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What to know about Disney World, airport closures as Hurricane Idalia slams Florida


(NEW YORK) — As Hurricane Idalia slams parts of Florida, the state’s huge tourism industry is also being impacted.

The storm made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region, north of Tampa, on Wednesday morning as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Idalia is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Big Bend region since 1896.

Here is what to know about how the storm is impacting Florida’s major theme parks and airports.

Orlando International Airport remains open

Orlando International Airport, the state’s busiest airport, is open as of Wednesday morning.

The airport tweeted Wednesday that it remains “open and operational,” but noted that flight disruptions “are expected.”

Tampa International Airport closes ahead of storm

On the other side of the state, Tampa International Airport closed its operations as of 12:01 a.m. local time Tuesday due to Idalia.

The airport tweeted Wednesday morning that it hopes to announce reopening plans later in the day.

Walt Disney World remains open amid Idalia

Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, said its resorts and theme parks are open and “operating under normal conditions” while they are “closely monitoring the path of the projected weather.”

Due to rain in the Orlando area, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park and its two outdoor miniature golf courses were closed Wednesday.

The company also asked guests staying at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to “remove and stow” outside items like decor, tents and camper awnings by 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Guests may go online to modify or cancel their Disney Resort hotel reservations.

The company said it is currently waiving its change and cancellation fees for reservations with check-in dates between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4.

Under its hurricane cancellation policies, Walt Disney World states that if the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for either the Orlando area or where you live within seven days of your planned arrival date, you may reschedule or cancel most hotel room reservations without any change or cancellation fees.

Busch Gardens closes early due to Idalia

Busch Gardens, a Tampa-based theme park, closed at 12 p.m. local time Tuesday ahead of Idalia.

The theme park said it would remain closed Wednesday and planned to reopen Thursday.

Universal Studios remains open

Universal Studios in Orlando said it is staying open as it continues to monitor the path of Hurricane Idalia.

“Universal Orlando Resort theme parks including Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Volcano Bay are planning to open and operate as normal at 9:00 am on Wednesday, Aug. 30,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “However, we will not offer our usual Early Park Admission benefit for on-site hotel guests, select Annual Passholders and other select travel trade clients on this day while our teams prepare the parks for opening after the storm. Our hotels remain operational as they focus on taking care of our guests.”

Like Disney, Universal Orlando Resort’s severe weather policy states that if a state of emergency or a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area or your place of residence, you can reschedule or cancel your Universal reservations with “no cancellation or change fees imposed.”

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