Walt Disney World characters dressed up for The World's Most Magical Celebration. (photo courtesy of Disney)
Disney Parks has announced that the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Orlando will remain closed throughout Thursday, as Hurricane Ian continues its path across Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. The Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment district will also stay shuttered for the remainder of the day.
The National Weather Service said Hurricane Ian was one of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the United States when it made landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm. After tearing across Central Florida on Thursday morning—bringing torrential rains, flash flooding and power outages—Ian weakened and was downgraded to a tropical storm.
“As we keep safety in mind, our theme parks and other operating areas remain closed today while crews assess the impact of the storm and clear debris. Thank you to all our cast members who continue to care for the thousands of guests currently staying at our Disney Resort hotels,” Disney Parks tweeted Thursday morning.
The company did disclose in an afternoon update that weather conditions in the area are expected to improve on Thursday evening, and that Walt Disney World Resort parks and the Disney Springs district are planning to initiate a phased return to operations on Friday, September 30.
Guests of the Walt Disney World Resort are encouraged to monitor Disney Parks’ official Twitter page and website for updates on hours of operation.