Evacuations underway as Ian barrels toward Florida
Disney World announced that it is closing its Florida theme parks and water parks on Wednesday and Thursday as it braces for Hurricane Ian.
"We are continuing to closely monitor Hurricane Ian and are making necessary operational adjustments to maintain the safety of our Guests and Cast Members," the company said in a statement on its website.
In addition to Disney's Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT, the closures affect Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.
ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex will also be closed and any Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser "voyages" that were scheduled to begin Tuesday or Thursday have been canceled, the park announced.
Disney hotels and resorts will remain open, but guests must check in by 3 p.m. Wednesday and will be required to shelter in place "for the duration of the storm." Certain accommodations — Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort — will close Wednesday through Friday due to the weather.
Disney World warned that dining options for hotel guests "will vary, and in some cases may be very limited." Cancellation fees will be waived for guests who wish to rebook their stays or cancel outright, the park said.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove parks have also announced they will be closed through Thursday due to the storm.
The park shutdowns come as businesses across the region close up in advance of the storm, and airlines are cancelling flights.
Tampa International Airport officials said they are suspending all flight operations beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday to prepare the airfield and terminals for the storm by securing jet bridges, planes and other equipment. Orlando International Airport will cease operations beginning Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
Megan Cerullo contributed reporting.
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