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What To Do When Disney Closes- Wait, What?!

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Walt Disney World and Disneyland are 365 day a year operations. You can count on the availability of pixie dust whenever you need to take a hit! Except when it’s suddenly not. What do you do when Disney closes unexpectedly? What you need to know about Disney parks closures.

Sorry folks, Disney's closed. John Candy meme

Disney Parks Closures- Does Disney Ever Close?

Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California are open year-round for your magical needs. 

Need a churro in January? You can get it! 

Want a Dole Whip on a random Tuesday in September- no problem!

But sometimes Disney does have to close, though it hardly ever happens. 

Walt disney World closures castle at night

The 9 Times Walt Disney World Closed

Disney World has closed a total of 9 times over the course of its 51-year history. 

And almost all of the closures at Disney World have been because of weather and hurricanes

  • Hurricane Floyd on September 14, 1999
  • September 11, 2001, due to the terrorist attacks
  • Hurricane Charley on August 13, 2004
  • Hurricane Frances on September 4 and 5, 2004
  • Hurricane Jeanne on September 26, 2005
  • Hurricane Matthew on October 7, 2016
  • Hurricane Irma on September 9, 2017
  • COVID Pandemic- March 15, 2020 – July 11, 2020
  • Hurricane Ian- September 28 -29
what happens when disney world closes hollywood studios gates

Disney World Pandemic Closure: Is Disney World Closing?

Disney World closed on March 15 through the end of the month: Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. 

Disney Resort hotels and Disney Springs are closing as well. 

Disney Cruise Line is also closing through April. 

Walt Disney world coronavirus closing announcement.

How Many Times Has Disneyland Closed?

California has that golden sunshine and sweet, sweet So-Cal weather. 

That means Disneyland has closed far fewer times than Walt Disney World: there have been only 3 days in which Disneyland closed its gates before March 2020. 

  • Disneyland closed on Saturday, November 23, 1963, after President Kennedy was assassinated
  • After the Northridge Earthquake in 1994
  • Disneyland also closed on September 11, 2001. In fact, the attacks happened before the park even opened, and it remained closed all day. 
  • COVID Pandemic- March 15, 2020 – April 30, 2021
Disneyland closing due to coronavirus

Is Disney World Closing For Hurricane Idalia (2023)?

We don’t know the current plans for Disney World just yet (as of 12 p.m. on August 27, 2023).

With an estimated storm date of August 29-30, we expect to hear more by Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

We’ll update as soon as Disney issues any information.

What NOT To Do When Disney Closes

Don’t panic! 

hercules pain and panic rundisney race retreat
Photo: Brena Starr

Yes, I know… easy to say.

But this is good news, ultimately, to keep as many people safe as possible. 

Disney will be back, and you want to be there for years to come, right?


What To Do When Disney Closes

While completely disappointing, the safety of Guests is what matters most to Disney. 

And that is why the call to close Walt Disney World and Disneyland is sometimes made.

If you were traveling during this closure time period, you’ll want to know what you can do next.

when disney closes, call your travel agent

1. Email Your Travel Agent About Disney Closures

Your travel agent is likely already on top of things, but you will need to contact them as soon as possible about the next steps. 

Note I didn’t say call— because they are likely on the phone or on hold with Disney already. 

The best way you can get your options and your next steps determined is via email. 

2. Before You Cancel, Consider Moving Your Dates

This is hopefully a temporary closure. 

If you can move your dates a few months out, you could potentially score a great travel deal. 

Obviously, the more flexibility you have, the better off you will be. Put together some options for moving your vacation and be prepared with options. 

And again: check in with your travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. They can check out your options for you.

Calling Disney to cancel vacation screenshot

3. Disneyland Closure Details and Contact Number

If/When Disney does announce a closure, you will need to call and make changes with Disney directly.

Disney will work with guests to change travel dates or who need refunds (booked through Disney Travel).

Call  714-520-5050 to make any changes to your vacation packages. 

4. Try To Remember Cast Members

And a personal note: the cast members are probably stressed and worried and bummed, just like you. 

While all of this could be devastating to your family, please keep in mind the workers who are also affected by uncertainty and closures. 

If you are interacting with them on the phone lines or in person, try to remember how these closures also affect them. 

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