All of the local theme parks are closed on Friday, but thousands of people remain on property tonight and tomorrow, staying in and working at the hotels at the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando resorts. The guests include visitors who could not (or would not) change their travel plans, as well as some Floridians who chose to evacuate to the resorts rather than stay in their homes.
The Orlando area long has been a refuge of choice for Florida residents when hurricanes strike, as people look to flee the coastal areas that bear the most damage in such storms. But this time, it's the Orlando area's turn to face Mother Nature. With the resort areas lying some 40 miles inland, they won't experience the Category 4-force winds that Matthew was packing offshore on Thursday night, but hurricane-force winds and many, many inches of rain are expected.
Hurricane Matthew is forecast to move through the area on Friday, with the weather clearing on Saturday. But this might not be the last that Floridians see of the storm. Due to conditions in the Atlantic, Matthew is forecast to make a U-turn after moving north off the Georgia shore, with many models showing Matthew returning toward Florida. The storm is forecast to have weakened to a tropical storm by then, but it is possible that the storm could strength back to a hurricane when it reaches warmed waters. So even as the skies clear on Friday night, Orlando-area residents and theme park fans might not yet be in the clear.
This is the first time since 2004 that the parks have closed due to weather, and emotions might be raw as people are confined to homes and hotel rooms — potentially without access to services — for more than a day. Access to food became an issue on Friday evening, as the hotels faced the highly unusual situation of having everyone booked at their properties actually being there at the same time. When a hurricane is raging outside, there's no heading over to another hotel or to the parks for a meal. You're stuck with the food service at your property... along with everyone else.
@ThemePark update: Central Florida is out of frozen pizzas— Anthony Murphy (@Donillini) October 6, 2016
Some fans complained about long lines for food at the Disney resorts. Others complained about the $12.99 box that Disney was selling to guests, many remembering when Disney provided four box lunches to each room for free during the 2004 closures.
#WDW taking advantage of ppl stranded. Hurricane boxes 12.99. U don't see inside till after you buy. No drink. pic.twitter.com/T7TTnvmPsd— Oni Hartstein (@onezumi) October 6, 2016
At Universal Orlando, the hotels set up hot buffets for guests, charging $25 per adult and $15 per child at the Sapphire Falls, according to one guest.
@mikeoliver93 @WTStrick buffet style food, nothing over the top just chicken and vegetables mostly pic.twitter.com/Tk2Rqd7L0l— Philwith1L (@fillyourp0ckets) October 7, 2016
Other non-theme park hotels in the area offered a better deal for their stranded guests.
If you are in Central Florida and have the ability to share your experiences with us, please respond in the comments, tweet to us @ThemePark or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are wishing for everyone's continued safety and hope that all our friends can maintain a positive attitude in such a trying situation. And here's a huge "thank you" to all the cast and team members and emergency personnel who are staying on the job during the curfew to provide the assistance than everyone needs.Tweet
My tweet was also a little bit of a joke. We are lucky enough to have a car. All convince stores and supermarkets closed around 4 yesterday. Our hunt for pizza was a failure.
So far, the weather hasn't been as bad as described at Disney.
Now Disney won't pay their employees who were supposed to work, and instead will make them to use paid time off. When will people see the dirt?
Except the whole "need to eat, but unsafe to go elsewhere" thing
Love how this thread has turned from a hurricane safety to Disney bashing.
You do realize that Hati has deaths in the hundreds. We are really going to keep up the $13 sandwich argument.
I am actually here. I'm sitting in Old Key West during this hurricane. Disney did NOT just offer the sandwiches. There were many more options plus their well stocked general stores found in every resort.
If you want the actual blame, blame the grocery stores that closed early. People got whipped into a frenzy for next to nothing. I understand we are extremely lucky that it could have been worse, but it didn't happen.
Many folks have no food or decent water in this messed up world so be happy to have something no matter the cost...
Heck we pay $12.95 for a damn turkey leg.... Which is enjoyable BTW.....
The fact is Disney gouged prices on a meal that costs less than a dollar for them to make. They chose to sell that food to people stranded at the resort, many of which don't have the option to leave. Now Disney could have taken the high road and given these meals out for free, or even chose to sell them at cost or slightly above cost without anyone batting an eye. Instead they chose to sell it at an extremely inflated price. Not only did they upsell it, they chose to sell it to those that are stranded, to those that are taking shelter from the coastal areas, and to those that thought it was there only option.
It's simply wrong and it's taking advantage of people. Yes you should be upset by it, Disney is in the wrong. Should it make you care less about Haiti? No, because that's a totally different heart breaking and completely unrelated issue.
It's like saying I was just taken advantage of in a Nigerian email scam, but there is a war in Syria so I guess I shouldn't be upset because of that.
You should be upset by both, and try not to divert the issue to a completely unrelated issue.
"2. How do I know if I'm being price gouged?
The law compares the reported price of the commodity or service during the state of emergency to the average price charged over the 30-day period prior to the declared state of emergency. If there is a 'gross disparity' between the prior price and the current charge, it is considered price gouging."
Flame Tree Barbecue sells a sad looking turkey sandwich with fruit for $9.99. The price of the pretzels and cookie shown above would certainly cost more than $2. Based on normal prices, Disney might actually consider this to be a discounted meal.
Is this insensitive? Probably. But, it's unequivocally not price gouging.
What if your kid's school decided you had to pay $13 for the school lunch and you didn't have any other option I'm sure you'd be expecting everyone you told to be as angry as you were.
What I would like to see is the Disney fanboys step back and recognize that these moments do not help the Disney image and should be stopped.
Just because you like a company doesn't mean you have to blindly accept or defend any and everything the company does. This just keeps empowering the management and executives to do these kinds of things.
I really wouldn't be surprised if Iger or the other executives are sitting in their large comfy homes saying "what are they complaining about, I pay more that $13 for a cup of coffee" to themselves.
At some point we all have to stand up and say that we like/love Disney but we expect better behavior from them.
There are times when a company should step up and do the right thing and this time Disney didn't.
"The practice of raising prices on certain types of goods and services to an unfair level, especially during a state of emergency." -Legal Dictionary
"Charging customers too much money." -Miriam Webster
"Price gouging is often hard to define, and is often described vaguely as charging "unconscionably" high prices." - USLegal
It's definitely price gouging, there is just no legal recourse to take against Disney. There shouldn't be any legal recourse. It's not something that deserves legal recognition. It does however make Disney look completely out of touch and greedy. Economics and capitalism are one thing, but this comes off as borderline unethical.
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