Like the Waffle House, Florida theme parks rarely close.
With the threat of Hurricane Ian to Central Florida, will Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and others be shutting things down for now?
Orlando International Airport has already announced it will shut down at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Here’s the latest with iconic Florida theme parks:
Walt Disney World
In a rare move, Disney is closing its major theme and water parks due to Hurricane Ian.
“We are continuing to closely monitor Hurricane Ian and are making necessary operational adjustments to maintain the safety of our Guests and Cast Members,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to put the safety of our Cast Members and Guests first and will share updates with you as we monitor Hurricane Ian.
Disney completely shutting down doesn’t happen often. On record, it once shut down two days for Hurricane Irma five years ago and also closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is among just a handful of closings since the theme park resort opened.
The following theme parks and water parks will close Wednesday and Thursday:
▪ Magic Kingdom
▪ Animal Kingdom
▪ Hollywood Studios
▪ Typhoon Lagoon (Blizzard Beach water park is closed for the season.)
▪ Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf
▪ Fantasia Gardens
▪ Fairways Miniature Golf
Park-goers who had multi-day theme tickets bought for a day during the closure will have their tickets extended through Sept. 30, 2023.
The following resort areas will be closed Wednesday through Friday, according to Walt Disney World:
Disney resort hotel guests must check in by 3 p.m. Wednesday and then will be asked to shelter in place during the storm.
“Guests are strongly encouraged to enjoy food and beverage offerings at the parks and Disney Springs before returning to their Resort hotels,” the park said.
▪ Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
▪ Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
▪ Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
▪ Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
▪ Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser voyages departing Tuesday, Sept. 27, and Thursday, Sept. 29, have been canceled. Call 407-939-5209 to reschedule.
The following dinning, shopping and special event experiences will be closed:
▪ Disney Springs will closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
▪ Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney will be canceled on Wednesday and Thursday.
▪ Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has also been canceled for Thursday.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort will be closing its doors on Wednesday and Thursday, while planning to reopen on Friday if weather permits, the theme park said.
The closure includes City Walk, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and Universal Studios Florida. At the moment the resort’s hotels are at full capacity and will stay operational as “they take care of our guests.”
Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, will close on Sept. 28 & remain fully closed on Sept. 29. We anticipate reopening on Sept. 30 as conditions permit. pic.twitter.com/nPgsmv6TUv
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) September 27, 2022
The Halloween Horror Nights event will also be canceled on Wednesday and Thursday, with a scheduled Friday reopening.
SeaWorld Orlando has also announced it will be hunkering down for Hurricane Ian, shutting down from Wednesday through Thursday.
“After reviewing the latest route of Hurricane lan and to ensure the safety of our ambassadors, guests, and animals, SeaWorld Orlando will be closed on Wednesday, September 28 - Thursday, September 29,” the park said.
After reviewing the latest route of Hurricane lan and to ensure the safety of our ambassadors, guests, and animals, SeaWorld Orlando will be closed on Wednesday, September 28 - Thursday, September 29.
Please visit our website for more details: https://t.co/FZCcLNLP4L pic.twitter.com/dIyu23dFnF
— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) September 27, 2022
This closure is in place for SeaWorld, Aquatica Orlando and Discovery Cove. Tickets bought for Wednesday and Thursday to these parks will be extended through the end of the year.
Annual Pass Members whose tickets expired from Sept. 20 to Oct. 2 will have them extended through Oct. 16.
Discovery Cove will reschedule or refund reservations, and not apply any cancellation or charge fees. For more information, call 407-513-4600. If you reserved through a third-party, refunds must be directed to them, the park said.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been closed since Tuesday and will remain so until Thursday, the park said.
“Precautions are in place following the parks’ comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time,” the park said. “Guests are encouraged to check back on our website and follow our social media channels for updates.”
Tickets bought for Tuesday through Thursday will be extended through the end of the year.