The happiest place on Earth had some sad news to share today, as the beloved theme park made a tough call in light of Hurricane Irma’s projected path. For just the fifth time in its near 50-year history, the resort will be shuttering its doors on September 10 and 11 to prepare for the storm’s predicted landfall, which is expected to hit Florida by Sunday afternoon.
What’s more, many specific areas of the park, such as Disney’s Blizzard Beach, have been closed as early as today, with more to follow (theme parks, including the Magic and Animal Kingdoms, Epcot, and Disney Hollywood Studios will be shutting down early tomorrow). Special events, such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, have also been cancelled, with options to receive tickets to a future event in lieu of this one or to receive a full refund available.
Resort hotels will remain open for guests that have already arrived, although “services and amenities will be adjusted.”
While there’s still uncertainty as to where exactly Hurricane Irma will hit, the entire state is in what is known as “the cone of uncertainty,” and all its cities will likely see the effects of the storm to some degree. The Weather Channel predicts possible hurricane-force sustained winds between 79-105 miles per hour for Orlando, with potential damage similar to what the area saw back in 2004 with Hurricane Charley.
The resort has shut down operations for multiple hurricanes prior to Irma: Hurricane Floyd back in 1999, Hurricane Frances for two days that same year, Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, and Hurricane Matthew just last year.
They hope to be back up and running as early as September 12, though all changes and updates will be posted here.
Fingers crossed that minimal damage is seen at Disney, and throughout the state in general.
Are you surprised that Disney made the decision to shut down? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(Photos via Joe Raedle + Mark Ashman/Getty)