My Hurricane Trip To Disney

With all eyes on approaching hurricane Irene, I thought I would share the story of my Disney vacation altered by a hurricane.
It was August 2004 and we were scheduled for an early flight out of Philadelphia one Sunday morning. We knew hurricane Charley had just hit Florida and was moving up the coast but when we got up early for our flight, it was only drizzling and we figured we had dodged the bullet.
When we arrived at the airport I was a little surprised at the length of the check in line but quickly brushed it off telling myself maybe some flights were rerouted due to weather. We weren’t in line long before an airline representative came along the line asking if anyone was traveling to Orlando. We told her we were and she said our flight had been cancelled. “So when can we expect to catch another flight?” I asked.
“Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest,” she said. We later learned the hurricane damaged part of the US Airways terminal at the Orlando airport.
My husband Mike and I stood there staring at each other in disbelief as our daughters were on the verge of tears. When reality set in my first thought was that I didn’t buy trip insurance and we would lose our vacation if we didn’t get there. My second thought was that I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet and here we stood in the middle of the airport trying to figure out a solution.
One thing my husband and I have in common is that we think exactly alike. I looked at him and asked if he knew the directions to drive to Disney. He said it was 2 roads, I-95 and I-4.
We got in the car, made a quick stop at Wawa for coffee and on-the-go breakfast and we headed to Walt Disney World. We stopped in Virginia to buy a cooler, ice and drinks plus pillows for the girls. I called the Wilderness Lodge to let them know what happened and that we’d be arriving late that night. They assured me that they would hold our room.
Exactly 18 hours later we all cheered as we drove under the Walt Disney World arch at 11:30pm.
The Disney magic then set in and we were upgraded to a water view room that overlooked Seven Seas Lagoon. And from then on our vacation was perfect. And on our last day there we were waiting in a long line for Splash Mountain when a Disney cast member approached us and asked how our vacation was going. We told him it was our last day and that Splash Mountain was our favorite ride. He then removed the rope between us and him and said “follow me.”
We followed him to the front of the line where we were put right on the ride in front of everyone else. We never knew why we were chosen to have that front of the line treatment, but looking back we think they may have been testing Magical Moments for the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

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