Disney World, Universal shut down early for Hurricane Nicole but plan to reopen Thursday afternoon – Orlando Sentinel

Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld closed early Wednesday with Disney planning to reopen as early as Thursday afternoon after Hurricane Nicole passes.

Walt Disney World started the shutdown in phases Wednesday and was closing some hotels as well. Later in the evening, the family entertainment and media company announced it would begin a phased reopening at 12 p.m. Thursday.

Magic Kingdom Park is the first to open at noon from 6:00 p.m.; EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park are planned to open an hour later for a limited amount of time; and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is tentatively scheduled to open from 2:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Universal Orlando also said it would close its theme parks and CityWalk entertainment district Wednesday evening due to the storm. Universal later announced it planned to reopen Thursday but did not specify when.

SeaWorld followed soon after, saying it would also close Wednesday afternoon and remain shuttered until Friday.

Disney’s theme parks closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom was closing at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 6 p.m. and Magic Kingdom and Epcot at 7 p.m.

The resort also closed its Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort Wednesday afternoon and required all guests to leave by 3 p.m. Disney representatives are contacting guests with reservations at these resorts to find them lodging elsewhere.

Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser hotel will also be canceling its scheduled “voyage” on Thursday and the hotel is contacting guests with existing reservations.

No other hotels are affected by closures so far. Resort hotels with character breakfasts will not include costumed characters Thursday morning so the hotels can accommodate additional guests for breakfast, the update said.

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

The resort is honoring existing dining reservations for Wednesday evening at Disney’s theme parks through various times, depending on the closing time for each individual park. Further reservation details are available at disneyworld.com/weather.

Disney Springs also was closing at 7 p.m. Wednesday and will similarly stay closed through Thursday morning. Resort bus transportation from the shopping district was set to run until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park and the Winter Summerland and Fantasia mini golf courses will also be closed Thursday.

Universal’s theme park and CityWalk closures were to start at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The resort’s Volcano Bay water park was already closed Wednesday.

All of Universal’s hotels are currently operating as normal to focus on their guests, according to the resort.

Universal plans to reopen in phases Thursday, likely with a delay from its regular schedule, as officials assess the storm’s impact.

Further details are posted on Universal’s severe weather website.

SeaWorld Orlando was closing at 4 p.m. Wednesday and plans to reopen as normal on Friday.

In a statement, SeaWorld said it is following its “comprehensive weather preparedness plan” to ensure the safety of its animals and staff.

The resort’s Aquatica water park, and SeaWorld-operated Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, also will be closed Thursday and reopen Friday.

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