On Monday, Hurricane Irma continued to make its way up the western part of Florida. During the early morning hours, the then-Category 2 storm’s path took it over the Orlando area's theme parks.
At one point, the strongest part of the storm, known as the eyewall, passed over Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando.
Photos began to appear online of damage around Disney World’s resorts. One photo showed Disney employees, also known as cast members, cleaning water from the floors of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Others showed a downed tree at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, near the Oasis Bar & Grill.
Blog Mickey posted video on Twitter of transformers exploding near Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
News 13’s meteorologists said wind gusts of 90 mph were reported at the resort as the storm passed through the area.
Late last week, many of the theme parks — including SeaWorld and Universal — announced closures.
Disney World followed, announcing it would be closed Sunday and Monday in anticipation of Irma’s impact. Resorts were still open, and Disney worked some extra magic with character greetings and other activities:
Many of the theme parks plan to reopen by Tuesday.
Walt Disney World
Here are the hours of operation for Walt Disney World Tuesday. Disney's special events are expected to take place, including Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The water parks are expected to reopen later this week:
- Magic Kingdom Park – 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Epcot – 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom – 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Disney Springs – 10 a.m.-midnight
- Blizzard Beach – Closed
- Typhoon Lagoon – Closed
A Universal spokesman said all parks — Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay — reopened Tuesday. Halloween Horror Nights will go on as scheduled Friday, Sept. 15.
SeaWorld Orlando says all of its parks, including Aquatica and Discovery Cove, will reopen 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
The park will be closed through at least Tuesday to allow for debris cleanup. It said there was "no significant damage discovered" and all animals were accounted for. The park is aiming to reopen Wednesday but urged guests to check their social media channels in case that changes.
Legoland Florida was without power Monday will be closed until at least Thursday.
Gatorland has had power restored and will be open Wednesday for regular park hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fun Spot America opened both its Kissimmee and Orlando locations at 2 p.m. Tuesday and will do the same (2 p.m.) on Wednesday.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has announced that it will remain closed Thursday, and possible Friday, due to a lack of water service. The complex received no major damage, though. All structures and artifacts are intact.
The Brevard Zoo reopens Wednesday.
The Central Florida Zoo reopens Wednesday with normal 9 am to 5 p.m. hours. However, the train and carousel will not be running. The Insect Zoo will also be closed due to flooding in that building (crews are still working on airing it out). ZoomAir, the ropes course company that operates on the zoo's property, will not be open (closed until further notice). Clouded leopard and black bears will not be on exhibit. Concessions will be a limited menu.
For theater-goers, opening night of "The King and I" at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was canceled Tuesday. The rest of the week is on track.
The Orlando Science Center is open.
The Mall at Millenia is open.
The Florida Mall, Orlando International Premium Outlets, Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets and Outlet Marketplace reopened Tuesday. Many retailers will remain closed and will determine their own schedule as appropriate for their employees.
Parks & Disney Springs remain closed today as we begin to assess our property. Big thanks to our Cast for making magic during the storm! pic.twitter.com/qqGs87RV2f— WDW Today (@WDWToday) September 11, 2017
#HurrcaneIrma update. All facilities have electricity and personnel and animals are safe.— SeaWorld (@SeaWorld) September 11, 2017
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 12 to allow for final debris clean-up from #HurricaneIrma. Check back for updates.— Busch Gardens Tampa (@BuschGardens) September 11, 2017
We are happy to report that after an initial assessment, all animals and personnel are safe after #HurricaneIrma.— Busch Gardens Tampa (@BuschGardens) September 11, 2017
Still assessing status, but no major damage from Hurricane Irma at #KennedySpaceCenter. No reopening date yet. Look for more updates.— KSC Visitor Complex (@ExploreSpaceKSC) September 11, 2017
Thanks to our dedicated staff, all of the animals made it through the storm. We hope to reopen on Wednesday. Stay tuned for updates!— Brevard Zoo (@BrevardZoo) September 11, 2017
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