Disney World Shuts Theme Parks Ahead of Hurricane Ian

Universal Orlando will likewise shut its gates.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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Disney World Cinderella Castle

The parks are closing in preparation for hurricane-force winds and rain.

Disney Parks

Walt Disney World will close its theme parks temporarily due to Hurricane Ian, which is predicted to make landfall in Florida late Wednesday or early Thursday.

"Given the latest projections, Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 29," Disney Parks tweeted Tuesday evening.

Hurricane Ian, currently a category 3 storm, could strengthen into a category 4 once it makes landfall in Florida. It could bring a "life-threatening storm surge" to the Florida west coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

Hurricane-force winds are expected beginning Wednesday morning in southwest and west central Florida. "Devastating wind damage is expected near the core of Ian," the center added in its latest advisory. Heavy rainfall with the risk of flash flooding is also expected.

The multiday Disney World closure includes Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon water park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, Fairways Miniature Golf, Fantasia Gardens and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Disney Springs, the shopping and dining district, will close on Wednesday and is anticipated to be closed Thursday as well. 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom has been canceled for Thursday, and Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser voyages departing Tuesday and Thursday have also been canceled. 

Disney World hotel guests are being asked to shelter in their resorts, but must check in by 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. Several Disney resorts will close completely from Wednesday through Friday, however: 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.

Guests who have partially used multiday theme park tickets will have those tickets extended through Sept. 30, 2023.

Universal Orlando will similarly close its theme parks and the CityWalk shopping and dining area on Wednesday and Thursday. Orlando airport will cease commercial operations at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.