Orlando Theme Parks Shut Down Incoming, Life-Threatening Hurricane Causes State of Emergency

in Disney Parks, Universal Studios

Hogwarts train wizarding world

Credit: Aunesty Janssen / Flickr

Right now, Florida is going through what many call “initiation week” for anyone who is new to the state or anyone who has never vacationed here during hurricane season. With a new hurricane reported to strengthen, many are starting to get ready to hunker down. But, what happens to all of those tourists traveling to Orlando to enjoy Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort?

In Florida, one thing that is unfortunate about the state is that it is prone to hurricanes. When guests visit Disney World in the summer, especially from July to September, it will likely rain every day, which is not a huge deal as the storms in Florida leave as quickly as they appear. However, if you are in Disney World during a hurricane, the weather may not be what you expected for a theme park day.

The state of Florida with a hurricane in the background and a picture frame showing the location of Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Inside The Magic

Cinderella Castle as a whole was also constructed to be able to withstand any hurricane. The Magic Kingdom centerpiece is made up of gypsum, plaster, and fiberglass, and contrary to what some may think, nothing needs to ever be removed from the castle during a hurricane, not even the spires! This is something we have seen proven with Hurricane Dorian, hurricane Irma, Hurricane Mattew, and many other tropical storms.

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.

tropical storm fred model
Credit: National Hurricane Center

They do this so well that many locals even book a stay at a Disney Resort when they know a bad hurricane is on the way. So, if you are visiting Disney World during hurricane season, rest assured that your Disney Resort hotel will keep you safe and warm if any bad storms hit Orlando during your trip.

If you are planning on staying at any of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels, you will still be in excellent hands! Their Team Members and hotels are well-equipped to deal with any hurricane and will provide all that is needed for guests. Like Disney, there is usually extra games and activities going on at the hotel for guests to enjoy and ease the boredom if the theme parks do shut down.

Related: Disney World Predicted to Receive Worst Hurricane in History, Time Traveler Says

Guests, Cast Members, and characters dancing in the lobby of Wilderness lodge.
Credit: Disney

We previously reported that Florida could be in the sights of a tropical system brewing, but now, things seem to be escalating as Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order placing Florida into a state of emergency.

The Orlando Sentinel also reported, “Tropical Storm Idalia intensified Monday as it neared Cuba with forecasters predicting it would grow into a Category 3 major hurricane before striking Florida this week, the National Hurricane Center said.”

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

“Idalia is now forecast to become a major hurricane before it reaches the Gulf coast of Florida,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Eric Blake. “The risk continues to increase for life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane-force winds along portions of the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle beginning as early as late Tuesday.”

Knowing this, it seems likely that there is a chance that the theme parks may shut down. We already predicted that Disney may have a closure in its near future, but now, it seems the storm is going to be strong enough that it may shut down Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.

An empty Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando Florida
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

If you booked a Universal vacation, no need to worry as these circumstances allow your trip to be fully refundable without penalty, if you choose to make that decision.

While an incredible vacation awaits at Universal Orlando Resort™, unfortunately we can’t make guarantees about the weather, but your travel plans can still be stress-free. In the event that a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center or a state of emergency is declared for the Orlando area or in your place of residence, within seven days of your arrival, you can contact our team in advance to reschedule or cancel your Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations Package, hotel room only accommodations and Universal Orlando theme park tickets booked directly with Universal Orlando, without any cancellation or change fees imposed. If you have purchased airline tickets as part of your Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations package, you may still be subject to cancellation and change fees assessed by those airlines.

A wide shot of the Hulk Coaster and Suess Landing inside of Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Most recently, we say Universal Studios Hollywood shut down early in California when Hurricane Hilary hit. Universal Studios Japan shut down entirely two weeks ago when a typhoon rolled into the vicinity.

In its 5 a.m. advisory, Idalia now has sustained winds of 65 mph with higher gusts, located about 125 miles south of the western tip of Cuba heading north at 7 mph. Its tropical storm-force winds extend out 70 miles.

“On the forecast track, Idalia is forecast to increase in forward speed and turn north-northeastward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and reach the Gulf coast of Florida on Wednesday,” Blake said. “Idalia is forecast to become a hurricane later today and a dangerous major hurricane over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Wednesday.”

Goofy, Chip, Dale, and Max watch a Mickey short with kids at All-Star-Sports Resort.
Credit: @canto030 on Twitter

At the moment, we have not heard that Disney World or Universal will be shutting down early, but we have seen Disney go as far as to create hurricane kits with snacks for guests in the past. So, if you will be stuck and Hurricane Idalia strengthens, rest assured you will be in protected hands.

Have you ever been to Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort during a hurricane? 

When visiting Universal Orlando Resort, Guests can enjoy attractions such as Rip Ride Rockit, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, Transformers: The Ride, and more. Visit Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can venture into Gringotts!  Islands of Adventure has some fantastic attractions like the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and more! Volcano Bay is also open for those who want to get their splash on. 

At Universal Studios Hollywood Guests can enjoy WaterWorld, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, Kung Fu Panda Adventure, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons Ride, Studio Tour, Jurassic World — The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D, and more!

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