- I chose to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort while Hurricane Ian pummeled 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 I’ve been able to enjoy meals and hang out in the lobby.
When I found out last week that Hurricane Ian was making its way toward Florida, my friends and I booked a room at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort.
We didn’t know whether we’d need the room, but we wanted to have something just in case. I was anxious and it seemed like a safer option than staying in my nearby apartment — I’d just recently moved to the area and my place wasn’t fully set up.
Because of how safe Disney’s resorts are said to be, it’s also somewhat common for locals to check into Disney hotels during bad weather if they can afford it. The buildings have been through storms before, and I knew Disney would likely have some generators and supplies to keep guests sustained if there were outages or accidents.
After Disney World announced on Tuesday its parks were closing, I headed to the hotel to ride out the hurricane. I’ve been here for two nights with two left 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 well to hunkering down for a storm with its main building as the hub
Aside from the Disney Vacation Club area, all of the rooms and dining options are located in the main Wilderness Lodge area, which means I haven’t had to leave the building for any reason.
There’s a huge lobby with lots of seating options and each floor has areas with chairs for guests to sit in and tables for them to use.
If I’d stayed at a different hotel on the property that’s spread out and broken up into more 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’ve stayed at this resort once before and, from what I can remember, the crowds don’t seem any larger than normal. There’s more crowding when the Disney characters come out — yes, they are still walking around the resort — but that’s to be expected.
Lots of people are taking advantage of the resort’s Wi-Fi in the lobby and other spots
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.
It seems like I’m not the only one because people have been planted all over the main building with their computers, monitors, and iPads.
The hotel has fireplaces and desks on each floor, so there definitely is not a shortage of spaces to sit at.
In my experience, the dining areas haven’t been too crowded and there are meal kits available
Although I can’t speak to other hotels on the property, I haven’t had to wait longer than five minutes to get food so far.
This was a huge relief for me, since I was worried the food options would be slim. However, I’ve been able to get my Mickey Mouse waffles every morning without a problem.
Plus, the food has been pretty good. I had a wonderful sausage-and-waffles breakfast yesterday at Whispering Canyon and a great pulled-pork dinner last night at Roaring Fork with my friends. Both eateries are located at my resort.
Although the restaurants have still been open, I’ve also seen signs for grab-and-go meal kits that included breakfast and different types of sandwiches for $7 or less.
There are tons of activities that have helped us maintain a sense of normalcy
It’s easy to see the stormy weather outside of the windows in the corridor, but things feel lighter when there are activities going on inside.
It feels like the resort really went out of its way to set up activities that would keep everyone distracted, like trivia, bingo, and movie screenings. There’s something happening almost every hour of the day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
I’ve even spotted Disney’s Country Bears — Liver Lips, Big Al, Shaker — roaming the lobby and playing with kids. It has helped create a sense of normalcy during this difficult situation.
The other guests in the resort with us have also been super friendly – since 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 proactive measures and answer questions
I’ve seen lots of cast members, what Disney calls its employees, roaming across the resort as part of the “ride out” crew. They’re definitely working hard to keep guests entertained and feeling as comfortable as possible.
They have also made themselves available to answer questions about weather conditions, hand out flashlights, put sandbags by doors to help prevent flooding, and educate guests on safety procedures.
Overall, I’m 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 safety.