If you are a Disney fan, whether you plan to visit Disney World in the next few days or not, you are wondering if Disney World will actually close for Hurricane Irma.
And if you were planning to go to Florida this weekend to visit theme parks, you are especially wondering the same thing!
We finally have updated news as of just a few minutes ago. We have been watching Disney World Orlando news on park closures the past couple of days. As of not long ago, the parks planned to remain open, only cancelling special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, but everything else was seemingly remaining the same…until a few minutes ago.
In fact, the same was for SeaWorld until earlier this morning.
Universal Orlando had also planned to stay open, with the caveat that they will give full package refunds to those themselves that made the decision not to come due to the hurricane. They were being the most gracious and generous of all.
However, as of late this morning, SeaWorld has officially pulled the plug on staying open – along with their other sister attractions.
After SeaWorld pulled the plug, Universal Orlando and finally Disney World have stated their official closing policies.
Closures at Disney World
- Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios will all close tomorrow tonight at 7pm and remain closed until Tuesday, September 12. All fireworks and events at these parks will be closed. Basically, fully closed from Sunday – Monday.
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach is closed right now until until Tuesday, September 12.
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will be closed at 5pm tonight until Tuesday, September 12.
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, along with Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs resort close at 2pm on Saturday.
- Disney Springs will close Saturday at 9m until Tuesday, September 12.
- All special events will be cancelled until Tuesday, September 12.
- If you have pre-paid or premium dining experiences during these times, your reservations will be cancelled and refunded. If you have dining reservations, you will not be charged the normal cancellation fee, but rather the cancellation fee is waived.
What is open at Disney World?
The resorts will be open and remain open, but that doesn’t mean the outdoor pools, play areas and facilities will be. You can hang out in the restaurants, shops and arcades and some of the resorts have some really fun indoor stuff to enjoy, but really, you should just avoid going altogether.
Disney’s Refund Policies During This Time
Basically, if you booked your travel through the Walt Disney Travel Co. your resorts, tickets, special events, dining, etc. will all be refunded or rescheduled with no fees. If you booked through a third party, Disney says you need to go through them.
If you booked the complete package through Walt Disney Travel Co., basically meaning airline, and extras, they will do their best to attempt to reschedule/cancel, but you will still be responsible for any fees imposed by the airlines, etc.
See the full announcement about the Disney World closures HERE and the FAQ regarding refunds and changes to reservations HERE.
Believe it or not, this is only the 5th time in Disney World history that they have closed. The past closures have been due to hurricanes, except for the evacuation on 9/11 – which they were able to evacuate the parks in a record 30 minutes.
Closures at Universal Orlando
Similar to Disney World, Universal Orlando will be closing all parks – Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Universal City Walk, and Volcano Bay, at 7pm on Saturday and will be closed all day Sunday and Monday and resume again on Tuesday with all normal activities.
The special events, like Rock the Universe, will be cancelled on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
What is open at Universal Studios?
Again, just like Disney World, the resorts will still be open, but likely not the pools which at Universal Orlando is really the only attraction at the resorts (as the pools are super awesome at these resorts). They do have game rooms and kid centers, so we imagine that they will likely keep guests entertained inside in some way with movies or other events, but this is just a guess.
Universal Orlando’s Refund Policies During This Time
They have actually been much more on top of it than Disney World as they were not forcing cancellations until today, BUT if one wanted to cancel, full refunds were given if you booked through Universal Orlando.
However, their policies in place are just like Disney World -if you booked through them, they will cancel/reschedule all of the resorts, tickets and special events booked through them. If you booked through a third party, you will need to contact the travel company for the cancellations.
See the complete information regarding Universal Orlando’s hurricane policies HERE.
Closures at SeaWorld
This morning, SeaWorld sent us the following email after planning to stay open as of yesterday:
Again, you will find the cancellations policies the same as Disney World and Universal Orlando.
You can find the complete information on SeaWorld Orlando hurricane policies HERE.
That leaves us with one major-ish theme park – LegoLand.
Closures at LegoLand
LegoLand will start their closures tomorrow, basically at park closing tonight, that is the last time you will be able to go to LegoLand until Tuesday, September 12.
Again, similar to the other parks, you will be able to reschedule/cancel your LegoLand tickets and reservations without fees or penalties.
Head to the LegoLand site HERE to view the FAQ and further information regarding Hurricane Irma.
Closures at Kennedy Space Center
We covered all of the major theme parks in Orlando, but note that another hot tourist spot is the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Kennedy Space Center closed today and will remain closed until Wednesday, September 13. They currently do not have any news on cancellations, but Kennedy Space Center does not have an official “resort.” However, if you pre-purchased tickets, they usually don’t have dates attached, but rather a “when you buy tickets in advance online, you have 120 days to use them.” We are assuming that they will refund special cases where you may have been in town from another part of the country/world during the exact time of the closures.
That covers the major attractions, but it is likely safe to say that minor attractions and events will also be cancelled. There will likely be no reason to be in Orlando, but rather smarter to reschedule if you can. If you go to Orlando, you will likely be tied up in a hotel and able to do nothing, with the risk of power outages and other events that may make even a hotel visit unpleasant.