All 4 theme parks and more are closed at Walt Disney World due to Hurricane Ian. Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom won’t reopen until after the storm passes Orlando. Additionally, there are other closures, changes, and cancellations through at least Friday, September 30, 2022. This post provides a rundown of all operational updates to Central Florida attractions. (Updated September 29, 2022 at 11 am EST.)
With regard to the storm system itself, Hurricane Ian was downgraded to Tropical Storm Ian on Thursday morning. The system is still dumping record amounts of rain and bringing “catastrophic flooding” across Florida while packing damaging winds across a 415-mile swath of the state.
Walt Disney World remains under a flash flood warning, with areas of Osceola and Orange Counties having seen a reported 12 to 16 inches of rain. Roads around Central Florida are still flooded, and the Orlando International Airport reports that no roads are accessible into MCO. Governor DeSantis has called the storm a “500-year flood event” and indicated that it’s still a “hazardous situation.”
September 29, 2022 – 11 am EST UPDATE: Walt Disney World has released a statement in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian: “We are thinking of our neighbors across Florida. We will get through this together and will be there to help our Cast Members and community.
As we keep safety in mind, our theme parks and other operating areas remain closed today while crews assess the impact of the storm and clear debris. Thank you to all of our Cast Members who continue to care for the thousands of guests currently staying at our Disney Resort hotels.”
Ahead of this, Walt Disney World has removed Park Pass reservation availability for Friday, September 30, 2022. This is not necessarily indicative of the parks being closed tomorrow, but that certainly remains a possibility.
Many roads remain flooded around Orlando. Cleanup cannot begin until flooding subsides and it’s safe for those Cast Members to leave their homes. Damage will need to be assessed, then work will start. One possibility that wouldn’t surprise us is if one or two parks have a delayed opening tomorrow, while others remain closed until the weekend.
There’s also past precedent for Walt Disney World reopening areas only to on-site resort guests. It wouldn’t surprise us if EPCOT reopens later tomorrow for resort guests, followed by the other parks later in the day or on Saturday and Sunday.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom and Halloween Horror Nights on Friday. This are big-money events for Disney and Universal that they won’t want to cancel, but it might be tough to get everything back up and running–and properly staffed–by then. (No actual insight here–just a potential scenario.)
Whenever the parks do reopen, don’t be surprised if certain attractions don’t reopen right away. Anything with a lot of trees is an obvious candidate for a prolonged closure. If I recall correctly, it took Jungle Cruise a day or two after Hurricane Irma to reopen.
It might be a similar story with trails and attractions in Animal Kingdom, or the park as a whole, if there are staggered reopenings. Outside the parks, there might be resorts that are out of commission entirely or have areas closed off due to downed trees. Fort Wilderness is the most obvious example, but not the only one–many resorts have a lot of trees.
To that point, Walt Disney World has extended its ban or block on new bookings at the resorts. While it appears that check-ins will resume tomorrow at 3 pm, that’s only for existing reservations.
New resort reservations are now suspended through October 2, 2022 at this time. New reservations can once again be booked beginning on October 3, 2022. (Probably not relevant to many of you–cannot imagine much interest in last-minute getaways to Orlando.) More than anything else, this is probably a courtesy to displaced Floridians who will want or need to extend their stays due to flooding at their homes.
Here’s our latest look at all of the closures at Walt Disney World, Orlando Airports, and other theme parks in Central Florida…
Walt Disney World Closures & Cancellations for Hurricane Ian
Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom theme parks will be closed due to Hurricane Ian on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
Currently, all 4 theme parks are scheduled to reopen on Friday, September 30, 2022, but the schedule is subject to change.
Partially used multi-day theme park tickets with a usage window impacted by Hurricane Ian related park closure will automatically be extended to use the remaining entitlements through any date through September 30, 2023.
Along with this, the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party scheduled for Thursday, September 29 is cancelled. Guests with pre-purchased party tickets for these parties can receive a full refund for the event tickets by calling (407) 939-7818 or emailing Walt Disney World at [email protected].
Walt Disney World has not announced available options, but normally, guests would still be able to exchange their tickets for tickets to any date of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party events in 2022 (even sold out ones) or a 1-Day Flexible Date Ticket with Park Hopper Option.
Note: Reports we’ve heard about moving Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets to a different sold out date have been very mixed. The best chances of success are when switching to the September 30 event, which makes sense both for guests and for Disney, as they’re likely to have a ton of cancellations for that MNSSHP. As there’s no officially published policy, your mileage may vary.
Disney Springs will also be closed on Wednesday, September 28. Walt Disney World indicates that they “anticipate” Disney Springs will be closed on Thursday, September 29, as well, but will provide updates as the company continues to track the storm.
Although not officially announced, don’t be surprised if some third party businesses at Disney Springs close early today and don’t reopen on Thursday, even if the rest of Disney Springs does resume operations.
Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil will be cancelled on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29.
Disney Resort Hotels: For the safety of everyone, all guests including Disney Vacation Club Members must check in to resorts on September 28 by 3 p.m. Guests may reschedule their trip or cancel their stay with us; any customary cancellation fees will be waived.
Check in will not be accepted on Thursday, September 29. Resort check-ins will resume at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 30. This means that new guests will not be able to arrive at Walt Disney World resorts for a window of 48 hours.
Other resort policies:
Guests that are checked in by 3 p.m. Wednesday will be asked to shelter in place at their resort for the duration of the storm, this includes any resort-to-resort transfers
Guests are strongly encouraged to enjoy food and beverage offerings at the parks and Disney Springs before returning to their Resort hotels.
