reaching 150 mph. The center of Hurricane Dorian as of 2 p.m. is roughly 385 miles east of West Palm Beach.

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8/31/19 – 11:00 a.m. UPDATE

According to the most recent National Hurricane Center advisory, Hurricane Dorian has now increased wind speeds of 150 mph, which is only 7 mph less than a Category 5 hurricane.

All residents within the cone of uncertainty should keep their guard up, and prepare for the storm to redirect, but models continue to show the eye of the storm now tracking off the coast of Florida rather than making direct landfall.

The storm’s movement has slowed slightly moving west at 8 mph, and according to the NHC “a slower westward motion should continue into early next week.”

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8/31/19 – 8:00 a.m. UPDATE

The National Hurricane Center is now projecting that Hurricane Dorian will not make direct landfall with Florida. The eye of the storm will stay just off the coast of Florida and instead will likely make landfall in Georgia or the Carolinas. The Hurricane winds have slowed down somewhat to 140 mph, which is still a Category 4 Hurricane, but winds are expected to go back up to 145 mph later today.

The shift is good news for central Floridians, and those visiting the theme parks, but it certainly does not mean Orlando is going to be sparred completely. Tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms are projected to hit as early as Sunday and will continue until Thursday morning.

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8/30/19 – 11:00 p.m. UPDATE:

According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, Dorian remains a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 140 mph.

The forecast analysis shows that “although the official forecast track has been nudged northeastward to near the east coast of Florida the risk of significant impacts over much of the Florida peninsula remains high.”

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8/30/19 – 8:30 p.m. UPDATE:

Data from the NOAA Hurricane Hunters indicate that Dorian has strengthened to an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

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8/30/19 – 5 p.m. UPDATE:

In the 5:00 pm update from the NHC, Hurricane Dorian is heading toward the northwestern Bahamas. Warnings have been issued for the area. Maximum sustained winds remain at 115mph.

The forecast path has shifted a bit to the east, based on current projections.

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Here is the most recent update from Orlando International Airport:

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Walt Disney World has created a special page for Hurricane Dorian updates:

Sea World Orlando has issued the following updates:

  • Friday, August 30 – Electric Ocean will feature a modified presentation of Club Sea Glow and Ignite fireworks. The Wild Arctic simulator attraction will be unavailable, walk-through habitat will remain open.
  • Saturday, August 31 – Electric Ocean will feature a modified presentation of Club Sea Glow and Ignite fireworks. Skytower and the Wild Arctic simulator attraction will be unavailable, walk-through habitat will remain open.
  • Sunday, September 1 – SeaWorld Orlando is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled 9:30 p.m. closing time. Electric Ocean event elements and shows will not be available. Skytower, and the Wild Arctic simulator attraction will be unavailable, walk-through habitat will remain open.
  • Monday, September 2 – The Sesame Street Party Parade, Skytower, and the Wild Arctic simulator attraction will be unavailable, walk-through habitat will remain open.

There have been no adjustments for Aquatica or Discover Cove.

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8/30/19 – 2 p.m. UPDATE:

In the 2:00 p.m. advisory from the NHC, Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 115mph as it heads toward The Bahamas and Florida.

The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is keeping travelers posted on current conditions via their Twitter account. Below is their most recent statement.

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Additionally, Disney Cruise Line has issued the following update regarding the Disney Dream.

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8/30/19 – 11 a.m. UPDATE:

There isn’t much new information to report with the 11:00 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. Dorian is moving NW at 10mph now, 2mph slower than this morning, but still with maximum sustained winds of 110mph. The hurricane could hit the East Coast of Florida with winds up to 140mph.

In the tweet below, you can see how the lightning looks from outer space.

8/30/19 – 8 a.m. UPDATE:

The storm picked up strength overnight according to an Air Force plane that was sent in to collect data and now has maximum sustained winds of 110mph. The hurricane is moving NW very slowly at only 12mph. The National Weather Service expects Dorian to become a major hurricane later this afternoon.

Currently, hurricane-force winds are anticipated to arrive in Central Florida on Sunday.

