How Disney World, Universal And Other Theme Parks Are Preparing For Hurricane Ian

The Monorail at Epcot
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Walt Disney chose Florida for what would become Walt Disney World because the state has pretty nice weather year round, meaning the park never needs to close. Having said that, there is the small problem of the occasional hurricane that invades the state. Hurricane Ian is currently on its way to Florida, and that has had a significant impact on the massive theme park industry.

Several theme parks in Florida have preemptively announced partial or total closures of various aspects of their resorts ahead of Ian making landfall. The Orlando International Airport has announced that it will cease operations beginning at 10:30am on September 28, so even if not everything else closes, getting to it is going to be more difficult. Here’s a run down of what’s closing when and other important updates.

Walt Disney World

The theme parks of Walt Disney World are set to be closed September 28 and 28. In addition, several of the resort hotels are set to be closed from Wednesday September 28 to Friday September 30. These currently include: 

  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground  (Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue performances also cancelled)
  • Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort 

Possibly the biggest resort change is that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is closed now through September 30. Starcruiser guests are being relocated and will be given a chance to rebook.

In addition to the resorts, Disney’s one open water park, Typhoon Lagoon, and the two miniature golf courses Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens, are set to be closed September 28 and 29. 

Walt Disney World has also announced it will not enforce its cancellation policy for dining reservations or other experiences.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort will close September 28 and 29. That includes Halloween Horror Nights events for those evenings which have been canceled.  One change that has been made to make things easier for guests who may be at the resort during the storm, UOR hotels Universal's Aventura Hotel, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside and Universal's newest hotel, Dockside Inn & Suites will all accept pets for guests arriving between September 26 and September 30, with no fees required.

SeaWorld Orlando 

SeaWorld has announced that both SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove will be closed September 28 and 29th. A planned announcement this week regarding a brand new roller coaster coming to SeaWorld has also been postponed. 

Legoland Florida Resort

Legoland Florida is the most recent park to announce its decision to close. At this point the park is set to be closed on the 28th and 29th, and it will hopefully reopen on Friday.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, where the storm is expected to hit harder, is taking fewer chances than the other major locations. After initially announcing the park would be closed on the 28th and 29th, Busch Gardens has updated guests, and will be closed today as well. 

Theme parks like Disney World have experienced hurricanes and while they generally survive, they are built knowing these storms are possible, there is usually some damage and that can take time to repair. Hopefully all the resorts, and most importantly all the people, will get through this safely. If you are currently booked for one of these resorts during any of these dates, contact the resort or your travel agent. All resorts are waiving fees for rebooking.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.