Living as a Refugee in a Hotel Escaping Hurricane Irma
Blog - September 15, 2017

We went through so many emotions when we found out about Hurricane Irma.

Do we leave?  Do we stay?  What’s going to happen to us?  How do we prepare?

We couldn’t be prepared for what was about to happen. Even after being through Charley, Katrina and Wilma.   All we could do is put one foot in front of the other.   As soon as I saw on the news that there was a Hurricane forming and its path was possibly Florida, the first thing I did was fill up my tank and get water.  At that point,  everyone was watching the destruction that Hurricane Harvey just unleashed on Texas so we were all hyper-aware I guess.

A couple days later it was going to be a Category 5 Hurricane and we were told to leave asap.  So, we booked a room and my husband stayed behind to board up the house.

We stayed at The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs® Area for almost a week.  We are Hilton Honors members and always have a good experience at Hilton Hotels.

We also wanted to stay by Disney Springs so that we would have something to do while waiting for the hurricane.  Last time we stayed at The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.  We really liked it.  This time however, we needed a suite because we were bringing food and staying for a week. The hurricane hadn’t even hit Miami yet so we had time to fill.

We made the best of it and I took the kids to the pool and splash pad.  Later, we went to Disney Springs.  It was a beautiful calm day.

We ate mostly at the hotel especially after being greeted by the beautiful Louree (Lucy when she’s bad, hehe).  She was so welcoming it just didn’t feel right to go anywhere else.  I later found out after talking to the Front Desk Manager, Bryan Dunbar that she won the CEO Light & Warmth Award.  You can see the video HERE.

I ate enough for the whole family for the next hurricane.  We don’t need supplies for the next one.  I also believe the hotel restaurant might have ran out of chicken wings because of me.

Other highlights include…

Henri got a LEGO stuck up his nose.  Maybe it was the excitement of going to LEGOLAND in a week for his Birthday.  So glad it’s open.

Another highlight:  I had an encounter with a large black snake.  Apparently, it wasn’t a big deal to the bartender when I ran over screaming, “we have an emergency, there’s a big snake in the kids’ play area.”  She just smiled and said, “ah, those ones are good for us, they eat the other snakes and bugs.  They don’t bite.

More highlights include…

I peed on the toilet with an umbrella because our upstairs neighbor left their bathtub running and water was coming through the ceiling… We had to move rooms with a week’s worth of food and clothing at 11 pm.

Side note:  When changing rooms at 11pm, check the beds for kids sleeping.  It would be a shame to leave one behind…

The hotel opened its doors to anyone with pets so I now know without any doubt that I do not want a poodle as a pet.

Warning:  The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando offers it’s guests a chocolate chip cookie when you check in.  If you take one, you will be asking for more.  It’s warm when you get it, and they are so amazing!!! You can actually order them HERE.  Let’s just say this is not the kind of cookie diet I’m used to being on.

The stress level was high while the hurricane was passing us.  The hotel let us go outside for a brief moment to witness its fury but then put a strict 11pm curfew up so we were safe.

I realized that there truly is a God, and he is always looking out for me when I found Klondike Bars at the Gift Shop.

It all came full circle, between the cookies, chicken wings and finally the Klondike Bar.  It was a spiritual experience, lol.

We will definitely go back – it felt like a family atmosphere and the customer service was great.  We had some issues – but they were due to the hurricane- not really something that could be have been controlled.

When we got back it was all about cleaning up and taking down shutters….

Well.  We took down SOME shutters.

Here is a video to our first trip out to our local Target.  It speaks volumes.  My kids will never forget this week.  We are so grateful for electricity and water.  Our prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Irma.  Together we will rebuild!

And I’m hoping the kids go back to school Monday.  It’s been a long week.

14 Comments

  1. Wow! Huge experience. Although you had a light approach on your article, I could see based on the video that for sure the stress levels was up. Great you are ok.

  2. I’m glad you all stayed safe and managed to have a fairly pleasant time while you where away, I’ve never had to experience a hurricane but it looks truly terrifying. I hope the weather will get better for America, it feels like you’ve all had to go through too much lately.

  3. My heart goes out to you; I’ve had to evacuate twice due to hurricanes. So glad you found a great place to perch. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read the bit about checking beds for sleeping kids when moving rooms.
    Glad you and yours are okay.

  4. I’m glad that you were able to have as positive an experience as you could. I can only begin to imagine how terrify this can be especially with children. Glad that you and your family are safe.

  5. I’m so glad to hear that you are all ok after this hurricane!! It must have been so hard to be displaced yet you kept such a positive spirit!!

  6. I’ve never had to experience a hurricane but it looks truly terrifying. Glad to see you and your family are okay and I hope everything goes back to normal asap. Stay strong!

  7. I love hearing that the hotel welcomed pets as well! I live in the panhandle of Florida and my husband and I couldn’t decide whether we needed to evacuate or not. I’m so glad you and your family are safe!

  8. I live in the Atlanta, GA area and preparing for us was minimal, but still nerve wrecking. I honestly can’t wrap my head around living in Florida and all of the emotions that you could have experienced! I must say though, I envy you because regardless of what you were going through, you were still able to have a sense of humor and make me laugh reading this! 😉

  9. It really is sad to be amidst a natural calamity, and facing it through bravely. And yet keeping a positive attitude towards everything is incredible. Hope everything gets back to normalcy.

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