Walt Disney World Closes for Fourth Time Ever as Hurricane Matthew Nears

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Walt Disney World Closes for Fourth Time Ever as Hurricane Matthew Nears

In preparation for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World in Florida has closed for only the fourth time in its history — details

Walt Disney World has closed for just the fourth time ever due to Hurricane Matthew.

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“Based on the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will all be closed today by 5 p.m., and will remain closed through Fri., Oct. 7,” a spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said in a statement on Thursday, October 6.

Since the magical kingdom opened in 1971, the park has shut down only three other times — and all because of hurricanes.

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Disney World first closed for Hurricane Frances on September 4 and 5, 1999; for Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999; and for Hurricane Jeanne on September 26, 2004. The park was also briefly evacuated during 9/11.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall Thursday night, after the storm makes its way onto Florida’s Atlantic coast. On Thursday, the storm intensified to a category 4 with winds of at least 140 miles per hour, NBC reports.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida on Thursday, and Governor Rick Scott has since urged 1.5 million people living in evacuation zones to get out.

“Extremely dangerous, life-threatening weather conditions are forecast in the next 24 hours,” the National Weather Service warned Thursday. “Airborne debris lofted by extreme winds will be capable of breaching structures, unprotected windows and vehicles.”

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