Due to Hurricane Dorian’s anticipated impacts on Central Florida, Walt Disney World has announced park closures, reduced operating hours, and cancelled entertainment through at least Tuesday, September 3, 2019. In this post, we’ll give you a rundown of the latest cancellations, closures, and schedule changes.
September 4, 2019 at 11 am UPDATE: Following yesterday afternoon’s early closure, Walt Disney World’s theme parks are once again open for business! Crowds remain low, which is likely in equal parts due to cancellations from Hurricane Dorian and the fact that we’ve entered the normal post-Labor Day lull.
With that said, don’t be surprised to see a spike in crowds this weekend and into early next week, as guests who postponed their trips and locals eager to get outside and have some fun after a week of stressful hurricane coverage descend upon Walt Disney World. Beyond that, we’re not expecting much different from a normal September–the early mornings of Extra, Extra Magic Hours should also help spread out the crowds a bit.
Winds remain strong today, and that could have an impact on nighttime spectaculars this evening. Otherwise, we should be out of the woods, weather-wise. (Additionally, after closing yesterday, Orlando International Airport will reopen today at noon.)
What follows is the previous Hurricane Dorian coverage, presented for posterity’s sake…
Additionally, Central Florida, including Lake, Seminole, and Orange counties now have tropical storm watches issued, with tropical storm force winds arriving tonight. Osceola County is under a tropical storm warning. (Walt Disney World is in both Orange and Osceola Counties.) This explains why Walt Disney World has announced modified nighttime entertainment for tonight, in addition to the closures listed below…
Last night, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom continued as scheduled, but due to high winds, a modified version of the Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show will be presented without pyro
Similarly, Disney’s Hollywood Studios presented a modified version of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Both IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot and the 9:30 pm showing of Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom were canceled.
Anyway, here are the operating hours and early closures for September 3, 2019:
Magic Kingdom: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (opening at 7:00 am for Extra Magic Hours)
Epcot: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (opening at 6:00 am for Extra Magic Hours)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm (opening at 7:00 am for Extra Magic Hours)
Disney Springs: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
Note that Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are all now closed due to Hurricane Dorian. ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed the entire day on September 3, 2019, as well.
Epcot and Disney Springs have had their hours extended to 7 pm and 8 pm, respectively, due to the minimal impact of Hurricane Dorian. (It’s currently raining and windy, but that’s about it in terms of weather as the hurricane continues to shift east.)
Walt Disney World has not released any statements about the parks’ statuses on September 4, 2019 or thereafter. However, it seems like a foregone conclusion that all four theme parks, both water parks, Disney Springs, all resorts, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports will all resume normal operations tomorrow.
Additionally, Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom has been canceled on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. Guests with pre-purchased event tickets for this date can receive a full refund for the event tickets by calling (407) 939-7818 before December 15, 2019 or emailing Walt Disney World at [email protected].
Alternatively, guests are able to exchange their tickets for one of the following options: tickets to attend another Disney After Hours event in 2019, tickets to a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event in 2019, 1-Day Flexible Date Ticket with Park Hopper Option, which can be used any day prior to December 31, 2020.
On September 3, theme park dining reservations will be honored up to one hour prior to park closing. Resort dining reservations will be honored until 5:30 p.m. Effective immediately, we will not be enforcing cancellation policies for dining and other experiences, so there’s no need to cancel existing reservations through Tuesday, Sept. 3. Pre-paid dining and other experiences outside of the modified operating hours for Sept. 3 will be automatically canceled and refunded.
On the resort front, guests with current and upcoming reservations at 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 be relocated to other resorts at Walt Disney World due to the anticipated and potential weather impacts of Hurricane Dorian.
The entirety of Fort Wilderness will close on September 3, 2019 at 3 pm, and will reopen once it’s safe to do so. This means that all restaurants there, including national treasures Trail’s End and Hoop–Dee–Doo Musical Revue won’t be operating tomorrow. On the dinner show front, neither will Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian.
Finally, although not technically part of Walt Disney World, Orlando International Airport is the de facto (and essential) ‘gateway’ to WDW for most guests, so this is worth mentioning here. On Twitter, the official @MCO account has announced that the airport will close overnight at 2 am and remain closed for at least September 3, 2019. This follows an earlier reversal of a closure today that likely occurred because Hurricane Dorian slowed tremendously and its path shifted. However, with tropical storm force winds impacting MCO, this seems the pragmatic thing to do.
We don’t have much to add here. The latest projections and forecasts all seem to indicate that Hurricane Dorian will stay along the coast, and not come directly over Central Florida at Walt Disney World, which is good news for anyone here.
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, and I think it’s wise of Walt Disney World to err on the side of caution and close the parks early (or entirely, in the case of Blizzard Beach), relocate guests, and cancel entertainment. Here’s hoping this passes quickly and with minimal damage and harm, and Walt Disney World can resume normal operations on September 4. 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!