Hurricane Irma – September 9, 2017 Update

by on September 9, 2017 9 Comments

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

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Last update – September 9, 2017, 9:00AM Eastern

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

Hurricane Irma hit Cuba and the Bahamas overnight. It will hit Miami and South Florida Sunday morning and is forecast to travel up Florida’s west (Gulf) coast.

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.

Sanford will have its last flight out at 5:15PM and airport operations will cease at 7:30.

Expect much heavier than usual crowds at the airports as people leave Florida.

Parking garages at Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are at capacity. This is no more onsite parking at these airports.

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 is CLOSED.

Typhoon Lagoon will CLOSE 5PM Saturday.

ESPN Wide World of Sports CLOSED Saturday to Monday.

Disney Springs will CLOSE 9PM Saturday.

Fort Wilderness  and the Treehouse Villas will close Saturday at 2PM.

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).

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

Nighttime spectaculars Rivers of Light, Galactic Spectacular, Happily Ever After, and Illuminations are CANCELLED Saturday night.

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.

The Disney Reservations Center will be CLOSED Saturday and Sunday.

Guests are able to cancel their plans without penalty. 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.

Information for Disney guests is on the Disney web site.

Information for Universal guests is on the Universal web site.

If You’re At Disney Or Universal During The Hurricane

  • Have food and water for at least two days in your hotel room – you can buy these in the parks before you get back to your hotel
  • Be prepared to be in your hotel room for 24 to 48 hours
  • Be prepared for power outages
  • Be prepared for cell phone outages
  • Be prepared for long lines for food while outlets are open
  • Realize you’re not going to be housekeeping
  • Don’t linger after the park closures – cast members and team members need to get home to their own families after closing the parks

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.

Tampa is under a mandatory evacuation order.

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.

Alabama, 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 9, 2017

9 Responses to “Hurricane Irma – September 9, 2017 Update”

  • We were able to reschedule out trips 2 weeks out with free dining carried over to the new reservation, but the only room available with that option was a preferred King room at Coronado. We are very happy wth how Disney helped us.

  • Thoughts and prayers for all of you in Florida and in Irma’s path.

  • We are stuck at Pop Century for the next three days. Someone told me yesterday that most of the resort hotels are evacuation shelters. The food court was selling lunch sacks and pizzas. Lots of people were stocking up on these this afternoon. The food court will be closed tomorrow and open on Monday when conditions improve. Disney is offering resort guests free movies until further notice and they put a flashlight in our room just in case we lose power. We have plenty of water, just hoping the lights stay on.

  • We’re “trapped” at Wilderness Lodge, where Roaring Fork (quick service) and the Mercantile are open 24 hours, and both Artist’s Point and Whispering Canyon will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Housekeeping left a flashlight and double bath amenities in our room. If the power stays on, Wilderness Lodge is Irma in the lap of luxury.

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