Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando announce reopening dates after Hurricane Ian

After Hurricane Ian, now a tropical storm, hit Florida with "historic" heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge, the state's biggest theme parks are assessing damage and have announced their slated reopenings.

The hurricane ripped through the state on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms in the nation's history, flooding buildings, leaving people stranded and knocking out power before heading toward the Atlantic.

On Tuesday, Florida started preparing for the storm with closures throughout the state. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay was the first theme park to close in anticipation of the storm. Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida followed suit and shuttered on Wednesday.

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Here's how Florida's theme parks are responding to the impact of Hurricane Ian and what guests should know about their reopenings.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is slated to stay closed Friday and reopen on Saturday, according to its website.

People who have park tickets for Thursday through Friday have been extended through Dec. 31. Tickets for Howl-O-Scream on Friday have been extended through Oct. 31.

Annual Pass Members’ guest tickets with an expiration date of Friday and Sunday have been extended through Oct. 16

Disney World

Expedition Everest is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom.
Expedition Everest is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom.

Walt Disney World Resort tweeted Tuesday that it was closely monitoring weather conditions and assessing the impact of the hurricane on its property. Its four theme parks will stay closed Thursday but "resume theme park and Disney Springs operations in a phased approach starting on Friday." Guests should check Disney Parks' Twitter page @DisneyParks and website for updated hours of operation.

Guests who have not used any portion of tickets intended for those 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. People who bought tickets for this event directly from Disney using a credit card, debit card or Disney Rewards Cards will be issued an automatic refund that will be processed back to their original form of payment within seven business days. Those who used a travel agent or third-party travel seller will need to contact their seller for details.

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Cancellation policies for dining and other experiences, such as Savi's Workshop, will not be enforced until further notice.

Since Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is closed, performances of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue have been canceled through Friday. Guests with paid reservations will have payments automatically refunded.

Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney shows are canceled on Thursday and the 5:30 p.m. show on Friday will be rescheduled to 8 p.m.

For those with Thursday reservations to stay in Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, check-in will not be accepted. Those who are supposed to check in on Friday are asked to arrive no earlier than 3 p.m. Guests may reschedule their trip or cancel their stay and not face any customary cancellation fees. Dining options at these resorts will vary and people will not need reservations.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are temporarily closed through Friday,due to the weather. The park is contacting those with current and upcoming reservations on this matter.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort, including CityWalk, will remain closed Wednesday and Thursday with an anticipated reopening on Friday "as conditions permit," the park announced on Tuesday. The Halloween Horror Nights event was canceled for Wednesday and Thursday but is slated to reopen Friday.

The hotels remain operational "as they focus on taking care of our guests," its website said. Those 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.

Guests who have not yet arrived and booked travel through Universal may reschedule or cancel their trips by calling 877-801-9720, per the resort's severe weather policy. Guests who booked through third parties are directed to make arrangements through them.

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SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando and Discovery Cove are slated to reopen on Saturday.

All 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 on Tuesday.


On Thursday afternoon, LEGOLAND Florida tweeted that LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, Water Park & Peppa Pig Theme Park will remain closed through Friday. The park said it it is due to needing to "assess damage and clean up from the storm."

People with tickets through Sunday will have them automatically extended through Dec. 31.

"The safety of guests and Model Citizens is our highest priority," the website said.

LEGOLAND Hotel and Pirate Island Hotel will remain open to those who have existing reservations.

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." More information on their Hurricane Policy can be found online.

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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

On Thursday afternoon, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced it will stay closed through Friday and 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. Those who purchased their tickets through third-party vendors will need to contact them directly for information regarding cancellations or refunds.

The center also extended the Future Voyagers offer to Sunday. This offer gives complimentary admission for up to three children, between the ages of 3 and 11, per one purchased adult ticket.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When will Disney, Universal, SeaWorld reopen after Hurricane Ian?