I chose to stay at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort while Hurricane Ian was battering Florida.
I stayed here because it seemed safe and I knew the resort would have WiFi, which I need for work.
The storm is devastating but I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy meals and hang out in the lobby.
When I found out last week that Hurricane Ian was heading for Florida, my friends and I booked a room at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort.
We weren’t sure if we would need the room, but wanted to have something just in case. I was anxious and it seemed like a safer option than staying in my apartment next door – I had just moved to the area and my accommodation was not fully serviced.
Due to the safety of Disney resorts, it’s also quite common for locals to check into Disney Resort hotels during inclement weather if they can afford it. The buildings have weathered storms before, and I knew Disney would likely have generators and supplies to keep customers going in the event of a breakdown or accident.
After Disney World announced the closure of its parks on Tuesday, I headed to the hotel to ride out the hurricane. I’ve been here two nights and there are two left.
Here’s what it’s been like to ride out Hurricane Ian at a Disney Resort hotel so far.
This mansion lends itself well to a storm with its main building as the hub
Aside from the Disney Vacation Club area, all rooms and restaurants are located in the main area of Wilderness Lodge, which means I didn’t have to leave the building for any reason.
There’s 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 another hotel on the property which is scattered and divided into several buildings, I might have been stuck in my room the whole time. Here I had the opportunity to move around and explore a bit.
I have stayed at this hotel once before and from what I remember the crowd seems no bigger than normal. It gets busier when the Disney characters go out — yes, they’re still roaming the resort –– but that’s to be expected.
Lots of people take advantage of the resort’s Wi-Fi in the lobby and other places
One of the reasons I decided to stay at a Disney hotel during this time is that I need wifi to work.
It looks like I’m not the only one as people have been 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 seating areas.
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 more than five minutes for food so far.
This was a huge relief for me as I was worried the food options were slim. However, I was able to get my Mickey Mouse waffles every morning with no problem.
Also, the food was pretty good. I had a wonderful sausage and waffle breakfast at Whispering Canyon yesterday and a great pulled pork dinner last night at Roaring Fork with my friends. Both restaurants are located in my complex.
Although the restaurants were still open, I also saw signs for take-out 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 stormy weather outside the hallway windows, but things seem lighter when there’s activity inside.
It feels like the resort has really gone out of its way to put on activities that would keep everyone entertained, like trivia, bingo, and movie screenings. There is something going on almost every hour of the day from 9am to 7pm
I even spotted Disney’s Country Bears – Liver Lips, Big Al, Shaker – roaming the lobby and playing with the kids. This helped create a sense of normalcy during this difficult situation.
The other resort guests with us were also super nice – as we can’t leave the resort yet, I saw some familiar faces which is good.
Staff went above and beyond to take proactive action and answer questions
I saw plenty of cast members, what Disney calls its employees, wandering through the resort as part of the “ride out” team. They work really hard to entertain customers and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
They also made themselves available to answer questions about weather conditions, hand out flashlights, place sandbags near doorways to help prevent flooding, and educate customers on safety procedures.
Overall, I’m very happy with my decision to stay at a Disney Resort during this hurricane. Although my stay cost a few hundred dollars, I think it was worth it for a better sense of security.
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