Dining options for Guests staying in our Resort hotels will vary, and in some cases may be very limited. Where available, restaurants will accept walk-ups only; Guests will not need dining reservations.
Characters will not be available in character dining locations on Wednesday and Thursday
The Grand Floridian Spa will close at noon Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Additionally, ‘rustic resorts’ including Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will temporarily close Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30 due to the weather.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort voyages departing Tuesday, September 27 and Thursday, September 29 have been canceled due to the potential impact on the guest experience. Guests with reservations for these dates are asked to please call 407-939-5209 for help with modifying their plans.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will close temporarily Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022. (Disney’s Blizzard Beach is currently closed for the season.)
Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will also temporarily close Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
Walt Disney World Transportation is not operating again until Friday, September 30.
Limited Minnie Van and Mears taxi service will be offered to Walt Disney World resort Guests with existing breakfast reservations.
Disney Skyliner gondolas typically close for inclement weather–so expect a lot of downtime, potentially even after parks reopen.
Reservations for Dining and Other Experiences: Effective immediately, Walt Disney World will not enforce cancellation policies until further notice for dining and other experiences like Savi’s Workshop and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 29.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue performances have been canceled September 28-30 in light of the temporary closure of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Guests with pre-paid reservations will be automatically canceled and refunded.
Restaurants in resorts will continue to operate in select locations with availability subject to change. Below is a list of the status of each restaurant:
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Ale & Compass Restaurant
Ale & Compass Lounge
Beach Club Marketplace*
Cape May Café
The Market at Ale & Compass*
Club Level Lounges – available for Club Level guests
Crew’s Cup Lounge
Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Additionally, Walt Disney World is allowing changes and cancellations with no penalties for guests arriving between now and Monday, October 3, 2022. This applies to reservations booked by the Walt Disney Travel Company or Disney Destinations, LLC. (In other words, if you booked through Walt Disney World directly–either by phone or Disneyworld.com–you’re eligible. Same goes for reservations booked via an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner or travel agent.)
Most room-only and vacation packages can be modified, or cancelled online, including changes to travel dates, without fees. Packages including air transportation or other services provided by third parties, or those with travel protection, cannot be modified or cancelled online. Guests with these reservations will need to call Walt Disney World for assistance. (Expect longer-than-normal hold times.)
Universal Orlando Resort will be fully closed on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022. This closure impacts Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. At present, the resort hotels of Universal Orlando Resort are all operational.
Halloween Horror Nights will also be cancelled both nights. Universal Orlando expects to be open on Friday, “conditions permitting.”
Elsewhere around Central Florida, LEGOLAND Florida Resort will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian. This closure also includes Peppa Pig Theme Park.
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort will be OPEN until 5pm tonight. The Resort will be closed Wed, Sept 28 and Thurs, Sept 29, due to Hurricane Ian. Resort Hotels will remain open to guests with existing reservations.
Any tickets dated for Wednesday, September 28 through Sunday, October 2, will be automatically extended through December 31, 2022. Vacation stays for this closure period will be able to be rebooked without penalty once the LEGOLAND call center reopens.
Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove parks have enacted its Named Storm Policy and will be temporarily closed on:
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Tuesday, September 27 – Thursday, September 29
SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove: Wednesday, September 28 – Thursday, September 29
Precautions are in place following the parks’ comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of animals and ambassadors during this time. Guests are encouraged to check back on our website and follow our social media channels for updates.
All date-intended tickets for September 27 (at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay), 28 and 29 (all parks listed above) have been extended through December 31, 2022.
Orlando International Airport announced that it is closed due to Hurricane Ian. The airport will be closed starting at 10:30 am on September 28, 2022.
Currently, MCO is expected to resume operations on Friday, after assessing all damage to airport property and facilities. Orlando International Airport notes the time for the reopening is “fluid” and subject to change. It could happen sooner–or later–depending upon Hurricane Ian’s intensity and impacts in Orlando. (The airport’s last closure, during Dorian, was shortened.)
Per Orlando International Airport’s official @MCO Twitter account, key airport, airline, and federal agency representatives will continue monitoring the weather and determine whether any future closures may be necessary.
Orlando Sanford Airport also announced its terminal will close at 5 pm on Tuesday. All flights on Wednesday and Thursday are cancelled.
Both airports indicate that they are closely monitoring the status of Hurricane Ian to identify the potential extent of impact to airport operations. Please check with your airline directly in regards to their operations for the most up-to-date flight information.
We don’t have much to add here. Hurricane Ian is currently a major Category 3 system, and is likely to make landfall between Tampa and Naples on Wednesday with a path taking it right through Central Florida–directly towards the tourist corridor and Walt Disney World. Governor DeSantis has warned of “catastrophic flooding” and “life-threatening storm surge” in areas of Florida, with impacts “far, far broader than where of the eye makes landfall.”
Ultimately, if you are at Walt Disney World, be safe. Take this seriously, for your own sake and that of Cast Members and other guests. As accurate as storm forecasting has become, it’s still not 100% certain. It’s only appropriate for Walt Disney World to prioritize human life and safety, erring on the side of caution and closing the parks, relocating guests, and canceling entertainment. Here’s hoping this passes quickly and with minimal damage and harm, and Walt Disney World can resume normal operations on September 30, 2022. We’ll keep you posted either way!
Are you currently at Walt Disney World or Central Florida? Have you visited during past hurricanes? Any additional info, thoughts, or first-hand experiences to share about riding out a hurricane at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!