On Wednesday, August 30, 2023, Hurricane Idalia passed through Florida in the middle of the night and into the early morning. Disney remained open because Central Florida didn’t experience hurricane conditions, only those of a tropical storm. Once the storm seemed to calm down at 11 a.m. I decided to go to EPCOT and see what was happening.
As I parked my car in the almost empty parking lot, a strong rainband decided to pass through while I walked toward the entrance of EPCOT. I really felt like I was going to fly away with my umbrella and end up in Magic Kingdom. The gust of wind was powerful, and I started to second guess my decision to come to the park, but I wasn’t alone in this treacherous walk, so that made me feel better. By the time I got to Spaceship Earth, the worst part was over. I want to share everything I saw that day by showing the photos I took throughout my visit.
Here are a few wait times I saw while walking around the park. I noticed the highest wait was 45 minutes from Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, followed by a 40-minute wait for Frozen Ever After. All the other rides were between 5 to 15-minute waits.
Journey of Water Walls Down
Seeing the walls down at the Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana was exciting. It looks like the storm didn’t impact any parts of the attraction.
The crowds at EPCOT were very low, and from what I saw on social media, each park was experiencing low crowds and wait times. This was predictable, obviously, but it was great to witness the park like that.
Character Meet & Greet
The sun came out for about an hour, so Winne the Pooh was out meeting guests by the entrance of Journey into Imagination with Figment.
Throughout the park, they had umbrellas tied up, and outdoor kiosks like the guest services one were closed and covered. The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival booths were still operating, but the ordering area was moved to inside the booths.
The upside-down waterfall was also turned off in preparation for the storm. It felt so weird passing this area and not seeing it operating.
Photos of the Storm
Going to Walt Disney World after a hurricane or tropical storm is a different experience but is still fun. The weather isn’t the best, but this is the time to run through puddles and experience low wait times. Of course, if you don’t feel safe driving, then don’t visit the parks. If this was a situation like Hurricane Ian where Disney was closed, then obviously don’t drive onto Disney property because conditions are unsafe if the parks are closed.
In this case, Central Florida didn’t get hit too hard and just experienced a lot of rain and a decent amount of wind, but nothing different than a 3 p.m. thunderstorm that lasted much longer. We got really lucky because I know other places in Florida experienced way worse. If you were in the storm’s path, we hope it wasn’t too horrible and everyone stayed safe.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.