Now that Hurricane Ian has passed through Florida, the state’s biggest theme parks are assessing the damages and announcing their plans to reopen.
The hurricane ripped through the state with historic heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in the nation’s history.
Ian flooded buildings, left people stranded, and knocked out power before continuing toward the Atlantic, USA Today reported.
Tampa’s Busch Gardens was the first theme park to close on Tuesday, with Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND Florida following suit on Wednesday.
Busch Gardens’ website confirmed it will remain closed on Friday and will reopen Saturday. Visitors who have park tickets for Thursday through Friday have been extended through Dec. 31, and tickets for Howl-O-Scream on Friday have been extended through Oct. 31.
For those who have Annual Pass Members, guest tickets that have an expiration date of Friday and Sunday will be extended through Oct. 16.
Walt Disney World Resort tweeted on Tuesday that park officials would closely monitor weather conditions and assess the impact of hurricane Ian on its property. Its four theme parks will remain closed Thursday but “resume theme park and Disney Springs operations in a phased approach starting on Friday.” Guests are encouraged to check Disney Parks’ Twitter page @DisneyParks and website for updated hours of operation, park accommodations, events, and dining.
Guests who could not use tickets intended for those closed days are directed to contact Disney to modify their travel plans. Guests with partially used multi-day theme park tickets will be able to use their remaining ticket days through Sept. 30, 2023.
Disney also canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which was scheduled for Thursday. Guests who bought tickets for this event directly from Disney using a credit card, debit card, or Disney Rewards Cards will receive an automatic refund that will be returned to their original form of payment within seven business days. People who booked through a travel agent or third-party travel seller will need to contact their seller for details.
Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, is expected to have a phased reopening on Friday “as conditions permit,” the park announced on its website. The Halloween Horror Nights event are also slated to reopen Friday.
The hotels remain operational “as they focus on taking care of our guests,” its website continues. Guests with travel dates after Friday are asked to call at a later date since the resort is “currently experiencing higher than expected wait times” for those whose travel plans are directly affected by the hurricane.
SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove will reopen on Saturday, October 1.
All guests who purchased tickets for Wednesday and Thursday have been extended through the end of the year. Annual pass member guest tickets expiring Friday through Sunday have been extended through Oct. 16.
Those with tickets to Howl-O-Scream for Friday have been extended through Oct. 31.
“We are taking all necessary precautions – including the implementation of our comprehensive weather preparedness plan – to keep guests, employees, and animals safe,” the park said in a statement to USA TODAY earlier this week.
LEGOLAND Florida announced that LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, Water Park & Peppa Pig Theme Park would remain closed through Friday. The park said it is due to needing to “assess the damage and clean up from the storm.”
Those with tickets through Sunday will have them automatically extended through Dec. 31.
“The safety of guests and Model Citizens is our highest priority.”
LEGOLAND’s call centers are currently closed in the meantime, and the website states that “vacation stays for this closure period will be able to be rebooked without penalty once our call center reopens.”
Thursday afternoon, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will reopen on Saturday. “All attractions, exhibits, programs, and the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour will be open for regular operating hours,” according to its website.
People who have existing reservations through Friday will be automatically refunded within one billing cycle.