Massive Florida Theme Park Officially Closes Down, All Guests Immediately Removed

in Busch Gardens, Disney Parks, Theme Parks

Lightning at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Ben / Flickr

Being removed from any theme park is never fun, especially in these circumstances.

If you are ever planning a day when you will be visiting a Disney theme park, you are likely expecting to spend the whole day at the theme park.

Now, imagine flying out to any Disney Park in the world, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland — any of them, paying for your park tickets (which are typically costly, aside from Tokyo Disney Resort), paying for your Disney hotel, only to be told that the theme park is shutting down and you must leave.

a snowy day in Disneyland Paris
Credit: PeterPanFan / Flickr

That is something that we recently saw and reported on within Disneyland Paris due to extreme crowding.

We noted that Disneyland Paris had new signage asking Guests to stay out of the parks between the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day if they want to avoid the large crowds that the theme park boasts. A ticket to Disneyland Paris starts at $119 euros with transportation, so it is highly unlikely that leaving the Park for seven hours is feasible or a good idea for Guests who are visiting Paris and do not live there. It also creates panic for tourists who are coming for the first time, expecting to enjoy their day, and immediately seeing that the theme park is advising them to leave for the majority of the day.

Credit: Disneyland Paris

We then saw a semi-similar occurrence at Disneyland, due to the then impending doom of Hurricane Hilary, and the fear that the rare California hurricane caused. Both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure shut their gates early in order to prep for the hurricane

Now, Florida is dealing with Hurrican Idalia, a hurricane that is set to continue to get stronger as time passes and hit Florida as either a category 3 or 4, which is quite intense and life-threatening.

Concerns are now mounting around Idalia’s expected strength as it goes through rapid intensification, something it is forecast to do up until it makes landfall along Florida’s Big Bend – a natural, storm surge-prone divot along the coast stretching from Tampa to just south of Tallahassee. Up to 11 feet of storm surge was forecast there.

A group of people walking under the rain at Disney
Credit: GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images

CNN just reported, “Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane Monday and bring life-threatening and potentially catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding rainfall to Florida’s Gulf Coast starting Tuesday into Wednesday as a Category 3 storm.”

Concerns are now mounting around Idalia’s expected strength as it goes through rapid intensification, something it is forecast to do up until it makes landfall along Florida’s Big Bend – a natural, storm surge-prone divot along the coast stretching from Tampa to just south of Tallahassee. Up to 11 feet of storm surge was forecast there.

The publication continued, “Mandatory and voluntary evacuations were issued for at least six counties along Florida’s Gulf Coast with less than 48 hours before the storm makes landfall, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned of many more to come.

storm brewing at Walt Disney World
Credit: James Palmer / Flickr

“This is going to be a major impact,” DeSantis said during a Monday morning news conference, warning Floridians should expect Idalia to be a major hurricane – Category 3 or higher – at landfall.

Because of the severe risk that Busch Gardens Tampa Bay faces due to it’s location, yesterday, the theme park made the decision to shut down early today, and stay closed through to tomorrow when the hurricane will make landfall. 

The website notes, “Due to the projected path of Tropical Storm Idalia, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has enacted its Named Storm Policy and will close at 3 p.m. Tuesday, August 29 and remain closed Wednesday, August 30. The park plans to reopen on Thursday, August 31. Precautions are in place following the parks’ comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time. If this affects your trip, be sure to review our Weather-or-Not Assurance and check back for more updates.”

Front entrance to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida
Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa has also been setting up for Howl-O-Scream, its Halloween event, which requires a ton of outdoor decor that may need to be properly protected before the storm arrives.

So far, Busch Gardens is the first Florida theme park to announce its closure.

Now, Busch Gardens is officially closed and has immediately removed all guests from the vicinity as the theme park is prepping for survival mode over the next few days.

new attraction at Busch gardens theme park header
Credit: Busch Gardens

Both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort are planning to continue to operate as scheduled at the time being, however, that may change. 

Walt Disney World Resort as a whole is actually one of the safest places to be if you ever find yourself in Central Florida during a hurricane. Disney World Resorts are all built to withstand any storm and have backup power supplies to ensure that guests are always feeling immersed in the magic of the resort’s theme and not thinking about the terrible weather outside.

Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort after a rainstorm
Credit: Brett Kiger on Flickr

Idalia is now forecast to become a major hurricane before it reaches the Gulf coast of Florida. The risk continues to increase for life-threatening storm surges and dangerous hurricane-force winds along portions of the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle beginning as early as late Tuesday.

Will Hurricane Idalia interrupt your Florida vacation?

If you are looking to visit Walt Disney World Resort for a magical vacation, the Walt Disney World Website can be a great tool to begin planning your trip! You can begin exploring their theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. You can also take a look at their water parks where you can splash around in the chill of Disney’s Blizzard Beach (alongside new Frozen characters, Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Kristoff), or hit the waves at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. When you get hungry or want to go shopping, Disney Springs is the place to be, especially with World of Disney there ready to help you pick up some souvenirs! You can also begin looking for your Disney World Resort! If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe monorail Resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a Value Resort where you can hop on the Skyliner like Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it is always fun to begin looking for a room that would best suit you and your party. Plus, it has all the information you need to know on Disney Genie+ so that you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.



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