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Hurricane Ian forces Disney World and Universal Orlando to close

The parks will temporarily shut down on Wednesday and Thursday as Florida residents prepare for the storm.
/ Source: TODAY

Walt Disney World has announced that its theme parks, water parks and multiple attractions will temporarily close as Hurricane Ian is expected to hit Florida this week

On Sept. 27, an update posted on Walt Disney World's website said that Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, Fantasia Gardens, Fairways Miniature Golf and Disney's Blizzard Beach water Park (which is already closed for the season) will be shut down on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29.

"Partially used multi-day theme park tickets with a usage window impacted by Hurricane Ian related park closure will automatically be extended to use the remaining entitlements through any date through September 30, 2023," a statement on the website said.

Guests who have made reservations at one of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels need to check in by 3 p.m. on Sept. 28. Customers can choose to reschedule or cancel their plans without any of the usual cancellation fees.

Those who check into a resort should shelter in place during the storm. After Disney Springs and the Walt Disney World theme parks close on Sept. 28, Walt Disney World Transportation will not be available.

Guests who have existing breakfast reservations will have access to limited Minnie Van and Mears taxi services.

“Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will temporarily close Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Sept. 30 due to the weather,” another post on the website said.

Disney World is currently contacting guests who have upcoming reservations.

The Grand Floridian Spa will also shut its doors at noon on Sept. 28.

Voyages on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser attraction that were expected to leave between Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Thursday, Sept. 29 have been canceled. The park is asking guests with reservations for these dates to contact 407-939-5209 to change their plans.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom scheduled for Sept. 29 has been canceled.

Dining options are also expected to be limited in some cases.

Disney World announced that it will not enforce cancellation policies for guests who have already made dining plans and reservations for places like Savi’s Workshop and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

“Performances of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue have been (canceled) Sept. 28 through Sept. 30 in light of the temporary closure of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground,” the website said. “Guests with pre-paid reservations will be automatically (canceled) and refunded.”

Disney Springs will be closed on Sept. 28 and is expected to be closed on Sept. 29. Walt Disney World will provide more updates as the storm progresses.

Other attractions like the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney will not be available as well.

An alert at the top of the website encouraged guests to continue to check for the latest updates about closures.

Universal Orlando Resort also announced on Twitter that it will be temporarily closed. 

“Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, will close on Sept. 28 & remain fully closed on Sept. 29,” the tweet said. “We anticipate reopening on Sept. 30 as conditions permit.”

A follow-up tweet said that Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels “are currently at full capacity and will remain operational as they take care of our guests.”

On Sept. 27, NBC News reported that Hurricane Ian became a major Category 3 storm. The storm is expected to build as it moves from western Cuba and approaches landfall in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. 

Hurricane Ian, which is currently near the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, could strengthen into a Category 4 tropical storm, according to NBC News forecasters.

During a news conference on Sept. 27, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and advised residents to follow evacuation orders

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie also said at the news conference that parts of the state could be without power from three days to a week due to the storm.