Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13: WDW Closes!

On this day in 2004, Walt Disney World closed its theme parks at 1 PM due to Hurricane Charley. It was only the third closing in WDW history.

The second major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, Charley had actually first kicked up through the Caribbean Sea five days earlier on August 9. But on the morning of August 13 Charley crossed Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane and then crossed over the Dry Tortugas (a small group of islands at the end of the Florida Keys).

Charley then continued north causing devastating damage in such Florida towns as Punta Gorda, Cleveland, Fort Ogden and Port Charlotte. Ultimately the storm passed through the central and eastern parts of Orlando with over 100 mph winds.

Disney strongly suggested to all staying on property that they stay in their guest rooms, stay away from windows, not to double lock the rooms (in the case emergency workers had to enter), leave drapes and blinds closed, place patio furniture in rooms, and not leave until they were notified.
Disney World sustained minimal damage (although there were some downed trees) and business resumed the following day - with 3 of the 4 theme parks reopening.

Charley was still of hurricane intensity around midnight when its center cleared the northeast coast of Florida near Daytona Beach. The storm continued north into South Carolina before finally dissipating on August 15.

Click HERE for more August 13 Disney history.

No comments: