Disney World to reopen Friday while some other big Florida parks to remain closed
Florida’s major theme parks remained closed Thursday as Hurricane Ian left a wake of destruction on the peninsula and headed into the Atlantic Ocean toward the Carolinas.
Although Disney World and a few places do plan to reopen Friday, most will remain closed. Here’s a status report of the latest plans of various theme parks, other sites of interest to tourists and what’s going on with various cruises:
Disney World (Orlando)
Walt Disney World announced Thursday night that its four big theme parks are reopening Friday on the following schedule:
• Magic Kingdom Park: 10 a.m. (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be offered as scheduled and is sold out at this time)
• EPCOT: 11 a.m.
• Disney’s Hollywood Studios: noon
• Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: 1 p.m.
Disney Resort hotel guests and guests staying at other select hotels will be allowed to enter two hours earlier than times posted above.
Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will also reopen at 3 p.m. Friday.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Typhoon Lagoon water park has a planned reopening of Sunday,
Walt Disney World Transportation will begin operating as normal on Friday but is subject to weather protocols, the park said.
Disney Springs, the entertainment, dining and shopping complex, will open at 10 a.m. Friday.
Click here for more details about the reopenings, including information on hotels and camping sites.
Busch Gardens (Tampa)
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said on its website Thursday evening that it would be closed through Friday.
That also holds true for other Florida parks held by the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company:
• Adventure Island (Tampa)
• SeaWorld Orlando
• Aquatica Orlando
• Discovery Cove (Orlando)
The company said Discovery Cove will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center with no cancellation or change fees. For any additional information, call 407-513-4600.
People with a reservation booked through a third-party reseller can rebook visit dates with the specific park, but people wanting a refund will need to contact their reseller partner.
Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream tickets for September 30 have been extended through October 31.
Click here for additional details.
Universal Resort (Orlando)
Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, were closed Wednesday and Thursday, and a “phased reopen” for hotel guests only starts Friday, the resort said in an email to CNN Travel on Thursday evening.
“We continue to conduct assessment and recovery efforts across our entire destination with the safety of our guests and team members being our top priority,” Universal said.
“We expect to begin a phased reopen of portions of our destination for our hotel guests only beginning Friday, Sept. 30. We will update our website and social channels with information on park hours as conditions allow.
Click here for more information and FAQs from Universal.
LEGOLAND (Winter Haven)
LEGOLAND Florida Resort and associated parks will be closed on Friday, according to the resort’s website.
“LEGOLAND Hotel and Pirate Island Hotel will remain open to guests with existing reservations,” the park said.
Park tickets for Wednesday, September 28, through Sunday, October 2, will be automatically extended through December 31, 2022, LEGOLAND said previously.
People can rebook vacation stays without penalty once the park’s call center reopens on Friday. That number is 888-690-5346. Guests with questions about the resort’s hurricane policy can click here.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Cape Canaveral)
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Merritt Island will remain closed on Friday, but the facility plans to reopen on Saturday, according to the center’s website.
Icon Park (Orlando)
All Icon Park attractions are still closed, according to the attraction’s website.
“When it becomes safe to do so, select restaurants will open to serve locals who have lost power or guests staying at nearby hotels,” the entertainment destination said.
Crayola Experience (Orlando)
The popular attraction for children will reopen at noon Friday, according to Crayola’s website on Thursday evening.
Florida ports have very active cruise schedules. Here’s the status of some of those ships’ routes:
Norwegian Cruise Line: The company canceled its 10-day sailing of the Norwegian Getaway, which was scheduled to depart Thursday from Port Canaveral.
The company also changed ports on the eight-day sailing of Norwegian Sky, which left Miami on Sunday, the cruise line tells CNN. Instead of its scheduled Western Caribbean stops, the ship will now make stops in the Eastern Caribbean.
“The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our number one priority,” the cruise line said. Shore excursions booked through the cruise line in affected ports will be refunded to guests’ onboard accounts.
MSC: The company has changed course on at least one of their 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 rerouted to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.
The cruise line is also monitoring the MSC Divinia, which left Port Canaveral on a four-night sailing to Nassau and the Ocean City Marine Reserve on Sunday. MSC says both cruise ports are outside of Ian’s projected path, but advised passengers before leaving that conditions could prevent the ship from returning on Thursday. The cruise line says if there is a delay in their 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 set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, October 1.
Carnival Cruise Line: The company has announced changes to its schedule. With the ports of Tampa Bay, Canaveral and Jacksonville affected by Ian, the following sailings have been canceled:
• 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% future cruise credit, Carnival said.
The following ships have changes in their schedules and ports of call to bypass the storm and its effects: Carnival Liberty, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Elation, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Glory.
Click here to see the specific changes in itinerary for each ship.
National and state parks
Everglades National Park in South Florida was closed on Wednesday and Thursday with no reopening time set. “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 the Dry Tortugas National Park, on the western end of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico, before the approach of Hurricane Ian, according to NPS spokesperson Allyson Gantt. No employees will be riding out the storm. The park remained closed Thursday.
As of Thursday evening, 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 (Collier County), Don Pedro Island State Park (Charlotte County), Lake Manatee State Park (Manatee County) and Rainbow Springs State Park (Marian County).
Check here for a full list of closed state parks as well as camping and cabin closures information.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens: Officials announced both the zoo and the botanical gardens would be closed through Friday.
“Our priority is the safety of our animals, staff and patrons. We are following our protocols, & closely monitoring the storm. We will reopen when it is safe to do so. Please watch our socials for updates,” the zoo’s official Twitter account said.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park: The attraction will resume regular hours on Friday, it said on its website.
Brevard Zoo: The zoo in Melbourne is set to reopen Friday barring any damage. “Boo at the Zoo is also still set to kick off this weekend,” the zoo said in a Twitter post on its verified account.
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