Now it’s serious: Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and Universal Orlando have announced they are closing Wednesday and Thursday as Hurricane Ian approaches. The rest of Florida’s theme parks are expected to follow the lead.
The world’s most-attended tourist attraction that hosts some 93 million people per year rarely closes: In the last 50 years, Walt Disney World has only closed six times for hurricanes. It was evacuated 30 minutes after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and closed for several weeks after the 2020 pandemic.
Minutes after Disney’s announcement, Universal Orlando put on its social media pages that it will close on Wednesday and Thursday and expects to reopen on Friday as conditions permit.
On Tuesday, Busch Gardens in Tampa announced it would be closed that day through Thursday.
Earlier in the day Tuesday in Orlando, where the weather forecast was a bit less certain, there was no word from the Mouse.
Finally, late Tuesday Disney issued an announcement that its four theme parks would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday and Disney Springs, its shopping and entertainment center, would also close, though it would be monitoring the weather on Thursday to possibly open Disney Springs.
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2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
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SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME: Storms and property damage go hand in hand. Here’s how to prepare.
IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.
DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits
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INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.