- I chose to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort while Hurricane Ian hit Florida.
- I stayed here because it seemed safe and I knew the resort would have Wi-Fi, which I need for work.
- The storm is devastating, but I feel lucky to be able to enjoy meals and hang out in the lobby.
When I learned last week that Hurricane Ian was headed for Florida, my friends and I booked a room at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort.
We didn’t know if we would need the room, but we wanted to have something just in case. I was worried and it seemed like a safer option than staying in my nearby apartment — I just recently moved into the area and my place wasn’t fully set up.
Because of how safe Disney resorts are said to be, it’s also somewhat common for locals to check into Disney hotels during inclement weather if they can afford it. The buildings had been through storms before, and I knew that Disney would probably have some generators and supplies to keep the guests going if there were any outages or accidents.
After Disney World announced Tuesday that its parks were closing, I headed to the hotel to escape the hurricane. I’m here for two nights with two more to go.
Here’s what it’s been like to ride out Hurricane Ian at a Disney hotel so far.
This particular hotel lends itself to storm-chasing with its central building as a hub
Aside from the Disney Vacation Club area, all the rooms and dining options are in the main Wilderness Lodge area, meaning I didn’t have to leave the building for any reason.
There is a huge lobby with plenty of seating options and each floor has areas with chairs for guests to sit and tables to use.
If I had stayed at a different hotel on the property that is spread out and broken up into multiple buildings, I might have been stuck in my room the whole time. Here, I had the flexibility to move around and explore a bit.
I have stayed at this resort once before and from what I remember the crowds don’t seem bigger than normal. It’s more crowded when the Disney characters come out – yes, they still walk around the resort – but that’s to be expected.
Many people take advantage of the resort’s Wi-Fi in the lobby and other areas
One of the reasons I decided to stay at a Disney hotel during this time is because I need Wi-Fi to get work done.
Looks like I’m not the only one because people are planted all over the main building with their computers, monitors and iPads.
The hotel has fireplaces and desks on every floor, so there’s certainly no shortage of places to sit.
In my experience, the dining areas were not too crowded and there are meal kits available
While I can’t speak to other hotels on the property, I haven’t had to wait more than five minutes to get food so far.
This was a huge relief for me as I was worried that the food options would be thin. However, I was able to get my Mickey Mouse Waffles every morning without a problem.
In addition, the food was quite good. I had a great breakfast of sausage and waffles yesterday in Whispering Canyon and a great pulled pork dinner last night in Roaring Fork with my friends. Both restaurants are located at my resort.
Although the restaurants are still open, I’ve also seen signs for meal kits that included breakfast and different types of sandwiches for $7 or less.
There are many activities that have helped us maintain a sense of normalcy
It’s easy to see the stormy weather outside the windows in the hallway, but things seem lighter when there are activities inside.
It seems the resort really went out of their way to organize activities to distract everyone, such as trivia, bingo and movie screenings. Something is happening almost every hour of the day from 9am to 7pm
I’ve even spotted Disney’s Country Bears — Liver Lips, Big Al, Shaker — roaming the lobby and playing with kids. It helped create a sense of normalcy during this difficult situation.
The other guests at the resort with us have also been super friendly – as we can’t leave the hotel yet, I’ve seen some familiar faces which is nice.
The staff has gone above and beyond to take precautions and answer questions
I have seen many cast members, what Disney calls their employees, roaming around the resort as part of the “ride out” crew. They certainly work hard to entertain guests and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
They have also made themselves available to answer questions about the weather, hand out flashlights, place sandbags by doors to help prevent flooding, and educate guests on safety procedures.
Overall, I am very happy with my decision to stay at a Disney hotel during this hurricane. Although my stay cost a few hundred dollars, I think it was worth it for a better sense of security.