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Monday, March 19, 2018

Surviving Hurricane IRMA - Special thanks to Disney World!

I wrote this article for a newspaper, but am going to re-share here.

Surviving Hurricane IRMA  
                                       Before, During and After the Nightmare. 

To say Hurricane Irma was devastating is definitely an understatement. Florida residents were urged to evacuate in all parts of the state. Some people were unable to evacuate and what they had to deal with while they stayed and "waited it out" was like living a nightmare.  Laura Marie, a resident of Pompano Beach (near Fort. Lauderdale) said, "The first thing that was depleted was gas and waterSo, no gas, no water, at least 8 days prior [to hurricane]." Stores even sold out of food. 

                                                            Photo By Laura Marie ( before Hurricane Irma) 
"On the seventh day food was limited and the hurricane hadn't even hit yet", says Laura. 

 Laura had to stay due to work priorities. She had very little gas to make it to work or anywhere else for that matter. She, like many residents that couldn’t leave, had to buy supplies to barricade herself  inside of her home. The waiting game began. 
The Emergency Alarm resonated through resident's ears. Even though she was feeling powerless and frightful Laura knew she had to protect herself and her dog. Laura recalls hearing the alarms and not knowing what was going to happen next. 
 "The jolt of panic that came over me each time, thinking "okay, this is it" and I'd jump out of bed, grab the dog and hide... wait a few minutes, check if the coast was clear, and repeat this all night. Just never knowing if "this" was the moment I was about to get wrecked and bracing for it." 

                                                          Photo by: Laura Marie – After the Hurricane 

The night was over and the hurricane had passed. Laura, like most, felt lucky to not have been hit as hard as they could have been. Electric was out for over a week in most areas. Comcast Cable was gracious enough to send in drones to offer free Wifi to people. Verizon Wireless gave free data and unlimited calls to their customers.  

Meanwhile in other parts of the state, it was a similar situation.  

On September 14, 2017 I arrived in one of my favorite cities, Orlando. They were out of power in many areas for at least 3 days after the storm. If people needed food McDonalds had some items available on their menu, but was out of most food items. 

 Orlando made the list for one of the happiest places to live in America and for good reason. They have Disneyworld, Seaworld and more all in close proximity. Several days after the hurricane the city surely didn't feel like a happy place. There was a sadness over the city that was hard to pin point.  
Although, they were trying to pick up "the pieces" it was obvious that the storm had just came through. 

Disney World was very crowded at the resorts. Lines to check in and out were longest I had ever seen; all for good reason, though. Disney World was a place to go; whether the resorts or parks, to get food, shelter and electricity, when most other places did not have any resources.  

The Disney World parks were still amazing, as always.They were great for allowing people to stay so they could stay cool in the resorts, eat and have a good time. They never disappoint. 

We had a blast and enjoyed ourselves while there. We visited all 4 parks. I will include some images in this blog and in another; along with some video. 

                               One of the resorts   (BY: Trae )  We walked around to many.

Many people I had spoken with said they came there because they had no electricity.  They had no power back at home or in cities 1 to 2 hours away. A woman named Serena told me that she planned on staying at Disney Resorts for another week until the electric was back on in Miami. Most people felt lucky that the hurricane didn’t hit them as bad as they had anticipated.  
had a positive outlook and wanted to help others get back to their daily lives. They all seemed very thankful for Disney World.

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