Bad weather can ruin a vacation, especially when you’re planning a visit to a theme park.
Some parks will shut down in bad weather, while others remain open like Disney World.
If there does happen to be bad weather, can you get a refund on tickets to Disney World?
Disney World will not refund tickets for any of their parks for inclement weather. The one exception to this policy is if the Orlando area is placed under an official hurricane warning and it would be unsafe to visit Disney World.
Disney’s Theme Park Ticket Refund Policy
In almost all cases, tickets and packages at Disney World are nonrefundable, nontransferable, and can not be canceled.
This is generally the case no matter the reason why you want to request a refund, including sickness, bad weather, or any changes to your travel plans.
It is possible to put unused tickets that have not yet expired towards a future vacation.
As long as you have not used your ticket to enter a park and the current date is before the final expiration of the ticket, guests can use the value of their ticket to purchase tickets for a later date.
Theme park tickets purchased this way must have the same or greater value than the tickets you use as credit for them, and any price difference must be paid by you.
If you decide to simply cancel your vacation package or tickets, you will not get a refund.
The one true exception to Disney World’s no refund policy is their Hurricane Exception.
If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for the Orlando area or your place of residence within 7 days of your trip, it is possible to reschedule or cancel your tickets.
This policy includes anything booked directly with Disney, from park tickets to hotel stays.
There are no cancellation or change fees that will be charged to you, however, nonrefundable payments through third parties are not refunded.
The Hurricane Exception does not apply to special events or dining experiences.
Any questions related to canceling, modifying or altering booking are handled through guest relations by calling (407) 939-1289.
Rain and Lightning at Disney World
Florida weather can be a bit unpredictable, going from clear skies and sunshine to thunderstorms in a matter of minutes.
The Orlando area in particular frequently has short bursts of rain and passing storms throughout the year. Usually, the rain is short-lived, but it can change your day at the parks.
Disney World Rain Policy
For the most part, nothing happens in the parks when it starts raining.
Most of the attractions have covered or indoor queues and there are plenty of places to go inside to get out of the rain.
Ponchos and umbrellas are great to have in the afternoon when rain is most common.
If it’s only raining, the rides won’t shut down. In fact, there is sometimes an exclusive parade in Magic Kingdom that only happens while it’s raining.
Sometimes rain can be a good thing while you’re in the parks. Not only will it cool off the oppressive heat of a Florida summer, but many people will run inside to hide from the rain.
This leaves shorter lines for rides that you should take advantage of.
Disney World Lightning Policy
Unlike when it rains, lightning can actually shut down some portions of Disney World. While the parks won’t close down, certain attractions, areas, or activities will.
If lightning strikes within ten miles of the parks, all outdoor rides are shut down until it is deemed safe to go back on them.
The waterparks at Disney World, as well as all resort hotel pools, will also shut down for lightning strikes.
On the bright side, there are plenty of lightning rods set up throughout Disney World that help keep attractions from being struck and ensure the safety of guests on the ground.
Does Disney World Have Storm Shelters?
While Disney World does have a cancellation policy in place for hurricanes, the resort is one of the best places to ride out such a dangerous storm.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave Disney World a StormReady designation in 2006 and the resort is no less prepared today.
This designation means that the resort is one of the safest places to be during a hurricane, as it’s built to withstand cataclysmic weather conditions.
Disney World operates as a storm shelter for locals when a hurricane is threatening the area, but it also protects guests who get caught up on vacation.
Staff from the parks come in to run activities for kids in the resort hotels while guests are stuck inside.
Movie marathons, surprise visits from characters, and dance parties are all common occurrences during severe storms.
What To Do If It Rains at Disney World?
Even if some rides get shut down due to inclement weather, there’s always something to do at Disney World.
All of the restaurants at Disney have some sort of indoor dining. A rain shower could be the perfect time to take a break and grab a bite to eat.
Disney World is full of shops that have merchandise you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world or online.
When it rains, it’s a good chance to duck into a store and do some shopping.
That way you won’t be wasting time that could be spent on attractions or trying to shop while rushed at the end of the day.
Any ride that is indoors won’t shut down, even for a lightning strike or thunderstorm.
Heading into attractions like It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Haunted Mansion are all solid options to keep the fun going.
If it does rain hard enough that attractions aren’t open, you can always leave the park.
Riding the monorail between resort hotels is fun and each resort has things to see and activities to participate in.
You can check here for theme park safety tips at Disney World.
Aside from a direct hurricane threat, Disney World will not allow guests to refund or cancel their tickets.
Generally, the parks stay open through inclement weather that isn’t hurricane level and there is still plenty to see and do if the weather is bad.