Disney World is known for its magical experiences, thrilling rides, and good eats.
However, like any other place, it is essential to be prepared for unexpected events, such as severe weather conditions.
While tornadoes are rare occurrences in Central Florida, it is crucial to know what to do in the unlikely event that one strikes while you are in the park or at a Disney World resort hotel. By following proper safety protocols and being aware of the emergency procedures, you can ensure the well-being of yourself and your loved ones.
In this quick guide, we’ll breakdown all the steps you’d need to do during both a tornado warning and tornado in Disney World.
Do tornadoes ever hit Walt Disney World?
Although Florida is no stranger to tornadoes, they are typically short-lived compared to the ones that occur in Tornado Alley.
According to News 6 Orlando, during the summer, Florida doesn’t have enough wind energy (wind shear) for tornadoes to be sustained. However, during tropical storms or events, wind shear increases as the storm hits land which then increases the chance for a tornado. Thankfully, these tropical tornadoes are short-lived.
The last significant tornado to hit Central Flora was 1998 and before that, 1966.
Staying Safe During a Tornado Warning at Disney World
Although Disney World, or the surrounding Orlando area rarely get tornadoes, that doesn’t mean it never happens.
Generally during serious storms or hurricanes, there’s a greater chance that Orange or Osceola Country (where Disney World Resort is located) would be under a tornado warning or watch.
If these counties are under a tornado warning or watch, guests should do the following:
1. Stay Informed
Disney World has a sophisticated monitoring system that constantly keeps track of weather conditions.
The moment a tornado watch or warning is issued by the National Weather Service, the park will be immediately alerted, and they will take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of all guests.
Therefore, it is essential to stay informed by monitoring the weather reports and listening to any announcements made by Disney World officials.
2. Seek Shelter
If a tornado warning is issued for the immediate vicinity of Disney World, it is important to seek shelter immediately.
Disney World has designated storm shelters located throughout the park and resort hotels.
Pay close attention to the guidance provided by park staff and follow their instructions for seeking shelter. These designated areas are typically structurally sound buildings that can provide adequate protection from the storm.
3. Follow Instructions and Stay Calm
During a tornado warning, Disney World officials will provide instructions and guidance through various channels, such as public address systems, emergency alerts on mobile devices, or announcements by park staff.
It is crucial to follow these instructions promptly and remain calm.
Disney World has well-trained staff who are experienced in handling emergency situations and will ensure the safety of all guests.
4. Stay Away from Windows and Exterior Walls:
When seeking shelter, remember to move away from windows, glass doors, and exterior walls. Find an interior room or hallway where you can take cover. If you are in a theme park area with no immediate access to a building, seek shelter in low-lying areas away from trees, poles, and other potential hazards. Crouch down and cover your head to protect yourself from flying debris.
5. Stay Connected
Ensure that you have a fully charged mobile phone and keep it with you at all times. Maintain communication with your family and friends, letting them know your location and the situation you are in. Disney World has emergency services in place to assist guests during severe weather events, so make use of the resources available to you.
6. Remain in Shelter until Given the All-Clear:
Do not leave the designated shelter area until you receive official confirmation that it is safe to do so. Even if the weather appears to have calmed down, there may still be risks associated with debris or other hazards. Follow the instructions of Disney World officials and remain patient until the all-clear is given.
While the chances of experiencing a tornado at Disney World are rare, it is always better to be prepared and know what to do in an emergency.
By staying informed, seeking shelter, following instructions, and remaining calm, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Remember that Disney World has comprehensive emergency plans in place and a dedicated team of Cast Members who prioritize guest well-being.
Enjoy your magical Disney World vacation while also being mindful of your safety and the safety of those around you.
I hope you’ll never need this, but I hope this helps, especially during hurricane season (June 1 to November 30th)!