Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando to Close Parks as Hurricane Ian Nears Florida
As Hurricane Ian nears Florida, the state's major theme parks are closing their gates.
While the storm is expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, it will also move across Central Florida, per the National Hurricane Center. On Tuesday, Disney World announced that its Orlando parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios — will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, along with Disney's waterparks.
Additionally, Disney Springs will be closed on Wednesday, while the theme park "anticipates" it will be closed on Thursday, too.
"We are monitoring weather conditions so we can make timely decisions for the safety of our Cast and Guests, including when it's safe for Cast to return to the site to prepare for reopening," Disney World said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Disney Resort hotels are staying open; however, guests must check in by 3 p.m. on Wednesday and are urged to shelter in place at their resort as the storm makes its way through the region.
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Walt Disney World Resort Update on Hurricane Ian – For the latest information, visit: https://t.co/tFCa0Atuj5 pic.twitter.com/2HikYFXRU6
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 27, 2022
On Tuesday, Universal Orlando Resort also announced plans to close on Wednesday and Thursday, including City Walk. This extends to Halloween Horror Nights, as well. In a statement, Universal Orlando said they anticipate reopening on Friday. Hotels on the property are at full capacity and will remain open.
Other major theme parks in the state will also be closed, including SeaWorld Orlando, which is closed Wednesday and Thursday, while Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been closed since Tuesday and will remain so through Thursday.
Universal Orlando Resort
The last time Disney World adjusted its hours as a result of a major storm threat was in 2019 when Hurricane Dorian moved toward the United States.
At the time, Disney World announced that, as part of its "longstanding commitment to safety," the park's hours would be adjusted on September 3, closing most of its attractions in the mid-afternoon. It reopened the next day.
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As Florida prepares for Hurricane Ian to hit the state on Wednesday, it is dangerously close to making landfall as a Category 5 storm.
In an address on Wednesday morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the approaching storm had strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane "with maximum sustained winds of up to 155 mph," which is just two miles shy of a highest designation.
"We expect landfall in south west Florida later today as a major hurricane [that] will slowly move across the central Florida peninsula before exiting the northeast Florida coast probably sometime on Thursday," the governor continued.