Communication on the Rails: Weather Emergency Procedures

For the 4th time in history, Walt Disney World closed on October 7th, 2016 as Hurricane Matthew strikes the east coast of Florida. The joke is actually on monorail cast members: We use police codes over the radio, and operations happen to be 10-7 (out-of-service) on 10/7. In all seriousness, however, the company does take action to ensure that all of its guests and cast members are safe through communication via different media.

Disney College Program participants were sent multiple emails on hurricane preparedness, since email is our number one way of communication. We were told that we must stay inside of our apartment and no guests could come in or out of the area, since security and buses will not be available. These emails were very detailed with supplies to buy and store as well, because many College Program participants have never experienced hurricanes, myself included.

The path of hurricane Matthew is depicted above. It is a direct hit to Orange County and Walt Disney World in Florida. (via http://www.abcnews.com)

So, what exactly happens to the monorails when Disney World is closed? Disney employs special “hurricane ride-out teams.” The ride-out team is responsible for securing their specific locations and later assisting guests staying at resorts. In monorails, the ride-out team for Matthew consists of cast members who are trained to drive and have some seniority in the department. The team was able to successfully transfer all monorails into the shop and secure the platforms. Securing the platforms includes tying down or removing loose items that have the potential to blow away in strong winds, such as trash cans, portable ramps, and brooms. Once everything is secured, the team is sent to resorts to interact with guests, entertaining them and keeping them calm.

Inside the monorail shop, monorail trains can hibernate from extreme weather. (via http://www.pirate4X4.com)

Even though Disney is one of the safest places to be, I, like many others, decided to evacuate to Tampa. I have found that when it comes to this situation, Disney officials do not always know what is best for you personally, and you have to decide for yourself what the safest decision may be. Since I am from Ohio, a category 4 hurricane can be quite alarming. Therefore, I decided leaving was best.

Live coverage of hurricane Matthew can be found here: https://weather.com/storms/hurricane-central/matthew-2016/AL142016?cm_ven=PS_GGL_Matthew_9282016_1&gclid=COa62vnvyM8CFdgHgQodxLcF5A

Walt Disney World hurricane advice can be found here: http://www.themeparktourist.com/news/20150826/30511/5-things-happen-when-hurricane-heads-walt-disney-world

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