Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Irma Update 9/9 11:00 am EDT: Florida’s Attractions Industry Shuts Down

Compiled by Joe Kleiman, InPark News Editor


Irma is currently hitting the north coast of Cuba, headed towards the Florida Keys. The eye is 225 miles S of Miami, traveling WNW at 12 mph. The storm is currently a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph. Irma is expected to hit Florida Saturday-Sunday, lingering into early Monday in north Florida; hurricane-force winds may arrive in South Florida and the Florida Keys by Saturday night. The storm is now predicted to skirt the west coast of Florida after making landfall. Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for Sarasota (host city of the 2014 TEA SATE conference), Tampa, and other West Florida cities.

Key West, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and St Petersberg-Clearwater airports are closed. Orlando will cease operations at 5 pm today, Tampa at 8 pm, and Palm Beach at 10 pm.  Amtrak has suspended all service in Florida.


All theme parks, museums, zoos, and attractions in the state from St. Augustine south are either currently closed or will close this evening and remain closed through Monday at the earliest. IAAPA’s global headquarters in Orlando will be closed on Monday.

Below are the specifics for major Central Florida attractions.

Walt Disney World: Resort hotels will remain open throughout the weekend. The following closures will be in effect:

Blizzard Beach: Closed through Monday, Sept 11

Typhoon Lagoon: Closing 5:00 pm today – Monday, Sept 11

Wide World of Sports: Closed through Monday, Sept 11

Animal Kingdom: Closing 7:00 pm today – Monday, Sept 11. Performance of Rivers of Light canceled.

Hollywood Studios: Closing 7:00 pm today – Monday, Sept 11. Performances performances of Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular canceled.

Epcot: Closing 9 pm today – Monday, Sept 11. Performance of Illuminations Reflections of Earth canceled.

Magic Kingdom: Closing 9 pm today – Monday, Sept 11. Performance of Happily Ever After fireworks canceled.

Disney Springs: Closing 9 pm today – Monday, Sept 11.

Fort Wilderness and Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas: Closing today at 2:00 pm.

Tonight’s Night of Joy performances at Wide World of Sports have been canceled, as has Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.

Universal Orlando Resort: The entire resort will close at 7 pm today and reopen on Tuesday, Sept 12. Tonight’s Rock the Universe and Sunday’s prayer service have been canceled.

LEGOLAND Florida: LEGOLAND Florida theme park and LEGOLAND Florida Waterpark will be closed through Sept 11.  The LEGOLAND Hotel will remain open and will admit arriving guests. The LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will close, with guests being reassigned to the LEGOLAND Hotel. The resort encourages guests in need of shelter to seek other accommodations as it cannot guarantee resort amenities or access to electricity during severe weather.

Orlando Eye: The Eye is currently closed. Operations will resume once the storm has passed.

SeaWorld Orlando/Aquatica/Discovery Cove: SeaWorld Orlando will close by 5 pm EDT today and will remain closed on Sunday and Monday. Aquatica Orlando is closed through Monday. Discovery Cove will be closed on Sunday and Monday. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are enacting their “Peace of Mind” Policy. The parks are rescheduling or refunding any vacation package or individual park tickets booked through SeaWorld Vacations, Busch Gardens Vacations,,,, or the contact center. The parks will not apply any cancellation or change fees for this service.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will close by 5 pm EDT todayand will remain closed on Sunday and Monday. Adventure Island is closed through Monday.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo: The zoo will remain closed through Monday.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Will remain closed through Tuesday.

Central Florida attractions will continue to monitor the situation and make changes accordingly.

NEXT UPDATE: 9/9 at 8:00 pm EDT

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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