In light of Hurricane Ian’s weather patterns, Orlando’s big three have decided to shut their gates in the name of safety. Hurricane Ian has made a continual path towards the Central Florida area. And, even with a current estimate of a category one hurricane reaching Orlando, parks and local attractions have decided to close early in preparation.
You can keep up with our continually updated theme park, hotel, airport and local attractions hurricane page here. But, we are here to talk about the big three, and this historic closure. While hurricanes are common for Florida, it is actually quite rare that it affects the major theme parks in Orlando.
Hurricane Elsa caused early closures in 2021, but it wasn’t enough to warrant major closures for the Central Florida theme parks.
We did have theme park closures in 2019 due to Hurricane Dorian. This hurricane caused minimal damage in Orlando, even though wind speeds did reach a high enough level to cause trees to fall over.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused Walt Disney World to shut down early, and stay closed for an additional two days. Other than for the Covid-19 pandemic, this was the longest closure Walt Disney World has ever had.
We took a drive around Walt Disney World after Hurricane Matthew hit Florida in 2016. This hurricane too caused the theme parks to shut down. The parks all around Florida were quick to reopen afterwards, and damages from foliage were fixed swiftly.
In the end, theme parks in Orlando are built for bad weather. Mass rains, in-park flooding, and lightning are commonplace in Florida, but hurricanes and their strong and unpredictable nature have sometimes caused major closures such as this. These closures are happening out of an abundance of caution for visitors and employees alike.
In the past, theme parks that have live animals, such as SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, have gone above and beyond for the safety and comfort of the creatures and caretakers. We expect the same here, as we did during the extended closures during the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Safety is above all else, and we will have to see what, if any, damage has occurred because of this natural disaster. For now, if you are near this hurricane, the fun is shutting down. It is time to hunker down as Mother Nature takes over Central Florida for a few days…no park pass reservation required.