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The official Walt Disney World website has a helpful list of their Hurricane Policy – Frequently Asked Questions that may be helpful to guests pondering about their vacation plans.

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8/29/19 – 11 p.m. UPDATE:

Hurricane Dorian is still gathering strength in the Atlantic. The forecaster from the National Hurricane Center says:

“Unfortunately, I don’t see any large-scale factors that would prevent Dorian from becoming an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane during the next few days.”

The next update is at 5:00am.

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8/29/19 – 5 p.m. UPDATE:

According to the latest update from the NHC, there has been little overall change in the structure of Hurricane Dorian. The storm is moving northwestward and is expected to intensify during the next couple of days. The previous intensity forecast remains in place.

We’ve also received word that Walt Disney World has begun allowing changes and cancellations with no penalties. Check with your travel agent for more details.

Disney Cruise Line has extended the August 30th sailing for the Disney Dream. The cruise will depart as scheduled, but isn’t expected to return to Port Canaveral until September 4th. Ports may be adjusted due to the path of the storm.

Guests will receive the extended cruise at no additional charge. Guests that wish to cancel their cruise must notify Disney Cruise Line prior to 12:00pm on August 30th. They will have until October 31, 2019 to choose a new sailing.

Disney Cruise Line has adjusted the September 2nd sailing for the Disney Dream. The cruise will now be a two-night sailing departing September 4th returning to Port Canaveral on September 6th. Depending on weather, the ship is scheduled to visit Castaway Cay on September 5th.

Guests that choose to sail will receive a 50% refund of their fare, plus a $250 onboard credit per stateroom. Guests that wish to cancel their cruise must notify Disney Cruise Line prior to 12:00pm on September 1st. They will have until October 31, 2019 to choose a new sailing.

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8/29/19 – 11 a.m. UPDATE:

According to the latest update from the NHC, Hurricane Dorian is now projected to reach Category 4 strength before it makes landfall along Florida’s east coast early next week. It will grow not only in its intensity but in its size as well. The effects of the storm could begin impacting Florida as early as Saturday.

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Disney Cruise Line has announced that as of right now, the Disney Dream is safe to set sail on Friday as originally scheduled. Read that full story HERE.

Regardless of the exact track of this storm, heavy rain and wind is expected to impact parts of The Bahamas, Florida, and other Southeastern parts of the United States.

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8/29/19 – 8 a.m. UPDATE:

Currently, Hurricane Dorian remains at a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 85mph. The storm is projected to hit the Orlando area on Tuesday afternoon, but the effects from the outer bands will be able to be felt beginning late Sunday into Monday.

Last year during hurricane season, the Dreams Unlimited Podcast panel did a whole show on what it’s like to be staying at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort during a hurricane that we thought we’d share for folks getting ready to head out on their vacations.

NOTE: The image that you’re seeing on this video is from Hurricane Irma back in 2017, not from the impending Hurricane Dorian.

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8/28/19 – 5 p.m. UPDATE:

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As it makes its way toward Puerto Rico and potentially Florida, Tropical Storm Dorian has just been upgraded to a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center. The update comes as the hurricane is near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Current reports are stating that the hurricane could become a category 3 before it actually hits Florida so we want to take a moment to go over its potential effects on your Walt Disney World vacation.

First, the Orlando International Airport (MCO) has issued a statement via Twitter concerning their process of keeping folks updated on any flight changes or cancellations. We also recommend staying in contact with your airline.

If you’re heading toward a Disney Cruise Line vacation, be sure you are staying on top of your email messages as well as the National Hurricane Center to stay in-the-know regarding what’s happening with your cruise. A great place to chat with other cruisers is on the Disney Cruise Line forum at DISboards.com; specifically the Hurricane Dorian thread.

As we’ve learned in previous years, the Walt Disney World Resort takes good care of guests who are visiting during hurricane season and throughout any potential threats to surrounding areas. We’ve heard reports of entertainment happening in the Resort hotels that guests wouldn’t otherwise experience, so before you worry, keep in mind that if you’re there, it will be a memorable experience one way or another.

This post will be updated [at least] twice daily at the top with the 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. updates from the National Hurricane Center as well as any updates from the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld.

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