IRMA: Central Florida theme park policies

By Ashley Carter, Attractions Insider
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 1:14 PM EDT

Hurricane Irma continues to strengthen, packing winds of up to 185 mph.

As Florida braces for potential impact from the dangerous Category 5 storm, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency for the state’s 67 counties.

Anyone with plans to visit Central Florida’s theme parks during hurricane season (June 1-Nov. 30) should be aware of a few things.

First, safety is a priority for the theme parks. Each park has its own hurricane policy, meaning travelers may be able to cancel or reschedule their vacations.

Disney World

If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area, or for the traveler’s place of residence, within seven days of the visitor’s scheduled arrival date, vacation packages and most room-only reservations can be canceled or changed without any fees.

This policy only applies to vacations and rooms book directly with Disney.

Select special events and dining experiences are not eligible for a refund.

For more information, call (407) 939-7675.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando also allows visitors to cancel or change their vacation plans (without any fees) if an active named storm has been issued, for the Orlando area or the visitor’s place of residence, within 7 days of their trip.

The fee waiver only applies to vacations booked through Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations.

For more information, click here.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando offers a “Peace of Mind” hurricane policy.  In the event a named tropical storm or hurricane approaches the Orlando, Tampa areas, or the visitor’s hometown, the park will reschedule or refund any vacation package and/or park tickets booked through SeaWorld Vacations.

The policy also applies to vacations booked through Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Discovery Cove and Aquatica.

For more information, call 407-545-5550.

Legoland Florida

Legoland Florida’s policy allows visitors to cancel or change tickets or vacation packages if a hurricane warning is issued for the park’s area or the visitor’s place of residence within seven days of their visit.

For more information called Merlin Entertainments Customer Service Center at 1-877-350-5346.

It’s rare for most Central Florida theme parks to close, but sometimes they do if they are directly threatened by a hurricane.

In 2016, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando closed early on Thursday, Oct. 6, as Hurricane Matthew approached. The parks remained closed on Friday, Oct. 7.

And it goes without saying that if severe weather hits, outdoor attractions and events at the theme parks are likely to be closed or canceled.

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