In the weeks leading up to my October 2016 trip to Walt Disney World, the thought of a hurricane never really crossed my mind. In fact, I was so busy with school that I didn't even really realize that there was a hurricane heading our way until we were already on our way to Florida (my dad brought it up on the drive to the airport). Anyone who knows me knows that I hate storms too, so I'm pretty sure I lived in denial of an actual hurricane for the first couple of days of our trip.
Once the rain really started though, it got harder to deny the seriousness of the situation.
Hurricanes, like other natural disasters, are not something to be messed with, and everyone in Florida was blessed with Matthew's shift to the East late the night before landfall. If not for that shift, much of the state would have been dealing with a direct hit, and while it was definitely still close, things could have been a lot worse.
I guess I didn't really know what to expect though. In Wisconsin we have snowstorms and blizzards, which are probably the closest we come to a hurricane, and Matthew didn't prove me wrong. The stores, as far as I could tell, were cleaned out and the roads were filled with people evacuating. At Disney, the announcement that the parks would be closing didn't seem all that odd, despite the fact that it's only happened a handful of times in history. The winds didn't really throw me for a loop either, and neither did the rain, because that was exactly what I expected from a hurricane based on prior knowledge.
The most surprising part, I suppose, was the attitude toward the storm. On one hand you had government officials insisting that "this storm will kill you," and on the other hand you had the cast members at Disney keeping everyone calm and reassuring everyone that everything would be fine. After a few hours of watching the news in our wonderful room at the Boardwalk, it got sort of confusing as to what to believe, but I know for a fact that that was just a part of being a Disney Resort guest during the storm.
When the curfew was lifted, we did venture out to various locations around Walt Disney World, specifically the nearby resorts and, in the evening, a brief trip to Disney Springs, which was crowded with resort guests wanting out of their rooms. Aside from some down branches and bark from the trees and the lingering wind and dark skies, everything seemed, once again, normal, and that was a trend that only continued over the following days.
Overall, living through a hurricane wasn't anything what I expected it to me. I spent a good portion of the night, when the worst of the storm passed by, up terrified by the wind, but that's more due to my extreme fear of tornadoes and storms than anything else. I know for a fact that outside the limits of Walt Disney World, the story could have been and was entirely different, but I'm thankful that the damage from Hurricane Matthew, at least in Florida, was less than expected.
Have a magical day!