After being shut down for two days due to Hurricane Ian, which pounded the southwest of the state before making landfall in Central Florida, Walt Disney World will gradually reopen its theme parks on Friday.
Operation at the resort’s four theme parks and Disney Springs, a shopping and entertainment complex, will return “in a staged approach” on Friday, the resort announced Thursday afternoon. According to a statement, hours will be changed online later on Thursday.
The statement read, “We continue to constantly watch weather conditions as we evaluate the impact of Hurricane Ian on our property.” “We anticipate weather conditions to improve this evening,” the statement reads, “but many operational areas and theme parks are still off limits to tourists today.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Disney’s website was still not offering tickets for its four parks on Friday.
The expansive complex surrounding Orlando’s hotels were available to current guests on Thursday, but no new check-ins were permitted. There will be a 3 p.m. Friday check-in time for new visitors.
The hotel chain issued an online warning that the dining options will vary and “in certain situations may be very limited.” Thursday’s character dinner reservations have been canceled, and certain hotel facilities won’t reopen until Friday.
Photos of costumed characters socializing with children in hotels, watching cartoons on lobby TVs, and “working” at desks were posted online by hotel visitors, including Disney bloggers. Post-storm cleanup was also depicted in some videos.
According to Governor Ron DeSantis, Hurricane Ian caused “historic” devastation to the state when it made landfall in Southwest Florida on Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 storm (R). Although it was a considerably smaller Category 1 storm when it made landfall in Central Florida, Orange County, one of the two counties that Disney World borders, was nonetheless severely flooded.
According to county officials, the region might experience steady winds of 30 to 40 mph Thursday with gusts as high as 50 mph. By 1 a.m. on Friday, tropical storm-force winds were predicted to dissipate. The county has received between eight and twelve inches of rain, with some sections receiving up to sixteen inches.
Statewide, more than 2.6 million people were without electricity on Thursday.
All roadways leading to Orlando International Airport were closed due to flooding on Thursday, according to an update posted on Twitter. On Friday, commercial operations were anticipated to resume.
The post recommended passengers to get in touch with their airlines immediately for details on their respective flights.
Other theme parks in Florida remained closed on Thursday, with some saying they wouldn’t open again until Saturday. These include SeaWorld in Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa. Winter Haven’s Legoland announced that it would be closed through Friday while crews “evaluate damage and clean up following the storm.”
A Friday reopening is anticipated, according to Universal Orlando Resort’s website, “as conditions permit.” Questions concerning images posted on social media that claimed to show external damage to a Jurassic Park ride went unanswered by officials.
The safety of our visitors and employees is our top priority, as always, said Universal Orlando spokesperson Alyson Sologaistoa in an email sent on Thursday. In light of this, we remain closed today in order to adhere to our procedures and conduct in-depth inspections of our entire destination at this time.
Photo Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/