Got into Tampa at 1130am on Thursday. We flew in to spend the weekend at our condo there. All the tv stations had the news that there was a mandatory evacuation required for our area. Our Kids got in at 1pm. While we were waiting for them, I picked up our car, then I called Disney and made reservations at the Boardwalk. CM said they were going fast since everyone from Tampa was heading to Orlando to escape Charley. We got some of the last reservations at the Boardwalk, I guess. Even got an Annual Pass Discount. We drove 30 minutes to the condo which is south of the airport, to pick up some clothes. Then onto WDW. The normal time to Disney is about an hour 20. Took 3 1/2 hours.
Had a ball at the Boardwalk. Went to the Blue Zoo on Thursday evening, had a booth in the bar and ate appetizers for a couple of hours. Great food. Early Friday, it looked like the storm was going to come across the state, so they set the park hours on Friday for 8-1, no Animal Kingdom, and they reimbursed everyone a day on their park hopper tickets. Since all the restaurants are outside at the Boardwalk, they stopped food service at 2pm. We picked up some pizza’s at Spoodles and put them in the refrigerator. Went to the Belle View Lounge at 3pm and basically stayed there until 9pm. Boardwalk had 2 sessions of free food in the lobby. Sandwiches and chicken fingers, etc. The bar was packed. The take out line would have rivaled Beaches & Cream. Charley came by around 8pm. A guy sitting next to us happened to look outside while he was eating and just commented, “gee there’s a storm out there.” He continued on eating without missing a beat. Even the hurricane’s at Disney are “magical.”
I personally think Disney handled everything extremely well, all things considered. Walking around Epcot the morning of Charley was very interesting. There were hi-lifts taking some of the kiosks away. Others had 3-4 stretch bands over them and they were literally bolted to the ground. We had fish & chips at the UK pavailion and the chair we sat on was tied down. A sign next to us just unscrewed all the way to the ground. They just capped it up. My wife and I just chuckeled at all of this.
The Boardwalk kept trying to get everyone to their rooms, but a couple of the Boardwalk entertainers came into the lobby and performed. Also, they had characters signing and posing for photos by the Belle View Lounge. So no one was going anywhere. Between the lobby and the Belle View, it was one big party.
Jogging around the Boardwalk on Saturday morning, I could see about 5 trees down on the Yacht & Beach side. Other than that, it appeared everything was undamaged.
Orlando was hit fairly hard, but you couldn’t tell if you were staying at WDW.
The trip back on Saturday took 3 hours. We picked up I4 at exit 64 and drove only 17 miles in an hour.
Please don’t think we took this lightly. There was lots of damage done by Charley and I can feel for those affected. I’m just reporting the events of the weekend.