Hurricane Irma – September 8 Update

by on September 8, 2017 7 Comments

Filed under: Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World (FL), Weather

LATEST HERE

Last update – September 8, 2017, 3:00PM EDT

For more in depth information on what to expect if you’re in Central Florida during a hurricane, read this article.

Florida continues to prepare for Irma to make landfall. Current forecasts say the storm will hit South Florida Saturday with Central Florida seeing the worst of it late Sunday and early Monday morning.

Follow the latest news on Hurricane Irma at the National Hurricane Center.

Central Florida

Orlando International Airport will close at 5PM on Saturday. The airport is also on Twitter at @MCO. You should contact your airline for information on other cancellations. Expect much heavier than usual crowds at the airports as people leave Florida. Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports have also announced closures.

Parking garages at both Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are at capacity. This is no more onsite parking at either airport.

Tampa will close 8PM Saturday.

Airports are not set up to take in evacuees in cases of emergency.

Park Closures

Walt Disney World Resort will close Saturday evening and remain CLOSED Sunday and Monday. Disney hopes to reopen Tuesday. The onsite Speedway gas stations and Car Care Center will also be closed. Disney transportation will be available to move guests from the parks to their resorts, but it’s important to remember the cast members working will need to get to their own homes Saturday night.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will CLOSE 7PM Saturday.

Epcot and Magic Kingdom will CLOSE 9PM Saturday.

Blizzard Beach will not be open Friday and Saturday, September 8 – 9.

Typhoon Lagoon will CLOSE 5PM Saturday.

ESPN Wide World of Sports CLOSED Saturday to Monday.

Disney Springs will CLOSE 9PM Saturday.

Universal Orlando Resort will be closing Saturday, September 8 at 7PM. It will remain CLOSED Sunday and Monday.

SeaWorld Orlando will be closing Saturday, September 8 at 5PM. It will remain CLOSED Sunday and Monday.

LEGOLAND Florida will be CLOSED on Saturday, September 8 through Monday.

Disney is not taking dining reservations for September 10 or 11. There is no need to cancel your existing reservations through September 11.

Disney is not taking FastPass+ reservations for the weekend (or at all at this moment).

Fort Wilderness will close Saturday at 2PM.

Night of Joy on September 9 is cancelled. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on September 10 is cancelled.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal are not scheduled to begin until September 15.

The Saturday night Rock the Universe and Sunday morning worship service at Universal are cancelled. Friday night’s Rock the Universe is still scheduled.

The rest of the Disney parks are operating normally for now, though guests are able to cancel their plans without penalty. Because of heavy call volume, some guests are being to routed to the general information operators when they phone with questions about their trips which has resulted in conflicting answers about cancellations. We’ve confirmed with multiple travel agents that Disney is not charging penalties. If you’re booked under a promotion like a free dining offer this week and reschedule, you may not necessarily be able to get it again. It’s technically based on availability. We at TouringPlans simply do not know how Disney will handle these situations. If you get an answer, please leave it in the comments.

 

Anyone in Central Florida who has not evacuated is advised to be where they need to be, with supplies, by 5:00 PM on Saturday. It is needlessly dangerous to plan to arrive at your Central Florida vacation this weekend.

Information for Disney guests is on the Disney web site.

Information for Universal guests is on the Universal web site.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has cancelled 3 cruises and ended two early:

Fantasy:

  • September 2 cruise – ended 2 days early, passengers debark Thursday, September 7
  • September 9 cruise – cancelled

Dream:

  • September 4 cruise – ended 1 day early, passengers debark Thursday, September 7
  • September 8 and 11 cruises – cancelled

The Magic and Wonder are in Europe and Alaska respectively, and not affected by Irma.

St. Martin, a port on Disney’s Eastern Caribbean cruises was hit hard by Irma earlier this week. St. Thomas and St. John, also on the Eastern itineraries in the USVI were hit. The DCL Blog has an article about damage to these ports;.

The Bahamas, including Castaway Cay in the Bahamas are the path of the storm.

Hurricane Jose is following Irma and the Caribbean will see more damage.

Information for Disney Cruise Line passengers is on the DCL site.

The Dream and the Fantasy will be docked in Cozumel to avoid damage happen at Port Canaveral when the hurricane arrives.

No announcements have been made for cruises beginning September 12, but expect changes.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort on Florida’s Atlantic coast closed at 2PM Friday.

Disney’s Hilton Head Resort

Disney’s Hilton Head Resort in South Carolina will close 10AM Saturday.

 

The Rest of Florida and the Southeast

The Florida Keys and parts of the Miami area are under mandatory evacuation orders. The Florida National Guard has been called up to assist residents during and after Hurricane Irma.

Traffic on I-95 and I-75 North out of Florida is very heavy with people evacuating.

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina have declared states of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma.

The National Hurricane Center describes Irma is “life-threatening” and Florida governor Rick Scott says the storm surge “can kill you.”

What Happened During Hurricane Matthew

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew, a smaller hurricane, was projected to go through the Orlando area, though it did turn east at the last minute. Here’s a reminder of how that went:

I-95 through Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina saw substantial flooding during Hurricane Matthew last year. Flooding lasted well after the storm had gone through.

Orlando area airports closed before the storm and flights were delayed and cancelled as planes and crews made their way back in place.

Port Canaveral was closed while officials assessed damage.

Universal and Walt Disney World closed early the day before the storm and were closed for one full day.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was cancelled and guests were offered refunds or rescheduled tickets.

Halloween Horror Nights were cancelled and guests were offered refunds or rescheduled tickets.

Resort hotel restaurants were not serving guests who remained onsite though box meals were available for purchase.

Guests at Fort Wilderness, the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs, and the Polynesian Bungalows were relocated to more secure accommodations. This year that list would include the Cabins at Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

Stay tuned to the TouringPlans blog for more information as it comes in.

Posted on September 8, 2017

7 Responses to “Hurricane Irma – September 8 Update”

  • Thanks! I appreciate your updates!

  • by Tricia from MCC on September 8, 2017, at 10:42 am EDT

    Love this line:
    “It is needlessly dangerous to plan to arrive at your Central Florida vacation this weekend.”

    I hope people pay attention to this and not show up.

    • by Julia Mascardo on September 8, 2017, at 10:51 am EDT

      There’s many folks down here who had suggested….shall we say, more salty and less family-friendly language. 😉

      From simply a guest experience perspective though, let’s say you were due to arrive today for a 5 day trip. You would need to spend all day today tracking down supplies to ride out the storm. The parks will likely close at some point tomorrow. They likely will be closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at a minimum. So out of your five-day, multi-thousand-dollar vacation, you will have one partial day of park time (with less than ideal weather), and then will need to pay out of pocket for a new hotel room (because flights out are going to be jammed afterwards), food, etc. Safety issues aside, who wants a vacation like that??

      • by Tricia from MCC on September 8, 2017, at 11:17 am EDT

        Exactly.

        Coworker’s daughter’s collage is doing a delayed opening due to the hurricane. She’s encouraged her daughter to stay home rather than moving into her apartment and enjoying the “free week off.” The college doesn’t need another person to track with all of this going on.

        Each person who needlessly shows up is just another person that needs to be tracked by WDW.

  • You forgot that some waffle House’s closed during this time