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Walt Disney World closing for Wednesday and Thursday as Hurricane Ian approaches Orlando

7pm Tuesday: Updates throughout with new information from Walt Disney World!

In the face of a predicted path for Hurricane Ian that could pass right over the top of the property, Walt Disney World has announced that it will close all the theme parks on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. This is on top of previous announcements made yesterday.

Other Central Florida theme parks including Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld / Busch Gardens have announced park closures for Hurricane Ian as well. 

Walt Disney World Transportation will stop operating Tuesday night after the normal operating hours for Disney Springs and the Walt Disney World theme parks. There will be limited Minnie Van and Mears taxi service available to Walt Disney World resort Guests with existing breakfast reservations.

To minimize risk for arriving guests and Disney Cast Members, all guests, including Disney Vacation Club Members, must check in to our resorts on Sept. 28, before 3 p.m. Check-in will not be accepted on Thurs Sept 29.

Keep in mind that all guests at Walt Disney World resorts will be asked to shelter in place at their resort for the duration of the storm starting at 3pm Wednesday.

Walt Disney World also announced that it will postpone two Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, aka the Star Wars hotel, departure dates of Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Thursday, Sept. 29. If you have reservations for these dates you are asked to please call 407-939-5209 for help with modifying any plans.

Disney makes no promises as to dining options during the storm. In some cases options may be very limited. Where restaurants are open no reservations are required and all seating will be walk-ups only.

It is therefore strongly encouraged to enjoy food and beverage offerings at the parks or at Disney Springs before returning to your Disney resort hotel. Maybe pick up a few snacks.

Tip: Disney’s hotels with DVC rooms also have a small store located in them.

Disney Springs, the main shopping district for Walt Disney World, is currently only scheduled to be closed on Wednesday. Disney Springs is also expected to close Thursday. We’ll know later if it will also be closed on Friday.

Some additional closures:

  • Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney has been cancelled for both 5:30 and 8pm shows on Wednesday, Sept. 28, Thursday Sept 29. The Friday Sept 30, show at 5:30pm has also been canceled.
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom has been cancelled for Thursday, Sept. 29.
  • Characters will not be available in character dining locations on Wednesday and Thursday
  • The Grand Floridian Spa will close at noon Wednesday, Sept. 28.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29.

Depending on the path, speed, and destructive power of Hurricane Ian, we can expect to hear about Friday closures once the storm has passed through the area and any damage can be assessed.

What’s next with Hurricane Ian?

Note that the current National Weather Service Hurricane Center’s forecast, as of 5pm on Tuesday night, has Hurricane Ian impacting Central Florida as early as Wednesday evening with tropical storm force winds expected to hit on Thursday. During the most intense portion of the storm there could be gusts of 75+ miles per hour, which is hurricane strength.

Walt Disney World previously announced temporary closures for other resorts and experiences ahead of Hurricane Ian.

Disney will add news about other temporary closures or important changes to the operating schedule at DisneyWorld.com/Weather and via the My Disney Experience app for your mobile phone or smart device.

What to do if you’re visiting Orlando right now

If you are on vacation at Walt Disney World, or any of the other local theme parks, resorts, or hotels, remember that the employees of those establishments all live in the area. They have friends, family, pets, and property they are worried about, but they are at work so you can be safe, and provided food and entertainment.

Disney stated that partially used multi-day theme park tickets impacted by closure due to Hurricane Ian will be automatically extended to allow use of the remaining unused ticket days through September 30, 2023. Remember that, in order to enter a park, both a park reservation and valid ticket for the same park on the same date is required. Disney should do the right thing here and open reservations to those who held them on a closed date.

Further information on Walt Disney World’s Hurricane Policy is available on the Walt Disney World website.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) has announced it will cease commercial operation tomorrow, Wed, at 10:30am. If your plane is scheduled to depart anytime between now and Saturday, you might want to give your airline a call to see about updating your travel plans.

We hope everyone in town stays safe as Hurricane Ian approaches the state of Florida. Everyone in the forecast cone should take it seriously and prepare. If you are staying at a resort that may include bringing in some snacks and extra water for any time on Wednesday and Thursday that you might be asked to shelter in place. Additionally, pre-pack your luggage in case you have to make a swift evacuation.

Please, don’t go outside in the middle of severe weather. That’s how you get hurt. If you are driving, don’t enter flooded roadways. You never know the condition of the road below you and just a few inches of water is enough to make a car float away. Follow all instructions from safety officials and law enforcement. Remember that during the most intense part of the storm first responders won’t be able to reach you. So if you are in an area that’s prone to flood, find a shelter and head there by tomorrow afternoon.

Stay safe everyone!