Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando to Close Early Amid Hurricane Dorian

Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida - Getty-H 2019
Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Although rare, the theme parks have closed in years prior during large storms such as Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are adjusting their theme park hours in wake of the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Dorian. 

Walt Disney World announced Monday that to maintain its "longstanding commitment to safety," it will be adjusting its operating hours on Tuesday. 

The Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney Springs, Disney’s Lagoon Typhoon Water Park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf all will be closing at 3 p.m. ET; Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will be closing at 2 p.m.; and ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park both will be closed all day Tuesday.

Disney Resort hotels remain open. Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be closed at 3 p.m. beginning Tuesday and "will reopen following the storm when it is safe to do so," as stated on the resort's website.

Walt Disney World originally canceled weekend sporting events and closed Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park on Sunday as Florida braces for Hurricane Dorian.

A statement Friday on the theme park's website said, "Walt Disney World Resort is operating under normal conditions. We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather, as nothing is more important than the safety of our guests and Cast Members. We are taking precautions including canceling weekend sporting events and closing Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park on Sunday. We are also contacting guests with current and upcoming reservations at 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 to plan for anticipated weather impacts."

Meanwhile, Universal Studios Orlando announced Tuesday that it would be modifying its hours to close at 6 p.m. ET. 

"We will be closing Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure as of 6 p.m. today. Our CityWalk venues will continue to operate tonight for our guests, but will close earlier than normal. We continue to closely monitor the weather and will share operational updates as needed," they said in a statement posted on their Twitter. 

Seaworld Orlando announced it would be closed on Tuesday. "As we continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian's path, the safety of our guests, staff and animals is our greatest priority — therefore we will be closed on Tuesday 9/3," it said in a statement posted on its Instagram account.

Multiple movie theaters are also closing along parts of Florida’s east coast, including Regal, Cinemark and AMC locations.

The storm, which is tracking as a major Category 4, according to the National Hurricane Center, could make landfall this week. 

President Donald Trump approved a state of emergency declaration on Friday.

Even though Disney and other area theme parks are far inland from the coast, officials decided they would not take any chances. 

Although rare, the theme parks have closed in years prior during large storms such as Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The Disney World closure comes the same weekend that the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened at the park. The attraction, which bowed Thursday, was met with a massive crowd and a digital queue was needed not long after guests began flowing into the park. 

Sept. 2, 3:47 p.m. Updated with Seaworld Orlando's statement.
Sept. 2, 5 p.m. Updated with movie theaters closing.
Sept. 3, 3 p.m. Updated with Universal Studios Orlando's statement.