A life-threatening hurricane currently smashing its way through Florida has created chaos for Australians trying to book Disney’s Magic at Sea cruises.

As holidaymakers eagerly waited for the clock to hit 8 am this morning in anticipation of the release of bookings for Disney Wonder’s Australian debut in October 2023, many were shocked that Disney Cruise Lines had opened bookings five hours ahead of its scheduled 8 am opening time.

Cruisers were so keen to get their hands on the much-hyped bookings that Disney Cruise Line’s website crashed.

Many frustrated cruisers revealed on social media that they had been on hold for over two hours in order to reach Disney staff on the telephone.

Disney has such a global presence to cause a booking frenzy – but no one expected Hurricane Ian hit to hit Florida with such full force on Thursday morning.

Hurricane Ian is currently rated a category four storm. Credit: ABC

“Due to weather conditions as a result of Hurricane Ian, the Disney Cruise Line website is not able to take bookings at this time and the Contact Centre is currently closed as of 6 PM EDT on September 28,” one message read on Disney Cruise Line’s website.

“The Contact Centre will remain closed until the storm passes. Please check back as normal operations resume.”

hurricane ian disneyDisney Cruise Line’s head office is located in s suburb of Orlando, Florida, an area that is currently being pummelled by the devastating storm while facing maximum sustained winds of around 180 km per hour.

Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando have also closed down ahead of the approach of Hurricane Ian.

Following the interruption, Disney Cruise Lines have since posted another statement to their website, confirming that the storm had disrupted operations.

“We are experiencing an interruption in our operations as a result of Hurricane Ian. As of 8:00 AEST / 11:00 AM NZDT on 29 September, the Disney Cruise Line Contact Centre has closed to ensure the safety of our Cast Members. The Contact Centre will remain closed until the storm passes. Teams are also working diligently to resolve technical impacts to the Disney Cruise Line website. Please check back as normal operations resume.”

Meanwhile, those who were lucky enough to nab one of the hotly-anticipated Disney cruise packages had waited over an hour to receive their confirmation email after purchasing.

Those who persevered with booking celebrated on social media, with one saying: “After all the anticipation I’m finally booked! It’s nights like these I love the night shift! Thanks everyone for all the information, guidance and knowledge it’s been more than incredible. My family and I will be on the Melbourne cruise on November 12.”

Others weren’t so lucky, with another adding: “Website crashed, can’t get through on phone after 5 hours of trying I have to move on as have a life. Guess it wasn’t meant to be. Disappointing though, gosh how I wish I had been lucky enough to have been able to book in the last few days. Hope those going enjoy their cruises.”

Disney Wonder
Disney fans were eager to get their hands on bookings this morning. Credit: Matt Stroshane

Disney Cruise Line’s Magic at Sea cruises will set sail from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland between October 2023 to February 2024, with sailings aboard the 2,400-passenger Wonder ranging from two to six nights and departing from four home ports: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as Auckland.

For more information, head to the Disney Cruise Line’s website – though we would suggest you wait until the storm decides to settle.