Hurricanes may not be the norm where you live; however, as DVC members, most of us own at least one timeshare in central Florida. Every time a hurricane warning comes into effect, DVC message boards light up with questions. In episode 034, we talk with DVC members about their hurricane experience. We are creating a reference page for helpful information that Disney Vacation Club Members need to know about hurricanes and Disney.
The cast for today's show is
- Shannon Ford, native Floridian, DVC member since 2016 and the current Mrs. Florida 2019
- Chris Salata, host of the “Behind The Ears Podcast” and DVC Member since 2007
- Jeremy Murray, DVC member since 2018
- Chad Pennycuff, host of the My DVC Points podcast
If you had to pick a resort to ride out a hurricane in Walt Disney World, where would you pick and why?
- Shannon – Foremost desire is to stay in a resort where the rooms connect to the main lobby with internal hallways. Animal Kingdom Jambo House would be her top pick due to the restaurant choices. Copper Creek over at Wilderness Lodge would be her second pick. BoardWalk Villas would be her third pick. When there is 80+ miles per hour wind, you cannot leave the resort building. If you're staying at Poly, the buildings are all separate, and you cannot get to the lobby. If you're stuck inside the building for 36 hours, you will appreciate walking the inner halls of the resort. Disney will be running events, have characters for the kids, etc.
- Chris chooses a three-bedroom Grand Villa at Animal Kingdom Jambo House because they have a pool table inside the villa for extra entertainment options. Chris also commented on the lobby and restaurant situation at Jambo.
- Chad – Animal Kingdom Kidani Village because of the covered parking, extra bathroom, connected lobby, community hall for additional indoor activities and Sanaa.
- Jeremy will seek shelter from the storms from the safety of Bay Lake Tower. He pointed out that the tower would be a great place to observe the wind.
Annually, from June 1 to November 30, in the event a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center of the Orlando area, Vero Beach area, Hilton Head Island, O'ahu or for the Member’s place of residence within 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, the Member may call Member Services at (800) 800-9800† or (407) 566-3800† prior to Check-in to cancel or reschedule, based upon availability, their Disney Vacation Club Resort reservation without any cancellation or modification penalty.
Note: This policy pertains to hurricane warnings only. Other weather advisory levels are handled on a case by case basis and Members should contact Member Services.
As Shannon noted, DVC seems to be very fair and generous in the event of a hurricane, and they typically go above and beyond what's required by our contract. However, we cannot expect this to happen every time. Pro Tip: Kindness and respect go a long way when asking favors!
DVC Renters should know that most rental contracts offer zero flexibility for cancellations or changes without some type of extra insurance. If renting through a company, you need to inquire about hurricane policies and cancellation insurance. As a renter, the upside is that you typically save about 40% off the rack rate of the room. The downside is that most contracts prohibit cancellation for any reason. The rental contract does not obligate the member to pass along any points that DVC returns to their account. Most likely, the member has already spent or reallocated their rental income by the time the storm comes.
DVC Members: Travelex created a policy just for us! Please note. Travelex is not a sponsor, and our only relationship with them is as a policyholder. As fellow members and consumers, we honestly love the peace of mind that comes with their product. See the links on the DVC site above for more information about the policy. As with everything on the show, we want you to make a fully educated and informed decision about what's best for your family. We present our opinions and perspectives. You will need to call member services for more information or to purchase a policy.
Chris Salata and I were discussing a hurricane show when we came across this post from Brian Socha in the WDW Community on Facebook. We decided to build the second half of the show around his post. Brian is a local resident in Orlando and a top contributor to the group. (Note – Brian's comments were edited for clarity and to make Grammarly happy).
How to Prepare for a Hurricane When Staying at Walt Disney World Resorts
- Enjoy the low crowds. Be prepared but have your vacation. Disney will not put you in harm's way, and you'll love how much extra you can accomplish right now. They will make sure you know when it's time to be in your room and transportation to get there.
- Have drinking water for at least 24 hours for everyone in the room. Cheapest way on-property is to find the store with package goods and ask for a case of water (twenty-four 8oz bottles of Dasani). It should still be under $10. Buy your water sooner than later as the store will sell out.
- Get a selection of packaged goods. Pre-packaged food may be your meals for 24 hours so be smart on what you pick. If your room has cooking facilities, don't assume everything will be available. Deli meat and bread is in the stores, eat perishables first if the power goes out.
- Disney will switch to box lunch sandwiches just before the storm. Get one. Also consider being ahead of the crowd and go early for a hot breakfast, grab some fruit to mix up your storm stash. Typically, deli meat and bread are also available.
- Disney tends to offer buffet-style meals after the storm.
- Flashlights are great. Lightsabers are flashlights. Even with power, it can be a comfort for a child. Brian points out that historically, Disney has offered flashlights in the past.
- Activities. Splurge on some puzzle, coloring books, and make sure to have entertainment options for everyone.
- If your resort has inside hallways and connected to the lobby/stores, explore the resort; stay inside. You might find Peter Pan playing tag or Goofy running the front desk. Disney will keep the magic going with lots of distraction activities.
- Have some cash on hand. I never assume credit cards will work after a storm. Cash might be the lifeline you need to finish and get home ok. Disney will go manual card slips, but that does not mean a hired car, the airport, etc. are fully back. Take out the kind of money you might spend traveling home.
- When the doors get locked, and you're stuck in the resort. Have everybody take showers first and then fill the bathtub(s). The bathtub water is to be able to fill the toilet so it will flush if water has a problem.
- Charge all the stuff. Download some movies or shows if possible. Power and the internet are likely to go out.
- Eat at the parks if possible. Quick service is better than most food in the DVC convenience store markets. To help relax the family, get that special treat or snack. Grab something extra to bring to the room as you leave. Little things go a long way to make an uncomfortable situation into an excellent family memory.
- Be safe in all your practices. Maternity wards are extremely busy nine months after a significant storm.
- Start preparing the moment you hear a storm is coming. Water and gasoline sell out fast shortly after the bad weather forecast airs in Florida.
- Uber Eats and Door Dash can deliver local area food to your resort. All apps tell you where the driver is, so you know when to head to meet them. Bear in mind local businesses will close up early. Order sooner than later. Keep in mind your driver is using their car and dealing with gas shortages. I get very generous tip wise with a storm.
Today's episode was produced by Chad Pennycuff. Audio editing by Kenny Kingsborough from Harbor Red Studios. Show notes by Chad Pennycuff. Facebook admins and moderators of the My DVC Points Community Group: Andrew Darden, Valerie Fairnington, and Donna Bickert.
If you enjoy the show, please join VIP Producer's Club. Your support allows us to produce a weekly show and has special insider perks!