Florida theme parks: Status update as Hurricane Ian approaches

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(CNN) — As Hurricane Ian made landfall in western Cuba early Tuesday morning, Floridians were keeping an anxious eye on the rapidly intensifying storm. That included the operators of Florida’s popular theme parks.

Here’s a status report of where things stand as of 9 a.m. ET Tuesday with various major theme and water parks and other sites of interest to tourists:

Busch Gardens (Tampa):

Ian’s path remains uncertain, but on Tuesday morning, the Tampa Bay Area seemed likely to be in the crosshairs.

As a result, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said it will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has enacted its Named Storm Policy… Precautions are in place following the parks’ comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time,” the park announced on its website.

“All admission tickets have been extended through December 31,” the park said. Also, “annual Pass members’ guest tickets with an expiration date of Sept. 30 will be extended through Oct. 16.”

Discovery Cove (Orlando)

The all-inclusive day resort with animal encounters and tropical aquatic settings is also closing on Wednesday and Thursday.

The parks said it “will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center. We will not apply any cancellation or change fees for this service.” You can call +1 407-513-4600 to find out more.

Disney World (Orlando)

Most of Disney World’s properties remain open.

The resort said on its website that it’s “currently operating under normal conditions as we prepare to make necessary adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service.”

However, some properties and units are closing. The following are closing Wednesday through Friday:

• Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
• Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
• Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
• The Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Closing Wednesday through Thursday are:

• Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (Blizzard Beach is currently closed anyway)
• Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf

Disney Springs, a shopping, dining and entertainment area, remains open.

Universal Resort (Orlando)

As of Tuesday morning, Universal Orlando Resort is still open.

As of Tuesday morning, Universal Orlando Resort is still open.

John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images

The movie-themed park of thrill rides is continuing normal park operations currently. The park’s severe weather policy does have no-fee rescheduling or cancellation policies in place should it close.

“In the event that a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center or a state of emergency is declared for the Orlando area or in your place of residence, within seven days of your arrival, you can contact our team in advance to reschedule or cancel your Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations Package, hotel room only accommodations and Universal Orlando theme park tickets booked directly with Universal Orlando, without any cancellation or change fees imposed,” the park said on its website.

Other theme parks

CNN Travel has contacted SeaWorld Orlando and Legoland Florida via email for any updates. Neither park has replied but both parks’ websites indicate normal operating hours for Tuesday.

Cruise ships

Florida ports have a very active cruise schedules. Here’s the status of some of those ships’ routes as of 8:15 p.m. ET Monday:

Norwegian Cruise Lines: The company changed five ports on the Norwegian Sky, which left Miami on Sunday, the cruise line tells CNN. The ship was scheduled to port in George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Cozumel in the Western Caribbean and will now make stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, to avoid the path of Ian.

“The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our number one priority. Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Norwegian Sky’s itinerary has been modified to the below. Guests who booked shore excursions in any of the affected ports through Norwegian Cruise Line will have their excursions refunded to their onboard account,” a spokesperson for the cruise line said.

MSC: The company has changed course on at least one of their ships and monitoring the possibility of changing others, a spokesperson tells CNN. The MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean has been rerouted to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.

The cruise line is also monitoring the MSC Divinia, which left Port Canaveral on a four-night sailing to Nassau and the Ocean City Marine Reserve on Sunday. MSC says both cruise ports are outside of Ian’s projected path, but advised passengers before leaving that conditions could prevent the ship from returning on Thursday. The cruise line says if there is a delay in their return, the cruise will be extended at no additional cost to guests.

The cruise line does not expect Ian to impact the MSC Seashore, which is set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, October 1.

Carnival Cruise Lines: The company has made adjustments to two of its sailings.

The ship Carnival Ecstasy, which departed from Mobile, Alabama, on Monday for a six-day sailing will visit Progresso Mexico on Wednesday before vising Cozumel on Thursday. The change reorders the visits, as the ship was scheduled to visit Cozumel first, the cruise line tells CNN.

The Carnival Glory left New Orleans on Sunday for an eight-day sailing,and will now port in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship’s original itinerary was to visit Key West as well as Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas.

National and state parks

As of 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, Everglades National Park in South Florida remained opened. The National Park Service advised people to monitor the latest weather updates before heading to the park, a wilderness area without many evacuation routes.

As of 8:30 a.m. ET, the following Florida state parks were closed:

• Anclote Key Preserve State Park (Pasco and Pinellas counties)
• Caladesi Island State Park (Pinellas County)
• Egmont Key State Park (Pinellas County)
• Honeymoon Island State Park (Pinellas County)

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