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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Lamiat Sabin

These Florida locals booked into Disney World during Hurricane Ian

Disney Parks and Resorts

A Florida local has said that he and his friends booked a room at Disney World in Florida to escape Hurricane Ian.

Casey Clark said he believed checking into the Wilderness Lodge at the resort would be safer than staying in his apartment, which he had recently moved into, during the storm that hit the state on Wednesday (28 September).

Hurricane Ian hit Florida on Wednesday morning as a category four storm, and is currently headed for South Carolina.

Writing forInsider, Mr Clarkthat it is “somewhat common for locals to check in during bad weather if they can afford it”.

Staying at Disney meant that Mr Clark had access to wifi to work remotely as well as onsite restaurants, which makes it convenient for him to stay indoors to eat and earn his living.

“Because of how safe Disney’s resorts are said to be, it’s also somewhat common for locals to check into Disney hotels during bad weather if they can afford it,” he writes.

“The buildings have been through storms before, and I knew Disney would likely have some generators and supplies to keep guests sustained if there were outages or accidents.”

So far, he says has had no issues getting food at the resort and has even been able to get Mickey Mouse waffles “every morning without a problem”.

There’s also a “huge lobby” with enough tables and chairs for guests to hunker down with their laptops and iPads, he said.

“After Disney World announced on Tuesday its parks were closing, I headed to the hotel to ride out the hurricane. I’ve been here for two nights with two left to go,” said Mr Clark.

“If I’d stayed at a different hotel on the property that’s spread out and broken up into more buildings, I might have been stuck in my room the whole time. Here, I had the flexibility to move around and explore a bit.”

Guests have also been staving off cabin fever with activities offered by Disney, such as quizzes, bingo, and film screenings with such entertainment laid on “almost every hour of the day,” he added.

Disney staff have continued working to make the guests’ stay safe and comfortable, Mr Clark said.

He wrote: “I’ve seen lots of cast members, what Disney calls its employees, roaming across the resort as part of the “ride out” crew.

“They’re definitely working hard to keep guests entertained and feeling as comfortable as possible.

“They have also made themselves available to answer questions about weather conditions, hand out flashlights, put sandbags by doors to help prevent flooding, and educate guests on safety procedures.

“Overall, I’m very happy with my decision to stay at a Disney hotel during this hurricane. Although my stay cost a few hundred dollars, I think it was worth it for a better sense of safety.”

Elsewhere in Florida, more than 700 people had to be rescued as homes and businesses were destroyed by the hurricane that President Joe Biden said could be the state’s deadliest so far.

Florida officials said on Friday that there had been 21 deaths – one confirmed and 20 unconfirmed – in Polk, Charlotte and Collier counties. Lee County had previously reported at least five deaths.

The National Hurricane Centre said that Hurricane Ian is “accelerating” its path toward land as South Carolinians brace for the storm’s third landfall.

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