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Monday, March 19, 2018

Surviving Hurricane IRMA - Special thanks to Disney World!

Surviving Hurricane IRMA  
                         Before, During and After the Nightmare. 

The impact of Hurricane Irma was truly catastrophic. Residents across Florida were issued evacuation orders spanning the entire state. Regrettably, some individuals found themselves unable to evacuate and were forced to endure harrowing conditions while opting to remain in their homes. Laura Marie, a resident of Pompano Beach close to Fort Lauderdale, recounted, "The initial shortages were evident in gasoline and water, leaving residents without these essential supplies at least eight days before the hurricane made landfall." Furthermore, local stores experienced unprecedented demand, leading to widespread depletion of food supplies.

                                                            Photo By Laura Marie ( before Hurricane Irma) 

"On the seventh day, with food supplies dwindling and the impending hurricane yet to make landfall," recounts Laura.
Despite facing limited fuel reserves driven by work obligations, Laura found herself constrained like many others who couldn't evacuate. Procuring essential supplies to fortify her residence, she settled into a waiting game.

As the Emergency Alarm pierced the air, Laura, though gripped by a sense of helplessness and fear, understood the imperative to safeguard herself and her canine companion. Recollecting those tense moments, Laura vividly remembers the uncertainty that accompanied each alarm, prompting her to swiftly react, securing her dog and seeking refuge. The night was fraught with repeated episodes of panic, as she remained on edge, unsure if each passing moment might culminate in disaster, a cycle of readiness and apprehension that persisted throughout the night.

                                                          Photo by: Laura Marie – After the Hurricane 

After the passing of the hurricane, Laura, like many others, felt fortunate not to have experienced as severe an impact as anticipated. Widespread power outages persisted for over a week in various regions, prompting Comcast Cable to dispatch drones offering complimentary Wi-Fi services. Additionally, Verizon Wireless provided free data and unlimited calls to its customers during the aftermath. Similar circumstances unfolded in different parts of the state.

Arriving in Orlando after the Hurricane

On September 14, 2017, I arrived in Orlando, a city I hold dear. Power outages persisted for at least three days post-storm in several areas. McDonald’s offered a limited menu to those in need of sustenance, as most food items were depleted.

Orlando, renowned as one of the happiest places to reside in the United States, boasts attractions like Disney World and SeaWorld nearby. However, the city's atmosphere post-hurricane was marked by a palpable sense of despondency.

Despite efforts to restore normalcy, the city bore evident scars of the recent storm. Disney World's resorts experienced a surge in visitors, resulting in unprecedented wait times for check-in and check-out procedures. The resort emerged as a sanctuary offering essentials like food, shelter, and electricity when many other facilities were struggling to provide such resources.

Despite the challenging circumstances, the magic of Disney World endured, providing guests with a refuge to relax, dine, and enjoy themselves. The parks remained enchanting, offering a reprieve from the chaos outside.


Numerous individuals I conversed with expressed that their visit was prompted by power outages in their residences or towns located 1 to 2 hours away.

Serena, a visitor, mentioned her intention to extend her stay at Disney Resorts until electricity was restored in Miami. Despite initial concerns, many guests felt fortunate that the hurricane's impact was less severe than expected. Their optimistic outlook was evident as they were eager to assist others in resuming their routines. Gratitude towards Disney World was a prevalent sentiment among all.

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