Disney has announced that it’s shutting down some operations as Hurricane Ian approaches Florida.
“Walt Disney World Resort is preparing for necessary operational adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service,” the company said in a statement posted to its site.
The water park Blizzard Beach is currently closed and another water park, Typhoon Lagoon, will close temporarily on Wednesday and Thursday.
The 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 temporarily close from Wednesday until Friday due to the weather, Disney said.
“We are contacting guests with current and upcoming reservations,” it noted.
“Walt Disney World theme parks are currently operating under normal conditions,” the company added but urged potential visitors to “please continue to monitor news outlets for the latest weather information”.
“Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will also temporarily close Wednesday, Sept 28 and Thursday, Sept 29,” Disney also said.
The company told visitors that they “will not enforce cancelation policies until further notice for dining and other experiences like Savi’s Workshop and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique”.
The company said that “performances of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue have been canceled Sept 28-30 in light of the temporary closure of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Guests with pre-paid reservations will be automatically canceled and refunded”.
Disney Springs, the shopping complex in Lake Buena Vista, is “operating under normal conditions” at this time.
“Please note that all reopening timelines are tentative, and subject to safety conditions,” the company said.
The hurricane’s path is projected to potentially strike the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort in Central Florida.
“Residents in Florida should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, follow any advice given by local officials, and closely monitor updates to the forecast,” the centre said.
Floridians worked frantically to get sandbags in place and stock up on supplies on Monday as the state prepared for the impact of Hurricane Ian, including torrential rains, strong winds able to do damage to homes and businesses, and a boost in the stormy conditions later this week, Reuters reported.
Stores saw shelves of water and household goods quickly emptied as schools around Tampa and the northwestern parts of Florida cancelled their classes until at least Thursday.
The projected path of Hurricane Ian also led to NASA removing its Artemis 1 moon rocket from the launchpad for the third time.
Jose Lugo, a Central Florida resident, told WFTV9 that he filled up sandbags at a park in the area several times over the weekend.
“It’s better to be prepared than sorry later,” he told the local outlet.
Forecasters have cautioned that the storm could damage or destroy buildings as well as prompt power outages this week as the rain may flood areas and leave streets underwater.
“This is a really big storm,” the state’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference on Monday morning, adding that both coasts of the state could be impacted.
“Remain calm. There’s no need to panic,” he added, according to Reuters.
“Hurricane & Tropical Storm Warnings for Ian are in effect for much of the west coast of Florida. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Today is your last day to prepare and follow evacuation orders from local officials,” the National Hurricane Center tweeted on Tuesday.
“Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Ian will spread across Florida during the next couple of days. There is a moderate risk of excessive rainfall across much of the Florida peninsula, and significant flooding impacts are expected. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” the centre added.