With Hurricane Ian making life-threatening landfall in Southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon, residents have been bracing for the impact. That includes the operators of the state’s popular theme parks.
Here’s a status report of how things stand at 6:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday with several major theme parks, along with other sites of interest to tourists:
BUSCH GARDENS (TAMPA)
The vulnerable Tampa Bay Area was on high alert.
As a result, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said it would be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has enacted its Designated Storm Policy…Precautions are being taken by following the parks comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time” said the park announced on its website.
“All admission tickets have been extended through December 31,” the park said. In addition, “Annual Pass members’ guest tickets with an expiration date of September 30 will be extended through October 16.”
DISCOVERY COVE (ORLANDO)
The all-inclusive day resort with animal encounters and tropical aquatic settings is also closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The parks said they “will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center. We will not charge any cancellation or change fees for this service.” You can call 407-513-4600 for more information.
DISNEY WORLD (ORLANDO)
Walt Disney World’s four major theme parks, Typhoon Lagoon water park and miniature golf venues will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, according to Disney’s website.
Disney Springs, a shopping, dining and entertainment area, will also be closed Wednesday.
“We anticipate that Disney Springs will be closed on Thursday, September 29, and will provide updates as we continue to track the storm,” Disney’s website said.
“We are monitoring weather conditions so we can make timely decisions for the safety of our Cast and Guests, including when it is safe for the Cast to return to the site to prepare for reopening,” Disney said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.
Disney said people staying at its resort hotels must check in by 3 p.m. Wednesday and no check-ins will be accepted on Thursday. Guests must arrive no earlier than 3:00 pm on Friday to check in.
“Guests can reschedule their trip or cancel their stay with us; the usual cancellation fees will not apply,” Disney said.
“Walt Disney World Transportation has temporarily stopped operating and will restart once the storm has passed, subject to safety conditions,” Disney said on its website Wednesday afternoon.
UNIVERSAL RESORT (ORLANDO)
Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the park said in an email to CNN Travel on Tuesday afternoon.
The park said it hopes to reopen on Friday when conditions allow.
“Our hotels are currently at full capacity and will remain operational as they focus on taking care of our guests,” Universal said.
Additionally, the Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios Florida will be canceled on Wednesday and Thursday. They also plan to reopen that on Friday, conditions permitting. Click here for more information and Universal FAQs.
LEGOLAND (WINTER SPACE)
LEGOLAND Florida Resort will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, according to an email sent to CNN Travel on Tuesday.
This closure includes LEGOLAND Florida theme park, LEGOLAND water park and Peppa Pig theme park.
“During this time, the resort’s hotels will remain open for guests with existing reservations. The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority as we monitor the impact of the storm in our area,” the resort said.
Park tickets from Wednesday, September 28 through Sunday, October 2 will automatically be extended through December 31, 2022, LEGOLAND said.
People can rebook vacation stays without penalty once the park’s call center reopens. Guests with questions about the resort’s hurricane policy can Click here.
SEA WORLD (ORLANDO)
SeaWorld Orlando will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“We are taking all necessary precautions, including implementing our comprehensive weather preparedness plan, to keep guests, employees and animals safe,” SeaWorld spokesman Carl Hensley told CNN in a statement Tuesday.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITORS COMPLEX
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The reopening will take place after the facility undergoes a comprehensive property evaluation, according to the center’s website.
PARK OF ICONS (ORLANDO)
The Wheel at Icon Park and Carousel at The Promenade closed Tuesday, according to the attraction’s website. Park officials will post the reopening schedule on the website.
CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE (ORLANDO)
The popular children’s attraction will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays due to the hurricane. Reopening details will be posted on this website.
Florida ports have very active cruise ship schedules. Here is the status of some of those ships’ routes:
norwegian cruise line: The company has canceled its 10-day sailing of Norwegian Getaway, which was scheduled to depart Thursday from Port Canaveral.
The company also changed ports on Norwegian Sky’s 8-day voyage, which departed from Miami on Sunday, the cruise line told CNN. Instead of its scheduled stops in the Western Caribbean, the ship will now make stops in the Eastern Caribbean.
“The safety of our guests and crew is always our number one priority,” the cruise line said. Shore excursions booked through the cruise line at affected ports will be refunded to guests’ onboard accounts.
MSC: The company has changed course on at least one of its ships and is monitoring the possibility of changing others, a spokesperson tells CNN. The MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean, has been redirected to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.
The cruise line is also monitoring the MSC Divinia, which departed Port Canaveral on a four-night voyage to Nassau and the Ocean City Marine Reserve on Sunday. MSC says both cruise ports are off Ian’s projected route, but warned passengers before departing that conditions could prevent the ship from returning on Thursday. The cruise line says that if there is a delay in her return, the cruise will be extended at no additional cost to guests.
The cruise line does not expect Ian to impact the MSC Seashore, which is due to depart PortMiami on Saturday, October 1.
Carnival Cruise Line: The company announced changes to its schedule in an email to CNN Travel on Tuesday afternoon. With the ports of Tampa Bay and Jacksonville closed, the following voyages have been cancelled:
- Carnival Paradise: Four-day cruise from Tampa on Thursday.
- Carnival Elation: Four-day cruise from Jacksonville on Thursday.
- Carnival Liberty: Three-day cruise from Port Canaveral on Friday.
Guests will receive a full refund and a 25 percent future cruise credit, Carnival said.
The following ships have changes to their schedules and ports of call to weather the storm and its effects: Carnival Liberty, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Elation, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Glory.
Click here to view specific changes to each ship’s itinerary.
NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS
Everglades National Park in South Florida was closed Wednesday. “After the storm passes, staff will assess park conditions to determine when it is safe to reopen,” the park’s website said.
All National Park Service employees were evacuated from Dry Tortugas National Park, on the western edge of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico, before Hurricane Ian approached, according to NPS spokeswoman Allyson Gantt. No employees will be afloat during the storm.
As of Wednesday night, more than 100 Florida state parks were closed, including Alafia River State Park (Hillsborough County), Bahia Honda State Park (Monroe County), Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park (Hillsborough County), Collier), Don Pedro Island State Park (Charlotte County), Lake Manatee State Park (Manatee County), and Rainbow Springs State Park (Marian County).
See here for a full list of closed state parks, as well as closures of campgrounds and cabins at other state parks that are currently otherwise open.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden: The authorities announced that both the zoo and the botanical gardens will be closed from Wednesday until at least Friday. “Our priority is the safety of our animals, staff and customers. We are following our protocols and closely monitoring the storm,” the zoo said in a Twitter post on its official account.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park: The attraction closed its doors from Tuesday to Thursday, it said on its website.
Brevard Zoo: Melbourne Zoo will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, with plans to reopen on Friday barring damage. “Boo at the Zoo is also scheduled to start this weekend,” the zoo said in a Twitter post on its verified account.