Walt Disney World Closes For The 5th Time Since Opening in 1971
Walt Disney World Has Only Closed 5 Times Since It Opened
Today is the day after Hurricane Irma hit Florida and the 16th anniversary of 9/11 and I can’t help but remember starting my first Disney College Program exactly 4 months after it happened. I met a lot of full time Cast Members who told me their memories of that day. My trainer was working that day at the Magic Kingdom when the evacuation call came through. He told me that they evacuated the entire park in about 30 minutes. He said the strangest thing that really hit him hard was that they turned off the area music in the parks.
Cast Members are used to being the only person in an area of the park being that we open and close the parks. I can tell you first hand that closing the Disney Parks is a magical experience. For me, I loved closing because I’d get to see the fireworks, I would be the last person on my ride which included doing a walk through which I loved to do, and then ended with you often walking back to the tunnel all by yourself without seeing another person guest or Cast Member until you got near costuming and the locker room. I write this to impress upon you the fact that many might think it is creepy being in Disney after hours but it is not. It is in fact magical in a way you can only know if you have been there. I can say that the magic is still there because the attractions are still going, the lights are on and the music is playing.
On 9/11/2001 the music stopped. My trainer said it was the eeriest thing being in Fantasyland by yourself when not only is the area music off but there are no guests in the park so it is completely quiet. Many Cast Members I talked to who were there that day said the same thing. I was also told that all four parks at Walt Disney World are on the terrorist top 10 hit list. Knowing that information can be a scary thing to think about when you are one of the last people standing in the Magic Kingdom on the day of the largest attack on American soil. Everyone was concerned that if there were more attacks coming either that same day or in the near future that Disney had a high probability of being a target.
Since the day Walt Disney World opened on October 1st, 1971, Disney has only ever closed it’s doors six times. Five times it was closed because of hurricanes and one time on 9/11.
Dates Walt Disney World Has Ever Been Closed
- 1999 9/4 & 9/5 Category 4 Hurricane Floyd
- 2001 9/11 Due to the World Trade Center Attacks
- 2004 9/26 Category 3 Hurricane Francis & Jeanne
- 2016 10/7 Category 5 Hurricane Matthew
- 2017 9/10 & 9/11 Hurricane Irma
Looking at those dates it is clear that September has the highest probability of parks closing yet even so there is almost zero chance of Walt Disney World closing at all. After 45 years the park has only closed five times ever. That is pretty amazing!
I also find it interesting that out of five closure dates in 45 years, two of those dates were on 9/11.
Have you ever been to Walt Disney World during a Hurricane? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!